What I learned from reading Nuts!: Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg and Herb’s Heroes by David Sanders.
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(2:30) Reality is chaotic; planning is ordered and logical. The two don’t square with one another.
(5:30) You undergo a lot of stress all the time. How do you handle it? I don’t handle it. I like it.
(7:30) He smoked 5 packs of cigarettes a day. He drank Wild Turkey Bourbon daily. He said “Wild Turkey and Phillip Morris cigarettes are essential to the maintenance of human life.”
(8:00) He built the most successful airline in history. Southwest was profitable for 47 straight years.
(9:30) All that matters is to survive. The rest is just words. — Charles de Gaulle
(18:00) Kelleher didn’t mince any words: “I told Lamar, you roll right over the son of a bitch and leave our tire tracks on his uniform if you have to.”
(27:30) No carrier knows its niche as well as Southwest.
(28:30) While other carriers have been lured by the temptation to step outside their niche, Southwest has maintained the discipline to stay focused on its fundamental reason for being.
(29:00) Herb on why he was conservative with debt: When there are bad times you aren't threatened by debt payments and debt payments are what put other airlines in and out of bankruptcy forever.
(30:00) Southwest is obsessed with keeping costs low to maximize profitability instead of being concerned with increasing market share.
(30:15) Southwest is willing to forgo revenue generating opportunities in markets that would disproportionately increase its costs.
(35:00) Keller has said on many occasions that a company is never more vulnerable to complacency than when it's at the height of its success. The number one threat is us he would say.
(38:30) When we look back at the last 20 years it is obvious that a number of large companies were so set in their ways that they did not adapt properly and lost out as a result. 20 years from now, we'll look back and we'll see the same pattern. — Bill Gates
(39:00) Herb Kelleher illustrates the speed with which Southwest moves by telling a story about Don Valentine, former VP of marketing.
Valentine had just joined from Dr. Pepper when the marketing group met in January to discuss a new television campaign.
Valentine was ready with his timeline for producing the spots:
-script in March
-script approval in April
-casting in June
-shoot in September
When Valentine finished, Kelleher said, “Don, I hate to tell you, but we’re talking about next Wednesday.”
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