By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
May 19, 2017

Good morning.

Lots of spirited feedback on yesterday’s post on Uber’s Travis Kalanick, and whether it’s necessary to be an a**hole to change the world. One ag-tech CEO responded:

“That drives me crazy when people say this. Assholes get headlines because controversy gets headlines. But there are thousands of CEOs who don’t often create controversy. Are the Google founders assholes? Was the MySpace founder an asshole?”

He the cited my favorite nice-guy CEO of all-times: “What about Alan Mulally, who turned around Ford before and during the Great Recession?”


Also, this from M.L.:

“No. You absolutely don’t need to be an a**hole to change the world. Saw a founder present yesterday at Techonomy who is transforming the construction industry. (Tracy Young, founder of PlanGrid.) Her approach? Help them, not disrupt them.”


J.R. wrote in:

“Various research supports other anecdotal stories of a good culture leading to consistent growth and innovation. Having an environment where people feel psychological safety; which is enhanced through a task orientation climate; leads to greater personal growth, greater creativity, greater collaboration, and greater motivation.

“Additionally, tapping into an individual’s core values enables greater autonomy, self-satisfaction, problem solving, and creativity and this is more effectively done through getting to know employees and working with them individually. ”


And this from R.O.:

“Maybe not an asshole, but Uber encourages an approach that breaks laws, rules and regulations and is getting away with it…Granted some of the laws, rules and regulations regarding taxi services may be protective to the industry vs. consumers, but not all. Further, if you don’t like the laws, people are expected to use the government process for changes.”


If you haven’t read Adam Lashinsky’s fascinating piece on Kalanick, I suggest you do so now, here.

I’m heading to D.C. this morning, where the President seems increasingly out of synch with his own administration, as well as with a growing number of Republicans in Congress. He’s said since inauguration that his goal is to “drain the swamp,” but some think he’s sinking in it instead. Both health care and tax reform will suffer as a result.

More news below. Enjoy the weekend.

Alan Murray


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