Last month, during the height of the backlash against Uber over fares reported at seven times the usual during a New York snowstorm, Kalanick told WIRED that the bad publicity his company faced over surge pricing would pale compared to the impact of Uber not being able to offer a ride at all.
“If you are unreliable, customers just disappear,” he said. “The thing is that nowhere in any of the press are you hearing about us being unreliable.”
Such stubbornness is often seen as arrogance: the hotshot, elitist startup that believes it’s above the rules. But Uber has made the choice that getting bashed on Twitter — or by City Hall — isn’t as bad as customers opening up the app and seeing no rides on the map. The first threat is manageable. The second is existential — customers just open up another ride-sharing app to see if an Uber competitor has cars instead.
Dropbox and Uber: Worth Billions, But Still Inches From Disaster, by Marcus Wohlsen