Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber season 1 episode 5 recap & review: The Charm Offensive

Voot based series Super Pumped: The battle for Uber narrates the true story of the rise and fall of Uber Founder Travis Kalanick. In episode 5, Travis tries to convince Tim Cook to let Uber stay in Apple Store. 

Recap 

The episode starts with Travis learning that Apple knows about their privacy breach. He receives a call from Eddy Cue, who informs him that Tim Cook wants to meet him. Travis is worried but refuses to apologize for it. He is still very arrogant and proclaims that he makes Apple a lot of money. 

He meets Eddy Cue and Tim Cook, who threaten to remove Uber from App Store after they deliberately broke the company’s privacy policies. He requests them to hear him out once and says he did that because of China. 

He shares how Uber has taken over the world in a record time, but there’s one country they couldn’t conquer- The People’s Republic of China. With a 1.7 B population and 97% who uses a smartphone, establishing a business in China would be very profitable for Uber.

But the issue is there are already two ride-sharing companies- Didi Dache and Kauidi Dache, who dominate the Chinese market. Both of them are at war with each other and that’s when Uber entered the market. 

Uber was doing good too, but it was later found that half of the rides were fake, causing massive losses. Travis blames this on Apple. He says that all iPhones had an equivalent of digital signatures, which could be used to track down the scammers.

But since Apple stopped sharing the signature, Uber lost its ability to identify the frauds. 

The scene changes to the boardroom meeting, where Travis is once again fighting with his board members. This time it is about taking over China. Bill believes that China can’t be conquered with the same strategy as Europe and needs more time.

But Travis stubbornly defends his stance. He says that Arianna believes in him and Uber, unlike Bill. He concludes that they are staying in China. 

Later that day, Travis learns that one of the Uber drivers has killed a child in Ohio. He looks very indifferent about the entire situation and is more worried about Uber’s image. His employees suggest that he should hold a press event in New York.

But Travis declines the idea and says he doesn’t need the press. 

The scene changes back to his meeting with Tim. He asks Travis why Uber’s attrition rate is so high for women. The scene moves back to Susan Fowler, directly speaking to the audience, answering the question Tim had posed. She talks about being sexually harassed on the first day of her work. 

She later continues narrating stories of different female employees and their struggles to survive in a toxic, sexist and misogynist company. It ends with her leaving the company, too, as her performance score is undermarked and HR tells her that she is creating a toxic environment by making all the sexual harassment complaints. 

The scene changes to Bill meeting with Arianna. He tells her that Travis needs guidance and she is the perfect person to offer it, but Arianna shoots back and asks him to take a step back and let Travis be Travis. 

Travis is in the company, giving a tour to his mom and girlfriend when he learns that the two ride-sharing companies in China have called a truce and are merging. 

The scene moves back to the Tim and Travis meeting. Tim asks him why does Uber treats their drivers so poorly. Travis simply lies and changes the topic. 

The press dinner ends up taking place. Emil, Uber’s Chief Business Executive, accompanies Travis. He insults Ben from Buzzfeed and suggests digging for the personal information of another journalist, who has been bad-mouthing Uber.

Ben publishes an article about the same. 

Bill ends up allowing Uber to stay in Apple Store. The episode ends with Bill getting a call from Google. They are suing Travis for stealing their driverless vehicle design. Bill claims that he has turned Google into an enemy. 

Review

  • The episode, just like the rest of the series, showed Travis’s ignorant, egoistic personality. It was interesting to witness him facing the consequences of his harsh actions. 
  • The continuous change in narration throughout the episode was hard to keep up with and felt a little overdone.  
  • The next episode will probably be about how Google challenges Uber and slowly kills it. It will be highly fascinating to see how Travis reacts to the same. 

Rating: 3/5


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