Skip to navigationSkip to content

Ideas

Our home for bold arguments and big thinkers.

E E GOINGS

This letter from an angry Uber investor reads like a piece of modernist poetry

By Georgia Frances King

Sometimes the greatest art comes from a place of pain.

After being forcibly ousted from his position as CEO of Uber in June, Travis Kalanick was sued for fraud on Aug. 10 by Benchmark, the venture-capital firm that was an early investor in the company and holds a seat on its board. They claim he hid “his gross mismanagement and other misconduct at Uber” and tried to wrestle his position back. (Too late.) While the ballsy move was met with relief from some of the Uber shareholders, who had grown tired of Kalanick’s shenanigans, others have rallied against the decision.

One of these voices is Hyperloop co-founder and Uber board member Shervin Pishevar, who claims that Benchmark took advantage of the death of Kalanick’s mother in the timing of their suit. In a memo supplied to his lawyers ahead of filing a motion in the court case, Pishevar decries the VC firm’s lawsuit. And boy, is it beautiful.

The memo sits somewhere between an e e cummings poem and a sophomore-year lit class essay, full of delightful mixed metaphors (“swimming in the crucible”), alliteration (“bitterly barren barons”), and a sprinkling of Latin (“fiat justitia ruat caelum”/Let justice be done though the heavens fall). It’s a piece of modern-day poetry; a liberal-arts sonnet borne out of the injustices of Silicon Valley’s STEM community.

To emphasize its literary gravitas, we decided to give it the treatment it deserves. Enjoy.

“sanctimonious hypocrites”

let us take this pause
    in this moment
when we find ourselves 
                         swimming 
in the crucible 
of one of the 
    grandest business & moral battles
of our generation
                   and find
strength
    in.
        each.
            stroke.
of our proverbial digital pens
that we wrote with the 
indelible, eternal & permeant ink of
                  righteousness

we write with the souls
of thousands of lives        
                         saved
    the lives of millions of jobs 
                created
liberating multitudes of drivers from
    —the shackles of servitude—
to iniquitous taxi cartels
        of corrupt cabals
              that choked cities
with their pollution
        of air
                        and morals

we write with the spirit
                of bonnie kalanick
who raised her son with
    deep.
        unconditional.
                    love.
and unfading faith
in his ability to 
            do good
for the world
whose tragic and untimely death
was used against her son
                    at his most 
            vulnerable
        unspeakable
time of pain

they chose to 
                      strike
at a moment 
    of a devoted son’s 
                      retreat
and leave of absence 
    to mourn the
                      absence
of the inviolable love of his 
               mother

in doing so
they joined the very 
        —corruption—
her son had devoted such 
    fervent.
        passion.
            to fight.

in her memory
    we devote our actions
        to a just cause
            to defend what is 
right.
     and to protect the interest
of not only shareholders
but most importantly the
    far.
        more.
            important.
stakeholders of 
    employees, driver & customers
whose lives have been forever
                        altered
by the abiding faith
            and fervent hard work of
                     travis kalanick        
& the uber team 

their allegiance was met 
by this
    unholy alliance 
        of perfidious greed
developing rapidly into the 
        —audacity of vituperative—
unparalleled
                  predatory rapacity 

let us 
                              strike
        tomorrow
with the full and fulsome courage
    of our convictions
let our just cause
                          give pause
to those who would veer
        —dream—
of ever emulating the 
            shameful shennagiagns
of these 
     sanctimonious hypocrites
who fling filing
and letters
    de haut en bas
when it is 
                      we.
who have the 
             higher moral ground
and our letters and filing will
        —hail down upon—
their platforms
exposing them as 
             bitterly barren barons
of 
    moral turpitude

and as the summer sets
    we let us be 
        steward of truth
            who in unison proclaim
fiat justitia ruat caelum

-shervin pishevar