Speed Reads


Uber CEO Travis Kalanick backpedals on his Ayn Rand fandom

Uber's ruthless and controversial CEO Travis Kalanick is said to be a big fan of libertarianism's favorite author, Ayn Rand — which isn't too surprising, given his seemingly laissez-faire beliefs and hatred of government meddling. Rand and her writings even played a huge part in the shaping of Kalanick's own public persona:

Kalanick responded to Uber's new, controversial status by amping things up. He'd attended President Obama’s first inauguration — and to this day is an avowed supporter of ObamaCare — but to support Uber's growth, he took up the mantle of libertarian firebrand. He changed his Twitter avatar to the cover of Rand's The Fountainhead. In a Washington Post article he not only called The Fountainhead "one of my favorite books," but he also brought up Atlas Shrugged, suggesting that the regulatory hellscape conjured by Rand bore an "uncanny resemblance" to what Uber faced. [Fast Company]

However, the association with libertarianism was accidental, Kalanick claims in his latest profile, a Fast Company cover story that was over five months in the works.

"I didn't even know what a libertarian was," Kalanick told his interviewer, claiming the myth of his supposed Randian fandom "just sort of gets repeated enough times that it becomes real." So then what is Kalanick, exactly?

According to friends and colleagues, the only ideology Kalanick subscribes to is contrarianism. "He really thrives when he can subvert the norm," says someone who has known him for more than a decade. Another coworker tells me that Kalanick likes "poking conventional wisdom in the eye." [Fast Company]

For more on Kalanick's poking-conventional-wisdom-in-the-eye-tarianism, read the entire profile over at Fast Company.