The 5 Most Ridiculous Moments From Uber CEO’s Memo On Rules For Partying & Sex

Image courtesy of Elliott Brown

Most of us don’t want our boss’s personal thoughts on the best ways to party and possibly engage in sexual intercourse with co-workers. Even if we did want this insight from our supervisor, it’s probably best to leave some lines uncrossed. Yet, Uber’s CEO (and embodiment of overcompensation) Travis Kalanick apparently felt compelled to share this sort of wisdom with hundreds of employees.

In an Oct. 2013 email obtained by Recode, Kalanick sent out a list of “DOs and DON’Ts” and other talking points in advance of a company event in Miami.

Recode has the full text of the email, and it’s worth a read (if you can handle it, broseph!), but we just wanted to call out a few particularly headslap-worthy moments:

1. “Read This Or I’ll Kick Your Ass”

Most important company memos will let tags like “Must Read,” “Urgent,” or “Mandatory for All Employees” suffice in expressing the need for staff to read the message, but Kalanick goes nuclear in his insistence on the importance of his email.

“URGENT, URGENT – READ THIS NOW OR ELSE!!!!!” reads the subject line, followed a few sentences later by “You better read this or I’ll kick your ass.”

2. Don’t Get Arrested Or Kill Anyone

First off, the name for the event was simply “九,” a Chinese symbol for the number 9. Kalanick, speaking like a cult member or a sales associate for a multilevel marketing scheme, notes that 九 “has internal meaning at Uber but is something we do not discuss externally.”

Now that this confusion is out of the way, the CE-bro gets to the “list of concerns from the legal department,” like “No lives should begin or end at 九,” “We do not have a budget to bail anyone out of jail. Don’t be that guy,” and this gem: “Do not throw large kegs off of tall buildings.”

Oh, and no drugs “unless you have the appropriate medicinal licensing.” Note that medical marijuana was not yet legal in Florida in 2013.

3. Rules For Sex

It’s generally advised for bosses to not say anything about their employees’ sex lives. If there are contractual restrictions on intra-office romances, let the legal and human resources folks deal with that. But again, Kalanick decides to spell it all out for his staff (while also talking about himself in the third-person and throwing Travis a minor pity party for his apparent lack of coitus during the event):

“Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS a) you have asked that person for that privilege and they have responded with an emphatic ‘YES! I will have sex with you’ AND b) the two (or more) of you do not work in the same chain of command. Yes, that means that Travis will be celibate [sic] on this trip. #CEOLife #FML”

4. The Puke Charge

Just like if you throw up in the back of an Uber, the company’s employees faced penalties for regurgitating during the party whose name we dare not intone.

“There will be a $200 puke charge for any public displays on the Shore Club premises.”

The best part, however, is that Uber will not simply take the venue’s word that some drunk Uber staffer vomited in the lobby after drinking too much Zafiro Añejo.

“Shore Club will be required to send pictures as proof,” explains the memo.

5. The First Rule Of Uber Club…

Is that you don’t talk about Uber Club, particularly to the media.

Uber has never really been a fan of reporters — whether it was trying to dig up dirt on journalists who criticized the company or an Uber-hired investigator pretending to be a reporter in order to snoop on a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

So it comes as little surprise that Kalanick resorted to some all-caps shouting to drive home his point that the media is not welcome at his party:

“DO NOT TALK TO PRESS,” he wrote. “Additionally, stay vigilant about making sure people don’t infiltrate our event. If and when you find yourself talking to a non-Uber (look for the wristband), keep confidential stuff confidential… no rev figures, driver figures, trip figures… don’t talk about internal process, and don’t talk about initiatives that have not already launched.”


The revelation of the 2013 memo comes at the end of a particularly embarrassing week for Kalanick and company. Uber fired at least 20 people as part of its internal investigation into allegations of a culture of harassment and sexism. At the same time, it was reported that the company was still paying women employees less than men, that Kalanick was using the Uber HQ lactation room for his personal meditation space, and that a since-fired company executive had obtained and shared the medical files of a rape victim in an effort to disprove her allegations.

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