The Denver General Manager of Uber Technology Company (which has the tagline of "Everyone’s private driver"), Will McCollum, is pretty uber (the German term for cool) himself and one of the smartest and tech-savvy guys I've run across in a long time.
Originally from Kansas, Will transplanted himself to Colorado after receiving his MBA at CU Boulder. After his undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas, he moved to Prague for five years and also studied in Switzerland, Cambridge, Costa Rica and China. “ Will says: “I love to travel but Colorado is now home.”
Will explained that Uber is a whole new concept of transporting yourself safely from one place to the next which has come to life in Denver – as well as 32 other major cities across the country. Whether you're clubbing in LoDo, cheering on the Rockies at Coors Field, or shopping/dining in Cherry Creek, Uber Denver is your convenient, reliable, and stylish ride around the Mile-High City. Mc Collum says he is impressed with how progressive and "technology friendly" a place Denver is to do business.
Uber first launched in June of 2010 in San Francisco. Denver was the 15th market of currently 32 Uber worldwide cities. Uber's smartphone app allows users to virtually hail a ride from a black sedan or other luxury vehicle on demand. The company contracts with licensed, insured limo companies for the service.
Will hasn’t taken a day off since he started working for Uber. For someone who has travelled the world extensively by the age of 30 – that’s pretty remarkable, and the sign of a man who loves his job!
Will describes the age demographic of most Uber clients as "Millennials" a term for people born between 1975 to sometime before 9/11. Other clients can also be referred to as Gen Y'ers, Echo-Boomers - and the Peter Pan generation. I only became familiar with these terms after interviewing Will McCollum. And - there's always room for us Baby Boomers in an Uber limo too!
As to where Will sees himself in the future: “I suppose tech and logistics is where I belong!” There’s no question that innovative, new high-tech companies is where the bright, charming and personable Will McCullom will focus his energy for years to come.
You say: "Denver is an Uber city - a progressive technology friendly place to do business." How did this conclusion come about? That's actually an interesting question. With our regulatory challenges right now with the PUC, we're confident that Colorado will prove to be the innovative, business-friendly place it's positioned to be.
What led you into this field of business? My career began at DHL IT Services in Prague, Czech Republic, believe it or not! DHL is a logistics company and I was working in its technology division. Uber is a technology company that delivers "on-demand urban logistics," it would appear that technology and logistics is a passion of mine! The big difference here is the start-up nature of our company and our ability to help create so many jobs with a product that people love. I love this job.
For those who might not know, what is Uber? A lead-generation technology platform for the limousine and TAXI industries. They connect sophisticated customers with quality transportation with the nearest licensed and insured provider on the Uber System. Our goal is the highest quality transportation with the fastest response time.
How does Uber work? Customers create a pre-arranged reservation through a smartphone app. The nearest driver is alerted of the fare and given the customer’s info and pickup location. Drivers’ App uses GPS to collect data which is forwarded to Uber’s servers for accurate billing and receipt generation.
Why has Uber become so popular? Consumers get highest quality transportation with the fastest response time as well as a reliable, classy way to get around. Also great customer service and transparency in pricing. Customers can find out ahead of time exactly what the fare will be. The drivers benefit with flexible scheduling, higher weekly earnings, sedans can earn 30 -50% more. Cities get more transportation options, reliability covering all neighborhoods that helps reduce drinking and driving. A new market generating hundreds of new, well-paying driver jobs.
Why did you decide to go to work for Uber? Because of their high-tech culture and their innovative approach to create more value to something that already exists. Uber is a great mechanism for job creation and provides an efficient, reliable, stylish – and safe form of transportation. Preventing drunk driving and keeping people safe on the roads is one of our core values.
Does there seem to be a typical profile for your clients? Our users tend to be on the tech-savvy side, but we're branching out to new folks all of the time. Anyone who is into convenience, reliability, safety and style when it comes to their ride is a great Uber client!
What do you love most about Colorado? How does it compare to other cities in the U.S.? Denver and Colorado are on an upward trajectory. I'm the kind of guy who wants to aim for where something is going to be, not just living in the present and resting on your laurels. Colorado has that energy going for it - I hope to be a part of it!
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Gimme a few years….
What is something you still hope to accomplish? Startup is in my blood and definitely is a passion. Let's see where that leads….
What is your interpretation of having a balanced life? Work to live, not live to work! That only works when you love your job, though! :)
What's your favorite Denver restaurant(s)? ChoLon - the people and dumplings!
What nonprofits have you been involved with? I hear you have done many things for our community since coming to Denver? Charity is a huge part of what Uber does here in Denver. NYC has the finance and media industry, Chicago is a food city, LA has their celebrities, but Denver does charities - it was a perfect fit from the get go! We love being able to add value for all the great nonprofits we work with.
Do you have any time off for yourself? What do you like to do on your days off? I'll let you know when we get there! Haven't taken a day off since joining Uber…. is that weird?
As far as traveling, what's the coolest place you've been, and why did you like it? Too many to list, but I love being a part of something greater than myself. Being in the Tiergarten in Berlin during the 2006 World Cup Finals with another 1,000,000 people watching soccer. Amazing.
What do you want people to remember most about you? Enthusiasm and a zeal for life!