When you've spent the last few weeks defending your company from allegations of endemic sexual harassment, publicly admitting that your CEO needs a life coach, responding to high profile defections by disgusted senior staff and then justifying why you had a staff meeting in a Korean escort bar, you might feel the urge to defend yourself.
And for Uber, that urge only grows stronger when the CEO of your most annoying competitor trolls you thusly:
“We’re woke. Our community is woke, and the U.S. population is woke,” Lyft President John Zimmer tells TIME, sitting in his five-year-old company’s San Francisco headquarters. “There’s an awakening … Our vote matters, our choice matters, the seat we take matters.”
Sure, it takes brass balls for a guy with 100 million of Carl Icahn's dollars in his pocket to self-identify as "woke," but you are almost forced to respect his chutzpah when he brings it home with a gem like this:
“We’re not the nice guys,” Zimmer says. “We’re a better boyfriend.”
While it is impossible for someone to a mic drop during a Time.com interview, we will always picture Zimmer doing one when when we read this.
Being called out as a not-woke shitty boyfriend was seemingly a bridge too far for Uber CEO (and Randian cautionary tale) Travis Kalanick. This afternoon, Uber attempted to defend its own wokeness by releasing an internal report of diversity at Uber. According to that report, Uber is about as diverse as most companies in Silicon Valley...ie "Not."
Uber takes pains in the release attached to the report to acknowledge that there is massive room for improvement (and what's more woke than that?) and also outlines a few ways in which the company is getting aggressive on that front.
Of course, we need to do better and have much more work to do. But we’ve made some strides in diversifying our workforce: last year, 41% of new employees were women, which is 5% more than the proportion of women in our overall employee population. Similarly, we hired 3% more Black and 2% more Hispanic employees compared to our overall employee base.
In addition, we’re ramping up our presence at recruiting events around the country and our outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). And today, we’re committing $3 million over the next three years to support organizations working to bring more women and underrepresented groups into tech. Employees will be crucial in deciding which organizations we partner with.
That's some good boilerplate, and it makes Uber look like it's using those dark data powers for good. But if only this was all we learned about Uber's commitment to specific creeds colors and genders.
See, Uber shared more about how it promotes diversity inside Uber and we are now left to question "What's a Jewber?"
Above are capsule descriptions of Uber's employee resource groups or ERGs. All the "inventive" names of these groups are "fun" and not at all "borderline embarrassing" (one can only imagine what the working title for the "Asian Diversity Group" was) and one in particular caught our eye:
Shalom: Our goal is to make the world a little smaller, by connecting Uberettos and Jewbers from all backgrounds, encouraging collaboration and closeness from all corners of the globe.
You were so close, Uber...soooo close.