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About The Guest
Terry Jones is the founder and former CEO of Travelocity, chairman of Kayak.com, CIO of Sabre Inc., and motivational speaker. A graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, Jones entered the travel industry in 1971 as a travel agent with Vega Travel in Chicago.
Terry Jones is a Digital Disruptor, an author and a venture capitalist. He has founded five startups, with two billion dollar IPOs — Kayak and Travelocity. He has served on 17 corporate boards. His success has established him as a thought leader on innovation and disruption. As a speaker, author, venture capitalist and board member, Terry has been helping companies use the tools and techniques he has developed to keep succeed in our fast-changing world.
He lectures worldwide about innovation and building digital relationships in business and holds several patents. He serves on the board of directors of Luxury Link, Rearden Commerce and Smart Destinations. He is chairman of the board of Kayak.com, and is a special venture partner with General Catalyst Partners.
- 7:21 — From travel agent to 2x billion dollar IPO.
- 18:55 — Coming up with disruptive ideas as an entrepreneur.
- 21:33 — How Covid changed businesses forever.
- 26:03 — AI & IOT in business.
- 32:15 — The evolution of the customer experience.
- 37:00 — Companies that are changing the world.
- 40:15 — Real life applications of disruptive technologies.
- 53:46 — Advice for young entrepreneurs.
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
Machine Generated Transcript
people, company, business, startup, Travelocity, big, book, American airlines, selling, LinkedIn, chairman, HubSpot, ipo, built, hair, years, customers, travel, day, smart
Scott, Terry Jones, Scott D Clary
Scott D Clary 00:00
Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary, the success story podcast as part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible podcasts like the martec podcast hosted by Benjamin Shapiro. Each week, the MAR tech podcast tells stories of world class marketers who use technology to create lasting success with their business and their careers. If you like any of these topics, you’re going to like the martec podcast, how science is changing advertising, how to set up a CRM, so you actually use it. private equities take on digital transformation, by big social is focused on newsletters. If these are topics that resonate with you, go check out the martec podcast wherever you get your podcasts or you can also listen on hubspot.com/podcast network. today. My guest is Terry Jones. Terry is the former CEO of Travelocity, chairman of kayak.com. CIO of Sabre Incorporated. He is a digital disrupter and author of venture capitalist. He has founded five startups, he has $2 billion IPOs. He has served on 17 corporate boards. His success has established him as a thought leader on innovation and disruption. As a speaker as an author as a venture capitalist as a board member. Terry is focused on helping companies use the tools and techniques that he is used, and he is deployed to succeed in an ever changing world. He lectures worldwide on innovation, and building digital relationships in business and hold several patents. He serves on the board of luxury link reordan commerce and smart destinations. He is still Chairman of the Board of kayak.com. And he is a special venture partner with general catalyst partners. We spoke about his career, how he has built several companies from the ground up how he achieved $2 billion IPOs. We spoke about the future of work, we spoke about startups. We spoke about digital disruption. We spoke about COVID We spoke about IoT, machine learning AI, all the technologies that are impacting business, and how companies businesses can leverage those for success. He is an incredibly brilliant individual, just a very smart man, really humble guy. So I really hope you enjoy there’s business lessons, startup lessons, culture lessons, lessons that we’ve taken out of COVID everything he breaks down, he really goes deep. So this is Terry Jones, obviously serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Travelocity, chairman of kayak.com $2 billion IPOs. Let’s go.
Terry Jones 02:44
All right. Well, it’s kind of a crazy story. I was a history major in college. And when I was graduating, I thought it was going to Vietnam, as the height, the Vietnam War, but I got rejected because of my back. So I didn’t know what to do. And my roommate had a free pass on TWA because his dad was a pilot. And he said, I’m going around the world for a year before I go get my graduate degrees. So three of us spent a year going around the world. It was a great post grad education. I came back and decided to get in the travel business. So I went to school at night, I became a travel agent. Those days, you had to write tickets by hand make reservations on the phone, no computerization, my first reservation was made by telegram, believe it or not, I’m not that old, but that we still had a telegram machine in our office 1970. Anyway, six months in, my manager said, Let’s go to a startup. So we did a startup focused on travel to Eastern Europe in the Soviet Union, which was booming at the time. And in five years, we created the 50th largest travel agency in the US. And we automated it with back office computing and reservation computing that was just happening. I got interested in computing. So I jumped to the computing company was that was selling those back office mini computers. Six months in that company was bought by American Airlines. So suddenly, I was working in American. And I worked my way up to head of that division. Later, I ran all programming operations and became CIO. When I was CIO, there was this little online product we had on AOL CompuServe, called Easy saber. And we also serve travel agents who said, Hey, why are you doing that? You should shut that down. That’s selling bullets to the enemy. Right. And our chairman said, Now give it to Jones. We’ll hide it over and it where he is. He used to be a Travelodge? Well, the first thing I did, it was 1996 to say why isn’t on the Internet. The Internet had just been deregulated. So we put it on the internet. And I said, I don’t want to be CIO anymore. I want to do this. People said, Well, you’re crazy. There’s only 10 people there. So now I think it’ll be big. So I would offer those 10 people and we turned that into travelocity.com for Inside American Airlines. So that was enough. Entrepreneurship, there’s a story that we can talk about. Eventually, we took it public for 1.2 billion. And I ran it for six years until Sabir