How Uber’s CEO Taught Me the Key to Success for Entrepreneurs

Photo: Time Magazine

Six years ago, Tim Ferriss introduced me to a guy named Travis. To date, I have never been more impressed by anyone than I was with Travis. Here is why…

Travis created one of the world’s first peer-to-peer networks in 2001. The network quickly became popular, and caught the attention of a lot of major players.

One day, he received a knock on his door. He opened it and was greeted by a police officer, who handed him an envelope. Travis opened the letter.

He was being sued for $250 Billion by dozens of the biggest media companies in the world.

One person… sued for $250,000,000,000.00.

He was simultaneously terrified and amused. It was such a ridiculous number.

Travis declared bankruptcy, then watched his company get auctioned off in court for a few million dollars.

The reason I was so impressed by Travis is because of what happened after this traumatic experience.

Equipped with a deep knowledge of P2P networks, he turned around and created a new service that would benefit the same media companies that had sued him.

Six months later, 80% of them had become his customers.

Instead of being destroyed, the experience gave him strength. It forged him into a world-class entrepreneur, who viewed setbacks as opportunities.

Later on in our dinner, he showed us a new app he was working on. This app could bring you a Lincoln town car at the click of a button.

Today, Travis is the CEO and co-founder of Uber, the fastest-growing startup of all-time, with a $50 Billion valuation, hiring 50,000 drivers per month. He is one of the only people on the planet who can do what he’s done, brushing past opposition in cities all around the world.

I’m not sure he could have successfully navigated his journey with Uber, had it not been for his trial by fire 15 years ago.

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Charlie Hoehn is the author of Play It Away, Play for a Living and Recession Proof Graduate. His work has been featured on NPR's TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. Previously, he was the Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss. Currently, he is the Head of Video at Book In A Box. He lives with his wife and daughter in Austin, Texas.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tess

    Truly a great success story. It’s a shame he’s made some terribly misogynist comments. I will always choose Lyft for this reason, as will many of my friends.

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