Brian Harniman

Co-Founder & Managing Director with BNM since September 2012

When you’re an entrepreneur, good days are great, bad days are crushing. I’ve been there. Your job is to just keep moving when it feels like you shouldn’t.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in my career is that sometimes you have to go with your gut. When I was at Priceline, we were looking at an acquisition of lowestfare.com. The site had stopped selling airline tickets at that point, and that’s the only reason people were coming to the site at all. But I had the idea that the vertical traffic that was still coming to the site would buy airline tickets. It took 5 months of standing outside the CFO’s office to convince them to buy it, but when we did, and people did buy tickets (and a lot of them), it was a nice validation of that theory.

It was a turning point because it allowed us to move Priceline into “normal” fixed price travel products. We bought rentalcars.com and that went really well and then went on to about ten little purchases in all. Each of them added value immediately. It also convinced us that were ready to take a bigger bite, which ultimately led to the acquisition of booking.com.

After Priceline, I was hooked on the idea of redefining travel and hospitality. I was EVP of online marketing at Kayak, CSO of Facebook’s first travel app, and CEO of Openlist.com, the world’s first vertical hotel search.

Now at BNM, I get to work with really smart people on the stuff they’re passionate about. And apply what I’ve done to help them to do what they do better. What could be more interesting than that?

Hearing a company’s genesis story is one of my favorite things…why the team or the founder had to build this. What was the reason that made them say, “This needs to happen!” I think tenacity is one of the most critical qualities a founder can have.

My biggest advice to entrepreneurs is “don’t be afraid to make mistakes.” But be very afraid if you’re not quick to correct them. That’s where working with BNM can be critical. When we work with companies, their problems become our problems. And we do whatever we can to get them back on track quickly.

We’re trying to turn building  successful companies into a repeatable process. As far as I know, we’re the only company approaching it that way.


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