Presenting "Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber"
|Mar 26, 2019|| 32|
We interrupt your regularly scheduled newslettering with a very special announcement.
after 18 months, unhealthy over-caffeination and too many blown deadlines, I present to you my first book: "Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber", published by W.W. Norton.
It’s available for pre-order now, and arrives on shelves on September 3rd, 2019. I’d love it if you pre-ordered your copy today, links on my new website below (a lot of new reveals today, but no credit cards or book clubs...yet).
A quick note on the title, for the uninitiated: Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, created a list of 14 Values that he believed should define his company, tenets that were to act as a true north and shape Uber’s culture. Just a smattering of those values:
Value #4: Champion's Mindset
Value #2: Meritocracy and Toe-Stepping
Value #6: Always be Hustlin'
But the value that stood out to me — from this laundry list of corporate platitudes run through a bro-speak translation machine — was Value #9: “Super Pumped." Kalanick defined "Super Pumped" as follows:
"We look at the world through an optimistic lens, one in which even adversity is seen as an opportunity, as a puzzle to be solved. We start by picturing an amazing outcome, and we turn that into an enthusiasm that everyone around you can feel and feed off of. Being superpumped gives us super powers, turning the hardest problems into amazing opportunities to do something great."
I have no doubt the definition proved true enough to Kalanick and the Uber employees who found inspiration in the phrase.
But as I was reporting out the story, I found myself defining the term differently. Instead of “super powers,” I viewed Super Pumped as a proxy for the soaring egos of tech founders worshiped as demigods. Instead of “optimism and enthusiasm,” I saw it as emblematic of the over-inflated valuations of a new generation of unicorns. And instead of hard problems, it reminded me about how one driven executive — on a mission to change the world — ended up leaving a trail of fantastic carnage in his wake.
You’ll have to wait just a little bit longer, but when it arrives this Fall, I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it.