Friday, April 15, 2011

Kayak Founder Paul English.

I went to the Alan Shapiro Entrepreneurship Lecture this week at Tufts. The speaker was Paul English, the founder of Kayak. Not only is Kayak my favorite site to find airplane tickets, but Paul was an incredible speaker. Not style-wise, per se, but content. Can you believe Kayak is a fast growing, Internet-based, former startup (it’s pretty big now), but they work 9-5? He says that they work really hard from 9-5, and expect a lot of performance from their employees from 9-5, but then they go home and have some quality of life. THAT is work-life balance.

He is also very generous with his time. He offered to invite a team of my students to evaluate his user experience and come in to discuss it with his design team. He is pretty confident that it would be for their benefit rather than his. In other words, they won’t find much to improve. He was much more modest in his public talk, saying that his interface “sucks less than the competition.”

Now, I don’t just like Kayak for the great functionality. I like it for the CEO too.