My favourite interview of Travis Kalanick

Sachin Sharma
2 min readJan 3, 2020

There have been occasions when I find the startup struggle too hard. And allow me the luxury of taking a day’s rest. Often watching this interview of Travis replenishes my energy. It is not about what he speaks in this interview, but how he speaks it — the passion, vigour, pain…..emotions that only a founder who has seen a long-struggling journey, can convey. And yet, he tells everything from a position of strength. He talks of positivity!

It’s a long interview, but a great watch for a weekend morning!

Few points that have stayed with me —

  • Champions Mindset
    When you work on a problem, you have to give your 100%. No matter how hard you get hit, how much the odds are, you just get up and give it your 100%! If you continue to do it, and assuming you are smart, there is no way you won’t succeed. That's in short, what building a startup is.
    The only time when this should be avoided is when continuing is harmful to your mental or physical health.
  • Building a Startup
    You have to fall in love with a problem and an idea. Push the boundaries a bit harder. And in this process, once you encounter something that's WOW to others, then the game is on!
  • Game of Chess
    You should treat building startup-like playing a multi-dimensional game of chess. Taking into account the ecosystem, market, competition, investors, team etc.
  • Taking advice from Investors
    If you are playing this multi-dimensional chess 15 hrs a day for years, you definitely know much more than an Investor does. So on a piece of advice from Investor, you can explain in intricate details why certain suggestions are good and why certain moves are bad. And then they trust you much more and bother you much less.
  • Initial days of Uber
    He just started working on an interesting problem of calling cabs on a click of a button. And tried to solve it among his friends and acquaintances, for say, a total 50 people. Once the math started making sense for him, he completely became passionate about this idea and started the work on scaling it.
  • On burning cash in China and India
    He admits that he is facing strong competition in these markets. But looks the burning cash as an investment. He says that if X amount of investment gets Uber to a 4X outcome, then he is game for it. But there has to be a strong investment thesis, mathematics, courage and sweat behind it.
  • Building the right culture in Startup
    When a company is small, they don’t need to talk about their culture. Because everyone is working closely. But once it becomes 300+, talking about culture is important. And culture is defined by everyday actions. Uber’s culture is — Always be hustling!



Sachin Sharma

Founder @townscript. Passionate about building Products. Books when not working. Writes at —