Admittedly, Uber won't financially feel my particular absence (I only took a couple of rides with them this year), but I've had my account deleted and their app is removed from my iPhone. I'm joining many others in sending a signal to Uber that their increasingly reported culture of misogyny, dirty competitive tactics and blatant disregard for customer's privacy isn't acceptable. Aside from my personal response as a consumer, I'd like to talk about how a company can choose to deal with such a public issue that is seemingly rooted in the culture from the top.
Can Uber Wash The Dirt Off This Car?
Uber has issued apologies, stated they're investigating and the CEO has publicly (does Twitter count as "public?") admonished the executive that's currently in the hot seat. From what I've read about their actions, apologies won't convince people that the executives at Uber have had their moral GPS re-calibrated and that genuine disciplinary action has been taken. I had first-hand experience with such a cultural issue - a co-worker who divided an entire office. That kind of behavior seems so tightly bound to psychology, it doesn't seem to be rectified with anything else other than an exorcism from the organization.
Not to be cynical, but I doubt any of the investors of Uber, nor the board of directors, nor the CEO, are asking themselves what's the right thing to do, otherwise these stories would have never happened in the first place.
Uber's board of directors will have to do calculations similar to those Chrysler and GM ran through when considering a recall: what are the odds that this cultural defect is going to result in financial repercussions larger than the cost to deal with the issue? Happily, Sen. Al Franken is taking them out to the woodshed.
Let's face it, I doubt the common Uber customer is aware of this issue, although awareness is growing. If Uber is losing the hearts and minds of the tech industry and the media, they must be concerned about the narrative turning from being a leader in the ground transportation revolution into a villain. Uber's board will have to determine if this is a situation they need to rectify by replacing senior staff in an effort to effect a cultural exorcism and demonstrate to existing and potential customers how seriously they take these matters. That, in my opinion, is the only convincing move they can make to get rid of the stink and get back that new car smell.