When Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff asked Uber CEO Travis Kalanick during a fireside chat Wednesday in San Francisco where the ridesharing service founder saw his company going, Kalanick essentially answered “world domination.”
“Looking at all the streets, looking at all the cars, our question is, ‘Why aren’t all of those cars Ubers?’ ” mused Kalanick before a packed audience in the 750-seat capacity Yerba Buena Center for the Arts theater.
“Every car Ubered -- I mean, that’s a pretty big vision,” said Benioff.
He later repeated the remark after Kalanick took the conversation in a different direction: “So that’s a huge vision - every car Ubered.”
Kalanick fleshed out the ambition with goals he’s described before. He talked about making Uber ridership a cheaper option than owning a car, and spoke about omnipresence of vehicles and cheapness of rides as key factors in making Uber the premier option for transportation.
He said the company strategy could be broken down into three parts: convenience, affordability and “a little bit of magic.” For the “magic” part, Kalanick spoke about what he called “heart” at the company, which he said boiled down to company culture values like “celebrate the city.”
Benioff pushed Kalanick on the heart bit, asking him, “How do you know Uber has a heart?”
“I think you know it when you see it,” Kalanick replied.
He later cited examples of Uber partnering with Dreamforce in the cloud software company’s efforts to collect one million books for k-12 students, and said Uber drivers would be delivering toys to children in low-income households this holiday season. He also claimed the company was donating rides to make deliveries to displaced migrants from the Middle East in Europe.
Kalanick earlier in the talk framed Uber as a preferable employer for drivers, saying drivers could earn a better living with the company than with taxi companies and had more flexibility. He said cab companies mistreat taxi drivers, the result being that drivers behave in ways that turn customers off. (In cities including Paris and Las Vegas, taxi drivers have protested Uber.)
“What we say: Taxi drivers are good people, they’re just treated badly,” he said.