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Zillow CEO: Fake it till you make it

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Even though Spencer Rascoff has launched two big Internet firms, Zillow and Hotwire, he knows he still has much to learn. That’s why he seeks out successful CEOs and asks them about their success.

Rascoff, 41, started hosting a podcast in 2016 in which he interviews top technology executives about their experiences in the business world. Guests have included the leaders of Twitter, Box and OpenTable.

“When I was 23 and I started Hotwire, I did not know what I was doing,” he says. “When I was 30 and started Zillow, I didn’t really know what I was doing either, so I figured I’d fake it until I made it, and one way to do that was to ask a lot of questions.”

Here’s what he’s learned from other leaders—and from his own hard-knocks life as an entrepreneur:

Radiate confidence. Your lack of experience need not serve as an impediment. Rather, it can serve as your biggest advantage. Rascoff adopts a “the less you know, the more dangerous you are” attitude.

Let stars shine. Rascoff describes his job as akin to an HR executive who recruits, motivates and retains top performers. Supporting their success consumes most of his time and energy.

At Zillow, Rascoff says that he’s “usually the last to know” what’s going on. That’s because he trusts employees to manage information and make decisions on their own.

— Adapted from “Diversity, dissent and disruption,” John Cook, www.geekwire.com.

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