Was Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Really the 2nd Best ‘Wii Tennis’ Player in the World?

Jess Joho, investigating for Motherboard:

As the story goes, one night in 2010 or so, Kalanick was with friend and Uber investor Chris Sacca. Sacca’s dad requested a game of “Wii Tennis” and Kalanick allegedly blew them all away before revealing he was tied for 2nd best in the world.

The first problem here is that “Wii Tennis” is not a video game that exists. I reached out to several Uber representatives a few times for clarity on this but the company replied that, “we’re not commenting.” When we asked Nintendo of America for help in identifying this game, it said “We have nothing to announce on this topic.”

Based on this story’s many retellings (and the images used whenever it makes media rounds throughout the past couple of years), most people assume that they actually meant Wii Sports, released in 2006, which included a tennis mini-game. It was also an insanely popular game that sold over 82 million copies and was packed in with the Wii in North America, so it makes sense that Sacca’s dad had it. The problem here is that Wii Sports had no online play of any kind and therefore no leaderboard to keep track of the best players in the world.

“Second-best in the world” is such a funny thing to lie about.

But I have to point out: it’s Chris Sacca, not Kalanick, who looks like he’s full of shit in this telling. As far as I can tell, this wasn’t a story Kalanick used to pump himself up but rather a story Sacca used to pump Uber up by painting Kalanick as a superman. Sacca owns 4 percent of Uber.

Update: Kyle Orland has a terrific story at Ars Technica digging into this story.

Friday, 28 April 2017