Uber co-founder: tech revolution coming

Oscar Salazar is 40 years old and has never owned a car in his life.

Salazar, the founding Chief Technology Officer of Uber and a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur,  spoke at the Physical Activities Center Tuesday as part of the Romain College of Business’s Innovative Speaker series.

Salazar said the team that created Uber wanted to change the concept of car ownership.

“That’s also a generational thing,” he said. “New generations don’t care about ownership; they care about access. If you have access then you don’t need to buy it. That is why I think Uber is so successful. It’s not about the size of it, it’s about the opportunity of it.”

Salazar said he believes the lack of entrepreneurship in the world is more of a cultural issue than a generational issue.

“It’s about culture and geography and also lack of the right incentives and motivations,” he said.

Salazar said to create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, countries need to do three things: high-quality education, access to capital and a society that can forgive you if you fail.

“This is why among other countries in the world, the U.S. sells,” he said. “Culturally, you guys don’t care about failure. You can fail multiple times before you make it. I’ve been in multiple countries in the world and failing is a stigma. Once you fail, nobody trusts you, nobody invests in you.”

As a senior executive and investor in multiple technology firms, Salazar has used his expertise to create technology that impacts fields such as education, and issues like poverty and gender equality.

He said he sees a fifth wave of technological innovation and there are three things that need to happen to start it: platform, application and industry.

“How can we use technology to make life easier?” Salazar said. “Being social is good for business, especially in the world we are in. We need technological progress, but we also need to evolve and make changes in our society. We are more connected than anytime in history and for the first time, we have all the tools available to be successful.”

Salazar said he wanted to learn from the students and said it’s important for people to learn about each other and how they see the world.

Senior criminal justice major Harold Oliver said he would like to take on entrepreneurship if criminal justice does not work out for him.

“Getting into entrepreneurship could be an excellent route where I can build some stream of revenue and different streams of revenue,” he said.

Oliver said he would like to go into online business to expand his career possibilities.

“If you look at what he said technology is booming,” he said. “We all need to get on the first wave, the second wave and the third wave and I’m all on board with that. It’s going to help me move forward into other areas of online business.”

Oliver said that advancing technology will have a huge effect on his field and will change the way his job is performed.

“Anything is possible,” he said. “You could have robots doing parking tickets or even doing some job as a police officer. Innovation has grown so much in the past decade and it continues to grow.”