Former Uber CEO Once Experienced Life as an Uber Driver and Gained Insight into Driver Concerns


Former Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi Embarked on an Incognito Driving Mission to Grasp Uber Drivers’ Real-World Experiences and Challenges.

“Former Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been candid about critiquing his company’s services, shedding light on Uber’s flaws, most recently during an event hosted by GE in Manhattan. At this gathering, Khosrowshahi shared his trans formative experience of going undercover as an Uber driver to better understand the challenges faced by drivers. He recounted the ordeal, stating, ‘It wasn’t a pleasant all-hands with the company.’

During a recent conversation with Ford CEO Jim Farley at GE’s “The Lean Mindset: The Pursuit of Progress” event in New York, Khosrowshahi discussed his entry into Uber in 2017, a period he described as a ‘huge crisis moment’ necessitating a cultural overhaul. He characterized the company as tumultuous, marked by executive departures, a $4.5 billion annual loss, an investor revolt, and the #DeleteUber movement, as reported by Fortune.

Khosrowshahi disclosed that the challenges deepened with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted businesses worldwide. However, during the lockdown, Khosrowshahi decided to step out of his comfort zone and became an Uber driver himself, using an e-bike to deliver food for Uber.

During his stint as a driver, he identified shortcomings in Uber’s delivery services and even used his Tesla for deliveries, which proved to be a demanding experience. Khosrowshahi noted that this dual experience was both enlightening and challenging due to the complexity of the product. He observed that most individuals at Uber prioritized riders and eaters over drivers, partly because few Uber employees had firsthand experience as drivers. This revelation highlighted to him how Uber provided luxury to riders and customers but was a challenging experience for drivers.

Interestingly, in a previous interview, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had shared an experience as an undercover Uber driver that ‘nearly got him killed.’ This time, he delved deeper into his feelings as an Uber driver and how it influenced the company’s future direction. His exploration of the driver’s perspective became a pivotal turning point in Uber’s evolution.

Subsequently, Khosrowshahi offered feedback to his engineers to improve the product and began openly sharing his insights within the company. He encapsulated these efforts in a widely known presentation titled ‘Why We Suck,’ where he shared his findings with the broader Uber team.

He emphasised that his experience as an Uber driver led to a cultural shift within the company, with a renewed focus on appreciating employees involved in deliveries and driving. Khosrowshahi acknowledged that his experience had exposed deficiencies in Uber’s driver app and remained committed to steering the company away from its aggressive past.

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