Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

W. W. Norton & Company
8
Free sample

New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller

A New York Times technology correspondent presents the dramatic story of Uber, the Silicon Valley startup at the center of one of the great venture capital power struggles of our time.

In June 2017, Travis Kalanick, the hard-charging CEO of Uber, was ousted in a boardroom coup that capped a brutal year for the transportation giant. Uber had catapulted to the top of the tech world, yet for many came to symbolize everything wrong with Silicon Valley.

Award-winning New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped presents the dramatic rise and fall of Uber, set against an era of rapid upheaval in Silicon Valley. Backed by billions in venture capital dollars and led by a brash and ambitious founder, Uber promised to revolutionize the way we move people and goods through the world. A near instant “unicorn,” Uber seemed poised to take its place next to Amazon, Apple, and Google as a technology giant.

What followed would become a corporate cautionary tale about the perils of startup culture and a vivid example of how blind worship of startup founders can go wildly wrong. Isaac recounts Uber’s pitched battles with taxi unions and drivers, the company’s toxic internal culture, and the bare-knuckle tactics it devised to overcome obstacles in its quest for dominance. With billions of dollars at stake, Isaac shows how venture capitalists asserted their power and seized control of the startup as it fought its way toward its fateful IPO.

Based on hundreds of interviews with current and former Uber employees, along with previously unpublished documents, Super Pumped is a page-turning story of ambition and deception, obscene wealth, and bad behavior that explores how blistering technological and financial innovation culminated in one of the most catastrophic twelve-month periods in American corporate history.

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About the author

Mike Isaac is a technology reporter at the New York Times, whose Uber coverage won the Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business reporting. He writes frequently about Uber, Facebook, and other Silicon Valley giants for the Times, and appears often on CNBC and MSNBC. He lives in San Francisco.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Sep 3, 2019
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Pages
408
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ISBN
9780393652253
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Corporate & Business History
Business & Economics / Industries / Transportation
Business & Economics / Workplace Culture
Technology & Engineering / Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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In your pocket is something amazing: a quick and easy way to summon a total stranger who will take you anywhere you’d like. In your hands is something equally amazing: the untold story of Uber’s meteoric rise, and the massive ambitions of its larger-than-life founder and CEO.

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.

Wild Ride is the first truly inside look at Uber’s global empire. Veteran journalist Adam Lashinsky, the bestselling author of Inside Apple, traces the origins of Kalanick’s massive ambitions in his humble roots, and he explores Uber’s murky beginnings and the wild ride of its rapid growth and expansion into different industries.

Lashinsky draws on exclusive, in-depth interviews with Kalanick and many other sources who share new details about Uber’s internal and external power struggles. He also examines its doomed venture into China and the furtive fight between Kalanick and his competitors at Google, Tesla, Lyft, and GM over self-driving cars. Lashinsky even got behind the wheel as an Uber driver himself to learn what it’s really like.

Uber has made headlines thanks to its eye-popping valuations and swift expansion around the world. But this book is the first account of how Uber really became the giant it is today, and how it plans to conquer the future.
Former CEO and Chairman of Nasdaq, Robert Greifeld shares stories, insights, and lessons learned from one of the world's largest stock exchanges, detailing his transformation of Nasdaq from a fledgling U.S. equities market to a global financial technology company.
During 2003, the U.S. economy was described by one economist as "nervous, anxious, and waiting." In December the Dow had topped 10,000 for the first time in a year and a half, and at year's end the markets were up for the first time since 1999. But in the same year, American troops had moved into Iraq, and corporate boards were cutting CEOs at the slightest signs of trouble.
Amidst this turmoil Robert Greifeld, a former tech entrepreneur from outside the Wall Street bubble, became CEO of Nasdaq, a position he would hold for the next thirteen years. He saw the company through one of the most mercurial economic periods in history: the Bernie Madoff mega-scandal; Facebook's tumultuous and disastrous IPO; Hurricane Sandy's disruption of the world's financial hub; the implosion of America's housing market and the global economic crash that followed, from which we have yet to fully recover. In Market Mover, Bob will write a first-hand account of the most critical moments of his career, with each chapter focusing on a headline-making event and ending with a prescriptive takeaway to impart to his readers.
Now Bob, who stepped aside as Nasdaq's CEO at the end of 2016, is eager to look back at more than a decade of transformational change that occurred on his watch in order to share his insights and lessons with business readers.
How the King of Beers collapsed without a fight and what it means for America's place in the post-Recession world

