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The 10 Most Budget-Friendly Cities In America



Want to rein in your spending and stock away more money this year? Your success may depend on where you hang your hat.

Your cost of living can vary drastically based on where you live. Residing in America's most expensive city, New York, costs more than twice the national average, and you'd have to shell out about $1.3 million to buy a home and spend $22 for a mediocre haircut.

On the other hand, Tulsa, Okla., is the most budget-friendly city in the country, according to a new analysis by rental site Apartment Guide. The Midwestern metro offers a comparatively low cost of living and the lowest average rent in the nation, at $550 a month.

Apartment Guide ranked its list of budget-friendly cities by comparing metros with the lowest average rent, based on its internal listing data, and with the lowest cost of living, according to the 2013 third quarter Cost of Living Index by The Council for Community and Economic Research. Cities in Oklahoma and Ohio are well represented.

Here are the 10 most budget-friendly cities in America: 

1. Tulsa, Okla. 
Average rent: $550

2. Augusta, Ga.
Average rent: $606

3. Memphis, Tenn. 
Average rent: $632

4. Columbus, Ohio
Average rent: $635

5. Birmingham, Ala. 
Average rent: $653

6. Dayton, Ohio 
Average rent: $583

7. Indianapolis, Ind. 
Average rent: $594

8. Louisville, Ky. 
Average rent: $606

9. Oklahoma City, Okla. 
Average rent: $606

10. Cincinnati, Ohio 
Average rent: $624

SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Places In The World To Retire

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Why Some People Hate This Chart About 'Appropriate' Dress For Women In Muslim Countries


On Wednesday, the Pew Research Center released a graphic, based on research from University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, that purported to show how people in Muslim-majority countries think it is appropriate for women to dress in public. Business Insider was one of many publications that picked up the chart— it was, by any standard, a monstrous viral hit.

In case you missed it, here's the chart:

How Muslim women should dress chart

A lot of people saw this chart, and it appears that most people found it interesting. Others, however, seemed very upset by it.

Guardian writer Arwa Mahdawi argues that the study and its success was "yet another demonstration of the west's bizarre fixation on what Muslim women wear and how they cover their hair." Pointing out that the average woman in the United Kingdom spends almost £26,500 ($43,600) a lifetime on their hair, Mahdawi argues that "women's hair in the west functions as it's own sort of veil, one which most of us are unconsciously donning."

Over at the Independent, Bina Shah, who grew up in Pakistan, goes even further. "Muslim women’s fashions have been interpreted and over-analyzed by the Western world as some sort of profound assertion of political identity or religious stance," Shah writes. "Yes, there is an element of that in there, but the bigger truth is that Muslim women wear what they do, including what’s on their heads, because of how it makes them look and feel, just like all women around the world, and it takes on the cultural overtones of the milieu in which they live."

Two more criticisms from Twitter:

One woman — Saudi Arabian media personality Muna AbuSulayman — was both surprised by how widely the chart was circulated, and by the fact that her picture was on it:

What a lot of the criticisms come down to is the idea that the chart is part of a wider problem in Western discourse on places like the Middle East: Orientalism. A term first coined in post-colonialist theorist Edward W. Saïd's 1978 book of the same name, Orientalism refers to a "subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture." Western critics were unable to check their own bias when talking about outside place, Saïd argued. The idea is certainly persuasive.

I'd wager that most critics of the Pew Research chart might be less concerned with the research itself than the remarkable viral interest in it, and that is a fair point — why is the West so obsessed with burqas, hijabs, and other styles of Islamic dress? Perhaps it is because veils are frequently used as an example of the patriarchal style of Muslim culture, but the reality is often more complicated than that. Sharing this image is an easy way to criticize that patriarchy, but it's far too simplistic.

Perhaps the best response to the chart came from Lebanese satirist Karl Sharro, who tweeted his own version of the chart, this time edited to include white women dressed as cheerleaders and hamburgers:

"Instead of looking at the complexity of women, we're not even looking at the full way they dress, just the headdress," Sharro told PRI's The World. "It's a particularly harsh way of doing this form of abstraction [...] This was a way for me to visually spoof the image and a way for me to say that stereotypes work both ways."

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Audi's New Luxury Sedan Has A Clever Way To Avoid Pileup Crashes


2015 Audi A8 L W12 Quattro

The 2015 A8 will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show next week, Audi announced today.

On top of a suite of luxury technologies (try five different massage functions in the front and rear seats), the brand's flagship luxury sedan is designed to prevent collisions.

And if a collision does happen, the A8 has a good chance at making sure it doesn't turn into a multi-car pileup.

That's because it's equipped with "secondary collision assist." If the A8 is hit hard enough to trigger an airbag, the electronic stability control system applies the brakes, as long as those are intact.

According to the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), which assesses car safety, the system can slow the car down to about 6 mph. The hazard and brake lights go on automatically.

In a serious accident, it's likely the driver will lose control of the car. Automatically hitting the brakes is a good way to cut the chances of hitting another vehicle, and making a bad situation worse.

If the driver maintains control and feels that braking is the more dangerous choice, he can override the system by hitting the accelerator.


The Audi A8 will go on sale in the U.S. this summer. Pricing hasn't been announced. The S8, the sporty version of the sedan, will also debut in Detroit.

SEE ALSO: 13 New Cars We Can't Wait To See At The Detroit Auto Show

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6 Reasons You Should Be Wearing Sunscreen In The Winter


Winter sunglasses guy

This post originally appeared on Details.com.

It's winter, the sun is MIA, and you can't remember the last time you weren't wearing a parka. So do you really need to lotion up? In a word, yes.

But since "because-I-said-so" arguments only hold so much weight, we're proving it with the top six reasons you should be wearing sunscreen right now.

1. The Earth is closest to the sun in winter. Contrary to popular opinion, the Earth is actually the closest to the sun in the winter and the farthest from it in the summer, says Robert Guida, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City. (FYI, we checked with the Library of Congress to make sure he was right.)

2. The ozone layer is at its thinnest. You know that the ozone layer is good and that ozone depletion is bad, but do you know why? The ozone acts like the Earth's sun shield, absorbing harmful UVB rays before they near the ground. Problem is, the layer is at its thinnest in the winter (according to the National Science Foundation Polar Programs UV Monitoring Network).

3. Sun reflects off snow and ice. Snow and ice might as well come with UV warnings. They can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays, which not only cause skin cancer but are also the source of about 90 percent of all wrinkles, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If that weren't bad enough, those rays can hit your skin not once but twice, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

4. You can burn from the wind and sun. Windburn and sunburn are one dynamic (and evil) duo. So when freezing temps and biting winds leave your skin dry, agitated, and pretty much in the fetal position, UV rays have a clear shot at your skin, Guida says. Way to kick you when you're down.

5. The higher the altitude, the more sun exposure you get. Attention, winter-sport enthusiasts: The higher the slopes, the higher your sun exposure. In one University of Canterbury study, skiers at an altitude of two kilometers (that's about 6,562 feet for all of the metric system-phobes out there) were exposed to UV rays that were up to 30 percent greater than when they were at a lower site. UV-radiation exposure increases about 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level.

6. Sunscreen blocks the most rays. Sun rays have a way of working their way through about everything — except freshly smeared sunblock, of course. In fact, about 80 percent of rays pass through clouds. Meanwhile, a white cotton shirt has about an SPF value of seven, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

So, this UV-soaked (albeit dreary) winter, check your complaints at the medicine cabinet and put that sunscreen to good use. And while you're at it, check out these six common sun-damage myths.

dec jan 2013 baleMore from Details:

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Here Is The Gorgeous Expansion Plan For The Museum Of Modern Art


MoMA redesign

It's official: The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is going to tear down the American Folk Art Museum in order to sprawl across New York City's 53rd Street.

