Tag Archives: Travelocity

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W. P. Carey Honors Executive of the Year

Jim Davidson has played a key role in some of the biggest deals in the technology industry, including investments in Dell, Skype, Go Daddy, Alibaba, Avago, Seagate and Sabre Holdings, which operates Travelocity. For his impressive work in the investment arena, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University will honor Davidson – co-founder, managing partner and managing director of Silver Lake – with the school’s annual Executive of the Year Award next week.

“Jim Davidson has helped many businesses to strategically invest and grow into market leaders,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman. “He has been an active advisor in the technology industry for more than a quarter of a century and is considered a pioneer in the world of technology investments.”

Davidson co-founded Silver Lake in 1999 and has helped the technology-focused private-equity firm grow to manage more than $23 billion in assets and employ more than 200 professionals around the world. The firm’s portfolio currently includes or has previously included such companies as Alibaba, Ameritrade, Avago, Go Daddy, the NASDAQ OMX Group, Sabre Holdings, Seagate and Skype. The firm was also instrumental in the recent $25 billion deal in which Silver Lake partnered with Michael Dell to take Dell Inc. off stock exchanges to become private again.

Prior to his work at Silver Lake, Davidson was a managing director at Hambrecht & Quist, a technology-focused investment bank and venture capital firm that helped underwrite the initial public offerings (IPOs) of Apple, Netscape and Amazon.com. He was also a corporate securities attorney.

Davidson serves on the board of SMART Modular Technologies, a designer, manufacturer and supplier of flash memory cards and other digital storage products. He has also served on the boards of directors of many other Silver Lake investments, including Avago, Seagate and Skype. He is an active angel investor and advisor to several private tech companies and also serves on the boards of nonprofits, including the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology and the U.S. Olympic Foundation Board of Trustees.

Davidson becomes the 31st annual Executive of the Year chosen by the Dean’s Council, a national group of prominent executives who advise the W. P. Carey School of Business. Previous honorees include Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company; Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company, and Mike Ahearn, chairman of the board of First Solar, Inc.

Davidson will be honored at a luncheon at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale on April 17. The event, which starts at 11:45 a.m., is part of the Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series. For more information about the club or to reserve seats, call (480) 727-0596 or visit www.econclubphx.org. Tickets are $75 per person for non-club members.

Chandler Innovation Center

How to Turn Company Into Innovation Machine

The world’s future leaders overwhelmingly believe that today’s businesses can grow only if they can innovate – and that today’s business leaders aren’t demonstrating they’re up to the task.

While that’s the thinking of nearly 5,000millennials – the 20- to 33-year-old generation – at least one baby boomer, the innovator who transformed the U.S. travel industry with his creation of Travelocity and Kayak.com, agrees.

“The future for any business today depends entirely on its ability to innovate, and the youngest adults, ‘the idea generation,’ know that,” says Terry Jones, author of “On Innovation,” (www.tbjones.com/terrys-book), a light-hearted but practical guide for fostering and innovation.

“The millennials are the group known for pioneering new ideas, rethinking processes, end-running hierarchies and solving problems by doing what simply makes sense to them. We need to listen to them; they’re the innovators!”

But the worldwide survey of adults born after 1982 found that only 26 percent believe their bosses are doing enough to encourage innovation. The study by Deloitte ToucheTohmatsu Limited, publishedin January, reported 78 percent believe innovation is crucial for growing businesses.

Jones says there are some definite steps business leaders can and should take to ensure their company is hearing employees’ ideas, recognizingopportunities, and ensuring a clear path to execution.

1. Build a culture of experimentation. Not every project will succeed but you can’t learn from mistakes if you don’t allow them to happen. The corollary: Always analyze what went wrong. Why didn’t it work? To use a sports analogy, watch the “game films” to improve and learn as much from failure as you do from success. One fast and easy way to experiment is to test options out online. Whether it’s polling customers, measuring which approach gets the best response, or allowing a segment of your customer base to test drive a new tool, the results can be invaluable..

2. Kill projects not people. In many companies, people stop offering up ideas and volunteering for projects because the punishment for failure is greater than the reward for success. Lunch with the boss or a $100 bonus do not compensate for the risk of being demoted or fired, or suffering a tarnished reputation. When a project fails in a company with a culture of experimentation, the first thing you shoulddo is say, “Bob, what would you like to work on now?!”

3. Break thru the “Bozone layer.” Some of the greatest ideas for innovation will come from the employees on the front lines – those in direct contact with customers or production. But their ideas will never float up to the executive suite if you’ve created a “Bozone layer” by making it too risky for middle managers to experiment. (See No. 2.) While you’re turning the culture around, find ways to reach down to the front lines to solicit  ideas. Implement them and reward the contributors with a big, public shout out – which will help you start changing for the culture.

4. Install “sensors” to pick up customers’ ideas.  Don’t just look to employees for innovation – learn from your customers. They have ideas for new products and new uses for existing products, and their customer service complaints are a fertile source of ideas for improvement. Listen! Social media or a forum on the company website is a good sensor for picking up ideas; Glad Wrap’s 1000 Uses site is loaded with them. For customer service complaints, Travelocityinstalled a lobby phone booth where anyone in the company could listen in on customer service calls. Once a month, everyone was expected to provide feedback on at least two of those calls, and suggest an improvement to eliminate similar future calls plus a work-around for the interim.

HSMAI - Tourism

Arizona Tourism Group Earns Honors From HSMAI

The travel and hospitality industry’s leading professional association, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), presented the Arizona Chapter with multiple “Chapter Best of the Best Awards” and the prestigious “Chapter of the Year Award” at its Leadership Conference at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 12-14.

HSMAI presented a total of 28 “Chapter Best of the Best Awards,” which recognize the exceptional work and contributions of chapters across the Americas Region for achievements in chapter marketing and programs, as well as innovation and best practices, during The Frank W. Berkman Chapter Awards Program dinner, which was sponsored by Travelocity.

 “We take time every year to salute the thought leaders and innovators in the various HSMAI Americas Region chapters who are truly pushing the envelope and challenging all in the industry to be more creative and work at a higher level,” said Fran Brasseux, HSMAI executive vice president.

The Arizona Chapter received Best of the Best honors in three categories: Communication Marketing, Membership Develop and Partnership Development.

hsmai.org