Uber’s Travis Kalanick is moving on and the Washington Post and New York Times explained in detail why he didn’t survive. In addition to multiple executive departures and widespread sexual harassment, board members and major investors lost faith in his ability to continue to lead the company. They specifically believed that he would have a hard time changing his ways after leading the company for eight years.

“But it was clear almost from the start that Kalanick’s return to Uber was going to be contested, according to several people knowledgeable about what happened at Uber over the past week. From the moment his leave was announced, some people who knew the famously hard-charging Kalanick were skeptical that — based on how he had managed the company over eight years — he could change in the ways needed to allow him to return. ”

Todd C. Frankel and Elizabeth Dowskin, Washington Post

The skillset needed to startup and build a company is not necessarily the same as what it takes to grow and sustain the company into the future. Working at this level requires a level of discipline and forward thinking that the senior executive team of Uber appeared to not possess, particularly as it relates to managing people and creating a positive culture.

What will happen to Uber? Much depends on who is selected to serve as the next CEO.

“It also faces other urgent tasks, such as replenishing its top ranks, retaining its 14,000 full-time employees, reforming its workplace and repairing its sometimes fractious relationship with its drivers, who are contractors. In addition, Uber must maintain its business, which is growing.”

Mike Isaac, New York Times

The company was built aggressively and I imagine that the board and major investors will expect the new CEO to restore order and make sense of where the company needs to go. The challenge with changing the company culture is that it may result in fundamentally affecting how Uber does business. The Harvard Business Review suggests that Uber can’t be fixed and that it should be shut down.

“The company’s cultural dysfunction, it seems to me, stems from the very nature of the company’s competitive advantage: Uber’s business model is predicated on lawbreaking. And having grown through intentional illegality, Uber can’t easily pivot toward following the rules.”

Benjamin Edelman, Harvard Business Review

Rather than keeping the company on life support and trying to figure out how to keep Uber alive as a car service, what about taking the technology and figuring out a way to repurpose it in other industries? Logistics, travel, and delivery services in particular would benefit from the advances that Uber has made in creating a responsive, on-demand service system.

An important clue about what to do next with Uber may stem from what people liked about it initially. Aside from appearing to have a transportation service at your fingertips, an informal survey of friends highlighted that they appreciated the level of service. From the look of the car, the feel of the leather seats, to the general friendliness of the driver, the passengers traveled in and arrived in style. People are taken care of when they ride in an Uber car.

Building on the notion of providing a higher level of service, can this be effectively translated into other businesses? At what cost? Regardless, people will be watching to see if the company will be able to recreate itself when the new leadership team takes over the reins of the company.

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