The Forrest Four-Cast: July 3, 2017
Over the course of six short years since its 2011 launch, Uber has revolutionized the concept of on-demand delivery. First they moved people more efficiently and more economically from Point A to Point B via cars, then came the transport of food and other products. Soon this company will accomplish these services via next-generation systems, ranging from drones to self-driving automobiles to urban-oriented flying machines.
Their success in massively disrupting an entrenched industry has spawned countless other ride-staring / ride-hailing startups, as well as scores of other delivery-related companies. Moreover, the global entrepreneurial ecosystem adopted their name as the easiest way to describe any new venture that has sought to implement an alternative approach to long-standing conventions: “We are going to be the Uber of [insert industry of choice here].”
Given all these lofty accomplishments, who could have predicted that focusing a bigger spotlight on the misogynistic culture of Silicon Valley might be the largest long-term impact of the Kalanick Empire. In the three weeks since this CEO was forced to resign because of a history of bad behavior and the toxic corporate culture that his actions helped create, the transgressions of several more top executives from the VC / startup world have gained widespread media attention. While we have known for ages that these problems exist, the departure of Uber’s head man seems to have helped create an atmosphere where these insidious problems are finally given the degree of attention that they deserve. In this atmosphere, one imagines that more names of more bad actors will surface soon.
This purge is incredibly painful — and incredibly necessary. Uber’s quick rise to prominence shows how quickly the tech industry can topple the status quo. Let’s hope that true diversity can be the next great disruption coming from all the innovative minds in Silicon Valley. If the tech industry truly wants to lead the future, then there is no better place to start.
Hugh Forrest tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often (but not always) cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.
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