Uber Employs 200 Ex-Founders and CEOs. We Asked 10 for Their Lessons Learned.

We go to the experts.
Uber Employs 200 Ex-Founders and CEOs. We Asked 10 for Their Lessons Learned.
Image credit: Robin Davey
Magazine Contributor
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This story appears in the March 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The ride-hailing giant employs more than 200 ex-startup founders and CEOs. We asked 10 of them: What lessons have you picked up?

1. Stay focused.

“Having your own company is a lot easier than working in-house. Working at Uber is much busier. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness here, but my boss put it very succinctly to me one day: ‘Just focus on the work.’” -- Peter Markatos, director on brand team (previously cofounder, MM)

Related: Inspiration From 7 Legendary Business Titans

2. Be agressive.

“Many others will pursue the same idea as you in parallel. So how fast you move, big you bet, and relentlessly you pursue the mission of your company is likely to be the difference maker.” -- Andrew Macdonald, regional GM of India, Southeast Asia, LatAm, ANZ (previously founder, ShopMyClothes)

3. Empower all.

“This yields radical results. Giving and encouraging true ownership from everyone, be it the leaders of large teams or individual engineers, generates awe-inspiring hustle and breakthrough innovation.” -- Aaron Schildkrout, head of rider/driver product (previously cofounder, HowAboutWe.com)

4. Admit cluelessness.

“It’s a strength. I used to think good managers always know the answers. Now I know great managers have the courage to admit what they don’t know so they can learn from the people who do.” -- Wayne Ting, GM, Northern California cities (previously cofounder, CampusNetwork)

Related: 25 Powerful Quotes Entrepreneurs Can Use to Motivate and Inspire

5. Always be disrupting. 

“At Uber we’re simultaneously changing transportation and food delivery and freight delivery, reminding me that it’s possible to think and act even bigger.” -- Kim Fennell, business development head (previously president and CEO, deCarta)

6. Ideate inclusively.

“Moments of genius occur on a daily basis, but often you will not generate them. Allow anyone’s epiphanies to make their way into the product. Rotate participation and force those who are quiet to speak up.” -- Jahan Khanna, senior product manager, global vehicle solutions (previously cofounder, Sidecar)

7. Ownership is an attitude.

“At a small startup, you know that every action you take makes an impact. In a bigger company, it’s easy to lose sight of that sense of ownership. But if you keep the same attitude, you can make every action count.” -- Nuri Kim, product designer (previously cofounder, Gist)

8. Have a purpose.

“We’ve expanded, but our mission has always been the same: to provide transportation for everyone, everywhere. When you have a clear North Star, it’s easy to make sure the work everyone is doing maps to the same goal.” -- Kate Zhang, engineering manager II (previously cofounder, Fetching Allure)

9. Prioritize!

“It’s important to prioritize strategic long-term projects. ‘Urgent’ can get in the way of ‘important’ in a fast-paced startup. It takes thoughtful prioritization to strike a healthy balance.” -- Meron Alon, operations manager, global trust and safety (previously cofounder, Bala Hospitality)

Related: 5 Things the Best Leaders Do Every Day

10. Seek input.

“Surround yourself with people who will elevate your work. I’m always reviewing mine with other designers at the company. They push me to think differently and teach me new skills. As a result, my craft is constantly improving.”  -- Sarah Carole, product designer (previously founder, Sidecar Stationery)

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