Dreamforce: Uber CEO Tells How the Cloud Made Ride-Sharing Possible
In a wide-ranging interview with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick talks about driverless cars and why his ride-sharing service is possible only because of cloud computing.SAN FRANCISCO—What’s next for Uber, the popular ride-sharing service that’s disrupting the taxi industry in countries around the world? CEO and cofounder Travis Kalanick told attendees at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference that he’s looking forward to "the ride ahead" even if the visibility as to what's next is a bit "foggy". That's because new technology always brings change and no one can predict how society will react to those changes. Kalanick told the story of how when the first cars appeared on streets alongside horses there was a rule that someone had to walk in front of the car waving two flags to warn people a car was coming. "Eventually technology finds a way" and the good in the technology is why it succeeds, he said. Now there's a lot of buzz about driverless cars, an area that Uber is making deep investments in, but how that plays out remains to be seen. Driverless cars could be seen as a threat to companies like Uber since they eliminate the need for human drivers, but Kalanick said it made sense for Uber to start researching the technology. "It's a little bit disruptive to our model, but as a technology company I have two choices, be part of the future or resist it," said Kalanick. "[Driverless cars] aren't going to happen all at once or at scale. But ten, or fifteen years out, whatever the number is, there is going to be a need for leaders to help with the transition and there will be lots of opportunities."
Earlier Kalanick said Uber's goal is to offer the most reliable rides at the lowest price and quickest service and, as a spinoff effect, get more cars off the road to reduce traffic and pollution.