decided to buy back and take it private because they saw it as their future. I saw it is they’re gonna screw it up. So I left. I actually they did screw it up, they later sold it for only $200 million to Expedia. That time, yeah, I didn’t have I don’t have a job anymore. I’ve been with American for 18 years, I became a speaker on innovation, and an author, I have two books you can see behind me on innovation and disruption off. And I went to work for a venture capital firm, looking at travel investments. And we wondered, why isn’t there vertical search and travel? At the time I was on several boards. One of them was overture, one of the big search companies. And so we looked at a couple of people are dabbling in vertical search and the partner there, Joel Cutler said, Let’s do it ourselves all funded. So we found a great CEO and a great CTO. And I became chairman of the board. And we started kayak.com. That was a great seven year run. We took it public, and then shortly afterwards sold it to booking.com, for $1.8 billion. So since that time, as you said in the intro, I’ve been a speaker, I’m now served on 20 boards of directors 20 board, you know, very after, I was just doing some video, narration work, I do all kinds of stuff. So I’ve had a lot of different careers, and I’m still having fun. I’m an angel investor. And, you know, really enjoy traveling around the world trying to help businesses think about digital disruption.
Scott D Clary 06:46
And I’m assuming that some of the stuff that you speak about his his what you’ve learned over those $2 billion IPO, so I tried. So what what were some of them, it has
Terry Jones 06:54
more veracity than just what I’ve read.
Scott D Clary 06:57
Yeah, no, I agree. I agree. So what were some of the what were some of the things that you did? Because you have a playbook for this? Like, you know, one time one time, you can be lucky. Two times? That’s not luck anymore. Right. So what were some of the things you did different that outside of including technology and automation systems and bring it to the internet? Like these are all important things, but walk me through some of the the playbook?
Terry Jones 07:21
Well, I had a pretty good education because I had been a travel agent. I’ve been a marketeer at American Airlines marketing department. And I’ve been an IT guy, right. So that’s kind of the combination of things you need to create an online business, right? You need to be a marketer, you need to know the domain, and you need to understand tech. intrapreneurship is different at American, you know, the number one thing I did was try to keep people from killing my business, because we were competing with the other guys. So they wanted to steal our money, they wanted to kill us. It was hard to get money or space or offices or all that kind of stuff. What was hard was to get rid of the legal department and go around purchasing and not have to buy it from it. And so I moved out of the building, we created our own culture, we brought in people from the outside, we’re an airline people that was really hard to do. We weren’t allowed to hire from the outside. But we did. And, you know, eventually, as it grew up, it became its own strong standalone division. And you know, that’s the problem in big corporations is they usually kill their little projects. You know, when I mentioned that, I went to work for this computer startup, and it was purchased by American Airlines, the chairman there did something very smart. He said, Look, we just bought you, I’m going to send you a CFO. And I’m going to ban anyone from American Airlines from coming here for two years, because they will screw you up. They’re too big. And I’m going to leave you alone. And after two years, you should have learned you know how to budget and how to do things you don’t know how to do, then I’ll move you to headquarters. Very smart idea. There are many companies who’ve done that, you know, you need to put a small idea in a greenhouse and let it grow up and protect it and then you can create a division or take the technology insider spin it out. But so often it gets killed. Now, kayak was very different. That was a typical venture funded startup. But we did some really interesting things. You know, our IT headquarters was in Boston. Our CEO was in Connecticut with the marketing guys and they were completely separated. And that, you know, that was 15 years ago, but it worked. And we let him do that they grew separately they coordinated online, you know, stuff that’s more normal today but wasn’t normal then. And a huge difference in marketing in those two companies. Travelocity grew through radio and television and online. There were just banner ads. That’s it. There wasn’t even In search, when we started, kayak grew 100% through search. We didn’t we eventually did a little TV before IPO just to get some buzz, but it’s a search company now. What would you do today you’d grow through, you’d grow through social, right? I mean, every time marketing is changing, you use some of the things of the past. But the way that customers find companies has changed radically. And with each new company, I’ve had, we, you know, customer acquisition has been well, how the heck are we doing it? Now? What’s different? How do we change it? It’s, it’s real important. And I think finally, entrepreneurs need to realize that venture capitalists invest in the idea first, but in the team, either second, or first. Because they know that the idea you have today won’t be to look like the company you have later. So if you don’t have the right team, you can have an awesome idea and get nowhere. It’s its team idea. And then how are you going to get those customers to come to you? And that third one is where many startups fall down? So that’s enough for some of the great,
Scott D Clary 11:13
so no, I was gonna say the one thing I was I didn’t want to interrupt it was it’s all great lessons. There’s a few points we can pull out from that the number one being intrapreneurship. And I thought that was very interesting. So my question to you, and it will be the question that hopefully resonates with people that are listening, you decided to double down on this on this intrapreneur opportunity. But you obviously, are a very curious person by nature, or you wouldn’t have gone down all these different roads. Why did you feel it was right to take this opportunity when you also are like you acknowledged many companies, even if they maybe say they want innovation, and they maybe start these little innovation labs, they kill it quite quickly. So there was a risk there, too. So what prompted you to go in that route?
