When Garrett Camp first proposed the idea for an on-demand black-car service in late 2008 — so the story goes — it’s unlikely that he could have predicted the meteoric rise of Uber, or that the very thing that helped it grow would also practically undo it close to 10 years later.
But Uber has come up against the limits of the grow-at-all-costs attitude that Camp’s co-founder Travis Kalanick embodied and embedded in the fabric of the company, and which recently led to his temporary leave of absence.
Camp, who doesn’t play a big role in the day to day of running Uber, finally surfaced as the company purports to be embarking on its next chapter to say: We screwed up because we didn’t listen.
“In a highly competitive market it is easy to become obsessed with growth, instead of taking the time to ensure you’re on the right path,” Camp wrote in a Medium post. “Now is that time … to pause for a moment and think about what really matters here: providing 65 million riders transportation when they need it, giving 2 million drivers flexible work options, and creating a company culture we are proud of.”
Camp’s reemergence is significant in the wake of Kalanick’s absence and the current jockeying for leadership that’s taking place at the troubled startup. There has been a public relations push as well as an actual reworking of the company culture. It’s not always easy to see which is which.