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Rich Barton's Expedia, Zillow, Glassdoor: Where consumers make rational decisions

I like to play in the discretionary stuff where consumers make rational decisions because they are paying for it. But in the non-discretionary stuff I haven't done anything because it doesn't make any sense to me yet, but there will be something there.

-- Rich Barton, founder of travel site Expedia, real estate data company Zillow and job search startup Glassdoor

WIRED: You are chairman of several of your companies, but you don't act as CEO, which allows you to move between your portfolio companies. How does that work, and what does it teach you?

Barton: I am able to go where I am needed, and where I am interested. I do lots of reviews and coaching. I end up putting people from my companies together a lot and strengthening these crosswise relations so they can share. I find inside of a big company like Microsoft people's willingness to work across groups with their peers is so low. But outside, when you have separate companies doing interesting things getting the digital marketing person together from four different companies is easy. They are hungry to talk to other people. And it is because there is no internal political competitive threat. There is no boss thinking, I don't want my people talking to them because they might steal them - or whatever. Big company cooperation works way better at small companies. So I do a lot of that.


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