Dave Neeleman – JetBlue – more iTunes

Heard Dave Neeleman, founder and CEO of Jet Blue Airways give a talk at Stanford’s School of Engineering last night. I flew Jet Blue once, to NYC, and was impressed with the experience – all leather seats, spacious leg room, multi-channel TV in every seat, and all ticketless. So I was curious to see the force behind this company. What I didn’t anticipate was how soft-spoken and understated he appeared. Here’s a man who didn’t take stock options when they were offered. Why? Because he already had 20% of the company, and that was enough. He donates his salary to a fund for helping employees who are facing catastrophic events in their lives. He spends at least 3 hours a week on his own airline flights, interviewing every passenger and helping out the crew members serving snacks and cleaning up after the flight. Talk about walking your talk. On top of all that he has nine children. His parting words of advice to the gathered couple hundred aspiring entreprenuers was to ask yourself, “if your company went away tomorrow, would anybody miss it? Would the customers miss your products or services? Would your employees miss working for your company?” Important questions. Good reminder that we all want our lives to have meaning. There’s no reason that this fundamental desire should fly out the window with regards to work.

After spending several months uploading all of my CDs to iTunes, I’m now in danger of blowing money in addition to time on more music. Everytime I open iTunes I buy more things at the store. Apple nailed this one good. I buy most of my music on Amazon. No more. No need. Wait for Apple’s stock to soar when they make this service available to Windows folks at the end of the year. Why will people buy songs here versus downloading them for free from illegal MP3 sites? One, it’s legal, and a lot of people would prefer to do things the legal way if it makes sense. Two, it is really easy to browse for new music – and when you find something you like it is easier to pay the 99 cents right then and there (sort of like the candy display at the checkout stand in a grocery store). And three, the quality is better than MP3s and you can hear the difference.