“It’s extremely dangerous to follow the advice of successful people. Those successful people often don’t even know why they are successful. Luck may have been part of it. And even if they did know, how do you know their recipe for success is applicable to you?”
We know this much: Uber has a huge public relations problem on its hands.
On Monday, Buzzfeed reported comments made by a senior vice president on Uber’s team, Emil Michael, at a private dinner. Michael’s comments suggested that he felt Uber would be justified in hiring an opposition research team to dig up dirt on journalists, such as Pando Daily’s Sarah Lacy.
Lacy has been pretty vocal in her criticisms of Uber and other representatives of what she rightly calls Silicon Valley’s “asshole culture.” She called out Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick as an example of the kinds of “assholes” who may be abrasive, but also cultivate a culture of abrasiveness, jerkiness, and — in Uber’s case — misogyny. Lacy wrote that she no longer felt safe riding in Uber cars, because the company had done too little to vet its drivers and cultivated a culture that seemed to treat women as sex objects.
So you can imagine that Uber might be feeling a little uncharitable toward Lacy. But digging up dirt on a journalist in order to get even with her — well, that’s just not something most companies would contemplate.