If Silicon Valley is the land of self-congratulatory BS, then Lyft President John Zimmer just made a play for the crown.
As his ride-hail company continues to benefit from the ongoing struggles of its top rival Uber, the extremely rich executive took a moment out of his busy schedule rescuing kittens or whatever to chat it up with Time.
The topic du jour? How his San Francisco-based company is less a Peter Thiel-backed behemoth working with General Motors to automate its drivers out of jobs than a thoughtful and do-gooding corporate citizen.
“We’re woke,” the questionably woke exec told Time. “Our community is woke, and the U.S. population is woke.”
We hate to break it to you, John, but being less awful than Uber doesn’t make you “woke.”
This is not the first instance of the tech industry appropriating a term associated with combating racism and police violence. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, for example, was roundly dragged last year for wearing a “#staywoke” T-shirt, but Zimmer’s recent proclamation makes it clear he somehow missed that overt social cue to back off.
Sure, that ACLU donation was nice of Lyft. And the “round up” idea is legit in that it helps customers donate to a good cause, but please for the love of god don’t mistake a few acts of brand-boosting charity as a marker of corporate enlightenment.
That whole drivers are independent contractors thing? Not woke. Or how about black Lyft drivers earning less than white ones? Decidedly not woke.
OK, so if not woke, then maybe Lyft can position itself as something else?
“We’re not the nice guys,” Zimmer techsplained Time. “We’re a better boyfriend.”
If that’s the angle Zimmer is going for then maybe he ought to have a little chat with Lyft investor Peter Thiel — the man who notoriously called date rape “belated regret.”
Take your time, Zimmer, we’ll wait.