Terry Jones 11:54
Well, you know, I actually, I had been promoted as chief information officer. And I found it terrifically boring. That was sort of a coordination role. I like to be aligned guy, you know, when I was running operations, I lost my hair at American Airlines trying to keep that thing running. And this was just sort of a coordination policy. It was boring. And so have this little opportunity to do this little startup game, I thought, you know, this is going to be big. I believe it’s going to be big and interesting. Excuse me. Second, I’m going to mute my mic. And if I could do I’m just gonna cough. Cut that up. When when the opportunity came along, I thought, Look, travel online is gonna be huge. And most of the people didn’t believe that, in fact, what are i After IPO? We went on a roadshow. And it was it was empty. People thought, oh, it’s, you know, it’s going to be toys.com. Or it’s going to be shipping companies something else. Travel turned out to be the biggest piece of E commerce of all. It’s larger than the next four categories combined. But people didn’t know that. But I understood what had happened in the travel business. That, you know, as as airlines deregulated, there were more prices and more fares, it was darn hard to get a good price. And it took hours working with travel agents, I thought of customers can do themselves. And we’d have this experiment. We call easy Sabre going on for years, we only had like a quarter million customers. But still, we knew it would be big. And now kayak has 60 million downloads if its app, we traveled as ubiquitous. So I was a little going against the grain, but I knew travel and I knew it and wasn’t as big a risk for me. And I thought I if I can get another job, but I don’t want to be CIO anymore.
Scott D Clary 13:41
What do you think? What do you think the the personality traits of somebody who steps into that role that allows them to be successful would be and also two part question which I never, I don’t like doing this, but I’m going to, I’m going to give you that runway? What would be the cultural traits of a company that would also allow that person to succeed?
Terry Jones 14:00
Well, I think first of all, you said it earlier curiosity. I think you have to be really curious to be an entrepreneur. Because generally you’re putting together you’re not inventing something like fire, you’re putting together parts of things that exist in a new way. I mean, Travelocity just put an HTML.
Scott D Clary 14:17
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Terry Jones 18:55
sort of paint on a reservation system. But behind the scenes, you know, we had people running computers, printing tickets, we had 3000 customer service people, it was like a big travel agency, it was just self service. And that’s the brilliance of that kind of idea. I mean, look, Apple didn’t invent the music player, that were mp3 players before they didn’t invent the cell phone. They didn’t invent the E watch. They just made it a lot better. So through curiosity, you can you can set these goals and say, kind of look what’s happening over here. Look what’s happening over there. Why can’t we do that? You know, so many companies say how did they do that? No, it’s how did we do that? You know, we have the brand. We have the people. We have the technology, we have the money, we can do that. But big companies look at startups and go, Oh, we couldn’t do that. So I think you have to be curious and I think you the team is is really critical. We had an interesting band of pirates, the beginning and Travelocity who believed in the idea and they were willing to take risks and they knew they would fail. And that was okay, they were gonna watch the game. films and look at that fumble over and over again and say, How can we avoid fumbling next time. Most people in corporations don’t like to take risk and my book disruption off, I say like that. The number one reason you’re getting disrupted is you’re not taking risks anymore. Every company was founded by a risk taker. But as we get bigger, it’s all quarterly earnings and all we can’t fail. If you don’t experiment and you don’t fail, you don’t move forward. So it’s being fearless. And learning to kill projects, not people, right. And all Terry’s project failed. Oh, that was a lousy project, we’re giving him another one. Right. And, you know, kill the silos in the company, get people to work together and make faster decisions, you know, those kinds of things can really change a company. And that happened during COVID. No big companies. VPS didn’t ask the boss anymore. They just did stuff. And move fast.
Scott D Clary 20:53
They had to they had to they had to move fast. Right. So put it push people out of the comfort zone completely push people out of their comfort zone COVID, of course. But one more thing that you touched on. And I kind of heard it when you said that. They put you you know, in this unit, they separated you they actually moved you away from the company in any of the any of the traditional political and and the things that would slow you down. I said for two years is go figure it out. So they were encouraging you to be okay with failure and iterating and trying new things and testing. Yeah. And and that’s something that you mentioned too. That’s something that companies had to be okay with during COVID. Like it or not?
