Generally: I have serious concerns about Expedia’s direction as a company, and particularly the increasing view of the tech-side as not a competitive advantage or even a source of innovation, but as a cost to be held down. I come up with a lot of cool ideas, and one of the more depressing things I had happen to me was to email (say) the business owner for a line of business and say “Hey, I know you’re trying to do x, and I have a couple ideas for how to do that – can I get half an hour on your schedule or talk to one of your people?” and have them ignore me entirely. Drove me nuts.
I feel like a startup would be a much better place for me like that.
Specific to my work, for the last six-eight months, I’ve been through a lot:
– I was one of two program managers at the head of a huge Expedia-wide battle over whether we should continue to have program managers or whether our project management functions should be taken over by project managers, our analysis-and-problem-solving functions taken over by product managers on the business side, and our work reduced to nothing. That was a nasty and bitter fight. I’ll move on.
– I fought constantly with my business owner, and because I don’t want to spike my blood pressure, I’m going to gloss over that except to say… no, I’m not going to say anything. I keep wanting to type things here and I’m happy I’m holding back.
– Over the course of this project, my manager’s been a bad fit for me, and with 20 direct reports, he didn’t have enough time to try and make it work, or to substantially support me in my constant conflicts with the business side.
– In order to build a more collaborative, team-oriented environment, they threw everyone in my group (of ~70) into two giant rooms with tables lined up, so you get about three, four feet of tablespace, and it’s uncomfortable, loud, and generally unpleasant.
I hope that’s sufficently informative while still reasonably polite and neutral.
It’s left me burned out. People keep asking me where I’m going, and they’re surprised that I don’t have another job lined up, but I’ve been unhappy for a long, long time, and the great people I work with have kept me there — Expedia’s work force, with extremely rare exceptions, is made up of extremely bright, fun-to-work-with people from every place in the world, and it makes for a great environment to discuss problems, because there are so many ideas for ways to attack it. So I’m leaving my friends, and we’ll see what happens.