With recent valuations north of $60 billion (somewhere around the market caps of Time Warner and Daimler), Uber is graduating out of the cute Silicon Valley unicorn years and moving up into the big leagues of the global economy. However, like many precocious teenagers, Uber seems to be going through a bit of a stormy experimental phase.
On the one hand we see Uber playing around with autonomous driving (which will probably be Uber’s adult occupation), but also churning through talent (in a way that sometimes resembles teenage romances and breakups), and all the while trying to sort out where its real competitive advantage may lie.
In the pioneering spirit of its founding, Uber seems set on leading the pack into the driverless age – amassing cash in San Francisco, experimenting with next-gen technology, trying out novel delivery service models, and making headlines with beta testing in Pittsburgh. Delighted customers rejoice in the streets.
Meanwhile, like many tech startups, Uber is led by a relentless and competitive college dropout who has a tendency to churn through blue ribbon talent. Obama administration alum David Plouffe and Google alum Brent Callinicos are among the big name hires who have come and gone through the executive ranks, as Uber struggles to find its footing.
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