In 1998, Travis Kalanick, along with other classmates, dropped out of UCLA to help found Scour Inc. a multimedia search engine, and Scour Exchange, a Peer-to-peer file sharing service. Now, Kalanick sits at the top of a 6,4 billion dollars network of companies that has turned him into one of the internet titans.
This American entrepreneur is also the current CEO of Uber Technologies, a taxi and rideshare service that has raised more than 7 billion dollars in sales. Uber has been evaluated in excess of 50 billion dollars’ worth, mainly because of the brand prestige and the company assets. The company is entirely based on internet, and offers a service similar to a paid car pool, the general idea is that everyone can be at the same time an Uber driver and an Uber user. People download the Uber app into their smartphones, register, and then send a request to either be a driver or a passenger, the software then takes their location via the smartphone GPS service, and proceeds to connect them with a partner inside the Uber network and close to their location.
With this system, Kalanick has bypassed the traditional taxi company service, thus creating an effective and somewhat anonymous network of amateur taxi drivers, who provide a more affordable service. The huge success that Uber has achieved is not without heavy criticism. Among their major detractors stand the taxi unions of every country in which Uber was established. Kalanick’s company has been blamed of causing bankruptcy for several small transportation and taxi business. And even police forces from France and the United Kingdom have reportedly advised people not to use the service, due the amateur nature of the drivers.
Even so, it is undeniable that Travis Kalanick has succeeded in finding a way to monetize the internet social network phenomena, creating a company that provides a much needed service, at a lower price, with a bigger amount of options for the passengers, and combining the commodity of a smartphone app with the precision of GPS navigation. Uber is, arguably, the pinnacle of the modern day social media, because it connects almost all aspects of current technology: GPS, smartphones, app design and a social network backbone. Through his vision, Travis Kalanick has proved that several different technologies can be combined to create new ways of doing old business. And this has earned him a place in history.