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Travis Kalanick wanted to make an outrageous amount of money by annexing the global taxi market.

If you want to immerse yourself in the history of the platform company Uber for a weekend, we may have a good tip. In 2009, Travis Kalanick started a digital taxi company that would take over the world at breakneck speed. You can see exactly how this worked in the first season of Super Pumped, The Battle for Uber. In this anthology series, we follow Travis Kalanick, the founder and CEO of the taxi app Uber, who made billions in profits until he was kicked out of the board.

Get picked up from any corner of any street with just a few taps on your phone. There's nothing wrong with dreaming big, but Kalanick uses rather dubious methods to make that dream come true. SkyShowtime's Super Pumped series, based on the book of the same name by investigative journalist Mike Isaac, aims to change the way we view Uber. Super Pumped paints the picture of a cowboy blinded by power and money, a CEO who is literally willing to go over corpses to achieve his goal.

Uber had a corporate culture with a lot of drinking, management meetings with escorts and sexual misconduct by executives that went unpunished for years.

According to a review in NRC, managers internally referred to their own company as 'boober', because of the female focus that a top position at Uber entailed. Uber harassed drivers when they chose competitors and incited them to protest against government agencies trying to ban the app. And Uber was spying on government officials and journalists through its own app. That privacy scandal – codename Greyball en revealed by Mike Isaac – eventually led to Kalanick's resignation.

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Travis Kalanick wanted to make an outrageous amount of money by annexing the global taxi market.

The program, with a tool called Greyball, uses data collected through the Uber app and other techniques to identify and evade officials who tried to suppress taxi service. Uber used these methods to evade authorities in cities like Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries like Australia, China and South Korea.

Uber has been running a global program for years to mislead authorities in markets where the cheap taxi service has been blocked by police or, in some cases, banned.

Greyball was part of a program called VTOS, short for "Terms of Service Violation," that Uber created to weed out people it believed were using or targeting the service incorrectly. The program, including Greyball, began as early as 2014 and continues to operate, primarily outside of the United States. Greyball was approved by Uber's legal team.


The story revolves around Travis Kalanick, the demanding CEO of Uber who was eventually ousted in a boardroom coup, and his sometimes tumultuous relationship with his mentor Bill Gurley, the outspoken, brilliant Texan venture capitalist who risks his excellent reputation for the success of Uber. Super Pumped recreates the rise and fall of Kalanick, played by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who portrays him as a manic, sexist, ruthless and above all unsympathetic tech entrepreneur.


The series, based on a true story, premiered in the United States earlier this year on Showtime and can also be seen in the Netherlands via the online streaming service. The lead roles are played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Uma Thurman, Kerry Bishé, Babak Tafti, Kyle Chandler, Elisabeth Shue, Jon Bass, Bridget Gao Hollitt. Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Beth Schacter (Soundtrack) will executive produce, write and act as showrunners on the series. Paul Schiff, Stephen Schiff and Allyce Ozarski will also executive produce and Isaac will co-execute the project.

Read also  Labor court ordered Uber to pay millions
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