And no matter your opinion on the controversial demolition, the new plan from New York-based architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro is impressive, adding a whopping 30% more gallery space to the 125,000-square-foot building, according to Architect Magazine.

MoMA redesignThat's exceptionally important for a museum that would need to triple in size to display its current art collection, not to mention contain its 3 million annual visitors.

On Wednesday, the press got an advanced look at the plans and mock ups of what the new building could look like. According to Architect Magazine writer Joseph Giovannini:

In the space of the Folk Art Museum, Diller proposed a cavernous “art garage” — to be called the Art Bay — open to the street with a liftable glass facade to allow visitors admission. The floor could elevate, creating seating facing a stage to an auditorium that would also open to the street (with free admission). She also proposed an east-west axis that would cross the existing ticket lobby and would stretch through the garden, which would be open off the axis and also off the street (again, free to the public).

The new wing will also connect to Jean Nouvel's new 82-story residential tower, which is currently in-development with a planned three floors dedicated to MoMA space that The New York Times reports will add another 39,000 square feet to MoMA.

MoMA redesignIn addition to more space, the redesign will focus on improving the museum entrance and making traffic flow better between exhibits. MoMA has already moved the ticket scanners deeper into the lobby at the suggestion of Diller Scofidio + Renfro to try and eliminate congestion at the entrance.

MoMA redesignMoMA plans to start construction on the redesign this spring or summer, aiming to finish the project in 2018 or 2019. Any delays would be due to cash flow problems that may arise given that the ginormous plan doesn't even have a budget yet. MoMA officials said they would be raising all the money privately.

“This is now a much bigger project than we had envisioned,” Glenn Lowry, the director of the MoMA, told the Times. “We have to figure out how to cost it out."

SEE ALSO: Here Is The Awesome Building That The Museum Of Modern Art Is Going To Destroy

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Guy Who Helped Create Washington's Weed Law Says It Has Some Major Flaws



UCLA public policy professor Mark Kleiman was hired to help design Washington state's new recreational weed policies, but he says the law didn't turn out exactly the way he intended.

Kleiman — who founded the crime and drug policy think tank BOTEC Analysis Corp. — told Business Insider he fears the new policies won't create the tax windfall the state was expecting. The law is also designed in a way that could encourage overconsumption of the drug, he said.

"I wanted high taxes or high prices [for marijuana]. I wanted tight limits on marketing and aggressive consumer information from a health perspective," Kleiman told me over the phone.

Kleiman isn't getting those things.

Dubbed the “pot czar of Washington” by many in the media, Kleiman has been one of the most well-known analysts of drug policy over the last 30 years. He was selected specifically by the Washington State Liquor Control Board to help it design the regulated and taxed legal marijuana system going into effect this year.  

As part of that contract, BOTEC presented the Liquor Control Board with research papers with different approaches to regulating the new pot market. While the Board is using some of his policy suggestions, it ignored some crucial ones — including having state-owned stores, tight restrictions on marketing, progressive taxation that adapts to changes in the market, home-delivery, and purchase limits set by users themselves.

In his recent interview with Business Insider, primarily about the demise of the medical marijuana industry, Kleiman talked about why he’s not sure legal pot will be a success in Washington.

Here's what he had to say about the expected tax revenue: 

After the first harvest, the price [of marijuana] is going to crash and never come back. Marijuana is dirt cheap to grow.  …

A lot of money is going to be lost selling marijuana in Washington. The price is going to collapse. Yes, I think there will be large businesses, but the notion that they are going to create brand names and make a lot of money? Good luck. I don't see it … I’m telling people I've got a surefire way of doubling your money in the marijuana business [in Washington]. Fold it over and put it back in your pocket ... I find it hard to believe that there is going to be tons of money in this. ...

[High tax revenue] is certainly what the voters were promised. What I was urging in Washington was that revenue should be the last priority. It's not going to be an important revenue source. 

Kleiman believes that because the price of marijuana is going to crash, money generated by taxation will crash accordingly and never net the $600 million annually in taxes the state said it would.

kleimanKleiman also takes issue with the state’s decision to set up a system that mimics the liquor industry, with privatized stores, few restrictions on advertising, and aggressive pricing. He thinks it's a recipe designed to create tons of stoners: 

It makes perfect sense to go to some form of [legal] availability of limited use of cannabis for adults, but we have to try to create a system that doesn't reproduce the failures of the liquor industry.We have an industry based on alcoholics.  

I wanted high taxes or high prices [for marijuana]. I wanted tight limits on marketing and aggressive consumer information from a health perspective and my favorite, require everyone that wants to become a buyer to register and set a personal quota so people can decide at the beginning how much cannabis they want to use...

The politics of marijuana is that the opponents of legalization tell you its the “devil's weed” and the proponents will tell you it's benign. Both of those are lies. The advocates will keep insisting on the benignity and then we won't have appropriate regulation for what is, after all, a drug that, while not as dangerous as alcohol, is plenty dangerous enough to worry about.

We are on track for an industry that, like the liquor industry, is based around creating heavy users, according to Kleiman:

Merely making [marijuana] legal won't increase the number of users very much, but I think if you get aggressive marketing and low prices that will have a bigger impact. That would be my number one worry.

I don't think we should care how many people smoke pot ... I think we should care how many kids use pot and how many grownups get in trouble. I think it is very likely that those numbers will go up and go up a lot. If we get away with only doubling the heavy cannabis user population [in Washington], we'll be doing pretty well. 

That is assuming aggressive marketing and low prices, which is what we are on track for. It's going to be a market. Capitalism is good at providing consumers with what they want for cheap. The only way to make money at it is going to be to sell to people that use a lot of it. They are going to cater to people that use a lot.  

The industry will look like tobacco or alcohol. In the case of tobacco or alcohol, people make a lot of money by owning the brand name, but take look at the wine business. Yeah, Gallo makes some money but once you move up from the jug wine level, the bottle wine business is ferociously competitive.  

If I had to guess about the future of marijuana, the future is two-buck chuck

SEE ALSO: Washington's Weed Legalization Could Be A Disaster For Medical Users, And They're Making A Last Stand

SEE ALSO: Photos of Washington's Budding Legal Marijuana Industry

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Here's The Part Of Hong Kong That Westerners Never See



Investment advisor Jonathan van Smit is one of the few foreigners who ever see the dark side of Hong Kong.

The New Zealander walks through poor neighborhoods at night to take pictures of prostitutes, bums and other characters of the street.

Van Smit tells us by email: "I know some Western expats who never eat Chinese food, and who rarely venture outside their expat communities. They're here to make money not to experience a different culture. They live in a largely expat world, their kids go to international schools, their maids do the housework, cooking and shopping. I imagine that the more local parts of Hong Kong are completely alien to many of them. "

The level of inequality can be shocking: "Hong Kong is either heaven or hell depending on who you might ask. It has the world's highest Gini score [a measure of inequality] with Singapore 2nd and the USA 3rd. Over in Kowloon you'll find so-called 'cage people', residents living in cages or ultra small dwellings, barely able to make ends meet and end up begging in the busy streets or living off meager social assistance if they can get it. Food and rent are expensive so losing a job can be a matter of life and death."

Van Smit has given us permission once again to publish a set of his latest stunning photos.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's The Part Of Hong Kong That Westerners Never See



Investment advisor Jonathan van Smit is one of the few foreigners who ever see the dark side of Hong Kong.

The New Zealander walks through poor neighborhoods at night to take pictures of prostitutes, bums and other characters of the street.

