Haute 100 SF: Uber’s Travis Kalanick Shares Advice With UCLA Students

Travis Kalanick

On Monday, Uber’s Chief Executive and Haute 100 lister Travis Kalanick offered some advice to students and young alumni entrepreneurs at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Kalanick spoke with Susan Feldman, a UCLA Anderson alumna who co-founded One Kings Lane in 2009, which operates a furniture and home accessories sales website with more than 10 million members. He also was on-site to receive the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award from the UCLA Venture Capital Fund, which was presented by Michael Silton.

The former UCLA computer-engineering student, who left campus in 1998 to launch his first start-up with classmates, told the crowd of millennials that he started his first venture as a freshman at UCLA. According to Re/code, the 39-year-old launched an SAT tutoring business. He would spend his Friday nights preparing Saturday morning sessions — which he described as “a performance.”

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur told UCLA students he is not big on seeking advice. Kalanick said, “Instead of asking someone what to do, what I prefer is [having someone] tell me a story. I can listen and hear the parts that are interesting, and apply those to the decision I have to make.”

Prior to the public event, which took place at Royce HallKalanick spoke with UCLA’s media contact Phil Hampton. The Los Angeles native dished about his experience at UCLA, how to encourage women as well as people of color to become entrepreneurs and much more.

When asked, What experiences did you have at UCLA that influenced your career or approach to business? He replied, “UCLA taught me how to think like an engineer, how to break problems into pieces and put it all back together. Everything I do in business goes back to that core problem-solving rigor that I got exposed to in the engineering curriculum.”

As for encouraging women and people of color to become entrepreneurs, Kalanick said, “Entrepreneuring is hard, but those who have faced and overcome adversity are particularly well-suited for the entrepreneurial road ahead. For those of us who have seen success, it is our duty to find and to fight injustice wherever it may be.”

Read the entire Q&A here.

Photo via Flickr