How did InBev, a Belgian company controlled by Brazilians, take over one of America's most beloved brands with scarcely a whimper of opposition? Chalk it up to perfect timing—and some unexpected help from powerful members of the Busch dynasty, the very family that had run the company for more than a century. In Dethroning the King, Julie MacIntosh, the award-winning financial journalist who led coverage of the takeover for the Financial Times, details how the drama that unfolded at Anheuser-Busch in 2008 went largely unreported as the world tumbled into a global economic crisis second only to the Great Depression. Today, as the dust settles, questions are being asked about how the "King of Beers" was so easily captured by a foreign corporation, and whether the company's fall mirrors America's dwindling financial and political dominance as a nation.

Discusses how the takeover of Anheuser-Busch will be seen as a defining moment in U.S. business history Reveals the critical missteps taken by the Busch family and the Anheuser-Busch board Argues that Anheuser-Busch had a chance to save itself from InBev's clutches, but infighting and dysfunctionality behind the scenes forced it to capitulate

From America's heartland to the European continent to Brazil, Dethroning the King is the ultimate corporate caper and a fascinating case study that's both wide reaching and profound.

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: NPR, Slate, Publishers Weekly, Goodreads

Following the success of The Accidental Billionaires and Moneyball comes Console Wars—a mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video game industry.

In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about videogames and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo.

The battle was vicious, relentless, and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and schoolyards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the US against Japan.

Based on over two hundred interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It’s the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.

The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.

The Findings
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness. The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence. A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology. The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller

"Newport is making a bid to be the Marie Kondo of technology: someone with an actual plan for helping you realize the digital pursuits that do, and don't, bring value to your life."--Ezra Klein, Vox

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It's the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.

Digital minimalists are all around us. They're the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day, but don't feel overwhelmed by it. They don't experience "fear of missing out" because they already know which activities provide them meaning and satisfaction.

Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement, and makes a persuasive case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don't go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need instead is a thoughtful method to decide what tools to use, for what purposes, and under what conditions.

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day "digital declutter" process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER
The Globe and Mail Top Leadership and Management BookForbes Top Creative Leadership Book
From the visionary head of Google's innovative People Operations comes a groundbreaking inquiry into the philosophy of work-and a blueprint for attracting the most spectacular talent to your business and ensuring that they succeed.

"We spend more time working than doing anything else in life. It's not right that the experience of work should be so demotivating and dehumanizing." So says Laszlo Bock, former head of People Operations at the company that transformed how the world interacts with knowledge.

This insight is the heart of WORK RULES!, a compelling and surprisingly playful manifesto that offers lessons including:

Take away managers' power over employeesLearn from your best employees-and your worstHire only people who are smarter than you are, no matter how long it takes to find themPay unfairly (it's more fair!)Don't trust your gut: Use data to predict and shape the futureDefault to open-be transparent and welcome feedbackIf you're comfortable with the amount of freedom you've given your employees, you haven't gone far enough.

Drawing on the latest research in behavioral economics and a profound grasp of human psychology, WORK RULES! also provides teaching examples from a range of industries-including lauded companies that happen to be hideous places to work and little-known companies that achieve spectacular results by valuing and listening to their employees. Bock takes us inside one of history's most explosively successful businesses to reveal why Google is consistently rated one of the best places to work in the world, distilling 15 years of intensive worker R&D into principles that are easy to put into action, whether you're a team of one or a team of thousands.

WORK RULES! shows how to strike a balance between creativity and structure, leading to success you can measure in quality of life as well as market share. Read it to build a better company from within rather than from above; read it to reawaken your joy in what you do.

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