Van Smit tells us by email: "I know some Western expats who never eat Chinese food, and who rarely venture outside their expat communities. They're here to make money not to experience a different culture. They live in a largely expat world, their kids go to international schools, their maids do the housework, cooking and shopping. I imagine that the more local parts of Hong Kong are completely alien to many of them. "

The level of inequality can be shocking: "Hong Kong is either heaven or hell depending on who you might ask. It has the world's highest Gini score [a measure of inequality] with Singapore 2nd and the USA 3rd. Over in Kowloon you'll find so-called 'cage people', residents living in cages or ultra small dwellings, barely able to make ends meet and end up begging in the busy streets or living off meager social assistance if they can get it. Food and rent are expensive so losing a job can be a matter of life and death."

Van Smit has given us permission once again to publish a set of his latest stunning photos.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's The Hong Kong That Westerners Never See


hong kong

Investment advisor Jonathan van Smit is one of the few foreigners who ever sees the dark side of Hong Kong.

The New Zealander walks through poor neighborhoods at night to take pictures of prostitutes, bums and other characters of the street.

Van Smit tells us by email: "I know some Western expats who never eat Chinese food, and who rarely venture outside their expat communities. They're here to make money not to experience a different culture. They live in a largely expat world, their kids go to international schools, their maids do the housework, cooking and shopping. I imagine that the more local parts of Hong Kong are completely alien to many of them."

The level of inequality can be shocking: "Hong Kong is either heaven or hell depending on who you might ask. It has the world's highest Gini score [a measure of inequality] with Singapore 2nd and the USA 3rd. Over in Kowloon you'll find so-called 'cage people', residents living in cages or ultra small dwellings, barely able to make ends meet and end up begging in the busy streets or living off meager social assistance if they can get it. Food and rent are expensive so losing a job can be a matter of life and death."

Van Smit gave us permission to publish this set of photos from 2012.

hong kong 20hong kong 22hong kong 2hong kong 17hong kong 18hong kong 21hong kong 16hong kong 15hong kong 14hong kong 13hong kong 12hong kong 9hong kong 8hong kong 11hong kong 10hong kong 7hong kong 5hong kong 6hong kong 4hong kong 2hong kong 3hong kong 23hong kong 1

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All Hail The Uber Man! How Sharp-Elbowed Salesman Travis Kalanick Became Silicon Valley's Newest Star


Travis Kalanick Uber Limo Driver_04

Shafqat Islam’s phone was ringing. He rubbed his eyes and looked at the number on the screen. It said unknown, but he took the call anyway.

"Hi, this is Travis," a voice said. "I know Lukas Biewald, and he said you were the only guy he knew in Switzerland."

Islam, part of the tech team at Merrill Lynch Bank Suisse, sat up and wracked his brain.

Biewald? He had met the man once or twice, but he certainly didn't know this Travis character.

"Let's go out!" prodded the restless out-of-towner.

Islam resisted. It was getting late and he was tired. He wasn't in the mood to give his night to a stranger.

"Come on, I'm only in town one night!" Travis persisted. "You gotta show me Geneva!"

Islam finally gave in. He hopped in his second-hand BMW, picked up Travis and took him to a favorite bar, where Islam learned a bit more about the mystery man. A tech founder named Travis Kalanick, he’d sold a startup for millions to Akamai. He was now an investor in a couple of companies, including CrowdFlower, which was run by their mutual friend. After a night of drinking and swapping tech war stories, the pair parted ways.

Years later, they met again at a business event in the States. Islam had founded a content marketing company called NewsCred. Kalanick was running a startup called Uber, designed to link car services and passengers at the tap of a finger.

Now that Kalanick's startup has grown into one of the world’s most admired tech companies, recently valued at $3.4 billion, Islam can’t help wondering: Was he the world's first Uber driver?

"Travis pressed a button and I was his ride for the night!" Islam says now, reflecting on that fateful evening. "I wonder if he has ever put that together."

Now 37, Kalanick has recently found himself anointed king of Silicon Valley, his unlikely throne, that car-service app — or perhaps more accurately, a real-time, mobile logistics company, for which the town car business is likely just the beginning.

Founded just three and a half years ago, the service works like magic. Press a button on your smart phone to summon a ride. A few minutes later — during which you can chart a driver’s progress toward your location — up rolls the car. The driver doesn't accept cash, not even for a tip. Instead the app automatically charges the passenger's credit card once the transaction is complete. Then, both the customer and driver rate each other on Uber's application. (Passengers who leave a driver waiting may see their ratings fall, which can result in fewer drivers agreeing to pick them up.)

uber whiteboardKalanick's business achievements have won him widespread respect in the tech industry. In just a few years, he has turned Uber into a tech powerhouse that sometimes generates $20 million per week. But he hasn’t done it without stepping on a few toes.

Although Kalanick declined through a spokesperson to comment for this story, interviews with more than a dozen acquaintances from various periods of the entrepreneur’s life and career, most of whom asked not to be identified, painted a picture of a hyper-rational individual whose distaste for organized religion is matched only by his enthusiasm for whiteboard sessions, a driven executive whose intensity can seem off-putting.

Acquaintances seem to be of two minds about him: On the one hand, many agreed he is a phenomenon. "Travis is smart," says Kalanick's former investor Mark Cuban. "Busts his ass and is a true entrepreneur. Can’t be much more complimentary than that."

Equally common was the view of Kalanick as — in a word that came up again and again in interviews, "an asshole."

Or as one entrepreneur who has worked with him puts it, "Travis is ego personified."

Often, those impressions overlap.

"Sometimes," an acquaintance of Kalanick's told Business Insider, "assholes create great businesses."


Travis, the Salesman

Travis Kalanick has always been the entrepreneurial type. He grew up near Los Angeles in a suburb called Northridge.

As a kid, he wanted to be a spy. But his innate confidence, persuasiveness and implacability made him better suited to a career in sales, like his mother, Bonnie.

Bonne and Don Kalanick travis uber

She worked in retail advertising for the "Los Angeles Daily News." Kalanick's own ability to sell became apparent when he excelled as a young door-to-door salesman for Cutco knives. Kalanick's father, Don, was an engineer. His brother Cory is a firefighter; Kalanick also has two half sisters.

At age 18, Kalanick launched his first business, an SAT-prep tutoring service called New Way Academy. He created a course called "1500 and over" and has claimed that the first person he tutored boosted their score by 400 points. Kalanick himself scored 1580 on his SATs, whiffing two questions in the verbal section. He’s better with numbers, and likes to say he can zip through the math portion in eight minutes.

Even as a teen, Kalanick was exceptionally self-assured. He always had "his game face on" a former classmate recalls. "The fact that Travis is a good salesman — I think originally he let that be the entirety of his personality, both to his friends and within work."

This person described Kalanick as a chronic hustler. "There was definitely a feeling for me that he was always trying to sell something to me, like a used car salesman. You know it's their job, but it doesn't make it any less annoying."

There was definitely a feeling for me that he was always trying to sell something to me, like a used car salesman. You know it's their job, but it doesn't make it any less annoying.

Another former classmate was more sympathetic, describing him as "an excellent storyteller but in a good sense. He can illustrate a lot of different things. He’s also driven and opportunistic, which can be good or bad."

Despite his impressive SAT scores and ambition, Kalanick stayed local for college, enrolling in the computer science department at UCLA. He looked much like he does now, with shaggy black hair and generally clad in a T-shirt.

In recent years, Kalanick has been connected to a long line of beautiful brunettes. But he wasn't always a lady's man. A college friend said he "had to grow into that." 

At UCLA, Kalanick studied computer engineering and joined the Computer Science Undergraduate Association, where he met classmates Michael Todd and Vince Busam, then working on a side project called Scour, meant to help users share files.