Terry Jones 21:33
Yeah, I mean, look, there was a major retailer had an 18 month plan to get to curbside delivery. When COVID hit, they did it in two days. Well, the boss won’t forget that. Right? That’s the new bar. So that’s how people are acting now is just saying let’s make decisions faster. Mary Barra, GM said that she’s high, she was thrilled at the speed at which they were able to make decisions. You know, post COVID, I might, in my speech, I use the example of a pinball machine idea kind of flowing around the pinball machine. And marketing says it’s a dumb idea. And it says we can’t build a software manufacturer. He says we know how to build the product and service says we can fix it. And if you manage to get by all those flippers in the pinball machine, you end up at finance and legal the biggest flippers of all right? Just say the idea is dead. And and you can’t do that you the job in a corporation today is say yes. Not oh, let’s go. This means say no. And we’ll go back to more email. Yes, just say yeah, how do I get that idea over the finish line. I heard a great thing the other day, a friend of mine who’s a speaker uses the analogy of umpires. And he said he interviewed a bunch of rugby umpires. He said that rugby umpire is there, yes to show in fractions. But their number one goal is to keep the game moving. You know, it was still saying, Hey, don’t do this, don’t do that. But keep the game moving. And that’s what legal and purchasing have to do, instead of saying no, it’s like, you can’t do this. But you could do it that way. Right? Instead of just saying no, it’s it’s critical to keep things moving. And, you know, big corporations have to wake up and do that as part of their digital transformation
Scott D Clary 23:21
that we that we speak about now and that we write about that’s an obviously highly relevant with COVID So walk me through some of the things you’re seeing with with companies that what have they done during COVID? Well, how have they pivoted what what has emerged from COVID
Terry Jones 23:36
Well, you know, what, what’s emerged I think is companies realizing that they don’t have to do business the old way. I mean, take hotels for example. They they physically had to stop cleaning rooms when people were there. Now they’re saying, you know, people really didn’t complain much about having they’re not having their sheets change every day. They don’t do that at home. So now they’re not doing room service anymore. I mean, room cleaning anymore to elite Yes, yes for just saving a ton of money. Yeah, ecommerce is up 50% So companies that never looked at it or looking at it, OTA Oh, online offline, rapidly increasing where I can, you know, order online pick up at the store. Companies laid off in record numbers and hiring record numbers. Walmart hired almost a million people. Or 500,000 People Excuse me. On the other hand, JC Penney, Neiman Marcus J Crew are gone. Yeah, Chipotle saw online orders of 50% profits down so they’re trying to figure out you know, how do we how do we do it? In my business, the speaking business I built a studio here. I’m not in it right now but I have a complete studio with a mixer and all that stuff. Where I can produce high quality remote speeches. And you know, other speakers were in their, you know, garage going well look at my graphics have copies of paper. And meetings have changed meetings are going to be hybrid going forward. Travel has changed. I talked to a an executive, a huge consulting firm, he had $100 million travel budget, pre COVID. His post covered budget is 50. And he said, we totally re engineered the business. We’ve looked at how to change. So people are looking at these new technologies as well, whether it’s AI, big data, 3d printing, the Internet of Things, and saying, We’ve got to move quickly, to digitize our business to meet, match our customer need, and deploy these new technologies to reduce cost dramatically.
Scott D Clary 25:43
So when you when you work with companies, what what is what is the thing that you seeing having the biggest effect like, you know, you look at IoT, you look at AI, you look at companies that are trying to figure out a way to push the blockchain into trustless transact, like, what’s the thing that’s this changing companies the most that you can see the impact in the next six months? Well, I
Terry Jones 26:03
think it’s, it’s the combination of AI with these technologies. So it’s, it’s AI and IoT. So you move to, you know, manufacture manufacturing 4.0, where you can do predictive maintenance. And, you know, people who are doing AI in 3d printing, the boy just got approved for the first 3d printed GRG he got approved, excuse me, for the first 3d printed engine part. Think about how that part was made before five some sub assemblers made little pieces, they sent into an assembler, put it together, put it in a warehouse, put it on a ship, put on a truck and got it to G. Now, g gets a part that’s cheaper, lighter, faster, stronger, and no inventory. And people say, Well, 3d printing is slow. It only has to be faster than the ship from Asia. And it is, yeah. So you know, I think it’s the combination of people taking date Big Data, and AI, and putting it behind whether it’s robotics, or blockchain or drones, to really change products. And the other I think big change you’re seeing is cloud connected products. So companies are seeing that cloud connected products allow them to act like a web company, and a web company, like Travelocity, we knew what every customer was doing every day, we watched every interaction and saved it and improved our product because of it and communicated with the customer. Well, now, John Deere has a internet connected tractor. They don’t have to wait for the annual meeting, to ask the dealer. Well, what are the farmers doing this year, they know what every minute, and then go out and update that tractor and delight the customer just Hi, my Tesla, it gets new every month, I get new stuff. And what car ever did that before. So by being cloud connected, you’re a faster learner. And you’re faster to change to market needs and customer needs.
