Innovators. They come in many forms. They dream big but they aren’t just dreamers. They form raw ideas into cool products with disruptive business models. They shatter entire industries and leave established leviathans running scared with their tails between their legs. The Innovators interview series connects you with the most driven people on the planet. What makes them tick? What advice do they have for tech founders? What tools do they use to get the job done? Read on to find out.
Mike Fridgen is the President & CEO of Decide.com, the shopping service that utilizes big data to help shoppers know what to buy and when to buy it. Prior to Decide, he served as Vice President of Marketing & Product Development at Farecast.com, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2008. At Microsoft, Mike led product management for Bing Travel and Bing Shopping. In the late 90s, he was co-founder and CEO of TripHub.com, a venture backed online travel start-up. Mike has a MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from University of Washington.
What do you enjoy most about your work and why?
Our mission and team. Decide’s mission is to use technology to fight for consumers and level the playing field. Retailers use sophisticated algorithms to change product prices intra-day. At Decide, we predict WHEN TO BUY so consumes get the lowest price and buy with confidence. Another problem facing consumers is information overload, at Decide we show you just the top rated products by recommending WHAT TO BUY based on technology applied to millions of expert and user reviews.
Our team of 30 technologists, designers, and product managers are passionate about our mission and we genuinely enjoy being around each other. Our 5 values are: Science, not Marketing, The Best Ideas Win, Ping Pong is a Sport, Consumers Deserve a Level Playing Field, and Be Bold and Move Fast.
Where does your passion come from? What drives you, inspires you, excites you?
I am inspired by the tech innovation from so many amazing entrepreneurs all over the country – their courage, tenacity and spirit. I feel grateful to work with people of that same mold, who put their heart and soul into making great products and improving the world.
Someone reading this wants to start a tech company. What’s your best advice for them?
There has never been a better time to start a company. Don’t listen to people who say it’s all been done. The world is changing all around us – social, mobile, the cloud, big data – and there are massive opportunities right now to have an impact and make people’s lives better. Go for it.
What are a few tech startups that you’re really excited about right now and why?
Uber – love how it adds a little luxury (at a similar price to a cab) and simplifies the experience (transaction, etc.). Also, mobile payment apps – jury is out, but excited for this transformation and opportunity.
What tech tools (websites, apps, gadgets, etc.) do you rely on both for work and in your down time?
Apps I use a lot: Flipboard, AlaskaAir (flight out of SEA a lot), Golfshot GPS, TED, Uber, Animoto, and Decide.com (of course). A gadget I want: Sony Alpha NEX-5RK (killer new mirrorless camera from Sony).