Lessons of the fall (cont.)
Donald: I offered to go to work for David. [Laughter.] Founders have a way of being engaged in the business, being emotionally connected to that brand or to that product that you don't see anywhere else. So would I work for a founder? Yes, absolutely.
Zander: I worked for a founder - Scott McNealy at Sun (JAVA, Fortune 500). That was a phenomenal experience. The other side of the house is Motorola (MOT, Fortune 500). The founding family was gone before I got there, but trying to change a culture of 80 years is very, very tough.
Neeleman: I can't even imagine working for a company. I need to create something. When I get to the point where I can't run it anymore, I just need to give it to somebody who can run it.
David, you're the only one in this group who knows what he's doing next. Tell us.
Neeleman: More insanity. When I left JetBlue (JBLU), I thought there were two things I didn't want to do: start another airline and run a public company. But the stars aligned in Brazil. Brazil is the country of my birth. I hold dual citizenship. The investors all came together. They gave me the $150 million.
That's $150 million to build a new airline you've just named Azul. How much money have you put in personally?
Neeleman: Ten million.
I started with 25% of the company, with 80% of the voting control - in a country I absolutely love and that is just exploding. The economy is just vibrant. There are about 42 million people a year traveling by air. I have a friend who has a bus company, and he has 25,000 employees. He told me that two years ago, nobody in the whole company had a credit card, and now everyone has a credit card. Everybody has a cell phone.
What's the biggest difference between building Azul and building JetBlue?
Zander: It doesn't snow down there.
Neeleman: Yes, we're not going to be deicing airplanes. No ice.
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