One of Technology’s Most Highly Regarded Business Executives
What is it like to be on the ground floor of technology that is transforming the world? How do you have your company run a marathon at the speed of a sprint? How do you avoid the “innovator’s dilemma” once your company has changed from the ‘insurgent’ to the ‘establishment’? How can you ensure that you are not growing your company faster than the systems and structures needed for long-term success? How do you turn a $300 million deal into an $800 million one—in one single weekend with Microsoft’s CEO? What’s on the horizon in investment and tech? Ask Emil Michael, the legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur, angel investor, and former Chief Business Officer at Uber. You won’t just get illuminating answers and insights. You’ll hear unforgettable stories about negotiating in China, the “frontier entrepreneurism” of introducing Uber around the world, creating product love, and Emil’s own secrets of successful deal-making.
More About Emil Michael
Emil Michael is one of technology’s most highly regarded business executives, having built three successful companies: Tellme Networks (sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $800 million), Klout (sold to Lithium Technologies in 2014 for $200 million), and Uber. He was named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and is on the short list of Silicon Valley visionaries. He is a contributor to Forbes, and a frequent guest on CNBC’s TechCheck and other national and global media sites and podcasts.
Michael currently serves as Chairman and CEO of DPCM Capital and serves on the boards of D-Wave, Homebound, Loft and Workrise.
From 2013-2017, Michael was Chief Business Officer at Uber. His tenure was marked by the company’s explosive rise from a valuation of $350 million to $70 billion, expansion from 50 to over 1,000 cities and 70 countries and growing from 200 to over 15,000 employees. Michael led the company’s efforts in China and incubated its business-to-business offering, Uber for Business. He played a pivotal role in raising nearly $15 billion dollars in capital from investors globally, the most raised by any private startup in history. Michael also led the merger of Uber’s China operations with key competitor, Didi Chiuxing. He established international partnerships with companies including American Express, AT&T, Daimler, Tata Motors, and Toyota. Michael also facilitated several critical acquisitions that became the core of Uber’s Advanced Technology Group and autonomous vehicle program. He is responsible for creating UberMilitary, a program aimed at providing preferred earning opportunities for active military and veterans resulting in over 50,000 current or former military members earning more than $300 million as Uber driver-partners.
Prior to Uber, Michael was Chief Operating Officer of Klout, where he was crucial in scaling the social media analytics company. Klout sold to Lithium Technologies for approximately $200 million in 2014.
Before joining Klout, Michael served as a White House Fellow working as a Special Assistant to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He ran projects in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, and implemented a department-wide budget-cutting effort aimed at increasing efficiency, reducing overhead, and streamlining bureaucracy.
Michael was also part of the early team of Tellme Networks, a pioneer in speech recognition technology, highly regarded for weathering the technology bust of 2000 and for building a sustainable and profitable business. Michael helped Tellme Networks raise over $250 million in venture capital and spearheaded its sale to Microsoft in 2007 for nearly $800 million. Tellme’s technology became the base of Microsoft’s voice recognition systems.
Born in Egypt, Michael’s family immigrated to the U.S. when he was an infant, fleeing the discrimination and lack of opportunity they faced as members of the minority Coptic Christian community. He credits his immigrant experience and the relentless drive that it fostered as integral to his success as an entrepreneur and businessman.
Through his career, Michael has been a leadership coach and mentor to dozens of young CEOs, giving him extensive exposure to early-stage companies, technologies, and trends. He also serves as an advisor or investor in over 50 start-ups around the world, furthering his commitment to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs build, scale, and reach their potential. He began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he was an Associate in the Investment Banking Division from 1998 to1999.
Michael received his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from Stanford Law School and holds active membership of the Board of Directors of several high-profile public private technology companies.
He is an avid supporter of the Innocence Project, serves on the board of Design Miami, and is an advisory board member at Culture Shift Labs.
How do you negotiate a great business deal for your business? It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup looking for funding or an established company wanting to make a sale. A great deal can help you thrive while a bad deal can sink your prospects. So how do you negotiate the best terms possible? While working as the Chief Business Officer for Uber, Emil was instrumental in raising nearly 15 billion dollars for the company. In this exciting talk, Emil will share how he made deals for Uber and other startups. Audiences will come away with the framework for making a deal, mistakes to avoid, how to use leverage and, most importantly, the human dynamics that impact the success of a negotiation.
First, you have to identify what kind of leader you are: Do you want to hire ‘spikes’ or do you prefer a ‘generalist’ approach to team building? How do you create a great team if your team members are all over the world? When you’re a small startup with less than 50 people, it’s easy to hire high-quality people who share the company’s values. But how do you keep the quality and values consistent when you’re not doing the hiring personally any more? While working as Chief Business Officer for Uber, Emil was responsible for keeping the values consistent as he helped open Uber locations all over the world. In this insightful talk, Emil will share how he built a resilient culture of relentlessness. Audiences will come away learning how to develop a consistent process for hiring, how to communicate cultural values, and how to adapt them to different countries and, most importantly, how to manage a team full of spikes or a team of high-performing generalists.
When survival of a start-up is its chief mission, the team you assemble and the values you adopt are tribal. There is much less focus on the individual employee and much more focus on the existential mission to grow the business. Every employee pitches in to put out fires and everyone gives their opinion on what to do next. You are the underdog and you need a tribal mentality to make it.
However, when the company has found a product that consumers want and how to deliver it efficiently, the company has to change. At that point, having structures, systems and, yes, some ‘bureaucracy’ is needed. Jobs have to be more defined, processes to allocate capital efficiently etc. The stakeholders become more diverse…and like any civilization, your concerns extend beyond survival. Usually, companies make this transition smoothly. However, in the hyper competitive and hyper growth areas in the tech segment, this change has to happen faster than is natural to do.
As important, this maturation can’t go so fast that the company actually slows down and faces the Innovator’s Dilemma. This is the central challenge for high growth companies in tech today.
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