Scott D Clary 28:06
And these are all these are these are all organizational changes now, take it a level further or a level deeper future of work. What are you seeing with companies now? Because now you mentioned a few things, and future of work in two ways future of work in terms of how people work, but also future work in terms of what jobs are people going to be doing?
Terry Jones 28:22
Right? Well, and they’re both changing. You know, Recent surveys show that most leaders want everyone back in the office. But most workers want a flexible schedule. They like two days in the office and three days at home or something like that. So I think there’s going to be a collision here. And I think the workers are going to win. Because we have great demand for labor right now. And you know, two of the boards I’m on companies, one company is sold all their real estate, another is sold off half of it already. They’re just not planning on coming back because the CFO loves the economics. And the productivity is good. Yeah, it depends what business you’re in. Obviously, a manufacturing business can’t do the same thing. So I think we’re going to see much more continued work from anywhere. And it’s going to be part office part not I think we have to be careful not to lose the creativity aspect that that evolves from bouncing into other people and talking with him at the watercooler whatever. And then I think, you know, jobs are changing. And we’re we’re automating lots of mundane tasks and robotic process process automation, combined with AI is getting rid of a lot of those tasks. But on the other hand, we’re learning new tasks like you know, a great video salesperson is in terrific demand right now. You know, somebody you can build a relationship and close deals without ever going there. That’s, that’s a big New Deal. Data Analytics is screaming off the chart. Anybody can analyze all this big data because, you know, some companies have these crystal clear data data lakes, but most people have data swamps. And, you know, we’ve got to change that, to use these data to great effect. So I think work will change. I think another big thing we haven’t talked about is, is how business models are changing. So, you know, kayak is one of those asset lifts, asset list companies. That just puts, you know, creates a platform putting buyers and sellers together and is worth almost $2 billion. But do we have other new models like outcomes? So Philips, the lighting company, recently went to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam said we’re not going to say light bulbs anymore. We want to say light. They said, We want to light your airport, we’re on a 20 year contract to light the airport and they got it. So what do they do? They immediately
Scott D Clary 30:51
what does that mean, though? What, just, yeah,
Terry Jones 30:55
we’ll keep your airport lit. We will pay for the power. We’ll keep the bulbs there, we’ll make sure everything is lit all the time. So you don’t have to have people change your bulbs. You don’t have to pay for the power was just like the airport. And it’s lighting as a service last. So what do they do? They put in bulbs that last 75% longer that they weren’t selling before. They put the same bulbs use half the power because Philips is paying for the power. And they even recycle the bulbs and remanufacture them now because it’s in their interest. So they’ve went from selling bulbs to selling a long term, highly profitable contract. And they saved a ton of money for the airport. So Honeywell is doing things like that GE is selling power by the hour, you know and then we’re seeing models like subscriptions for things we never thought we’d subscribe to like dinner. I subscribe to a box meal service or razors who thought you’d subscribe to razors billion dollar business. And then people are going direct to consumer on crazy things like DTC suitcases and DTC mattresses, and things we always had to go to the store for. Now suddenly, we don’t I mean, who would have thought you’d buy a mattress online and get 100 day trial. But so we had
Scott D Clary 32:12
to ship it back if you don’t like it. Yeah
Terry Jones 32:15
if you if you do that, or just changing experience just changing customer experience. I mean, Apple killed Nokia by changing the phone experience. Spotify,
Scott D Clary 32:25
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Terry Jones 36:09
till the iTunes going to streaming. Right? What about Uber? They’re just a cab company with software. And that’s the difference. It’s just software. But it’s a better user experience. So people are looking at new ways to disrupt by changing the model or changing the customer experience or both.
Scott D Clary 36:33
So we spoke so I think that’s an incredible insight. And you spoke about some use cases for large companies that are looking to disrupt but also you spoke about some existing startups that obviously disrupted what are some other startups that people are use cases that people may not know about, that are innovating and you think they will be mega disruptors and completely displace some major incumbents in the next two years. Do you have any thought about the next two years that exam take?
