Jeff Hoffman

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Jeff Hoffman has been the founder of multiple successful startups and has played critical roles with the company made famous by William Shatner, Priceline.com. Jeff Hoffman has helped to create the self-check-in software and technology used by airlines all around the world and he is the best-selling co-author of Scale: Seven Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back.
He’s been featured on Fox, CNN, Bloomberg News, CNBC, Forbes, Inc., Time, Fast Company, and many other leading media outlets.

Unlike most entrepreneurs, Jeff Hoffman has actually spent personal one-on-one time with many of the most iconic entrepreneurs including the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton, the world’s wealthiest man and the founder of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos and the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak.

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Jeff has also produced movies and musical events with such artists as Elton John, Britney Spears, NSYNC, and others

Jeff Hoffman - Podcasts

  • Jeff Hoffman (of Priceline.Com & Best-Selling Author) Shares How to Nail Then Scale a Business

    Jeff shares about his personal experiences with Sam Walton, Steve Wozniak, Jeff Bezos, growing Priceline.com, the importance of staying focused becoming excellence at one thing over a long period of time and much, much more.

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  • Interviewer:
    Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you, Jeff Hoffman Priceline.

    Speaker 2:
    Don’t forget to ask him about Colonel Sanders.

    Speaker 3:
    I hated that Colonel with his wee, beady eyes. And that smug look on his face, “Oh, you’re going to buy my chicken.”

    Speaker 4:
    Some shows don’t need a celebrity narrator to introduce the show, but this show does. Two men, eight kids, co-created by two different women, 13 multi-million dollar businesses. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thrivetime Show.

    Speaker 5:
    (singing).

    Interviewer:
    Yes, yes, yes and yes. Thrive Nation, on today’s show we’re interviewing the man, the myth and the legend, Jeff Hoffman Priceline, welcome on to the Thrivetime Show. How are you Sir?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    I am excellent and thank you very much for having me on the show.

    Interviewer:
    Jeff, for the listeners out there that are familiar with your career now, but are not as familiar with your background, I’d love for you to share about your childhood and what kind of environment you actually grew up in.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Sure. So I actually grew up in the Arizona desert, a very small town feel. Single mother with four kids. And I grew up in an environment where nobody really wanted to do anything. People were happy where they were and doing what they were. And I wasn’t surrounded by people with big ambitions. Most of the people I grew up with never left literally the area we grew up in, which is fine. We’re not judging anybody here. It just wasn’t fine for me. I had these big dreams and big plans and I was going to go off and see the world. I just had literally no means to do that and no idea how. So when I would talk about those dreams, I didn’t get support, I got laughter.

    Interviewer:
    You’ve worked with many huge companies today. You’ve had so much success with your career. Could you share with the listeners out there who maybe can identify with how you grew up, growing up where you don’t have access to a lot of capital or a lot of opportunities? When did you feel like you first started to gain traction with your career?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    I’ll separate that because the first time I gained traction in life wasn’t my career. It’s when I decided my way up and out was education. And I set this absurd goal from where I was coming from, from a big giant public high school where percentage-wise, not a lot of people even went to college. And I decided I was going to go to an Ivy league school and I wanted to go to Yale. Which even my guidance counselor laughed at me instead of encouraging me and said, “Let’s all not waste our time.”

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    My mom had to call the school in order for her to fill out in the school side of the application. And when I got to Yale, because we were broke, I basically got sent home. They said, “Hey, you didn’t pay enough. We applied the scholarships you got, but it’s not enough, and you can’t afford to go here and you should go home.”

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And that’s how it started. And I wasn’t about to go home, so the first traction I ever had in my life was I decided I wasn’t quitting. And I sat there day one of my freshman year, couldn’t go to class. And I said, “You know what? I’m just going to start a business and find my own way to make money.”

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So I started a little software company, literally the beginning of college, and I wound up graduating in four years and funding my whole Yale degree by running a little business. That was my first feeling of traction. I set a goal, and I found a way to accomplish it by myself, and that led me to believe that maybe other goals were able to be accomplished. Big dreams could be realized if your work ethic was as big as your dream was.

    Interviewer:
    What kind of a service or problem did this software solve? What kind of problem did the software solve?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Ironically, one of my biggest customers was Yale. Rewriting their whole sort of tuition, billing and reporting system. But the software that I made a living on was at that point in time reporting in quote, “Business intelligence didn’t exist.” So lots of small businesses were running a business without a top down meta overview of how things were going.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And so I was developing a first level of intelligent reporting that would look for trends in data and say, “These type of customers, you’re putting too much work into and they’re not worth their money. These type of customers never stay with you, so stop selling to them.” Data that gave you intelligence about the way you ran your business. I developed a software that could read through all of your company’s data and give you business intelligence. And that field didn’t exist then, which is why I was successful with it because most of the time I’d show it to a small business and they’d say, “We’d love that. Sign us up.”

    Interviewer:
    Did you teach yourself how to code?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    I did at the beginning. And so now I’ve got to be really honest, I sucked at it. My self teaching made me at best, an average coder. So I switched my major in college and that’s the degree I got, software engineering. But again, to be honest with you, when I got out of college and when I started my first company, I was informed quickly by my own employees that I was probably the worst coder in my own company.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And so what they told me was, “Jeff, this is not your expertise.” I said, “Guys, I’ve got the same degree as you.” And they said, “And yet somehow we’re all good at this and you’re not.” And I said, “What is it you want me to do?” And they said, “You’re going to have to move away from coding.” And I said, “Such as.” And they said, “When we finish building this product, someone’s going to have to figure out how to market it and no one in this building knows what marketing is. Go do that.” So I became a technical marketer, which it turned out I actually was good at. And despite my degree, I was on a good day, an average coder.

    Interviewer:
    Throughout your career, you’ve worked with so many well known companies, Priceline.com, uBID, ColorJar and others. I’d love for you to share about your role with Priceline and the story behind how the team started that company.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Sure. So the company was started by a guy named Jay Walker. Jay had an intellectual property company where they patented business processes to improve industries. That’s still what he does. So Jay had this idea of really reducing… Well, actually let me rephrase that. Increasing revenue in the travel business by auctioning off, reverse auction, auctioning off empty hotel rooms and empty seats.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So Jay had the idea. And Jay assembled teams of people, contacted a bunch of people and that’s it. This is the beginning, that’s where I came in. And we all went to work for Jay to try to build companies out of his intellectual property ideas. And that’s where Priceline came from.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    We had a team of people that started assembling a new buying service that used the reverse auction to sell excess inventory. And we tried a bunch of things in the early days. We had a consumer company that I was the CEO of. Jay was the CEO of the travel company. We had a wholesale company, trying to wholesale other products. We had a different CEO of. And so we spent time with the consumer markets trying to find what things people were comfortable buying. And the one that rose to the top, which is the one that’s the big one today, is the travel product.

    Interviewer:
    How big of a role did William Shatner’s personality have in the success of Priceline from your perspective?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    I think it actually had a lot. And the reason that I think that it had a lot was, when everybody was launching an internet company, it was hard to break through the noise, and it was hard to be remembered. And the Shatner campaign was, people may not remember now. The Shatner campaign originally came from the fact that Shatner won an award when some people in the music industry asked people to vote on the single worst album in music history. And it was William Shatner’s Christmas album.

    Interviewer:
    Oh, come on.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Yep. So the idea of the Priceline marketing team at the time was, “Let’s have William Shatner sing on television since he got labeled the worst album and that would be funny.” So he intentionally, the original commercials were William Shatner singing in a fake nightclub and people yelling, “Get out of here. Get out of town,” because he was a bad singer. And Shatner finally saying, “Okay, fine. I will. I will get out of town, but I’ll do it at 40% of what you would have spent.” And the people in the nightclub saying, “Well, wait a minute. Don’t leave. Tell us how you can get travel for 40% less.”

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So the thing that resonated is his intentionally bad singing was viral. People said, “Oh my God, did you see William Shatner on TV last night?” So I think that those commercials with Shatner’s sense of humor played a large role in Priceline’s immediate memorability. People remembered it and talked about it.

    Interviewer:
    There’s so much internet mythology out there about the Priceline deal with William Shatner. And I’m not asking you to divulge the secrets of the contractual deal there, but did he earn some equity in Priceline or was he paid as a traditional sponsor?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    No, that part of the folklore was true. That he did an equity deal, and not a cash deal. And that equity wound up being obviously at the time Priceline IPO’d, we were the third largest IPO in stock market history. So his equity turned into millions of dollars instead of hundreds of thousands, which he would have been paid, which is why you saw him for so many years still as the Priceline spokesman. And then every celebrity in Hollywood after that news got out, wanted to go work for an internet company.

    Interviewer:
    Let me ask you this. When did it occur to you that you were wealthy?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Well before that, we had another travel company. I did other products, when you go to the airport now and you check-in at the kiosk, you print your own boarding pass, that was one of our first products many, many years before there was a Priceline or anything. That was a tech company that I started. The company did well and we were able to sell the company, and sell the company to where the little group of founders, everybody made millions of dollars. I was never money driven or material driven.

    Interviewer:
    Yeah, I get that.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    It was the freedom day, is what I related to that. After we sold the company and everyone said, “Now what are you going to do?” And I sat there and thought, “Man, I have a clean slate.” And I was so excited by the fact that for once in my life, I didn’t have to be driven by what I have to do right now. I could be driven by what appeals to me to do. I still have to make it work, but I got to ask myself, “What do you want to do? What are your interests and what are your passions?” And that was the day I made the relationship between working hard enough to accumulate wealth equals freedom to not have to do things you really hate doing just to pay your bills. That was the day I said, “Okay, this making money thing ain’t so bad because now I’m free to focus on things that actually mean something to me.”

    Interviewer:
    How old were you at that time?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Still in my twenties. Again, I’m not a material person, but we sold the company to a Fortune 500 company, so I made my first millions while I was still in my twenties.

    Interviewer:
    So you were in the late twenties started to realize, “I don’t need to necessarily work for the dollar, I want to work for something that inspires me.” Something that you care about. And I’m paraphrasing, so if you can correct me if I’m getting the spirit of this wrong, but you’ve talked in some of your YouTube videos, I’ve seen in some of your speeches about the importance of chasing excellence versus the importance of planning an exiting strategy when you’re starting a company. Can you explain what you mean by this?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Sure. It is amazing now when I go to these various startup and entrepreneurship things and it’s a startup entrepreneur, and everybody’s asking about their exit strategy. And I’m sitting there thinking, “Exit strategy? What is your entrance strategy? What are you exiting, your PowerPoint?” People are so focused on selling their business today. I literally saw a startup entrepreneur, he doesn’t even have a company yet, but he was looking online at new BMWs to see which one he was going to buy when he got wealthy.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And so people get so focused on the pursuit of money that it distracts them from the only thing that’s ever going to make you rich, which is excellence. You have to go out in the world and create something amazing. If you are heads down focused on being amazing in your industry, you’ll never worry about money because it shows up.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    People say, “Wow, you built that?” That’s what happened when we created those ticket kiosks. Every airline in the world said, “Wait, wait, wait. You built these? We want those.” So we focused on making the product deliver the promise. If you’re focused on excellence and you achieve it, the money always shows up.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And we were blessed and I’ve built other companies that were acquired because we had excellent products, but I never sat and thought about the exit strategy, because it doesn’t matter. If you don’t create excellence, you’re not going to get rich anyway. And if you do, you probably wont to have to worry about the money because it always shows up. People will say, “Wow, you created this? We want it.” So that’s why I tell people, stop counting your dollars and start focusing on doing something amazing so that everybody in your industry is talking about you.

    Interviewer:
    You were talking in one of your speeches about these entrepreneurs who have no net worth, no traction, no customers, nothing really going on now, but they are worried that somebody is going to steal their idea, Jeff. You know what I mean? People are just so worried they’re going to steal my idea. Can you explain how we get over that? If you’re an entrepreneur out there with no traction, no customers, no revenue, why you have to ultimately get over that fear of people stealing your ideas.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Yeah, so here’s a couple of things. First of all, choose who you’re talking to. So if you’re talking to reputable investors, right? And I’ve had this, I’ve had somebody pitching me as an investor. And I said, “Tell me your idea.” And they said, “We can’t really talk much about it.” And I said, “I’ll be happy to write you a check right now.” And they said, “Really?” I said, “Not in a million years.” You’re not even sharing the idea with me and you think I’m going to fund this thing? The concept is ridiculous. So if you did any homework on me and discovered that not once in the history of my life have I ever stolen anyone’s idea or been accused of it, or have been sued for it, you should rest assured that reputable firms and reputable investors don’t remain reputable by being sued for stealing ideas.

    Interviewer:
    Truth.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So do your homework. If these are reputable people, they don’t steal ideas for a living, they fund them. And they funded many, and you can’t find a lawsuit against them. If you can, then talk to someone else. So that’s my first thing. Is don’t talk to people that you don’t know enough about to trust. The second thing though is that I always tell people this, that in life, you only have a limited amount of time. So you should pursue things that you have an unfair advantage in anytime you can. You don’t always have that, but let me explain what that means.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    For us to build those ticket printers that printed your boarding pass, the airline back-end systems are written in a proprietary programming language that is intentionally not taught, not documented. Why? Because the airlines don’t want you breaking into the back-end of their systems.

    Interviewer:
    Got it.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    It’s a really difficult language. It took us the better part of two years to reverse engineer it. It’s like learning Chinese with no teacher, no course and no book by just wandering around the streets of China and saying, “Okay, by the time I get home I’m going to speak Chinese.” Good luck with that. We did that. Took two years. But they worked, and every airline bought my product.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So years later when we’re talking about a Priceline or something, and people say, “Don’t tell them your idea, they’ll steal it.” What I was saying is, “Okay, good luck with that because if you want to steal my idea, first of all, you’re two years behind already because I already know how to write this mysterious airline language.” We spent a long time learning it. And second, when I pick up the phone and call the CEO of an airline, they actually answer my call because I took good care of them last time.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    If you pick up the phone and say, “I want to talk to him,” you’ll never even get a meeting. So I have two unfair advantages. I know the proprietary language and I have great relationships in the industry. So I’m likely to be more interested in pursuing business ideas that I already have an advantage in, than saying, I’m going to launch a healthcare thing even though I know nothing about healthcare, I’ve never worked in a hospital, and I don’t know any doctors. Someone that’s in the business is probably going to kick my butt. So if you have an unfair advantage, who cares if someone even did try to steal your idea? They’ll never catch you.

    Interviewer:
    Throughout your career you have been intentional about networking or masterminding or investing time with people that are very, very successful. And one of your friends, the founder of Amazon, Mr. Jeff Bezos, you’ve talked about how he had to become the world’s best book salesman before he could become the world’s best everything store. What do you mean by that?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Absolutely. The lesson I’ve learned from studying so many people, as many success stories as I could, was I noticed a common element. And that’s that those people won a gold medal in one thing before they tried to do everything. And so let’s use an Amazon story from talking to Jeff way back in the early internet days when Amazon was just being built.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Excuse me, his focus was to be the best bookseller on the planet in the same way Tony Hsieh early on, Zappos, they were going to be the best online shoes seller. And the companies that scale, remember I’m not talking about someday, I’m talking about from small to big. The scale happened when these companies became the best darn something in the world, and they picked something they could win a gold medal in. And what happened was by staying focused on only selling books, just like the other Jeff Skoll and Pierre Omidyar, they stayed with collectibles for quite a while on eBay.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    By picking something you could be the best at. So Bezos sold us books and nothing but books for a while. But he became the best darn way to buy a book anywhere. And he was so good at it that you and I as a consumer said, “Wow, it’s just a book. But I love doing business with them so much. Sell me something else.”

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So instead of a push strategy where you as a seller have to push the next product on me, it’s a pull strategy where the consumer says, “Please sell me something else.” So the woman buying shoes from Zappos said, “I love Zappos. Can I buy a handbag? Can I get some earrings? What else you got?” So when you win a gold medal at something, you get a reputation for being able to deliver excellence and people want to do more business with you for more things. That is the lesson I learned from studying those people. Pick one thing.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    If you look at Priceline today, I think 93% or something of Priceline’s multibillion dollar revenue comes from one thing, hotel rooms. The company became the gold medalist in hotel rooms. They don’t sell luggage. They don’t sell travel insurance. They don’t sell maps. They sell hotel rooms, but they’re such a good gold medalist at it that they didn’t really need to ever do anything else.

    Interviewer:
    You have had personal conversations with people like Sam Walton throughout your career. I’d love for you to share about the time you spent with Sam Walton, the man famous for wearing the John Deere hat and a pair of jeans and driving the beat up truck while running the world’s largest company or one of the world’s largest companies. What did you learn from your time spent with Sam Walton?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Sam taught me one of the most valuable business lessons that I’ve ever learned. We were spending a day together and I was asking Sam that his business concept, which was big box retail in small town America, farmers in little towns was a death sentence, suicidal according to Wall Street and everybody in retail. You can’t build big box retail in small town America, so no one did it. Sam did it anyway and it worked.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And I said, “Sam, how did you know it would work when everyone said it wouldn’t?” He said, “Easy Jeff, because I didn’t listen to Wall Street, I listened to farmers.” And I said, “What do you mean?” And Sam said, “I wasn’t building a store for people that work on Wall Street. And I wasn’t building the store for analysts in the retail industry. I was building the store for small town farmers.” And he said, “So I got my little truck in my jeans and my work boots and put on a John Deere hat and I drove over to their side of town and I hung out in cafes where these people spent their day eating Apple pie, and I bought people Apple pie and I listened to them.” And he said, “Instead of listening to the experts or even people that work for me that are not the demographic customer, if you hang out with farmers, they’ll tell you how to build something for farmers to shop at.”

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And so the lesson that I learned was every one of my companies, I would spend time, I still do this. Schedule time out of your office to go spend… I would do this one Friday a month. I would tell the team, “I’m not going to be in the office Friday. I’m going to change clothes, put on my John Deere hat and go hang out where our customers hang out.”

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Immerse yourself in their life without selling. You can’t wear a Walmart shirt when you’re there. You’re just there hanging out and listening and talking and getting to know these people where they live, how they live, and what they want and need, and you are much better able. In early Priceline days even, we went to some discount stores to listen to discount shoppers and see how they make brand decisions, which were different than my well-paid employees’ own decision making process.

    Interviewer:
    Right. You’ve spent time with the co-founder of Apple, the world’s most valuable company, most would say right now, Mr. Steve Wozniak. What did you learn from your time spent with the Wizard of Woz?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Woz had a lot for me, a lot of reinforcement on the focus on excellence. According to what Woz told me, Jobs focused a lot and was stressed a lot on how we’re going to market and present things. And Woz always said, “I’m going to build something that was so amazing it will pretty much present itself.” And if you think about it, whether it was the Mac or just handing somebody an iPhone when it first came out, it didn’t really need the presentation. The products were so amazing that you couldn’t wait to get your hands on them.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And intuitive use and user interface and all those things, that was the kind of stuff that Woz said. To create excellence in the world, I’ve got to build something that my average customer just picks it up and immediately falls in love with it. And so he focused on product excellence. And let Jobs go do the marketing, but they really did create amazing and excellent products, that’s what Apple was known for.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Even people that didn’t use Macs will acknowledge the amazing interface of that or an iPhone, whether they used them or not early on. And so that’s the one of the biggest things I got. The other thing I got out of him and from another friend named Nolan Bushnell, Nolan’s the founder of Atari, who’s the guy that originally hired-

    Interviewer:
    Nolan’s a little wild. If anybody out there does not know about the history of Nolan, Nolan has got an exciting career. That is a guy you could spend years reading about.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    He’s amazing. So Nolan’s a friend as well. And spending time with him, the same as with Woz, these are the people whose childlike curiosity never ends. Nolan and I were being interviewed together at an event by the media. And while we were talking, somehow we migrated over to this table where there are all these parts of something. I didn’t even realize it until the reporters and the television crew started laughing and I said, what? And they said, “Well, both of you spotted peripherally all these tools and parts over on that table. And during the middle of the interview you drifted over there to see what you could make out of all these loose parts.” And he and I were assembling things.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And I was laughing because I was thinking, he’s one of the guys that taught me to don’t tune out your curiosity, follow it and see where it takes you. There are days where you should be picking up every shiny object and seeing what it is. And then there’s days where you got to tune everything out and finish the project you’re on, but schedule time for both. That’s what Woz does. He schedules time to be curious, and that’s what Nolan taught me. Schedule some time where you can let your mind wander and follow your curiosity and just make sure you get your projects done too.

    Interviewer:
    Jeff, I could spend entire hours and hours losing track of deadlines, interviewing you because I’m infinitely curious about you and your career. But I’ve got three final rapid fire questions for you.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    You got it.

    Interviewer:
    You are a very intentional person today, even despite having massive success. You continue to be a proactive person versus a reactive person. What time do you wake up every day? And what are the first four hours of your typical day look like?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So when I am in the middle of a product, when I’m on an idea, I can never sleep. And I always tell myself I’ll sleep when I get older and I keep getting older and I don’t. What happens is, and it’s for the right reason, I’m not stressed, I’m excited. And I’m so excited about the idea and seeing if I can make it work that I’ll wake up at 3:00 and I’ll look up the clock and I’ll say, you got to be kidding, it’s 3:00 AM. And then I’ll say to myself, “Look, you’re not going to sleep anyway. So you might as well just get up and go in.”

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So when I’m building something, I have a tendency to get up in the wee hours and work. And if I fall asleep early, fine. When I get tired, I’m not productive anymore. So I just follow my body. If I go to sleep at 10 at night and get up again at four, that’s fine with me. When I’m excited and passionate, I’ll create.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    But today, since I’m not currently building a product, every day starts with my info sponging thing. Which is, I take the first 15 minutes of every day and I try to learn one new thing every single day. But here’s the important thing. I try to learn one new thing that I do not need to know and at the time I learn it, I have no idea why I’m learning it. Every day I go read something that catches my attention somewhere that I don’t know why I’m reading it other than it caught my attention. I follow my curiosity and then I write down one sentence of what I just learned.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And over time, if you think of every piece of new knowledge you acquire as a puzzle piece. If I were to give you a piece of a puzzle and say, “What is this puzzle?” You’d say, “Jeff, you gave me a blue puzzle piece, I don’t know.” If I gave you two or three, you still wouldn’t know. But if I gave you a piece of that puzzle every day and every day you moved them around your desk, one day you would call me and say, “I know what this is. These pieces are forming a castle in Ireland. I can see the pattern forming.” That’s the goal of info sponging. Just learn one new thing every day that the world has brought to you outside of your industry and outside of the stuff you’re going to work on the rest of the day. If you’re in healthcare, get out of healthcare for 10 minutes a day.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And so that’s what I do every day. I follow my curiosity, I read one new thing, I write down one sentence about what I learned and then I toss it in the pile with the other puzzle pieces. I move them around the table and I try to see if I can make something new out of the new piece of knowledge that connects the other pieces in a way they never connected before. Most days it’s no, but if 99 days in a row you can’t come up with anything and the hundredth day is Uber or Airbnb or Priceline or whatever it is, it’s worth your time to do it. That’s how I start every day.

    Interviewer:
    My final two questions for you are these, you’re a very well read person, so I’d love to tap into your wisdom about maybe a book or two that you’d recommend for all of our listeners, and I’d love to hear about your vision for the next 12 months of your life.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    The books that influenced me a lot don’t tend to always be business books. They have tended to be fiction and I read a lot, that opens my mind and makes me think differently. A prime example being when I read the Alchemist. And I read it on an international trip, so I read the whole book on one trip, but it made me reassess the way I was looking at the world around me. So I’ve had books that influenced the way I attack problems that have been more important to me than any one business book per se.

    Interviewer:
    Got it.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    And what was the final question?

    Interviewer:
    I’m sorry to do the two part question. I know it’s always a brutal way to go there, the two part question there. Part two is, your next 12 months of your career here, you obviously have so many opportunities, so many things coming at you. The listeners out there are very curious, what are you going to be doing the next 12 months of your career? What are the next 12 months of your career look like?

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Sure. I’ll tell you what we’re focusing on. I’ve spent the last almost six years traveling around the world in my commitment to giving back, mentoring entrepreneurs. But what I’ve really done is learn 10 times more than I taught. By seeing entrepreneurs all over the world, the problems they’re attacking, the ideas and the resources and the way they’re attacking those problems.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    So what we’re focusing on now is we’re going to try to turn that into deliverable content. And right now, that’s looking like TV. Two different TV shows. Shows that we’ll share with everybody what we’ve spent the last half decade learning. Stories of amazing, resourceful, innovative entrepreneurs. And show you the problem they attacked, the way they attacked it, and ultimately, how they got it done. So that people can, one, be inspired to go do something themselves. And two, can learn from other people’s struggles and triumph and shortcut their own path to success.

    Interviewer:
    Jeff, I cannot thank you enough for taking time out of your schedule. When I first read your book, Scale, I thought to myself, I want to interview this man. And as I built my own multimillion dollar companies, I kept thinking, “I have to harass and interview this man.” And so thank you for allowing us to chase you down in Ohio.

    Jeff Hoffman Priceline:
    Absolutely.

    Interviewer:
    You’re a blessing for so many people. Your parking space theory, your concepts on scaling systems. So many of the things in your book, Scale, have helped me tremendously and a lot of our listeners, and I just want to say thank you.

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