Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Kayak Style and Other Mumbo Jumbo

Sockless Steve Hafner, the Kayak co-founder and CEO, can be brash, insightful and a laugh riot. At the recent TravelCom conference in Atlanta, for instance, he said metasearch is a lousy business because of its thin margins, that Kayak's TravelPost hotel-review business had an even worse business proposition, and that gaining global traffic and scale is the whole ballgame.

"Any donkey can build a metasearch site," Hafner said.

One can debate the pros and cons of Hafner's style.

But, I am definitely a fan of the website's style.

Consider that its privacy policy and terms of use are listed under the heading, Mumbo Jumbo.

On a Kayak Blog post about the launch of a Kayak iPhone app, Kayak writes: "That’s the most important part of this post. We have an iPhone app, if you have an iPhone and you travel, you should download it. The rest of this article is the story of how we made the iPhone app. If you are not a software developer, the intense boredom rays emitted from the information herein is likely to melt your temporal lobe. You’ll wake up in two or three hours with a face full of keyboard and a keyboard full of drool."

And, what really inspired me to write my post about the Kayak style is the site's description of its team. Kayak is known for the filters it offers consumers, giving them the ability to select or deselect individual airlines, airports and layover durations etc.

And, the page depicting also has its filters. Among other choices, you can filter in and out the Nerds and the Capitalists among the leadership team.

Looks like the team is bereft of Nerds because no team members showed up using that filter.

However, if you select Capitalist, then the pics and titles of Keith Melnick, executive vice president of business development, and Hafner are displayed.

Well, let's hope that Hafner and Melnick and chief of geekdom Paul English can build up those global volumes that they've been working on.

Otherwise, Hafner's Capitalist status would be in jeopardy.

Well, probably not, but ...

Anyway, the site's verbiage is irreverent and refreshing. In that regard, I like Kayak's style.

And, incidentally, for those companies just starting to delve into social media, I think it is this sort of style that is the most compelling in a bunch of situations.

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