Steve Hafner, Co-founder and CEO
Smart and never short of an opinion or two (or ten), Kayak's leader since the outset features in an executive interview at The Phocuswright Conference 2018.
In a series of interviews with executives participating at the event Los Angeles in November, PhocusWire finds out what makes them tick...
What book do you recommend to others and why?
Confederacy of Dunces. Hilarious read about New Orleans' seedy underbelly.
What do you do to alleviate stress?
Exercise. The best antidote to mental exhaustion is physical exertion.
What can be done to make the travel industry more diverse in terms of race and gender in senior positions?
Time and outreach.
Why isn't the travel startup survival rate higher than it is?
Too many dumb ideas pursued by too many inexperienced people. Please, VCs, stop funding them!
What are you like outside of work?
Exactly the same. Kind, generous, and curious.
What was your childhood aspiration?
I wanted to be a scientist and an inventor. The best I could do was Kayak (so far).
Who is the person you most admire within the industry?
Jeff Boyd. Terrifically smart, well-spoken, confident, and statesmanlike. And a great sense of humor.
How do you want to be remembered as a leader in your company?
Open-minded, inspirational, and empowering. Plus a lot of fun to work with.
Your best 3 days out of your office this year!
What travel industry development or brand do you wish you'd thought of first?
Uber or airBnb. Nothing surprising there.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
Making over 100 people millionaires with Kayak's sale to Booking Holdings. They all deserved it.
What's your morning routine?
Wake up too early to a crying baby, changing diapers etc., then heading to office. Nothing too exciting!
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Enjoy yourself but don't do too much differently. You're on a good track. Don't be such a jackass sometimes.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
I've had six amazing daughters that inspire and delight me in ways work never will.
What gives you energy?
Ideas and undone tasks.
Describe your desk and working environment.
Totally devoid of clutter and loud. I sit at a workstation by our kitchen. It's nothing too remarkable but it keeps me in the center of activity.
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