From hustle to hiring, Ryan Graves discusses keys to scaling Uber (Video)

Ryan Graves can trace his career at Uber back to one tweet. Well, one tweet and a whole lot of hustle. Graves, Uber's Global GM and VP of Operations, spoke Oct. 11 at Thinc Iowa 2012 about helping build Uber, the San Francisco-based startup that provides on-demand car service through a mobile app, and he

Ryan Graves can trace his career at Uber back to one tweet. 

Well, one tweet and a whole lot of hustle.

Graves, Uber‘s Global GM and VP of Operations, spoke Oct. 11 at Thinc Iowa 2012 about helping build Uber, the San Francisco-based startup that provides on-demand car service through a mobile app, and he reflected on the lessons he’s learned in the process.

One of the very first lessons Graves shared — a lesson cemented in his mind when he landed his gig with Uber — was the importance of hustle. Before Uber, Graves was interested in startups and worked diligently to keep tabs on the industry and make as many contacts as he could. So when he saw a tweet from Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick about a startup looking for a project manager, Graves pounced. 

“That was my intro to the guys who initially had the idea for Uber is just hustle,” he recalled. “I was watching what was going on. I was trying to meet every fricking person I could.”

That was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of lessons Graves has learned in his tenure with Uber. He also touched on the need for entrepreneurs to remain optimistic, the importance of companies being “human,” the crucial nature of hiring the right people, the belief that you can build a business anywhere.

Heck, the guy who owes his career at Uber to hustle even touched on the value of a little R & R. Fresh off a two-week vacation, Graves spoke about the value of time away from the  grind.

“I really did take a break from work, and now I could not be more excited to just dig back in and really take on the hard stuff … ” he said. “I’m ready to rock.”

For Graves’ Thinc Iowa talk in its entirety, watch the video above. For more from Graves at the conference, see our post: “Ryan Graves: It starts with hustle

About Ryan Graves

Graves is Global GM and VP Operations at Uber. Ryan has driven Uber’s rapid expansion across the US and Europe. Uber is changing transportation in the world’s best cities by capturing the luxury of a private driver and delivering it with technology enabled efficiency. Previously, Ryan held a number of roles at GE Healthcare.

About Thinc Iowa

Thinc Iowa is now Big Des Moines, part of The Big Series, a trio of events produced by Silicon Prairie News. The Big Series in 2013 will include the inaugural Big Kansas City in March, Big Omaha in May and Big Des Moines in October. Stay tuned for announcements regarding all three.


Credits: Video by Event1 Video.

Thinc Iowa 2012 Video Series presented by Iowa Economic Development

Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is dedicated to supporting innovation by connecting entrepreneurs with resources and development opportunities in Iowa. It salutes the founders of today and tomorrow; encouraging ideas that will invigorate a new economy. Please visit for more information on how IEDA can help your business ideas come to life.


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