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Meg Whitman, Part 1

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HH: Special hour today, introducing you to one of the most important figures in American politics over the next two years, Meg Whitman. Meg Whitman wants to be the next governor of California. Who wants that job I don’t know, but we’ll find out right now. Meg Whitman, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

MW: Thank you very much, great to be here.

HH: It’s great to have you. When the first time someone sits down in my studio, I like to do biography for them, so that the audience gets grounded before we talk about policies. And yours is fascinating. You’re a native of Cold Harbor Springs, New York. Where is Cold Harbor?

MW: It’s actually Cold Spring Harbor.

HH: Okay, that’s good.

MW: It’s on the north shore of Long Island, about halfway up.

HH: Okay, and you’re born in 1956 or ’57?

MW: 1956.

HH: Okay, I am, too, and I’ve always said that’s the best year to have been born in America, part of a post-war generation. What kind of town is Cold Spring?

MW: It’s a small town, as I said, on the north shore. It was originally a fishing village. It’s also home of the Cold Spring Harbor Labs, which is a very famous biology lab on the north shore.

HH: Okay, and your mom was a real Rosie the Riveter.

MW: She was.

HH: Tell the audience about that story. You gave a speech not long ago talking about that. It’s a real eye opener.

MW: Well, my mom was raised in Boston, and when World War II broke out, she wanted to join the effort, so she decided to join the Red Cross. And the Red Cross shipped her to New Guinea. And so she lands in New Guinea thinking she’s going to do Red Cross kind of things, and they had a huge shortage of mechanics on the base. And so they said will any women sign up to go to mechanic school and learn how to repair the jeeps and the airplanes? And my mom signed up, and she became a remarkably adept mechanic.

HH: You know, I was thinking when I read that in your bio last night about the movie, The Queen, the queen also worked on cars throughout World War II, and could still handle a wrench and change the oil on the jeeps on her estate. Did she pass that on to you? Are you a car person, Meg Whitman?

MW: I’m not really a car person, but she still is. I mean, I remember as a child when the cars would break down, she’d go in the garage. She would tell the mechanics what to do. It was pretty funny.

HH: Now how about your dad. He was also a veteran of the Great War.

MW: He was. He was in the Air Force. He did not fly. He was 6′ 8″, so he was too big to fly, but he ran the supply chain for the Air Force out of Guam, and spent four years in Guam.

HH: When did they meet? When did they marry?

MW: They actually met as children in Boston. Their families were friends, and actually, the way they ended up really becoming close is my mother’s youngest brother was killed during World War II, and it sent her mother into a depth of depression, as you can imagine. And when my mom got home from the war, she said mom, we’ve got to get you out. We’ve got to, you know, she’d put down all the windows, drawn all the shades, and refused to come out of their apartment. And she said I’m going to have some people over for dinner. And so she thought about who she could have in this very touchy situation, and she called my father and said please come over and have dinner with my mother and father who are still in mourning over their son. And my mother and father sort of fell in love, I think, over that shared experience.

HH: What a sweet experience. Your uncle was killed in the war. Where was he killed?

MW: He was killed, actually, in the Philippines.

HH: Okay, part of MacArthur’s…

MW: I think so, yes.

HH: Let’s talk a little bit, you have brothers and sisters?

MW: I do. I have an older brother who’s eight years older than I am. He’s a rheumatologist in New Jersey, and I have an older sister who’s six years older than me, and she lives in Boston and founded a mental health institution there.

HH: And do big brother and sister think you’re crazy for doing politics?

MW: I think they’re a little surprised, although I have been surprising them all the way along.

HH: Now it sounds like you lived the kind of baby boom youth that I did – summer vacations, largely mom-run, because dad is working. In fact, did you drive across, did you take the great American awful torture story, drive across the country with your mom in a station wagon?

MW: Well, not in a station wagon. My mom, when I was, the summer that I turned six, my mom and her very best friend took eight children, the three Whitman children and five Gardner children, and we took off in two Ford Econoline vans and went across the country to all the great national parks – Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National Park, Mesa Verde, and we did not stay in a hotel for three months.

HH: And no one was dead at the end of that?

MW: No, we had a ball.

HH: (laughing)

MW: It was one of those wonderful experiences, and I will never forget waking up at the base of El Capitan in Yellowstone and thinking wow, this is California.

HH: But you also got to go to Disneyland at the age of six, and because we are of the same age, you grew up watching the Wide World of Disney every Sunday night.

MW: Absolutely.

HH: So this was like going to Heaven at the age of six.

MW: Well, there’s two things I remember about California. One is Yosemite, and two is the Tea Cups at Disneyland.

HH: Tea cups…now tell…where did you go to grade school? Public school?

MW: I went to public school, the Cold Spring Harbor public schools, K-12.

HH: Okay, and I was going to ask you about high school. Obviously you went to Princeton, so they had to have a great, solid education, and I’m going to come back to this in the second hour that we talk, California public education is in trouble, but obviously it worked for you.

