Max Black, a 26-year-old global business consultant based in New York City -- may have been one of the earliest adopters of Uber at IBM. When he first started submitting expenses for using the smartphone-on-call car service more than a year ago, the accounting department asked for proof that the company existed. He satisfied the bean counters and went on using Uber as he traveled across the country doing consulting work.Because IBM decided that Uber wasn't safe!
The trouble started in April, when a colleague reading through an expense policy updated March 26 came across a troubling passage. Without any notice to employees, the obscure policy update said IBM would no longer reimburse employees for Uber and its competitors.
But Black, being 26 years old, wasn't about to take it anymore. So he took to IBM's in-house social network site and wrote a blog post;
"We are being hypocritical," he wrote as his final point. "IBM is in the business of preaching mobility transformation to its clients, but we are effectively outlawing for our employees one of the best examples of mobile innovation out there."And the suits got the message, with the company's HR head honcho responding to his post;
"It's one of the great things about social business that we can get perspectives so quickly," she wrote in a post about 16 hours after Black's petition went up. "Thank you for speaking up and sharing your views. It makes a difference."Of course, it took 16 hours, and a conference among executives, for common sense to prevail, but that beats how they treated Bill Gates all those years ago.