Terry Jones, How to Keep Succeeding in a Fast-Changing World – InnovaBuzz 422

Terry Jones

Terry Jones, Travelocity and Kayak.com

In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Terry Jones, a Digital Disruptor, an author, and a venture capitalist. He has founded five startups, with two billion dollar IPOs – Kayak and Travelocity. He has served on 17 corporate boards. His success has established him as a thought leader on innovation and disruption. As a speaker, author, venture capitalist and board member, Terry has been helping companies use the tools and techniques he has developed to keep succeeding in our fast-changing world.

In our discussion, Terry talked to me about:

  • Why the most important things for innovation, are taking risks, embracing failure and learning from failure, then iterating quickly
  • What looking at other industries and their practices can teach us about our own
  • How to “own the edge” of your customers’ journeys.

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Build your platforms around your customers. Leverage the relationship rather than simply optimising your manufacturing process or supply chain.  @TerrellBJones on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Show Notes from this episode with Terry Jones, Founder of Travelocity and Kayak.com

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • A crisis must not go to waste. Look for opportunities.
  • The number one barrier in corporations to change is the lack of risks.
  • You can’t call it an experiment if you know the outcome.
  • Take risks and know when to kill a project instead of people. 
  • You can never ignore the change that is staring you in the face.
  • People are your biggest asset, not the product that you sell.
  • Build your platforms around your customers. Leverage the relationship rather than simply optimising your manufacturing process or supply chain. 
  • Look at existing businesses and keep asking WHY.
  • The hard part of teaching innovation and disruption is getting people to believe that there is a burning platform or a problem.
  • Society gets reshaped a lot. It’s about looking at these shifts and deciding whether you’d allow it to kill you or if you will become an innovator who’s going to lead society in some new direction.
  • Some companies are great followers. Some companies are optimised on production, and other companies are very good at changing and blowing things up.
  • You need to look at how things change quickly. You have to adapt and constantly look at what other industries are doing. 
  • A lot of innovation is simply connecting the dots.
  • Apple did not invent the cell phone or the mp3 player or the watch. They just made them a whole lot better. They came at it from the customer experience working back, and not really from the technology going forward.
  • Be an experience disruptor. There’s a lot of ways to disrupt. You can disrupt the customer experience. You can disrupt by raising technology or just by simply being faster than anyone else at doing things. There’s a lot of ways of doing it. The point is not to simply sit there and optimise what you are already doing.
  • Innovation requires building a culture where you can make mistakes and fail. 
  • Failing is OK. Move on from that failure and learn from it.
  • Finding the right culture and the right people is critical to innovation and disruption. 
  • Customers are at the edge of the Internet of Things. Businesses are combining IoT particularly with Ai and big data to sell outcomes, reduce cost, and increase customer satisfaction. 
  • Ai is becoming the secret sauce of 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and many other new technologies because it can refine data and because Ai systems are learning systems.
  • Speed and convenience are critical aspects of innovation and disruption.
  • Think about what it means to be connected to your customers all the time and what you can learn from them. Start reorganising your data around your customers. Make people blow up those separate silos and focus on delighting your customers by learning from them because they are telling you things every day.
  • It’s important to take credit for personalisation. Let people know you did it. Customers will tell you lots about themselves if they get something back. 
  • There are lots of quality tools to dissect the reasons for failure. Take those feedback and immediately change your prototype and try again. Iterating quickly and trying again is how you move forward rather than agonising over the fact that your people didn’t like it.
Innovation requires building a culture where you can make mistakes and fail. @TerrellBJones on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Terry’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Take more risks. Fail more often. Be comfortable with failure. Fail, learn from it, and do it again, with improvements.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Curiosity and putting things in a different way. A new billion dollar business is usually just changing one thing. It doesn’t have to change everything for it to be a huge idea.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation –  Flipboard App
  4. Keep project/client on track – Set a red light and a green light on all projects. If you see a red light, make sure that the manager knows you’ll see it and that you’ll be on the line to fix it. 
  5. Differentiate – Differentiate yourself through customer experience. Convenience is more important than quality. One of biggest differentiators is how easy it is to use something. Listen to your customers and improve your product all the time.

To Be a Leader

Technological change is getting even faster. Start putting these new technologies to work, look at new business models and really resolve that you are going to be a winner. If you want to succeed in change, it certainly is possible. 

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Terry through his website.

Suggested Guest

Terry suggested we have a conversation with photographer, writer and film director, Dewitt Jones. So Dewitt, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz Podcast, courtesy of  Terry Jones.



Cool Things About Terry

  • He’s a Director at Kenzie Academy, SonicWall Inc, and Boingo Wireless.
  • He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History.
  • He started his career as a travel agent in Chicago after spending the year after college traveling around the world.
Speed and convenience are critical aspects of innovation and disruption. @TerrellBJones on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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