16 Weird Things We've Learned About Uber Co-Founder Travis Kalanick

The Uber co-founder certainly has his quirks.

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No matter what you think of Travis Kalanick, there's no debating the success of the company he built. Users of Uber have hailed more than a billion rides in more than 600 cities across the globe since Kalanick co-founded the San Francisco-based company in 2009. It was recently valued at around $60 billion.
Uber has changed the transportation industry, dragging it into the world of smartphones kicking and screaming.
Kalanick's time as CEO of Uber was marred by controversy, including an investigation into rampant sexual harassment at the company that ended in his recent resignation. Still, Uber's success is the envy of the startup world, and Kalanick is sure to return to the public eye.
Here are some interesting things we've learned about Kalanick, who turns 41 on Aug. 6.

1. Early life

Kalanick grew up in Los Angeles and ran track and played football. He got interested in entrepreneurship early on, selling knives door-to-door for cutlery company Cutco.

2. First business

When he was 18, Kalanick and a partner started an SAT prep business, New Way Academy. Kalanick apparently scored 1580 on his SATs.

3. Family background

#investodia Chris Ratcliffe | Getty Images

Kalanick may have taken inspiration for his career from both of his parents. His father, Don, was an engineer, while his mother, Bonnie, who died in a boating accident in May, worked in retail advertising for the Los Angeles Daily News. His brother, Cory, is a firefighter, and he also has two half sisters, one of whom works at beauty company Rodan + Fields.

4. The dropout

He became interested in computers in his youth and learned to code by the time he was in middle school. He would later attend the University of California, Los Angeles, to study computer engineering, only to drop out in 1998 to pursue entrepreneurship.

5. File sharing

His first two companies involved file sharing. Scour, a service that allowed users to share media files, was founded in 1998 and filed for bankruptcy in 2000 after facing a $250 billion copyright infringement lawsuit. At one point, the 13 employees of Scour reportedly shared an apartment, which strained the electrical system.

6. Skirting the IRS

Kalanick's second company, Red Swoosh, opened four months after Scour shuttered in 2000. To save money while operating the company, Kalanick moved back to his parents' house before relocating to Thailand in 2006. The company once withheld income taxes from employee paychecks -- which is illegal -- but Kalanick was able to raise money from investors to pay the tax bill. Red Swoosh was sold to Akamai in 2007 for about $19 million. Kalanick became a millionaire.

7. Wii Tennis wiz

In his spare time, Kalanick used to passionately play Wii Sports Tennis, and investor Chris Sacca once claimed that Kalanick was ranked the second best player in the world.

8. Brash and abrasive

Kalanick is known for his aggressive and abrasive leadership style and brashness when it comes to skirting the law. He once posted a cease-and-desist letter to Instagram and captioned it, "Charming greeting card from a taxi cartel representative."

9. The workaholic

#investodia John Tlumacki | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

Kalanick is also known for being somewhat of a workaholic. On at least one occasion, he was seen working on a spreadsheet on a laptop at a strip club.

10. Hot tub Kalanick

Kalanick apparently has a superhuman ability to stay submerged in hot water for long periods of time. “Travis can spend eight to 10 hours in a hot tub,” Chris Sacca once said. “I’ve never seen a human with that kind of staying power in a hot tub.”

11. The 14 values

The Uber co-founder is a big fan of Amazon. He took inspiration from its 14 leadership principles to create 14 values for the ride-hailing company. Of course, those include the maligned "Always Be Hustlin'," "Meritocracy," "Toe-Stepping" and "Principled Confrontation."

12. Sex rules letter

In a 2013 letter to employees about an upcoming party in Miami, Kalanick laid out rules for employees to have sex with each other. He ended that part of the letter with, "Yes, that means that Travis will be celibate on this trip. #CEOLife #FML."

13. Inappropriate leadership

Kalanick made a lot of bad decisions as CEO, but one of the most egregious happened in 2014, when he accompanied Uber Senior VP of business Emil Michael and several other employees to a Korean escort bar. The incident was later reported to Uber’s human resources department.

14. The frugal billionaire

Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

Despite his wealth, Kalanick is known for being frugal. A former employee of Kalanick's at Red Swoosh remembers one time when they went out to lunch: Kalanick "forgot his wallet." He’s also proudly admitted to flying coach and staying at cheap hotels. For years, he rode an old motorcycle to work, even in pouring rain. Of course, he rides in Ubers, too, as seen in the now infamous video of him yelling at a driver released earlier this year.

To find out the remaining two wired things check the source here


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