David's Open Road

DAVID NEELEMAN

CEO
jetBlue Airways

“I want to be the leader that people want to follow.”

INTERESTS:

Entrepreneurship Travel

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Education Experience Failure Family Money & Financial Security Opportunity Passion Risk Success Struggle Values Fulfillment

TAGS:

adversity, airline, balance, Brazil, business, change, church mission, college drop out, customer service, do it for yourself, family grocery store, focus, leadership, learning, learning disability, percentages, pricing, Southwest Airlines, talking to customers, travel

BIOGRAPHY:

David Neeleman, founder of Jet Blue Airways, was a nine-year-old clerk at his grandpa's grocery store when he discovered that he liked and had an aptitude for business. Standing on a milk crate while at the checkout, he talked to customers, learned how to do pricing and began developing the business mindset. School didn't offer much direction. David has a learning disability, so he didn't do well in school and lacked commitment. A two-year mission trip to Brazil helped David focus and prepare for college. But David dropped out of college to seize a business opportunity. His journey from there ended in the realization of his passion to start an airline on the East Coast. David he wanted to learn from the negative experience and create something better. While he had enough money to live comfortably, his definition of success is mattering. That drove him to found jetBlue.

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