"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Überness"
Looking more like a political rally than a cocktail party, the invitation-only “Über DC Cocktails, Innovation, and Transportation” event held Thursday evening at the Shadow Room on K Street meant free pizza, drinks (and PopChips) for the lucky 700 who got in before the doors closed.
Rachel Holt, Über's D.C. general manager was on hand to greet guests. "We’re delighted at the turnout. We're here to thank all our supporters. We haven’t seen any laws or regulations to suggest we’re doing anything illegal. It's business as usual."
World-renowned Georgetown architect (and contributor to The Georgetown Dish), Simon Jacobsen and his wife Ruth were there to lend support. "As a frequent user of private car services, Simon said” Über is exactly the same thing, only Über is more effective and the drivers don’t have to stand around waiting.”
Travis Kalanick took to the podium to thank the standing room-only crowd, and began by explaining Über's raison d’être, "I’m from San Francisco. Here there are 12 taxis per 1,000 riders. In San Francisco there are 1.8." Started in his home town, Über is now in six U.S cities and Paris.
Travis briskly went through a lively Powerpoint presentation, complete with graphs and maps. When a photo of D.C. Taxicab Commissioner Ron Linton appeared on screen, the crowd went "Booo." Smiling, Travis responded, "We not only love the people who love us, but love those who hate us.”
The spontaneous outburst was in reaction to the well-publicized January 11th sting, which Travis recounted. "Two days after our meeting, Ron Linton calls an Über to take him to the Mayflower Hotel where The Washington Post, DCist and 10 inspector dudes show up. Then they impound his car." Another loud "Boo!" Rachel Holt explained earlier that "we cover 100% of all tickets."
"It’s not illegal to want a classy, convenient ride. We made sure we’re 100% legal." Travis continued, "Here's to life, liberty and the pursuit of Überness."
"On Valentine’s Day (same day as his next meeting with Ron Linton) “Every woman who enters an Über car after 4:00 pm will get a rose by the driver.” The predictable response was applause and a resounding "Yay!"
And for the meeting with Ron? "We’ll be bringing roses and chocolates.”
Before closing, Travis urged fans to stay on Twitter and Facebook, go to the hearings, and continue taking Über.
Then it was back to the bar.