The project began in Busam's dorm room, with five friends cobbling together the application, before the team moved into a house in Los Angeles' South Bay.

Scour was the first popular peer-to-peer search engine for files, videos, movies, and images, employing SMB protocol to crawl people's Windows directories, index their files and let others download them. One early user was Shawn Fanning, who would go on to co-found a similar service — Napster — some 18 months after Scour came online.

The startup was running on angel funding raised mostly from one of the co-founders' family members and friends, and in 1998, Kalanick came aboard as an employee, eventually dropping out of school and collecting unemployment while working for the startup full time.

Kalanick often describes himself as a co-founder of Scour, which irks some of the company’s actual founders. Nonetheless, investors saw him as one, because he did so much for the company, and some of the co-founders now consider him one in retrospect. Technically, he was the company’s second employee, though was given founders stock and didn’t take a salary for the first year. 

The team soon moved to a high-rise apartment building in Westwood, Club California, where Todd and co-founder Dan Rodrigues were living. Most employees worked in the living room. Kalanick worked from Rodrigues' bedroom. At one point, the apartment housed 13 Scour employees, putting a strain on the electrical system. Printing a document was sometimes enough to blow a fuse, and when a team member wanted to microwave lunch, he would often ask colleagues to power down their monitors for a minute.  

"It was very, very scrappy and none of us knew what we were doing," an early Scour employee recalls.

It became clear Scour had outgrown its apartment office one day after the founders reported a major hack to the FBI. A female officer showed up expecting to find a large company under siege. Instead, she was invited to squish into a tiny chair, huddled among scruffy young men who were buried in computer screens.

"We all tried to convince her, 'Really, we are a serious, legitimate company,'" the source recalls. "'We have 100 servers somewhere in some data center. Don't mind the fact that we're a bunch of young kids and that this is a living room.'"


The Rise and Fall of Scour

The company soon got some real traction, and before long the peer-to-peer file sharing and search service was being used by a few million people. Eventually, there was so much interest in the company that an early investor, former mega-agent Michael Ovitz (who along with supermarket kingpin Ron Burkle had invested some $10 to $15 million), threatened to sue to keep the startup from shopping itself to other venture capital firms. As it happened, the paperwork Kalanick’s team signed included a no-shop clause.

scour team travis kalanick

Kalanick’s role was marketing and business development, and he was dauntless in calling up anyone and everyone to push the product. He also came up with controversial yet effective guerrilla marketing campaigns. For the Scour Exchange product, which he conveniently shortened to SX, Kalanick hired a marketing company to hang bottles of personal lubricant on dorm-room doorknobs along with Scour hang tags and stickers which read, "Do not enter, SX in progress."

"It was surprisingly effective at spreading awareness for Scour as well as earning the ire of various colleges," a former colleague recalls.

Meanwhile, a file-sharing competitor came onto the scene. Fanning launched Napster in 1999, implementing a key innovation. Unlike Scour, which crashed frequently due to too much demand, Napster automatically made files sharable once they were downloaded. As a result, the more people used the service, the more sources there were where popular material could be found and downloaded. Scour quickly followed suit, borrowing Napster's approach.

Despite Scour's initial success, the startup was a tough learning experience for Kalanick. The setbacks hardened him as an entrepreneur, as did the sometimes difficult people he had to answer to.

Once, Kalanick recalled in an interview with Uber investor Jason Calacanis, he was threatened by one of his Ovitz's cronies. The former Hollywood agent, who had built CAA into a powerhouse before an ill-fated stint as president of Disney, was infamous for his hard-knuckled style (he used to hand copies of Sun Tzu’s "The Art of War" to staff members). Ovitz’s lawyer, Kalanick recounted, wanted to be sure the former executive was afforded the proper respect in Kalanick’s speech.

"He basically tells me about how certain people in the industry have worked very hard to get where they're at," Kalanick recalled to Calacanis. "My life and physical well-being were essentially threatened at that table. He basically said, 'There's an alley in the back. If you fuck this up, you're going to be very familiar with it.'"

My life and physical well-being were essentially threatened at that table. He basically said, 'There's an alley in the back. If you fuck this up, you're going to be very familiar with it.'

Kalanick came on stage visibly shaken. According to Calacanis — with whom he shared the stage that day — he looked close to tears.

Ovitz and Kalanick have since discussed the incident and moved on. The alleged encounter occurred when Kalanick was young, and perhaps it’s not surprising that he would have been intimidated. Ovitz says he found it difficult to wrangle five young founders, each with differing ideas on how to run Scour. He adds that he respects and likes Kalanick, and says no life-threat was ever delivered on his behalf.

"I think there's a really good story in a person overcoming adversity," an early RedSwoosh employee says. "I think sometimes that story can get even better if the adversity is more significant. None of these things didn't happen. It's just the details. Travis is going to tell the story his way."

Although users enjoyed Scour, content providers did not. Scour was making it possible for consumers to acquire their content without paying for it. Ultimately, a collection of entertainment companies sued Scour for $250 billion.  

As lawsuits piled up, Scour's failure grew imminent. The final days were emotionally grueling for Kalanick. But the salesman in him was indomitable, ceaselessly working the phones to make his pitch, ever hopeful of scaring up new business.

"I was getting on the phone every day still trying to make revenues because we had millions of people coming to our site," Kalanick told a group of entrepreneurs at the 2011 Failcon conference, a forum in which founders offer hard-won lessons from their business failures. "I was telling our partners [that working with us was] a strategic move. The longer I had to make that ‘strategic move’ pitch, the harder it was to get up in the morning."

By the time Scour finally failed, Kalanick could barely face the workday, often spending 14 hours at a time lying in bed.

"I was doing the game, fake-it-til-you-make-it, or fighting reality," he told the Failcon 2011 audience. "When you're in that failure state, it will eventually crush you."  

Finally, Scour filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The assets were divvied up in a 20-minute court session. 

Rebounding With RedSwoosh

Almost immediately, Kalanick began plotting his next business with Scour co-founder Michael Todd, who had been consulting on the side. The pair bootstrapped their new startup, which they dubbed RedSwoosh. Kalanick has called it his "revenge business." He wanted to turn every entertainment company that sued Scour into a paying customer.

Travis Kalanick younger uber

RedSwoosh launched in 2000 from a small office space in Westwood, Calif. Instead of unearthing content they didn't have the rights to, Todd and Kalanick's new business focused on delivering web content to users more cheaply by allowing them to share bandwidth. They brought a few friends over from Scour, including the engineer who’d built most of the Scour Exchange service.

But RedSwoosh turned out to be an even tougher challenge. By August 2001, the company was nearly out of cash and could barely cover payroll for its seven employees.

A few weeks later, Kalanick had a meeting scheduled with Akamai CTO Daniel Lewin. Lewin was flying in from Boston. His American Airlines flight from Logan Airport never made it to LAX.

Lewin was one of 92 passengers killed when Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001.

Among its other terrible consequences, the attacks of September 11th were devastating to the tech scene, accelerating the stock market crash, which resulted in a market value loss of $5 trillion between 2000 and 2002. As a result, startup funding resources dried up.

9/11 September 11th AttacksIt didn’t help that RedSwoosh — a networking software company — wasn't a particularly compelling business for investors. Software wasn't a popular investment sector in the early 2000s, and the leading company in RedSwoosh's industry, Akamai, had a relatively tiny $160 million market cap. Kalanick remembers an investor telling him then, "Look man, this whole software thing is done."

Kalanick and Todd had different opinions about how to keep the company afloat, which blossomed into serious disagreements. They began cutting corners to get by, in some cases pushing the ethical and legal boundaries.

For instance, at one point, the company stopped withholding income taxes from employees’ paychecks — a criminal offense.

