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Watch the full video of our PandoMonthly fireside chat with Lyft cofounder John Zimmer



No privately-held tech company made more headlines in 2014 than Uber. For every breathless post about the transportation giant’s $ 41 billion valuation and its potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, there were also disturbing reports of its irresponsible use of location tracking, sexist corporate culture, and ambitions to smear critical journalists like our very own Sarah Lacy.

With all that criticism, is there room for a kinder, gentler competitor in the software-driven transportation space, despite Uber’s enormous headstart?

Lyft cofounder John Zimmer thinks so. He came on the PandoMonthly stage in San Francisco to discuss the value of his company’s “nice guy” brand identity, how self-driving cars could change the landscape of the so-called ridesharing market, and the reality that Lyft has its own share of critics.

Watch the full video below, and keep an eye out for upcoming PandoMonthly events in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]



Get your tickets now for next week’s PandoMonthly SF with Lyft’s John Zimmer


zimmer4We have always had uncanny timing with our PandoMonthly guests. We book most of them months or even a year in advance and somehow they get newsy just at the right time. We interviewed Kevin Systrom just after selling Instagram to Facebook. We interviewed Dick Costolo just after Twitter went public. And who could have guessed in January when we booked Jerry Yang that Alibaba would just go public as one of the the biggest tech homeruns ever.

So it’s fitting after the last week’s Ubergate and continuing concerns about data privacy plaguing the company this week, that our guest for our last San Francisco PandoMonthly of the year (booked months ago) is the Anti-Travis Kalanick: John Zimmer, CEO and co-founder of Uber’s arch-rival Lyft.

Go here to get your ticket now.

I haven’t spoken with Zimmer since all of this unfolded and Lyft has been wisely heads down not seeking to make too much hay out of their larger rival becoming the butt of late night talk shows. But I’m dying to know what’s really been going on behind the scenes there.

Beyond the last week, the story of Lyft is a fascinating one– a pivot that actually worked, a distant latecomer to a market that has surged by playing to its strengths, and a company unafraid to be nice in a market where being cutthroat is getting results.

We’ll discuss all of this with John live on stage at Rackspace next Thursday, 4th December. Tickets are on sale now.

(I should note, we’ve invited Kalanick to be interviewed at PandoMonthly before, and he’s declined. The invitation is still open, as is the invitation to have any on the record conversation about the events of last week with any Uber executive. I should also note that Pando has investors in common with both Uber and Lyft.)