MW: I mean, public education, there’s two great levelers in America – the military and education. And education, a great public school made all the difference to me. And I must say, we had a very strong math and science program which stood me in stead much later on, obviously, but it was an excellent education, and it made all the difference.

HH: I always ask political people, and they’ve always known this, the name of their first grade teacher and their most important teacher in high school. Do they come to mind easily for you?

MW: Let’s see, I can picture my first grade teacher, I’m not sure I can remember her name. But probably my most influential teacher was my 11th grade English teacher named Mr. Grossman.

HH: And why is that?

MW: He taught me to write.

HH: Okay.

MW: He really taught me everything I know about writing.

HH: Your high school experience, again, everything is set in high school. Were you a student council person? Or were you a golf team person? What kind of person was Meg Whitman in the high school yearbook when we go back and look?

MW: Yeah, so I was a very good student academically. I cared a lot about doing well academically, and I played sports. I played all kinds of sports. I played basketball, I was a swimmer in high school, and so whatever season there was, I was playing sports. And so those were probably the two things I did the most. I was on the yearbook and wrote stories for the newspaper, but my passion was academics and athletics.

HH: You know, women’s sports has come into its own in the last 20 years, but it is not until the last 20 years, so that’s kind of rare to have had a public high school system that was emphasizing women’s sports in the 70s.

MW: Yeah, I mean, you know, Title IX has not yet come on, but at Cold Spring Harbor High School, we had all the same sports as the boys, or equal sports, and it was a great lesson learned for young girls. We learned team play, we learned it’s okay to make a mistake and you fix it, and it was just one of those great, great sort of formative experiences.

HH: Then you’re off to Princeton. Was that a family school, or you’re the first one?

MW: I’m the first one to go to Princeton.

HH: Now that’s kind of a reach. And were the eating clubs even admitting women in those years?

MW: Only one of the eating clubs was admitting women, and I was in just the fourth class of women to go all the way through, so we were a novelty at the university. But I have to say Princeton did a great job. I looked at a couple of other schools, and many of them said well, if you get enough girls together to form a swimming team, we’ll figure out how to get you pool time. And Princeton said we’ve got field time, we’ve got pool time, we’ve got locker rooms, we’ve got coaches, and we want you here, and we’re ready for you to come. And that’s actually one of the reasons I chose Princeton.

HH: Okay, and in terms of…then you went to Harvard Business School immediately after Princeton.

MW: Correct.

HH: …which is rare, because we graduate pretty much the same time, and they used to make you take two years off…

MW: Right.

HH: …and you know, go be a slave for McKenzie or something like that. How did you manage to swing that right into HBS?

MW: Well, only 5% of our class was in fact admitted right out of college. And with 20/20 hindsight, you know, I’m not sure I would do the same thing, because I came to Harvard Business School with virtually no full time work experience. And so a lot of what I learned was, I was drinking from a fire hose, because I hadn’t had work experience. But I’d done, been selling advertising for a magazine at Princeton, I knew a little bit about business, and my dad was instrumental, because he said Meg, as a woman, you will get a better job with two years of business school than you will right out of college, so I think you should just go and try to sort of accelerate your career by going right to Harvard Business School. And I must say it was quite an experience.

HH: What did you study undergrad?

MW: I was an economics major.

HH: Okay, so that did put you in some stead there. And then the HBS, for people listening, it’s called the case method. It’s a rather rigorous approach. And were you prepared for that? That’s kind of a lot of data, a lot of argument. Has that influenced the whole career of Meg Whitman?

MW: Well, it’s a great way to learn business, I think, for most subjects. I will tell you, it’s a very difficult way to learn accounting. It’s better, frankly, to learn accounting from an accounting textbook. But it was a great way to learn, because you have to read three cases every night, each case is several hundred pages long, so you learn right away the 80/20 – what is 20% of the information that will get you 80% of the answer? And you learn to digest and distill very well. But it’s a very intense experience. And of course what they tell you, you know this, you look to your right, look to your left, and one of the three of you will be gone at the end of the first year. And I looked to my right, and it was a banker from Chase Manhattan Bank, who had been at the bank eight years, who slept through accounting. I was panicked in accounting, he slept through accounting. And then on my left was a guy who’d been in the Army for eight years and had actually fought in the Vietnam War. And so I looked at these two and said I’m not sure it’s going to be one of them, and I’m going to make sure it’s not me.

HH: Hard work then. Lots of hours.

MW: Lots of hours.

HH: When did you meet your husband?

MW: I met him when he was at Harvard Medical School and I was at Harvard Business School.

HH: Okay, now let’s talk a little bit about that. You’ve married a brain surgeon. I don’t know how many times you’ve said this isn’t brain surgery, and I know, I’m sure a few times. Tell us about your husband.

MW: So he is from Birmingham, Alabama, and he went to Harvard as an undergraduate, the first in his class to go north to college. And he wanted to be a neurosurgeon. His father is a neurosurgeon, and so he went to Harvard Medical School, and I met him there. He actually was a friend of my older sister’s, who was actually a PhD from Harvard in archaeology and anthropology. And so he and I were together the second year I was at business school, and then I went off to take a job at Proctor & Gamble, and he did his last year of medical school, many of the rotations in Cincinnati so we could be together.

