Priceline.com

1999 was dot.com boom time. In Manhattan, we called ourselves Silicone Alley. I joined a team of 12 to build priceline.com. I was one of two juniors. The others were senior business people with deep industry knowledge. We brainstormed every aspect of the business. No face time, no downtime and a better education than an MBA. It was a fabulous ride! Three months later, I’d co-authored 300 pages of pre-dev docs.

Funding was no issue, so we poached a tech team from NASA. Being superstars, they built without reading our docs. To fix the mess, they sent me down to Atlanta. Another education: this time in keeping the peace and getting it done right.

While this was happening, Priceline went on a hiring spree. Headcount went from 12 to 300 in three months. They were loading people on the bus, without checking for cultural fit. The high energy, can-do culture was obliterated. When I was headhunted to join another start-up, I didn’t think twice.