Kalanick insists that Todd made this move without his knowledge, publicly blaming his co-founder for the infraction. Todd insists the decision was made jointly.

As Kalanick has recounted the story: "We owed $110,000 to the IRS in un-withheld income taxes, which is a white-collar crime that pierces the corporate shell, and it doesn't matter whether you knew or not. If you're an officer of the company you're going to jail."

"Travis is a very smart guy but he and I clearly have different memories on this 13-year-old detail," Todd says. And an email sent by Kalanick at the time and obtained by Business Insider appears to demonstrate his participation in the tax plan. Nonetheless, Todd insists he has no hard feelings about the incident, adding, "The important thing is that my technical idea and his execution made RS successful."

In the end, neither founder did any time. Instead, Kalanick hustled together a round of financing and used most of it to pay off the IRS before the year was up. But the relationship between Kalanick and Todd was permanently damaged.

For Kalanick, the final blow was when Todd secretly emailed an investor, asking him to consider what’s called an "acqui-hire" of RedSwoosh's engineering team.

"My co-founder on RedSwoosh, I found out, sent an email to a VC at Sony Ventures," Kalanick told the Failcon audience. "I wasn't cc'd on this email. It was basically saying, 'Look, this isn't gonna work out. Why don't you just hire me — this is my co-founder — and the rest of the engineers. So that's what 'Et tu, Brute?' means.'"

It was a nasty corporate divorce. A former employee says Todd and Kalanick were both to blame for the falling out; each made key business decisions behind the other’s back. The source also said he sided more with Todd at the time, and left RedSwoosh with a negative impression of Kalanick.

It took me a couple of years of having nice, cordial, friendly relations with him — but not 'Woohoo, go Travis!'-type stuff — for my feelings about him to change.

"Maybe it was his way of dealing with that stress and his response to it that I just didn't appreciate," the former employee tells Business Insider. "It took me a couple of years of having nice, cordial, friendly relations with him — but not 'Woohoo, go Travis!'-type stuff — for my feelings about him to change."

Kalanick's colleagues also grew tired of his tendency to spin every situation in his favor.

"If somebody chooses to disassociate themselves from Travis, I don't think it's because he's a bad guy," a former friend says. "I think it's because they see what he's doing, all the selling, and they don't want to deal with that anymore."


Looking for an Exit

In the wake of his falling out with Todd in 2001, Kalanick found himself living in his parents’ house, a move that seriously cramped his style. He "wasn't getting ladies," he told the Failcon 2011 audience. "It sucked."

By mid-September, the company had run out of cash and Kalanick was yet again busy hustling up a round of financing.

To replace Todd, he hired Rob Bowman, an engineer turned startup consultant, who became CEO until 2003.

Meanwhile, all but one of the company’s engineers, Evan Tsang, departed. Many left angry, partly because they had gone various lengths of time without being paid, and partly over disputes involving stock options.

"Some sort of recapitalization was attempted at one point," a former RedSwoosh employee says. "People got different option grants, where the amount of shares ballooned. There was a lot of confusion as to what stock options were worth and how people should exercise them...and a lot of people ended up feeling cheated."

Eventually, Tsang, too, walked out, moving over to Google, where Todd was then employed. Fucked Company, a popular blog that chronicled the struggles of tech startups, caught wind of the resignation. Its post about Tsang’s departure was published just as Kalanick was about to sign a million-dollar deal with AOL. The dial-up behemoth saw the headline and walked away. Shortly thereafter, in April 2006, Kalanick moved what was left of the company to Thailand as a cost-saving (and rejuvenating) measure.

Travis Kalanick

Perhaps as an indication of how blindsided he felt, Kalanick later told the Failcon audience that Tsang resigned via tweet. That wasn't possible though, since Tsang’s departure happened several years before Twitter was founded.

Meanwhile, other companies were courting RedSwoosh, and Kalanick sensed a successful exit on the horizon. Microsoft showed particular interest, and one day in mid-2003, several executives flew from Redmond to Los Angeles to meet Kalanick and present him with their offer.

They’d like to acquire his assets, they told him, for $1.2 million. Kalanick did the math; $900,000 of that would be put toward paying off notes and liabilities. That left just $300,000.

Kalanick — who friends say rarely shows a temper — berated them relentlessly before finally ending the meeting.

As disappointing as such encounters were, they helped Kalanick refine his skills as a negotiator and toughen his resolve. He could be indomitable, showing a stamina that sometimes tended toward the absurd. According to a source, Kalanick once spent nine hours at a Googler's house, trying to convince the person to join Uber.

"I got really good at negotiating from a place of weakness," he told the Failcon audience.

Finally, seven years of grueling work paid off. Todd, who hadn't heard from Kalanick in years, came home one day to find a package on his doorstep. Akamai was interested in buying RedSwoosh.

In 2007, the server giant acquired RedSwoosh for $23 million — $19 million in stock and $4 million in earn-outs.

Even those who had doubted Kalanick or bristled at his pompous style had to hand it to him. He’d made RedSwoosh a success, even though doing so required him to go more than three years without salary, sever ties with his co-founder, move to Thailand, and turn over his team multiple times.

Today, Kalanick's perseverance serves as a lesson to his former colleagues.

"He would get up in the morning with nobody on his team. and he still made it in the end," says a former RedSwoosh employee. "It's inspirational in a lot of ways that when things got tough and he was down to nothing, he still kept going."


The Founding of Uber

Kalanick was now a millionaire, in possession of a large house, a personal chef and a thick wad of investment capital to put into other people's startups.

His new home, called "the jam pad," got its name for the tendency of young entrepreneurs 

Travis Kalanick house Jam Pad

to congregate there, "jamming" on business ideas and playing Wii Tennis until the early hours of the morning. Aaron Levie, co-founder of the cloud-computing firm Box, and marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk were among the many techies who crashed on the couch when they were in town.

Before long, Kalanick began blogging about his investments and his philosophy, occasionally boasting about his new millionaire lifestyle.

"Chris Sacca got a pretty killer techie crew hanging together," he wrote in January 2009 after he was invited to attend President Obama's inauguration. "The Zappos guys (Tony and Alfred), a few Google peeps (Sacca and company), VC-dudes and Twitter home slices (what up Ev and Sara), … a truly solid crew of great people is the icing on the cake. When you’ve got the kind of crew we’ve got, the party is wherever we are."

When you’ve got the kind of crew we’ve got, the party is wherever we are.

Kalanick spent his first year of affluence traveling and investing. He visited Spain, Japan, Greece, Iceland, Greenland, Hawaii (twice), France (twice), Australia, Portugal, Cape Verde, and Senegal. It was during this time that he called up Newscred founder Shafqat Islam for their spontaneous night out in Geneva.

In late 2008, Kalanick attended the LeWeb technology conference with Vayner Media's Gary Vaynerchuk, StumbleUpon founder Garrett Camp, and Camp's former flame Melody McCloskey. That's where he first heard the idea for Uber.

One New Year's not long before, Camp and a few friends had spent $800 hiring a private driver. While Camp had made a fortune selling StumbleUpon, he still felt nearly a grand was too steep a price for one night of convenience. He had been mulling over ways to bring down the cost of black car services ever since.

He realized that splitting the cost with a lot of people — say a few dozen elite users in Silicon Valley  — could make it affordable. The idea morphed into Uber, essentially the equivalent of nightclub bottle service for the taxi industry, a premium service for more high-end customers.

Kalanick gives Camp full credit for the idea.

"When you open up that app and you get that experience of like, 'I am living in the future. I pushed a button and a car rolled up and now I'm a frickin’ pimp,' Garrett is the guy who invented that shit," Kalanick said at an early Uber event in San Francisco. "I just want to clap and hug him at the same time."

