Uber CEO says his time moonlighting as a driver showed him the company didn’t pay enough attention to its drivers. It sparked an all-hands called ‘Why we suck.’

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says his time moonlighting as a delivery worker and driver showed him the company “didn’t take pride in the driver product.”

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says driving for the company showed him a “lack of quality” with the product.
“We didn’t take pride in the driver product because very few of us drove,” he said Wednesday.
Khosrowshahi made an all-hands presentation titled “Why we suck” based on what he found as a driver.

Uber’s CEO says his time delivering food for his company revealed a “lack of quality” with its product from a driver’s perspective.

Dara Khosrowshahi had an Undercover Boss-type stint driving for Uber and delivering for Uber Eats for a period last year. At a conference Wednesday, called “The Lean Mindset: The Pursuit of Progress,” he recalled finding it “difficult to understand the product.”

“Honestly, what led me to deliver was that I was going, pardon my French, frickin’ crazy at home during COVID — and I wanted to get the hell out of the house, and I wanted to find some way to be constructive out of the house, so I got an e-bike and I started delivering food for Uber,” he said.

“And it was a great experience. It was tiring — it was difficult to understand the product. And, for me, once I saw what I believe was a lack of quality with the product as it related to delivering, then I bought a Tesla and I started driving as well.”

Khosrowshahi said both experiences taught him the company wasn’t giving enough attention to drivers’ and delivery workers’ experience using the app.

“It showed me, literally, that we as a company culturally were very much focused on the rider and the eater product because we used them ourselves — we took a lot of pride in it all the time,” he said. “But we didn’t take pride in the driver product because very few of us drove.”

Khosrowshahi later shared what he learned behind the wheel for Uber in an all-hands presentation titled “Why we suck,” he said.

“It wasn’t a pleasant all-hands with the company, but it set a tone and we set that expectation — we started celebrating employees going out there delivering, employees driving,” he said. “It is a point of pride for employees now, when they drive they get a little badge on their corporate profile, etc.”

In a Wall Street Journal interview last month, Khosrowshahi said the most nightmarish part of Uber delivery driving was “trying to deliver food and I couldn’t find where to drop it off.”

He separately told Wired his pet peeve as a driver was passengers who talked on speakerphone during the ride and that he’d experienced the frustrating phenomenon of “tip-baiting,” where customers entice drivers or delivery workers with big tips at the outset before later reducing them or nixing them altogether once the ride or delivery is over.

Despite his time moonlighting as a driver, though, Khosrowshahi is still a bit off when it comes to Uber’s fares: When Wired editor at large Steven Levy asked him to estimate the cost of a 2.95-mile Uber ride in New York City, Khosrowshahi ventured “20 bucks” — less than half the actual price of $51.69, including a tip for the driver.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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