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Uber: What You Can Learn

Well, Uber, to start with, has its founder on leave and most or all of the C-suite has been dismissed from the company by the Board of Directors.

Pretty sorry situation, but in hindsight, there are some lessons that could probably be learned.

  1. The Board of Directors probably should have put Travis Kalanick on leave a lot sooner, when it became pretty evident that he wasn’t up to running a disruptive, rapidly growing company. They should have put him in a non-executive position, such as Non Executive Chairman of the Board.
  2. It sounds as if the culture at Uber was like a frat house. Not exactly what one wants in an important company.
  3. It should have been apparent to the board that the rest of the C-level players that were hired weren’t up to snuff. The Board should  have formed a search committee and checked out the hires for competence. We’ll bet they didn’t….they fell victim to the ‘we need the position filled yesterday’ syndrome. And, as is often said, hire slowly and fire fast. And, we’ll bet they were all friends of Travis.
  4. It’s possible the Board wasn’t up to meeting the demands of the company. David Bonderman, who’s the head of TPG group, is reportedly a pretty savy guy. Maybe he was seduced into thinking everything was fine because of the rapid growth.
  5. So, now a bunch of people need to be replaced. Do it according to the rules, guys. Allan Mullaly is available, BTW.  He’s REALLY GOOD AT TURNAROUNDS.
  6. Written 6/24: OK, now that the C-suite has been cleaned out, a couple of additional comments that others could benefit from:
  7.           +There is a former CEO still on board; one would hope they’d interview him.
  8.           +Most of the employees seem to be positive, but nervous. Give them something special, such as some stock options for the shares to be IPO’d next year.
  9.            +Don’t get spooled up about the culture; it might be better after Travis’
  10. departure. It will flow from the new leader, whoever he or she is.
Posted in allan mulally, company culture, customer service, emotional intelligence, supervision, uber | Leave a comment

Trump Shakeout: Immigration, Lending

Well, we’ve had five months of the Donald, and, aside from angst among the establishment, I think things are going pretty well. The Trump Bump in growth is happening.

We don’t have a healthcare plan or  tax cuts yet, but we know that they’re coming.

Here’s what we see on various topics:

  1. Immigration. No real imapact so far, unless you hire H1B visa holders, which are tightening. The deportations have been among the criminal element, which wasn’t working for you anyway. We have an associate who helps companies process and find eligible workers, and he’s busier than ever.
  2. Loans: much better. The SBA has loosened up, and raised their maximums, to $3.8 million, and reportedly lend for acquisitions. I’m sure Linda McMahon has had a lot of influence, even though it hasn’t been reported. Even the banks are reportedly loosening up, because of the demise of Dodd-Frank and it’s capital requirements.
  3. Regulations: better still, although in our segment of smaller businesses, we don’t see much impact.
  4. There are looming problems with labor supply….a lot of unfilled jobs out there. Encourage your local community college to start developing vo-ed  programs! Trump sees this, hence the appearance in Wakesha WI yesterday.

So, it’s mostly good, would be better if Congress got it’s act together.

Posted in donald trump, economic policy, Finance, Hiring, ICE, immigration, lending, sba | 2 Comments

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A New Approach on Terrorism

Well, this topic is a little off what we normally blog about, but it’s been bugging me for a few months.

I also have to confess that being a former intelligence officer has a lot to do with my thinking, as does the recent terrorist incident in London.

Let’s try a different approach: take the most likely suspects, interrogate them through the FBI, and local police and see what falls out. Let’s talk to the folks who are supposedly ‘on the radar’. And, let’s try a pilot program in about five US cities….New York, Boston, Seattle Detroit, and Los Angeles, anywhere that has a high concentration of possible Muslim terrorists. We find these folks based on telephone chatter, social media, travel to the Middle East, anything that seems relevant.

I’m sure that the FBI has profiled their most likely suspects, so let’s have the local FBI, assisted by the police, haul the usual suspects in for a chat. I our guys are doing their jobs, we have known associates, conversation, travel, etc.

Let’s not be PC about it either: respectful of civil rights, but not bending over backwards, as we seem to do now.

Yeah, it might be too much for the folks to do, but let’s give it time. Besides, word will get around we’re doing it and we might get lucky.

 

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Back in the Saddle

I’ve been out of commission for about a month, because of injuries sustained in a fall, but I’m able to sit at my desk, and do posts. There are a bunch of things to comment on, which I’ll try to get to.

