My two year old is a better person than Uber’s CEO

Kids fight.  Sometimes there’s only one of the toy that they decide they need.  Other times one will take something that really does belong to the other.  And still other times, they just get lost in the moment and rough playing devolves.

And sometimes things escalate to the point of tears or one of them just being way too mean. When any of these situations arise, we (the folks who brought these two into the world) call a time out.  Playing stops.  Toys are put down and we tell them to face each other and apologize.  Here’s where the real fun starts.

The five year old, doesn’t like to apologize.  He doesn’t like to admit any wrong doing, even when he’s crazy, crazy wrong.  Like when he’s gone so over the line, that any grey is distant memory.

He always tries to think one step ahead, to spin his apology, to find some way, any way , to minimize his guilt.  What he fails to understand is that all he has to do is say “I screwed up.  I made a bad decision.  I’m sorry and it won’t happen again.”

Instead, he refuses to make eye contact, looks down as the lame and often forced words fall from his mouth.  He succeeds in saying he’s sorry, but he fails to be sincere.

The two year old is a totally different story.  As soon as things escalate, he knows he’s in the wrong.  Even if he didn’t start it, he looks his brother in the eye and says he’s sorry.  Immediately.

He’s not thinking about getting away with it because there’s nothing to get away with.  He’s busted.

The funny thing is, even when things aren’t his fault and we bring the boys together, he apologizes.  Does he not understand what it means to be sorry?  Maybe, but I don’t think that’s it.  I think he’s sorry for the situation that he helped cause.  I think he realizes that things got out of hand and he played a part in it.  What he wants is to go back to the way things were before they escalated.  He wants a return to normalcy.

I guess I’m not surprised that Über cheated and did something down right low to their competitor Gett.  But their apology, er statement was way too five year old, and not nearly enough two year old.  They purposely stole time and money from Gett’s drivers, and damaged Gett’s brand.  I don’t care that they claim they paid cancelation fees.  This is much bigger than those fares.

What Über really did was steal potentially positive first experiences of new customers with Gett.  My first experience grabbing an Über was down right magic.  I immediately saw how much of an improvement it was over cabs and pretty much every other way to pay for a local ride.  For that three day period, Über robbed Gett of that potential good will and that is a much bigger problem.

I used to love Über.  They brought ice cream to my office, have safely taken me hundreds of miles, most of their drivers rave about their new found financial success and control over their lives, and only once did I feel like my life was in danger.  But the fact that their CEO thinks that one of his teams conspiring to materially damage the the business of a competitor was just “too aggressive” and not wrong, is troubling and telling about what’s really behind the curtain of Über.

I’ll give you a hint, it’s not a scrappy underdog trying to better your life, it’s actually an evil incumbent who thinks they can do no wrong and will stop and nothing to crush the next Über to roll into town.

All Über’s CEO Ryan Graves needed to do was to say was “We screwed up.  We’re sorry.  It won’t happen again.”  Sure, he can’t say anything that would make it sound as if the tactic was his, or any manager’s idea, but he still should have actually apologized.  I for one, am sad that he didn’t.

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