hotwire

hotwire

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When thinking about tech giants like Facebook, Amazon or Google, it’s hard to imagine their weak and humble beginnings. When going from nothing to something, the founders of these companies all had similar startup journeys - they started with a minimum viable product or MVP. In the same way you can’t build a house without laying the foundation, you can’t create a successful product without building an MVP.

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Managing through a crisis is difficult, but great leaders and great companies are created during challenging times. Spencer grappled with crises at two companies he co-founded, Hotwire and Zillow. In this episode, Spencer Rascoff and Katie Curnutte, former SVP of communications at Zillow and now a partner at Kingston Marketing Group, discuss how to manage a company through the strain of calamity while keeping a steady eye on the big picture and the opportunities that can arise.

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The second week of October in 2008 was one of the most painful and emotional times of my career. We ushered 50 Zillow employees into an off-site conference room. I was COO then, and we were about to lay them off -- one-quarter of our staff. The Great Recession had hit, and the management team was following our gut and also the advice of our investors at Benchmark Capital and TCV: cut early and cut deep. Extend the runway. Conserve cash. Survive. I knew we had to make a hard decision to ensure Zillow would continue to thrive.

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