travis kalanick cloudkitchen nightmare2x1

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Kalanick’s talent for spotting game-changing trends has made him a key player in the food delivery business. But hundreds of employees have left his Saudi-backed startup this year, many frazzled by a hard-knock and super secretive culture.

An awkward air filled the room as the group of executives processed the words in front of them.

A list of corporate “values” laid out the guiding principles for CloudKitchens, the stealth startup that Travis Kalanick was now running in the aftermath of his public ejection from the CEO job at Uber. Several members of CloudKitchens’ senior team, meeting for a retreat at Southern California’s tony Terranea resort in 2019, recognized their new corporate values with a sense of disbelief. 

“Always be hustlin'”

“Big bold bets”

“Super pumped”

“Champion’s heart”

Many of the catchphrases were exactly the same — in some cases word-for-word — as those that became famously radioactive during Kalanick’s turbulent and controversial reign at Uber. Now they were being recycled.

“It was the elephant in the room – everyone was thinking about it,” said a source who was at the executive meeting. “Why didn’t you even change some of them?” the source recalled thinking.

One person present suggested that perhaps the values should be updated because of the negative connotations from the Uber days. The recommendation seemed to anger Kalanick, who later planned a global tour of the company’s offices to unveil all the values locally. 

The message was clear: The Kalanick leading CloudKitchens was not changed, humbled, or reformed. He was the same Kalanick who in just a few roller-coaster years had turned Uber into a global juggernaut — at one point the world’s most valuable tech startup — by barreling full speed ahead and ultimately crashing out.

In one important way though, Kalanick has changed since then. The man leading CloudKitchens is incredibly concerned with secrecy and preventing any challenges to his control, and he has designed the company with that in mind.

The result is a business that looks like the old Uber — but without the guardrails. Without a VC-filled board, Kalanick, who reportedly owns about half the company, enjoys free rein to pursue his vision of reinventing the restaurant business.

The company’s shared kitchen facilities, designed to let restaurants churn out chow for online delivery, reflect Kalanick’s knack for spotting the lucrative intersection between technology and consumer habits at just the right time. Over the past five years, CloudKitchens facilities have …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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Travis Kalanick’s stealth $5 billion startup CloudKitchens is Uber all over again, ruled by a ‘temple of bros’

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