Terry Jones 37:00
I met a company three years ago, zip line, and they started doing drone deliveries of blood in Africa. And because it’s very hard, the roads aren’t good. Blood is perishable. And they said We started in Africa because they don’t have any drone rules to hit want to start in New York state where they wouldn’t let us do it was very smart. And, you know, they said you talk about software crashing. They said, well, our airplanes crashed a bunch, you know, we had to learn how to fly these drones. And, and you know, they catch up in a net. It’s crazy. But now, they got noticed in the US. They made a huge trial in North Carolina, flying COVID tests and drugs and blood to remote hospitals. So drone delivery got approved during COVID. I think it’s going to go like crazy. There’s another city in in the southwest southeast, where they started doing drone testing is a rural place. And most people were opposed to it. Now they’re hooked on it, they love it. So that’s going to grow very fast. And I think that we’re going to see manufacturing change as well dramatically with 3d printing. And I think there’s going to be a lot of 3d printing that’s done by boutique houses that will create things. So taking AI to iterate 1000 CAD designs that could never be built. But they can only be built by 3d and then showing like Ford did recently, they re engineered a seat bracket. This is sort of a mundane thing. But guess what, it’s twice as strong, and it weighs 30% less? Well think about all the parts in your car, that might weigh 30% less, what would that do to mileage? Right? The only be done through 3d printing. So I think those two are really exciting. Um, but my my book talks about 10 technologies that are coming to change the world. That’s the first half with examples, you know, like, like drones, fire drones using for firefighting and blockchain for smart contracts. But the second part of the book is, what do you do about it? So the first part of the book is to scare the hell out of you. And the second part of the book is to say, yeah, there, what can I do, like increased risk test more cool projects, not people. But you can turn that book around for an entrepreneur and say, these are the places where you want to go think about a new idea. Because these are places where corporations will move slowly. And the books both books are kind of cookbooks, they’re 72 three page chapters, so they’re super fast to read. And you can use it as a as a how to book.
Scott D Clary 39:49
These see, do you see these ideas being adopted by some legacy organizations? Do you like who’s buying this book? Is it is it is it just the the The person who is already in line with innovation is already looking into these technologies, or do you see some people that are talking to you buying the book trying to understand these ideas that are in companies that are 100 years old? Yeah, sure, not the GS or the IBM or some of their some of the other ones
Terry Jones 40:15
that are doing it. I mean, I mean, Mack truck is deploying IoT and all their trucks, I just talked to the largest truck stop, which is on a at an island. And we were talking about, look, if Mack has smart trucks, then you got to work with them. So you have sensors at your, at your stop. So you can say, hey, this truck is coming. It’s not going to make it across the country without new brakes. We can fix it and get you back on the road in four hours, and you can actually bid on it. So the connection of big brands who are automating, you know, they need people to help them wherever they are, that that’s what GE is doing weather jet engines. So yes, large companies are looking at this and saying, How can I deploy 5g with IoT to have smarter networks in my factories, and one of the companies I’m on the board of is doing that. But at the same time, smaller companies are looking at these technologies, and partnering up with large companies to help them do things that the large lumbering giant just can’t get done quickly enough.
Scott D Clary 41:25
Yeah, I’ve seen that actually quite a bit. I’m not sure where they’re where they had these. Yeah. I’ve seen you know, I like I see companies acquire these startups, and they turn into innovation labs within larger companies. That’s right, exactly like exactly your experience.
Terry Jones 41:38
Sure. I mean, one of the large insurance companies I work with, bought, bought a small insurance startup. But they made sure to leave them 50 miles away where they work. They said we don’t we don’t want to bring into corporate headquarters will kill you. But we’re just gonna come over here and learn. And lots of companies go to Silicon Valley to learn. It’s called the Silicon Valley petting zoo. You know, where you go, and you, you see half a dozen companies, you start, you get inspired, or you get scared. I was there with the chairman of American Express and like 30 companies, I said, Why do you come out here, he said, Look, we either get inspired by these companies, or we buy them, you know, and incorporate them because they are the next big thing. And he mentioned that American Express was an express freight company, that’s how they started. That’s where their name comes from. They’re a freight company. Then they became a travel company. Now they’re a financial giant. He said, I don’t know what will be next, but it’s not going to be finance, it’ll be something different. That’s how you build 100 year old company.
That’s it. That’s it, that’s that that quote in and of itself, is just a really smart thing to just internalize because that that transcends executives, entrepreneurs, anything, you mentioned it yourself, when you invest in a company, what I don’t know, you know, you’re on boards, I’m sure you invested in some smaller company, it’s the people, right? And it’s the it’s the people that will lead to that 100 year old company when that culture of iterating and, and, and just being adaptable, is part of that founder team. And it’s
Terry Jones 43:07
so important, because, you know, if you’re sitting around saying, how did they do that? We can’t do that. You know, they’re these these startups are biting your ankles. They turn around and say, Well, wait a minute. We have things startup would kill for him. We have a brand. Yeah, we have capital, we have factories, we have supply chains, we have salespeople. We just don’t have imagination. So we look at those ideas. Say we have everything a startup would kill for let’s let’s go figure how to do that. And smart companies do that look at Mass Mutual Insurance. 150 years old, they just bought 100 million in Bitcoin. Wow. You know, that’s, that’s pretty startling to see those kinds of changes. But on the other hand, you know, Jamie Dimon just came out at Chase and said, you know, Fintech is a huge threat to banks. My daughter got a mortgage during COVID and the banker was reviewing her past statements and said to her who is this Mr. Venmo and why are you sending so much money to him? Ignorance of the current state of play right oh my god she’s well I mean if that’s your if that’s your company you got trouble you got
Scott D Clary 44:29
trouble that’s that’s a that’s a you know, that’s a that’s yeah, FinTech but that’s even a step away from all the all the blockchain applications and decentralized finance stuff like that’s so far from where the consumer is at right now. And that is a scary thought when you have the too big to fail. That’s saying stuff like that. Yeah, they don’t not very scary.