As to the rest of of Uber's founding mythology, as in most cases, it depends on whom you ask.




garrett camp travis kalanick

The first prototype of UberCab — as Uber was first called  — was built by Camp and two graduate school friends, Oscar Salazar and Conrad Whelan, with participation from Kalanick, who’d been brought on as "mega advisor" to the company, according to early documentation. (Kalanick has said his official title at the time was "Chief Incubator.")

UberCab was a black car service, which allowed a user to call a car by pressing a button on a smart phone or sending a text, for a price that hovered around 1.5 times as much as a typical San Francisco cab.

"My job was to temporarily run the company, get the product to prototype, find a General Manager to run the operation full time and generally see Uber through its San Francisco launch," Kalanick wrote in an early post on Uber’s company blog.

"Garrett and I incubated Uber at first because we thought it was like this limo company," Kalanick explained at an event in San Francisco. "We were like, 'Dude I don't want to run a limo company. I just want a car to take me around. We need to find someone who can come into a city like San Francisco and kill it. Bring a really high quality to the table, a really sound operational system and make Uber San Francisco an amazing place so that basically Garrett can ride around like a pimp."

In essence, Kalanick and Camp both wanted Uber to exist, but neither of them wanted to run it.

That’s where Ryan Graves came in. The recently-engaged Chicago resident had spent two years at General Electric Healthcare, spending nights and weekends on a startup of his own that never quite got off the ground. He later spent three months as an unpaid "pseudo intern" working alongside Foursquare’s business development lead, Tristan Walker, but despite what a former colleague calls his "tireless" efforts, Foursquare declined to offer him a permanent position.

Then one day, he spotted a tweet: "Looking for a business development & product badass," it said.

It was written by Travis Kalanick.

"Here’s a tip," Graves responded, tweeting back his gmail address.

Ryan Graves Travis KalanickIn early 2010, Graves came aboard as UberCab’s General Manager. "It’s a combination of everything I was looking for," Graves wrote of his new job.  "I’ll be working with some of the most bad ass entrepreneurs & investors in the industry… I’ll be at the ground floor of a startup that has the opportunity to change the world. I found the opportunity with a little bit of luck, a little bit of right time & right place, and a lot of hard work and preparing for an unidentified opportunity." The team officially launched UberCab that June in San Francisco, working out of a tiny shared office space.

The app was a sensation, at least among the target demographic of Bay Area techies. Two weeks after it became available in the App Store, UberCab's 10 drivers were doing more than 10 rides per weekend night. TechCrunch co-founder Michael Arrington was an enthusiastic evangelist.

"I can imagine it now – click a button and see a variety of options," Arrington wrote that summer. "A five-star rated driver 15 minutes away in a late model Prius at 2x taxi rates, or a 1975 Camaro 1 minute away with a three star rating for .5x taxi rates. Choose your car, driver and price and get exactly what you pay for. And help break the back of the taxi medallion evil empire."

Shortly after the launch, Graves was named CEO of the fledgling company.

Funders quickly warmed to UberCab, but they didn’t clamor to invest. As early-stage deals go, Uber wasn’t a particularly competitive opportunity. For would-be backers, the two main concerns involved whether it was scalable, and whether Graves, a relatively inexperienced entrepreneur, could run it effectively.

That summer, startup investor and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis hosted an Open Angel Forum event in San Francisco's Dog Patch Labs. The evening was to be UberCab’s big chance to wow investors. The company was seeking a $1 million seed investment — the first round of funding by angel investors — at a $4 million pre-money valuation.

Calacanis told the audience he was investing in UberCab. Then, another hand shot up.

"I'm in for $500,000!" First Round Capital's Chris Fralic proclaimed.

A bystander remembers thinking Fralic was crazy. But his firm had already solidified its investment in Uber in early July.

Rob Hayes, who led the deal on behalf of First Round Capital, knew Garrett Camp from a previous investment in StumbleUpon. He had learned about Uber months prior, when he saw Garrett tweet about it.

Hayes, Fralic, and First Round Capital bet on Graves. But they didn’t realize his brief turn as CEO was soon to come to a close.


ubercab ryan graves

Punching the Gas

Ultimately, Uber raised a $1.25 million seed round. First Round Capital was its first institutional investor. Other investors included Chris Sacca, Kalanick's friend, who had organized the Obama Inauguration trip, and Shawn Fanning, who had been Scour's competitor at Napster.

Then, in December 2010, an unexpected change: Kalanick stepped in for Graves as CEO, and Graves became Uber's general manager. The pair made the executive shuffle sound cordial.

"Personally, I'm super pumped about how well-rounded the team has become with Travis on board full time,"  Graves told TechCrunch.

"This is not a replacement," Kalanick wrote after TechCrunch's story. "This is a partnership between Ryan and me."

Some early Uber employees scoffed when asked if the transition had been pleasant. Others say it was remarkably cordial. "The teamwork and camaraderie that you see in the company today was evident back then when they had like six people," says one person familiar with Graves and Kalanick’s relationship. "They all seemed to genuinely like each other."

While handing over the CEO reins to Kalanick couldn't have been easy for Graves, he made the switch graciously. Transitioning from CEO, "requires a little bit of an ego/gut check," he said in an interview following his move to general manager. "When you spend a year investing yourself in a project, you feel pretty strongly about how it should be run or which direction it should be taken in… When Travis asked me about the transition, I told him I was excited about it. I think he was a little thrown off by that, because very few CEOs embrace their succession plan so willingly."

His calm response to being benched may have saved both his job and his financial participation, now potentially worth tens — or even hundreds — of millions.

A well-placed source says that had he chosen to fight, Graves could have easily become the Noah Glass of Uber.

Who’s Noah Glass? Good question. Glass, the largely forgotten co-founder of Twitter, was fired by former Twitter CEO Ev Williams and had to fight to recover the stock options due him.

"Unlike Noah, Ryan knew his role and knew when more experienced people were needed," said one person with knowledge of the situation. "He played nice in the sandbox and didn't have an ego whatsoever. And he carved out a nice role for himself in the company."

There is absolutely no way this business would have gotten where it is without Travis and his arrogance.

Another person who has worked with Graves agrees. "He's a good guy who works really hard and deserves all the success he has gotten. He's a hustler."

Meanwhile, no one seems to doubt that putting Kalanick in the CEO role was the right move.

"There is absolutely no way this business would have gotten where it is without Travis and his arrogance,"

says an acquaintance of Kalanick's. "Not without him being like, 'I'm going to take over the world.' He has the Steve Jobs mentality that 'It's my way or the highway.'"

Says another person who served on a board with Kalanick: "With Uber, Travis has finally found something to put his fight behind."


Into the Smoke-Filled Rooms

Not long ago, while waiting in the security line at an airport, a tech executive spotted Travis Kalanick.

"Hey, where are you headed?" this person asked.

"Miami," Kalanick replied with a shrug. "Gotta change a law."

For decades, as the digital revolution transformed one industry after another, the taxi and limo business puttered along, rarely showing any interest in innovation (unless you consider the adoption of video in the back seat an innovation). It took a fighter like Kalanick to take on the industry’s entrenched interests and bring a tech-friendly new approach to bear.

Kalanick has forced Uber into 60 cities now, generally by ignoring pre-existing laws and shrugging off the fury of taxi companies. In his wake, a slew of competitors, including SideCar, Hailo, GetAround, and Lyft have followed. Meanwhile, predecessors, like Cabulous (now Flywheel), have largely fallen off the radar.

lyft uberNot that Kalanick has much patience for Uber’s competition. He once went after ride-sharing startup Lyft on Twitter, demanding information about its insurance policy. Kalanick ended the conversation with a dig: "You've got a lot of catching up to do...#clone."

