On Tuesday, Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and the head of his self-driving car unit Eric Meyhofer stood up at an…
On Tuesday, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and the head of his self-driving car unit Eric Meyhofer stood up at an all-hands meeting to dump off polite applause.
Behind them on a big screen was a list of questions submitted and voted by employees, indicating the burning issues that employees wanted their leaders to deal with.
Top of 130 votes was a question of the investigation published by Business Insider last week in Uber’s self-propelled car model, called Advanced Technologies Group (ATG).
An anonymous employee asked: “Business Insider called ATG’s culture” toxic “and referred to” missed warning signs, “great dysfunction” and “unfortunate infighting”. What truth in this? “
Business Insider had reported the submission within the unit before the self-driving car killed Elaine Herzberg, when the engineers intentionally abstained from the car’s ability to stop quickly.
Read more: Uber insiders describe infighting and questionable decisions before their self-driving car killed a pedestrian
Both Meyhofer and Khosrowshahi spent several minutes answering the question. They did not pull or avoid.
But they recorded the story, tried to discredit the media, and implicitly that it was not actually. Meyhofer also indicates that the story was the result of Business Insider, which contacted former employees and others who did not work at the company looking for “sensational pieces.”
That was not true. Business Insider spoke with half a dozen people who were all employees in the company on March 1
8, 2018 when the event occurred and did it after more A person came to us and asked us to investigate. We confirmed employee accounts by email, internal documents, police reports and other documents. Business Insider also shared everything we learned with the company before publishing and included the company’s feedback and statements in the story.
What followed was something that made employees gossip about the latter on an anonymous chat game.
Meyhofer defended the culture by quoting points from an internal employment survey telling everyone that the survey did “83% for trust, 83% for teamwork and collaboration.”
It appears that these statistics are incorrect, according to a source familiar with the case.
The 83% point refers to how employees know the company’s commitment to security. The results of the survey have not been released to employees, but they will also contain a “trust and transparency” point, not “trust and cooperation.”
Meyhofer then launched a story about his children. He told Uber employees that he knew that culture was great under his leadership because his teenage child wanted to visit Uber Campus while everyone was gone over the Thanksgiving break.
“They wanted to be here,” he said about his teens. “And I think it speaks really high to what we have built. They just wanted to be here.”
After hearing Meyhofer’s defense, a handful of employees discussed him at the anonymous chat app Blind, a favorite haunt of frustrated Uber employees.
A blind post said: “Eric Meyhofer: Discuss his position as head of ATG because of his answer to all hands on the ATG culture!” 141 people voted to “replace him” and 28 voted to “keep him”. There are 1 100 employees working for him so of course, that survey is not statistically significant. However, it indicates that at least some employees are stunned about Meyhofer’s future at Uber.
After “my children like this,” tells Khosrowshahi.
Khosrowshahi showed its support by its leading leader by saying some negative things about Business Insider. And then he said, “We screwed up” and that “we radically change how we develop, how we test, etc. So we’ve gone through changes. We’ve screwed up.”
Sources tell Business insider that Khosrowshahi had not been very much aware of the self-driving car in his first year because he was so busy fighting fires with Uber’s main activity, but that this is changing now.
On Tuesday, Khosrowshahi said so much that he said, “One year ahead of all the controversies we saw last year, we are better, stronger. And I think ATG goes through the same trip,” he said.
Here is the complete transcript of Meyhofer and Khosrowshahi’s answer to this question from the meeting of all hands.
Dara Khosrowshahi: Okay. From anonymous: “Business Insider called ATG’s culture” poisonous “and referred to” missed warning signs, great dysfunction and furious struggle. “What truth about this?”
We will get Eric to raise the question first.
Eric Meyhofer: Another anonymous question. I think it’s quite important to think about how these articles are written and some history of ATG. So in the last 3 1/2 years we have gone through some pretty sensational things here at ATG. We have seen really challenging acquisitions, major trials, hypertension, significant leadership changes, all kinds of things that can take people into a very emotional place.
And many people – there are 1100 here now – imagine how many people have gone through this trip. Many people who are no longer with us are contacted by these media and they are looking for sensational pieces. And they will ask people who do not work here with questions and take them out of context and compose an article similar to that.
I think that what is more indicative of what the culture is like here is, of course, one, to be here and see it first.
But if you also look at things like our latest round of NPS Points [aka scores from the internal “Pulse Survey”]they trust 83%. 83% for trust. 83% for teamwork and cooperation I think they are much more indicative of what really happens here.
And then I want a few minutes and share a personal story that I like a lot about what it is here. And that’s how this weekend was Thanksgiving weekend and I was gone this weekend, which was quite nice.
And so I spend time with my family, especially with my children and my son is 14, my daughter is 15. And it’s Sunday. And I say hi, you know, it’s the last day of break. What do you want to do today? And they would come to Uber. They wanted to get to work.
They wanted to be here. And I think it speaks really high to what we have built. They just wanted to be here.
And I do not know what we’ve been through, how we’ve come together as a team, what we’ve done on ’18 what our results are and what we’ve got to show on’ 18 , which I can not wait.
I’m super proud of what we’ve done and who we are. And so I do not know how to justify what that article says with the truth and reality. But it’s sensational and people get pulled into their media channel and that’s what they’re going to do. But we must take such things with a salt grain and keep a focus on what the truth really is.
Dara Khosrowshahi: Thank you Eric.
I address this from my perspective, first and foremost, I invite someone that, if you scan the headlines “Business Insider”, it is a sensational periodic. Not a place you go for the facts.
As I said, I think this article reflects the fact that we have undergone a lot of changes at ATG. And whenever you go through a lot of changes, right there is a leadership change that Eric talked about. It was a tragic accident that happened this year. These changes have resulted in and change significantly how we do things and also change a lot of people at the company.
And it will result in some people who do not agree with the new direction we have taken of the company and some people can look back and say, do you know what? We screwed up in X, Y, and Z.
And by the way, we screwed up in X, Y and Z because we radically change how we develop, how we test, etc. So we have gone through changes. We have screwed up. I do not think this article is a true picture of what has gone through ATG. But that reflects what is true, which we have gone through a lot. And I think our test is now: Can the team get together and build something better? My effort is yes. And we must now prove it behind that game, and I think the ATG team will get out of this better, harder, stronger.
But what we have to admit, which is absolutely true, has been tough.
And our job is to get through this better, stronger as a business. I think Uber has and wants. We are good to go through the journey to come through and I think this, one year ahead of all the controversies we saw last year, we are better, stronger.
And I think ATG goes through the same trip and I think it will end up in the same place for “better”.