  1. The mainstream media really is nuts. You would think that the owners would realize that they’re missing half of the market and adopt a more fair and balanced approach.
  2. Trump does much better abroad, where he doesn’t trip over his message with tweets and other bad acts; maybe there’s a message in there for his domestic behavior.
  3. We in the business community would much rather have tax cuts now and tax reform later. Show us the money.
  4. Obamacare is a mess, and we think the Trump folks would do better by just letting it fail, and have the replacement plan ready to go. We don’t care what they call it. Trumpcare is odd, but ok.
  5. Let the legislative process work on Trumpcare. Senate and House don’t like to have their procedures messed with. It’ll get modified in the Senate and done.
  6. The investigation into Susan Rice’s intelligence screw-ups are much more interesting than the Russia probe. How can the special prosecutor be refocused?
  7. LTGEN Flynn should just appear before the appropriate committee, answer their questions and take his medicine. That’s what flag officers are supposed to do. He looks evasive taking the fifth.
  8. Find out who the hell the leaker in the White House is, expose him or her, prosecute same and be done with it. Why is this so hard?
  9. It’s apparent that all the senior people in the agencies need to be reinterviewed for their jobs about four levels down by real NCIS investigators, and anybody found wanting put on suspension pending further investigation. Looks like Sessions has done it in the AG’s office and Mattis and Tillerson need to do it at Defense and State.
  10. Lastly, have Trump do his own pressers, about every two weeks. He likes it, and nobody sells programs like the Donald.

So, that’s it for now. I’m sure there will be more oddities.

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The Real American HealthCare Act

Well, how many of us hasn’t botched the first version of a product or service rollout. We think that’s what the House did Friday.

So, it’s back to the salt mines to craft a new one. A standalone bill free of phases and the mickey mouse spending strictures that the old bill had.

So, here are the things that we in the business community think we would like to see if a bill. They aren’t in any order of importance.

  1. No mandatory purchase of healthcare insurance by businesses or individuals, period, and no purchasing of insurance just ahead of a major medical event. Kids from 21-35 think they’re bulletproof, and wouldn’t generally buy.
  2. Health savings accounts with no cap on them, fully tax deductible. If a wealthy hedge fund manager in New York wants to buy a plan and covers everything with zero deductible for his family. then he can do that. On the other hand, an average mix of insurance products for a family of four in Illinois might look a lot different. Funds deposited in one year can roll over to another year.
  3. The key is that everyone wanting insurance is going to have a different mix of services on their plan, which is easy to figure out through a portal in each state.
  4. If an insured doesn’t like his rates in Rhode Island, he can access a exchange in Illinois. All the exchanges have multiple carriers, but like auto insurance, in some states there are only a few carriers who want to write insurance.
  5. Have the states run the exchanges through their insurance departments. If they need help covering expenses, the Feds can reinsure, once they’re sure there isn’t any fraud, waste and abuse. I’ve seen some state portals, and they’re pretty slick.
  6. Allow portability. If a business or an individual moves across state lines, the insurance stays the same for the business and for the individual. Health insurance is rerated, just as it is on your car or corporate fleet, based on experience.
  7. Tort reform, in that most damages are capped at $250,000 for medical and pain and suffering. On the other hand, cases like a friend of mine who was paralyzed after being hit by a teenage driver, can’t be capped, because she probably needs $250,000 of care a year. So a special panel to adjudicate cases like this needs to be established if not already done through insurance companies.
  8. A cap on personal expenditures on healthcare insurance of 7% of net income, tax deductible, on insurance expenses. Beyond that, the state or the feds backstop the cost, so you can cover everyone who wants coverage.

So, Donald, after you do TAX CUTS get the grimblers in HHS going on this, working with Brother Ryan in the House and Brother McConnell in the Senate. And even the Freedom Caucus and anyone else who wants in, such as NFIB. Whatever happened to the Price Plan? Work the research and comment process and let’s have it done before Nov. 2018, otherwise you’re all dead figuratively.

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Travis, call Alan

There was an article in the LA Times about how messed up Uber is (not uncommon for a founder-led company), and how Travis Kalanick, the founder is ‘looking for help’, which almost sounded like a psych break was imminent.

I got a thought:

Travis should hire Alan Mullaly to turn around Uber, solve the leadership problems and generally get Uber to straighten up and fly right.

To wit:  Uber’s customer service line even rings busy with no call queue. Their main line is also perpetually busy, again with no call queue and no personalized answering. These are not great customer-facing moves, Travis. (We are presumptous to think WE might be able to help too, but we’re old fashioned and like to talk to someone first).

As you all may recall, Alan led a stellar turnaround of Ford Motor in the middle of the financial crisis.

Now, Alan can be reached through Google (he’s on their board), which happens to be close by in the San Francisco area.

So, Travis, what do you think?

Posted in alan mullaly, allan mulally, ceo, company culture, customer service, emotional intelligence, Entrepreneurship, travis kalanick, uber | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment