A year ago, Paul english of Kayak had a rather interesting interview with The New York Times. The title of this post is one of his ideas that blew me away. Personally, I’m a fan of risk. Yes, that is a dangerous decision and there have been launch-day purchases and other investments I’ve regretted, but like failure, risk is a damn good way to learn.
The title of this post comes for one hell of a risk Kayak took with an intern. On day one, they pitched an idea, wrote the code, and released it. While it’s not explicitly clear, I’m assuming all of that was done on their first day. I think that’s insane – and I love it. Time does not always mean a better product. I’ve seen projects that were obviously rushed and ones that were delayed so long that it was obvious that when they were released, it was simply so that they were released.
Good design is a complex subject, one I’ve talked about before. It’s a subject that can involve a degree of risk to it. It’s also one where more does not equal better. I like that Kayak has very small meetings. While I do think it is appropriate that larger projects have larger teams, a project that involves, say, choosing a new color for the company logo, can be done – and should be done – with three people. Color isn’t rocket science, so don’t hold meetings that look like you’re building the company’s new rocket.
In short, from the interview, it sounds to me that Kayak is a bit radical in some departments. And I think that is a very good thing. A good part of running a business is taking risks. I see no reason why Kayak shouldn’t be proud to be a company that values speed. Being crazy enough to be different, dramatically so even, is what moves business forward, not “we’ve always done it this way.”