Kalanick's strategy with longtime industry fixtures has been reckless, and effective. He has adopted an aggressive posture, taking Mark Zuckerberg’s credo — "Move fast and break things" — very much to heart. A former colleague equated Kalanick's behavior to "swinging at the hornet's nest," sometimes escalating situations unnecessarily. Three months ago, after receiving one of many "cease and desist" letters, Kalanick posted it to his Instagram account, adding the comment: "Charming greeting card from a taxi cartel representative."

Taxi companies are comprised of some intimidating figures, and they haven't taken too kindly to Uber.

One former Uber employee recalls meeting with some pretty intimidating industry veterans who fit the goombah stereotype: men in their 60s wearing gold chains and rings, delivering threats.

"I can't say [the taxi industry] is actually mafia-run but I was certainly taken out to a lot of really sketchy steak lunches where they'd sit on the other side of the table smoking cigars saying, 'You gotta come into this on our terms or things will happen,'" a former Uber employee recalls. "You know, 'Watch out.'"

New York Taxi and Limousine Deputy Commissioner Ashwini Chhabra, who first met with Kalanick in the fall of 2010 when Uber was preparing to launch in Manhattan, acknowledges Kalanick received a less-than-warm welcome. "Is the taxi industry going to welcome a San Francisco company in with open arms because they want to disrupt the business model?" he asks. "Not by any means. I'm sure everyone they met with was suspicious in the beginning."

Kalanick once lashed out publicly after Chhabra's TLC told him they couldn't allow UberTAXI — Uber’s e-hail service for yellow cabs — to operate in the city. "New York’s TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) put up obstacles and roadblocks in order to squash the effort around e-hail," Kalanick wrote in a blog post. "We’ll bite our tongues and keep our frustration here to ourselves."

travis kalanick uberOn the contrary, Chhabra explained, the issue involved pre-existing contracts with companies to provide credit card processing for yellow cabs. 

New York is hardly the only city whose officials have bristled at Kalanick’s approach. "I can recall numerous instances where he may have said stuff about regulators in different markets and people took it one way or the other," says Chhabra.

"Their strategy has been 'try and stop us, and if you try and stop us, then we'll cross that bridge when we come to it,'" former Uber New York General Manager Matt Kochman told The Verge. "Discounting the rules and regulations as a whole, just because you want to launch a product and you have a certain vision for things, that's just irresponsible."

That said, the deputy commissioner admits the hard-knuckled tactics can be effective. "That approach actually works if you want to come in and you're challenging an orthodoxy," he says, noting he personally has no hard feelings toward Kalanick or criticisms of his business style. "He's a good and tough negotiator, and when you're negotiating, sometimes there is some posturing on everyone's part, whether it's as the regulator or disruptor."

Another of Kalanick’s signature moves is to enlist passionate residents to rally against authorities. Last week, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Uber is not available due to a local ordinance requiring town cars to be hired for a minimum of one hour, he launched a Twitter campaign, #VegasNeedsUber, to apply pressure on officials there. The company encouraged citizens to share their experiences with Uber in other cities on social media and demand Uber be allowed in Las Vegas.

Finally, Uber has to worry about its drivers — who are not employees of Uber but instead work independently or for existing car service companies. They've sued the company, threatened to go on strike, and occasionally gotten themselves arrested. On New Year's Eve, a driver associated with Uber hit and killed a 6-year-old pedestrian. Uber said it was sorry for the family's loss but maintained that the driver wasn't running an Uber errand during the accident. It essentially fired the driver, deleting him from its system.

Later, when Uber was criticized for charging fares eight times higher than usual during a snowstorm, Kalanick posted an email from a concerned user to his Facebook page.

"Get some popcorn and scroll down," he wrote.

Lately, Uber's surge pricing model has become a source of contention for new and loyal users. While some agree with Kalanick — that raising fares is the only way to maintain a balance between supply and demand during busy times — others have pointed out that the dynamic pricing scheme challenges users’ faith in Uber at a delicate time for the company. Since Uber makes it clear to users that surge pricing is in effect before they accept rides, it hardly seems fair to blame the company for simply offering a service. And Kalanick doesn’t seem too likely to buckle. He has taunted his critics on Twitter, pointing out the use of such pricing by airlines and other industries. And in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal that seemed to take a less hostile stance, he nonetheless insisted that surge pricing was here to stay.


His Way

For all the controversies that have accompanied Uber’s rise, Kalanick is now routinely touted as one of the world's best entrepreneurs; some have compared him to Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs. Against all odds, he has turned Uber into a $3.4 billion business that customers fiercely love. While a lot of startups have gained popularity — and jaw-dropping valuations — without offering any clue of how they might make money, Uber is already generating impressive results. Leaked revenue figures show the company generates as much as $20 million per week.

Travis Kalanick Uber

Kalanick has worked tirelessly to achieve this success. A friend remembers him spending the majority of a Vegas bachelor-bachelorette party on his phone in the hot tub. But Kalanick's form of hustling also means doing things most people wouldn't: picking fights, bending laws, challenging governments, and throwing tantrums.

His ego is not to everyone’s taste. Casually dropping lines like "VCs ain't shit but hoes and tricks," as he did at Failcon, rubs some in the industry the wrong way.

One investor says his firm passed on Kalanick because he didn't get along with the partners. "He came in like he was God's gift," this person said.

As writer Paul Carr pointed out, Kalanick's one-time Twitter avatar — the cover of "The Fountainhead," Ayn Rand’s libertarian classic about the triumph of a Nietzschean individual, an "ubermensch," over the foolish and short-sighted masses — seemed telling.

And yet for the first time in his life, Kalanick is in a position of real power. He's a perpetual underdog who is finally able to flick off the world. Many interview requests for this story were forwarded directly to him. One high-up venture capitalist, when asked to talk about the CEO, replied simply: "No freaking way." Others who agreed to be interviewed later felt skittish. He's loved, respected, feared, and loathed in seemingly equal measure.

travis kalanickSome wonder if Kalanick, increasingly viewed as a standard bearer of Silicon Valley arrogance, is the right role model for the new generation of entrepreneurs. "If Travis Kalanick is the Michael Jordan poster that young entrepreneurs have hanging on their walls, that's sad," one person said. "Being a jerk isn't 'awesome' or 'badass.'"

"As much as he is inspirational, he’s controversial," a former colleague says. "If he were less brash, I don't think he would get half as far as he did."

Ed Hubbard, who attended UCLA with Kalanick, and later joined Uber as one of its first employees, insists Kalanick will succeed, whether anyone likes it or not.

"There’s a great argument to be made that there are founders with 'special' DNA that makes them some of the world’s greatest leaders," Hubbard says, noting that he borrowed the insight from one of his investors, Bill Burnham.

"The list includes Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. In my opinion Travis is going to be on that list and will be widely recognized among those tech leaders as a peer.

"Maybe he’ll do it with Uber, maybe it will be another company, but I’d bet on Travis any day."


Read more of Business Insider's longform features. 

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How They Make Lingerie Models Look So Good



How do they make lingerie models look amazing?

Business Insider slipped behind the scenes of a shoot for AdoreMe, a startup to rival Victoria's Secret. We interviewed the photographer, the founder, the makeup artist, and the model about how they make women look so desirable. 

Here's how the magic happens. 

Produced by Daniel Goodman; Additional Photography by Justin Gmoser. Originally published in September 2013.

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NOW WATCH:  What It Takes To Work At Hooters

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How To Automatically Delete Unwanted Email From Gmail


Maybe you signed up for a newsletter ages ago and it just won't let you unsubscribe. Or some store keeps sending you offers. Or that volunteer committee that you helped out once just won't take you off their mailing list.

