Dec 24, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon and a very merry Christmas Eve: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 420 words — a 2 minute read.

1 big thing: The end of that era

Travis Kalanick in 2016. Photo: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

The founder who made Uber a verb no longer owns any Uber.

  • Travis Kalanick has left the board, the company announced today. He has now sold all his stock in the firm.

Why it matters: Kalanick grew Uber into a global phenomenon and changed the way people get around town, Axios' Dan Primack notes.

  • But he's also responsible for a problematic culture, which contributed to his mid-2017 firing as CEO.

Flashback: "In 2009, Mr. Kalanick and [co-founder Garrett Camp] started Uber as a black-car service that riders could hail from their phone," the N.Y. Times notes.

  • "Mr. Kalanick stepped into the role of chief executive in 2010 and oversaw a period of rapid growth at the company. He often flouted local regulations, pushing Uber to expand to new cities as rapidly as possible."

The big picture: Kalanick was — like WeWork CEO Adam Neumann — a singular face of a company that preached disruption on a global scale.

  • Their firms were the poster children of the gig economy, and their fundraising numbers were insane.
  • Now they're on a new generation of leadership, facing market conditions that seem far more wary of their gauzy dreams.
Bonus: Pics du jour
Photo: Thomas Warnack/dpa/Getty Images

Above: View of the church of Seekirch am Federsee in the morning of Christmas Eve, with the Alps in the background.

Below: Santa Claus waves as he swims with fishes and rays in an aquarium during a show at Africa's largest marine theme park in Durban, South Africa.

Photo: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP/Getty Images
2. What you missed
  1. President Trump dismissed North Korea's threat of a "Christmas gift" for the U.S., saying the military would “deal with it very successfully." Go deeper.
  2. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising supporters that he will convince Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and all settlements on the West Bank. Go deeper.
  3. Baltimore will become the first city in the U.S. to pilot aerial surveillance, funded by philanthropists, to understand its impact on crime. Go deeper.
  4. Christian Post journalist Napp Nazworth left the company over plans to publish a pro-President Trump editorial striking at Christianity Today for rebuking the administration, the Washington Post reports.
  5. Mike Bloomberg used prison labor to make 2020 election phone calls. The campaign confirmed the contract in a statement to The Intercept, saying: “We didn’t know about this and we never would have allowed it if we had." Go deeper.
3. 1 🎅 thing

United States Navy Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Shannon Chambers looks over a volunteer playbook in the NORAD Tracks Santa center. Photo: David Zalubowski/AP

For the 64th(!) time this Christmas, the U.S. and Canadian militaries will be delivering real-time Santa updates, the AP reports.

  • Operation NORAD Tracks Santa evolved from a misdirected telephone call in 1955 — to a trailer parked outside the command’s former lair deep inside Cheyenne Mountain — to NORAD’s modern-day headquarters at Colorado’s Peterson Air Force Base.
  • This year’s portals include Alexa, OnStar, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and 3-D apps.

Between the lines: It takes a village of dozens of tech firms to deliver the immersive effect for global Santa trackers, with some 15 million visits to the website alone last year.

Mike Allen