Uber’s New Vanity HQ May Prove An Old Saying About Glass Houses

The company is going for transparency with its new HQ.

Uber HQFor the better part of two years, app-transport company Uber has made a nasty habit of appearing in case studies about what not to do in positive public relations.

We have covered them a few times in the PRNewserverse, if you are so inclined to refresh your browser about the several ways Uber CEO Travis Kalinick and its dunderhead svp of marketing Emil Michael have enlightened the masses about the benefits for crisis communications plans.

A company that has encountered as many issues may want to cower from the public eye for fear of scrutiny and repetition of past mistakes. But this is Uber we’re discussing–humility and shying from the public eye aren’t the company’s strong suits.

So, they announced plans (via SFGate.com) to construct a megalopolis corporate headquarters in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood–all 423,000 square feet of a big glass barn.

Of course, there’s a purpose to Uber’s need to be the subject of voyeurism.

The “inside-out” design seeks to reinforce the openness of Uber’s corporate culture, according to Adony Beniares, head of workplace operations. “There is a transparency we have internally where anybody can talk to anybody about what is going on” regardless of title or level of responsibility, he said.

“This new workplace also marks a departure from the growing trend of an entirely open-plan office,” he added. “Instead, work stations are arranged in a series of smaller neighbourhoods, each with access to shared support and collaborative work zones.”

There are a few other aspects of Uber’s corporate policy that PR professionals would call “inside out,” but we can stick with design for now.

Hopefully, the executive team at Uber are mindful of aphorisms:

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Typically, you should not criticize other people for bad qualities in their character that you have yourself. Hopefully, the next time Michael or Kalinick visit a party with an open bar, they will keep that–and their new fancy address–in mind.