Before Travis Kalanick became famous as the public face of Uber, he was a scrappy, rough-edged, loose-lipped entrepreneur. And even after taking Uber from the germ of an idea to a $69 billion global transportation behemoth, he still describes his company as a start-up. Like other Silicon Valley icons such as Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, he’s always focused on the next disruptive innovation and the next world to conquer.
Both Uber and Kalanick have acquired a reputation for being combative, relentless, and iron-fisted against competitors. They’ve inspired both admiration and loathing as they’ve flouted government regulators, thrown the taxi industry into a tailspin, and stirred controversy over possible exploitation of drivers. They’ve even reshaped the deeply ingrained consumer behavior of not accepting a ride from a stranger—against the childhood warnings from everyone’s parents.