The relentless decline in the stock market is beginning to frighten technology executives. Over the weekend, Shopify CEO Toby Lutke, perhaps annoyed by the 75% drop in his stock so far this year, questioning whether Wall Street analysts were held accountable for their work. Even more revealing was the note of Uber CEO Dara Khosrovshahi –for the first time reports CNBC– revealing their conclusions from meetings with investors in the last few days. “The market is undergoing seismic change and we need to react accordingly,” Khosrovshahi wrote in a note.
His main message was that Uber needs to be more careful in its spending (“we will treat hiring as a privilege”). This makes sense at the moment, although most CEOs would attribute such a change to economic concerns rather than the stock market. Well, at least Khosrovshahi is honest about what motivates him. What was stunning, however, was his statement that “heads have changed. Now it’s about free cash flow. ” Dara, the pillars for profitability goals have been planted in the same place for several years. You just didn’t pay enough attention. The clue should be trading Uber shares below the IPO price for most of the company’s three years of public debut.