This week, WeWork got a huge bailout from an investor after its plan to go public went belly-up amid disclosures of rampant mismanagement. Now the company can’t even afford to lay off the thousands of employees it would like to because it can’t afford to pay their severance packages. The parallels to Uber, which did go public this fall, are striking: just like WeWork, Uber was a unicorn startup—lavishly funded and poised to take its place in the tech pantheon. And like WeWork’s Adam Neumann, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted by investors and made millions on the way out the door. When that happened in 2017, Uber went through a public reckoning, but the full details of the company’s misdeeds were only revealed this fall. Award-winning New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac has reported on Uber from its beginnings, and his new book, Super Pumped, tells the whole story of how Uber came to symbolize everything that has gone wrong with Silicon Valley. Isaac joins us in the studio to take us inside Uber, while it was rising and as it was falling.
Go beyond the episode:
- Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
- Listen to “Get Rich or Die Trying,” our podcast interview with reporter Corey Pein on his experiences in Silicon Valley
- For more on Adam Neumann’s downfall, read Matt Stoller’s take on “WeWork and Counterfeit Capitalism” in his newsletter
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.
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