Terry Jones 44:50
They said to me, the bank used to be a place and it was a police you had to go there and you talk to your banker and I used to have a paid you know, we’ll say savings book when I was five years old, now, you know a bank is a brand. And it better have awesome Consumer Relations and digital presence, because that’s all it is. You know, and money is digital. The use of cash dropped 57% during COVID. So digital digital is a way to go I my barber, I do go to a barber, but only for my beard. Barber the other day said, I’m sorry, I can only take cash. My machine is down and I went. I don’t have any cash. I gotta come back. I can’t do. Yeah.
Scott D Clary 45:34
I don’t remember the last time I had cash. Yeah, yeah,
Terry Jones 45:37
it’s crazy. So, you know, innovation and disruption are two sides of the same coin. You only call it a disruption, because you didn’t do it. If you did it, it would be an innovation. But you did. So as it’s disrupting this, it’s terrible. Right? So you have a choice. You can innovate or get disrupted.
Scott D Clary 45:58
Yeah. But then you have like you said, you have the Chairman, Chairman of AmEx, American American Express, and you have the you know, JP Morgan, talking about disruption, Chairman of AmEx, Amex saying, we need to come down here for inspiration. It’s just, it’s just a you know, both in finance. Yeah, just complete mindset shift. Look at my total,
Terry Jones 46:17
who’s the president of IBM, right now, the former president Red Hat. I mean, I knew Ginni Rometty pretty well. And I did my last startup was funded by IBM. And she tried hard to change IBM and was a great executive. But she was also an insider. So to have now, just, you know, they do their biggest acquisition in history. They’re 120 year old company now. And who’s the guy running the company? The guy from the acquisition? Well, there’s a guy who can do what Lou Gerstner did, you know, when Lou came from the outside from the cigarette company, they can both, you know, chop apart that big beast, and use its great assets to new impact. But a lot of companies don’t take that right look at what Mary Barra did, announcing the end of the internal combustion engine by 2035. That’s an incredibly gutsy move for a company like that, and it’s going to be heart wrenching inside that company to get there. But I think she knows they have to get there so much easier for Tesla, you know, who started that way? They you know, they’re not, it’s easy when you don’t have a legacy. It’s much harder when you do them.
Scott D Clary 47:31
Very, very good. Okay. We went through a lot of stuff, I’m going to I’m going to do some rapid fire questions. But before before I pivot into this, and I just to pull some stuff out of your career. But before we pivot, any closing thoughts on any of the topics we went we went through? And then also, where do people get your books? Where do people connect with you online?
Terry Jones 47:51
Um, well, I hope we, we have folks out there who will take a look at these books, because they’re good reads, they’re very fast. They’re available on Amazon, in paperback in Kindle format, and audio books. And I narrated both of them since I’m a public speaker. So a lot of ways to get them very quick reads. You know, innovation is pretty timeless disruption is right now, what are the technologies coming in? What am I what do I do about them? My website is TB jones.com. It’s hard to get a gentleman’s URL. So TB jones.com is what I got. And you can you can look at my blogs, all my videos are there, you can watch many of my speeches and get more of these lessons. And you can contact me through that if you want to. And, you know, sometimes people come with interesting ideas, and I’m an advisor to lots of companies and I consult with folks and I invest. Alright, so
Scott D Clary 48:46
do you have what’s your best social it Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, what
Terry Jones 48:51
is best for me? And it’s Terrell Jones, tr, e LL, I don’t tweet a lot. I just don’t spend the time to do it. I’m busy doing other things.
Scott D Clary 49:03
Now, good, very good. Okay. Some rapid fire. Biggest challenge that you had over your career could be personal could be professional, how do you overcome it?
Terry Jones 49:11
Well, I think the biggest challenge I had was was really building Travelocity inside American Airlines against all odds. And I mentioned some of the things we did. You know, we moved out of the company and we created our own culture, we hired people from the outside, we negotiated so that our budget was sort of secret to other people. And we even had got to the point where i Boss, we had a debate, when we had all the executives company debate whether we should keep or sell Travelocity. I didn’t know what was going to happen and they ended up keeping it. And what happened after that was everybody kind of calmed down and quit throwing Molotov cocktails at us, because they understood that because you know, people don’t like change. So that was a huge challenge, but it was the most fun I ever had in my life. Building a company. It was it was just a ball.
