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May 10, 2007


Shawn Ames`

David Neeleman is a friend, mentor, and someone who I highly respect, look up to, and would do anhything for. The funny thing is, it's not just me who feels this way...it's everyone who knows David! This is what a true leader, great CEO, and more importantly a noble and honorable person inspires in other people.

I met David in college when I interviewed him for a paper on Ecommerce (JetBlue dervices 80% of its revenues online). An orphan myself who made it to college with help from above, aftward college, David helped me get an internship at JetBlue, paid my rent at times when things got hard for me, allowed me a position at his other company, BlueStreak, and taught me how to be an entrepreneur, a man of honor and to focus first on 'choosing the right', and most importantly, how to always think positive no matter what happens.

Even recently, with seed funding from David (just another thing David selflessly helped me to do as he has selflessly helped more people than I can count without wanting recognition), I launched the first social networking site for franchising, and have innovated the franchise industry with its first buyers marketplace. All by taking what David taught me,innovating, and actually applying it.

David did not need to help me in his position. He did not even have to take the time to even get to know a peon like me...but he did, and I think this shows a lot about the mans character. Last night (the night before he stepped down), David gave a speech which I attended in New Canaan, CT as a middle school. In this speech, which was truly amazing (I can try to get you a copy if you wish), David talked about how " the gauge of a person is how one treats those who can do nothing for them"...I belive David is the kind of man who sticks true to this.

The connection David and I have, is that both of use have ADD. While ADD can enhance creativity, it makes operational type positions extremely boring task oriented affairs. I believe in a creative role and with the 'gift' of 'hyperfocus' as he calls it, he can add more value to JetBlue than ever before, instead of as he says, getting 'mired' in operations. That's for the geniuses like David Barger to handle. Also, what happend at JetBlue has been totally misconceived. There was no 'ouster', this was in the works for a long, long time.

In reference to this blog, I guess the only question I could pose is, what kind of men do we want running our companies in the U.S....? Those who are man enough to admit their mistakes? Those who truly care about the customers they serve? Or is it those who strictly focus on stock prices, superficial value, and public perception.

Sadly enough, this seems to be the going case.

Thanks for letting me contribute to your blog!


Dan B.

As one who has followed David Neeleman's work at JetBlue for several years, I can only say that I've been impressed this character. I've even blogged about it at workplace-excellence.com.

I must admit, when I first saw the headline that Neeleman had been replaced I was shocked. Disappointed, actually. Here is a man with integrity that surpasses just about every CEO I've come across in 18 years of business consulting and now he's no longer at the helm?

But it gives me a bit of peace to read Shawn Ames' comments saying this change has been in the works for some time. I hope what Shawn writes is true, and that David Neeleman has been in agreement with the change.

ADD people are incredibly creative. I only hope that JetBlue's new leadership continues to capitalize on and tap into the genius --and the integrity-- that is David Neeleman.

- Dan B.

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