If you can't get a specific someone to stop emailing you, you can get Gmail to delete those messages from your inbox automatically by setting up a filter.

Here's how.

Step 1: Click on the settings button on the right-hand corner of the page.

Step 2: Click on the Filters tab.

Step 3: Click on "Create new filter" on the bottom of the page.

Gmail filters

Step 4: In the next screen, tell Gmail how to identify the messages. If it always comes from the same email address use that. If it always uses the same subject line, use that. You can also have Gmail search the message for specific words, such as "PTA volunteer committee."

Step 5: Click on "Create filter with this search."

Gmail filters 2

Step 6: Click on "Delete it."

Step 7: Click on "Create filter", and click on "Also apply filter to matching messages" to have Google sift through your inbox and delete the ones from that sender.

Voila! Annoying emails gone.

Gmail filters 3

Tip: If you are nervous that it will delete messages you need, you can use "Skip the inbox" and Google will remove the message without deleting it. The message will show up in searches.

Or you can set up a folder and have the messages filed automatically there, to look at later.

Join the conversation about this story »


The World's Largest Water Slide Is In Kansas City, And You Won't Appreciate It Until You See This Video

The 24 Tiniest Homes On Earth


Zillow Seattle Footprint tiny apartments

Think your place is small?

These small spaces will put your 500-square-foot studio to shame. Small spaces are trending in real estate these days, and these folks are grabbing the bull by the horns.

Here are 24 of the smallest homes we could find, from all over the world. They're on roofs, on wheels, and in backyards.

They may make you feel claustrophobic, but their owners have found them to be quite livable.

Know of an even smaller living space? Let us know in the comments.

New York City will get 370-square-foot micro apartments.

Size: 250 to 370 sq. ft.

Location: New York, NY

Last January, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally revealed the design of thestudio apartments that will be no more than 370 square feet.

These apartments would be an affordable housing solution for young professionals and will be able hold a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and sleeping area.

The affordability is debatable, however, as the micro apartments will still cost between $940 and $1,700 a month to rent.

This 330-square-foot apartment in Hong Kong transforms into 24 different room combinations.

Size: 330 sq. ft.

Location: Hong Kong, HK

Gary Chang, an architect in Hong Kong, turned his family's tiny 330-square-foot tenement apartment into a sleek and efficient living space with 24 different room combinations, including bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and even a guest bedroom area.

So, how does he do it? Chang installed a number of sliding panels which he can move around the space to reveal hidden areas and storage. It's a system he calls the "Domestic Transformer."

San Jose is also getting its own 300-square-foot micro apartments.

Size:300 sq. ft.

Location: San Jose, Calif.

In August 2012, the San Jose Department of Housing built a development of 42 affordable single-room-occupancy apartments, each one 300 square feet or less. Designed by Studio E Architects, each unit measures about two parking spaces and includes a full kitchen, a bathroom, and a combined living/sleeping area. 

There is a long wait list for one of these studios, but at a price of $650 a month, the wait may well be worth it.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This Dad Has Been Drawing Ridiculously Cool Pictures On His Kids' Sandwich Bags Since 2008 [PHOTOS]


keeping cool

School lunches can be so boring.

But David Laferriere, a father of two from Massachusetts, keeps things entertaining by drawing a picture on his sons' sandwich bags almost every morning after he makes their lunch. 

LaFerriere, an illustrator and graphic designer, started doodling on lunch bags in May 2008. He posted the designs to Flickr since the sandwich bags get thrown out, he explained in a video feature for the website.

Five years later, LaFerriere has decorated close to 2,000 sandwich bags. It's a morning ritual he plans to continue until his youngest son, now 14, heads off to college, LaFerriere told Business Insider through email. LaFerriere's other son is 15. 

LaFerriere uses Sharpies to draw on the sandwich once it's inside the bag. The drawings don't take very long.

"It's rare that I go over 5 minutes since time is tight," he wrote.  

Some of his favorite things to draw are monsters, robots, chickens, birds, squirrels, and worms. "I really like the ones that incorporate the shape of the bread or a bubble."

You can see some of our favorite sandwich bag art in the following slideshow and visit LaFerriere's Flickr page to see all of his work. 

"Chicken fishing"

"Christmas tree"

"Leftover pumpkin pie"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We Tested The Double Stuf Oreo And Can Prove That It's Not Actually Double-Stuffed



A high school math class found out that Double Stuf Oreos aren't actually double stuffed. Their experiment concluded that these two-timing treats consist of only 1.86 times more "stuf" (creme) than the original Oreo cookies.

Nabisco, however, refuted the class' claim, telling Business Insider: "Our recipe for the Oreo Double Stuf cookie has double the Stuf, or creme filling, when compared with our base, or Original Oreo cookie."

So, we decided to conduct our own experiment to determine whether or not Double Stuf Oreos really do have double the stuff.

Produced by William Wei. Originally published in August 2013.

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WELCOME TO THE SUCK: Here's What Life At Marine Boot Camp Is Like



Established in 1915, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island churns out 20,000 new Marines every year.

Every Friday, a new crop of Marines leaves the base, and they leave happily.

The 12 week program is widely considered the most hellish of all recruit training regimens in the U.S. Military.

Here at Parris Island, the legendary drill instructors (DIs) makes sure every waking moment of a recruit's life is jam-packed with training.

There's only one major road running into Parris Island.

Gorgeous marshlands stretch for as far as the eye can see all around the island.

Recruits who want to run away can't take the only road and are unlikely to brave the alligators in the swamp.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The US Is Getting Skunked In Pope Francis' Cardinal Appointments


pope francis

Americans are getting shut out of the new group of bishops appointed by Pope Francis to the Vatican's College of Cardinals.

While the College, which serves as an advisory council to the Pope and appoints new Popes, already has 11 Americans, Candida R. Moss, a professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame, told the New York Times' Jim Yardley that it was  “noteworthy” that no American cardinals were named 

“The disproportionate representation of wealthy nations in the College of Cardinals is something that Francis is trying to rectify here, in keeping with his general concern for the poor,” she said in an email.

Six new cardinals come from Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Nicaragua, Haiti, Chile and the island of Saint Lucia. Bishops from the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, the Philippines and South Korea were also appointed.

Only four appointments came from the Curia, the Vatican's governing body, a sign the Pope also wants to quash "careerism and the idea of automatic appointments,” Gerald O’Connell, a Rome-based contributor to the online publication Vatican Insider, told the LAtimes Tom Kington.

Read Yardley's full write-up at NYTimes.com »

SEE ALSO: 11 Icons Of American Pop Culture Who Are Actually Canadian

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Rupert Murdoch Just Sold This Gorgeous Yacht For $29.7 Million


This is the Rosehearty, she's almost 138 feet long.

Rupert Murdoch has found a buyer for his yacht, Rosehearty, says The Telegraph. He put the vessel on sale three months after filing for divorce from his ex-wife, Wendi Deng.

The yacht itself boasts 5 cabins and some pretty amazing toys like water skis and full sets of diving gear.

Murdoch has said that the sale has nothing to do with divorce, he merely works too much. Apparently Wendi use it a fair amount though.

The vessel was sold by Alex Lees-Buckley in Monoco's Camper & Nicholsons office.

This is the Rosehearty, she's almost 138 feet long.

This is one of the five guest cabins aboard.

The boat accommodates about 12 guests.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Watch This Toddler's Priceless Reaction As She Meets Her Father's Identical Twin For The First Time


Kids can say the darnedest things, but sometimes all it takes is a look.

This video being passed around on Twitter and Facebook shows a little toddler meeting her father's identical twin brother for the first time.

Her facial expressions are equal parts adorable and hilarious.

You can watch the video below:

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