Scott D Clary 50:04
Amazing. You’ve had multiple people that have been influential and impactful in your life, who would be one that you would say had an incredible impact on what they teach you.
Terry Jones 50:13
I think it was Bob Crandall, the chairman of American Airlines. He was a detail minded micromanager, who would take but he would take great risk. So he let invested $250 million was losing it. Building the Sabre system eventually became a $2 billion dollar company. You know, he led me to a very early video project that cost millions and airports and took the risk and, you know, other things that didn’t work. And he understood that the things wouldn’t always work. So he’s a tough taskmaster. You could never be SM. But as long as you told the truth and said, I don’t know the answer, but don’t get it. You would survive. The people be asked him would be fired. He taught me how to be a detail minded, but flexible startup leader, I think, great guy. Good.
Scott D Clary 51:09
What would be a book or podcast, you’d recommend people check out that you’ve learned from it?
Terry Jones 51:13
You know, I’m, I’m gonna look behind me here because I got a whole bunch of great, great books. You know, Reed Hoffman wrote a book called Blitzscaling. About how he scaled his business. John Chambers connecting the dots. They built Cisco. Really good book. One you might not have heard of let me see if I could see it here is actually a book by Koch of the Koch brothers. They’re, you know, they’re the third largest private company, United States. And, you know, one side the Koch brothers you probably heard of is they have very right wing political views. And you might like that or not like that. But they’re concept managers. So his book about about profits is really excellent management book is how they scale Koch brothers to be such an amazing, large, successful company that most people don’t know much about.
Scott D Clary 52:15
Amazing. Good. That’s a new one I’ve read often one I’ve heard Blitzscaling connecting the dots I don’t think I’ve ever had on this show. And then this one by the what’s the name of the book is you know what the name of the book is? Or just
Terry Jones 52:28
by the year? Gosh, I don’t hear it is it’s called. It’s called good profit. Good profit, good profit. Okay. Very interesting book, and of course, Vinnie Hoffs book behind the cloud. It is also really interesting to understand how cloud started because the subscription model is everywhere today. Everybody’s trying to have subscription, everything. But if you go back to the basics, and read his book, it kind of helps you get grounded on what can be a good subscription bottle.
Scott D Clary 53:02
He’s the one to champion the he’s the one to champion the migration from on prem servers to
Terry Jones 53:07
right he was, you know, they’re a good boss story, because Larry, let him do it. And Larry’s was still his mentor, even though you know, he created this this huge, different company. I mean, there’s a company in Germany, 140 years old, they sold air compressors. Now they sell air as a service. You need compressed air in your business. No supply compressed air, we know when you need more will come we have sensors, we sell you air. What a business, it’s like selling water.
Scott D Clary 53:38
Yeah, yeah. If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would that be?
Terry Jones 53:46
Don’t worry, it’ll be okay. Even though you’re gonna have a lot of different careers. So take the risks. You know, you can do it, you can change me, look, I encourage people to get a liberal education. And the reason I do that, I mean, liberal arts, because the technology you learn today is going to be outmoded in 10 years. So what you have to do is learn how to learn and be curious. Because, you know, I gave a graduation speech and a whole bunch of nurses and doctors and professors got mad at me because they said, Look, all this stuff you learn, gonna be outdated in 10 years. Just you know, learn how to deal with patients, learn how to learn new technologies and be open to it. Because Gosh, what my made my first reservation the first day I was there by telegram in 1970, which was ridiculous. I was typing invoices. And I was using the dial phone. My last company was an AI startup. So did did one
Scott D Clary 54:46
lifetime in less than one lifetime. Yeah,
Terry Jones 54:48
Did knowing telegraphy helped my AI company. No, it isn’t. But learning how to change and learning about customers was much more important.
Scott D Clary 55:00
Amazing. And then last question, what does success mean to you?
Terry Jones 55:05
Well, I can meet a lot of things for me. I mean, I like being successful is the satisfaction I get out of something. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be profitable. It can be a tremendous learning experience, it can be helping other people. You know, success comes in all kinds of different forms. It can be mentoring people and bringing them along. I mean, that’s incredibly rewarding. I mean, today, you know, I mentor lots and lots of companies. Because, you know, I’ve got 50 years of business knowledge, some of which is useful, and some of which I haven’t a clue what they’re talking about. So when I can help them or say we had a problem like that, you know, that’s very satisfying for me in this in this time in my life. I get the most satisfaction. I mean, I’m chairman of a big boys and girls camp up in Minnesota, and we take kids out for a month in the wilderness, no phones, no internet connection, nothing. And boy, does that create leaders because it challenges the hell out. So it’s great to do it with you if that’s a big success in my life, but we’ve made that successful we do the inner cities as well and St. Louis. Success comes in many forms.
Scott D Clary 56:21
Amazing. Alright, that’s that’s all I got. Terry. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thank you, man. It’s really really good.
Terry Jones 56:26
All right, good to talk to you. Send me a note when you’re gonna run