In April last year, Azim Barodawala was budget airline Jetstar’s head of strategy.
He quit to head up travel startup Adioso.
Business Insider asked if there was anything about the corporate world that he will miss.
“There is something really comforting about a regular pay cheque,” says Barodawala. “I don’t have a family at the moment but I imagine it would be harder if I did.
“I miss — and it’s still early days — but if you are in a corporate environment, there is a sense of a large community.
“Those are a couple of things that I would say I will miss.”
Adioso is an intuitive travel platform. Users can enter destinations, desired weather, length of stay or other variables and the site will come up with options for a holiday.
Before he signed on as the company’s first CEO in July this year, Barodawala was courted by a top-tier US professional services company that was offering a large salary and the chance of a partnership.
“I thought that I could either serve those clients, or I could go and be one of those clients,” said Barodawala, who before Jetstar spent more than three years with Boston Consulting Group.
While he was worried, Barodawala said he worked closely with former Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan, who quit the airline to join his own startup, digital advertising venture Rocklive.
“It’s inspiring when you see someone leave such a high position to go to something risky.
“When he was leaving Jetstar I talked to him a little bit. You also think, ‘what’s the worst thing that could actually happen’.”
Barodawala decided to go with Adioso, and four days after he signed, he was on a plane to Melbourne. Managing an established team that had never had a CEO is admittedly a challenge.
“I would never presume … to come in and say ‘I am your new boss and you have to do what I say’,” he said. “It’s about communication and respect for the team.
“It was, perhaps, a little bit daunting.
“I’m a first-time CEO, I’m not going to hide from that.”
He could have taken the salary, and moved back to the United States, where he is originally from. So why’d Barodawala take a risk on a startup?
“You always feel like you are having an impact.”
While he learnt a lot at Jetstar, Barodawala said that there — as you would within any large organisation — you often felt constrained to your sector, unable to break out with bold ideas.
“This [Adioso] is the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
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