Uber made an inspirational hire with new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi — who brilliantly built Expedia — and he is wise to focus on a no-timetable IPO. But he’ll need more than a price-cutting strategy to regain trust and market share. In fact, fare reductions are at best a short-term and risky fix for Uber’s persistent reputational problems as the company continues to face stepped-up competition, internal dissension, driver dissatisfaction, allegations of customer mistreatment, the ever-lurking shadow of Travis Kalanick, and, of course, a demand for profit.
Richard Levick talked to Wired about the heady challenges Khosrowshahi faces at a time when the company has depleted its goodwill reservoir and needs to rebuild a brand based on trust and service. Like the U.S. airlines, Uber’s revenue growth remains excellent and remarkably unaffected by scandal. But unlike the airlines, which has near-monopoly status in many markets, Uber needs to remain disruptive but not arrogant.