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The Wall Street Journal this morning calls Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's "abrupt surrender ... a stunning fall for one of the most celebrated careers in Silicon Valley." Kalanick keeps his board seat, retains control of a majority of Uber's voting shares, and had the pleasure of seeing a critic, venture capitalist Bill Gurley, leave the board.

  • But this was a very personal rejection of a corporate culture that was long viewed as aggressive and unrestrained, then harshly scrutinized amid complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination.
  • I just finished the well-timed new book by Fortune's Adam Lashinsky, "Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination."
  • My big takeaway: The fiasco at Uber is a product of the same phenomenon we're seeing in the Trump West Wing: Corporate cultures, whether healthy or sick, flow from the top — and are set in the organization's earliest days.

A few memorable passages:

  • "Travis Kalanick ... came to define what it meant to be a tech entrepreneur in the second decade of the twenty-first century ... the philosopher/execution guy, a jerk to many."
  • Over the years, there was "a sense of shiftiness about Kalanick, a can't-quiet-put-your-finger-on-it untrustworthiness that would irk some who deal with him."
  • Ilya Hykinson, a Kalanick colleague at an earlier start-up, recalls: "He'd write a large dollar figure on the whiteboard, circling it and outlining it for effect, just in case somebody came by and saw it ... That's kind of a weird, sleazy move."
  • "Kalanick ... seemed incapable, in public or in private, of holding back ... His widely quoted whoppers sometimes had an intellectually defensible ring to them. Yet they suggested a shocking lack of empathy or, at the very least, an inability to know when to keep quiet."

Be smart: The values you project, whether they're intentional or not, will quickly pollinate through your organization. Know what they are, and make sure they're what you want.

For a look at our culture, read "The Axios Manifesto" here.

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Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

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Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.