HH: Now it’s interesting, so he did…I thought he did Mass Gen for a time, too. Did he end up going back for a residency?

MW: No, so he had to pick a city for neurosurgery residency for seven years, and he got into two programs – really the very best training program in the country at the University of California, San Francisco…

HH: Oh, that’s it.

MW: …and Harvard’s teaching hospital, the Mass General. And in one of the great all-time insights, he said Meg, your mother lives in Boston, we should go to California.

– – – –

HH: We’re covering the years of Meg Whitman, not a hundred. She’s got a lot left to do. Meg Whitman, I want to make sure we get the bio in as well. So you and your husband move to California, he’s a neurosurgeon. Do you have children?

MW: We do.

HH: And how many, and where are they now?

MW: There are two boys, college age. One is graduating from college this year and he has a job, which I’m thrilled about.

HH: Hooray.

MW: And the other one is a sophomore in college.

HH: Excellent, excellent. So what do they think about politics as a profession for mom?

MW: You know, they’re excited about it. I think they’re not necessarily looking forward to the intense scrutiny. I think it’s also really hard to have your mom criticized. And they’re getting used to that, and it’s hard, I think. It’s really hard.

HH: I would think so. In terms of you’ve been obviously a professional woman your entire life, but you’ve raised two obviously successful young men. How have you done that? A lot of single moms right now driving around, a lot of two parent, two career families driving around, they’re very interested. How did you do that and yet maintain the boys on the right path?

MW: Yeah, well I will tell you with great difficulty. It’s not easy. It really isn’t easy. And I think the first thing that I learned is it’s very hard to be perfect at everything – perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect homemaker, perfect entertainer, perfect CEO. And in the end, I gave up the notion that my house could look like Martha Stewart just left. And so we really focused on each other, my husband and myself, our children and our jobs. And on the weekends, we didn’t do much socializing unless we could go as a family to another family’s house, or they could come to our house and we could have a social event together. So it was a very focused on just three things – each other, the kids and our jobs. And we made trade-offs over time. There’s no question about it.

HH: Without embarrassing them, were there those teenage moments when the car’s in the ditch, or they’re out where they’re not supposed to be and doing, that sort of thing?

MW: Well, I think every mother and father, they say okay, mom, I will be home at Midnight. And you go to bed at ten, and at Midnight, you instinctively wake up, right? Where are the children? And then at 12:05, 12:10, then you get on the phone, they’re not answering the phone, then you send them a text, I think you were supposed to be home fifteen minutes ago, and they roll in at 12:20 or 12:25. I mean, this was part of the normal thing.

HH: So you’ve lived youth culture because you’ve been a mom through youth culture, and very recently, so you know what California is like right now for a parent.

MW: Oh, absolutely.

HH: It’s a pretty strenuous place, right?

MW: It is. I mean, I think raising children is, you know, it’s so gratifying and wonderful, but it is hard work, and it takes every bit of energy that you have. And I have to say my husband was a huge help. When I joined e-Bay, he took up a lot of the…you know, households do not run themselves. And he took up a lot of the slack in terms of being home for dinner with the children when I couldn’t be, running the household, grocery shopping. I mean, he was a full partner, and I will, I’m just forever grateful to him for that.

HH: What’s the importance of faith in your life?

MW: So I was raised an Episcopalian, but my husband’s a Presbyterian. And when we moved to California, we decided that we would actually join the Presbyterian Church. So we’re members of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church.

HH: Great tall steeple Presbyterian church, yeah.

MW: It’s great. You know, we call it Menlo Pres…

HH: Yeah.

MW: And John Ortberg is the pastor there. He’s just a wonderful individual. And I just absolutely love going to church.

HH: I think your associate pastor is Libby, I can’t remember her last name, but that’s neither here nor there.

MW: Yeah, yeah, no you’re exactly right.

HH: She’s taught a number of women’s retreats that my wife has been on. So you’ve been an active member of the Presbyterian faith?

MW: Yeah.

HH: Now let’s switch over to business. I played A Hundred Years, because this is where people get a full scope. You started out at Proctor & Gamble…

MW: Yup.

HH: …which is the all time, it’s sort of like the Marine Corps for people who sell. Tell people what you did at P & G.

MW: Well, I joined what was then called the brand assistant program, which is the marketing training program. And back then, you were assigned to a brand, and your objective was to bring that brand to market, devise the marketing plans, the product plans, the bottling and packaging plans. And I worked in the health and beauty aids group, and my very first project was what was called T-4, it was a test market brand. And so we sat, normally you sat in cubicles, but we sat in a closed room like your office here because it was so secret. And actually, that brand turned out to be Ivory Shampoo, which was marketed for about five or six years and didn’t actually work very well.

HH: Yeah.

MW: But it was a great first experience for me, because there was no product, there was no packaging, we had to do everything from scratch.

HH: And it must teach you about the American people at least at that time and place, because you’re trying to hit the broad middle, correct?

MW: Absolutely. And Proctor & Gamble is known for being in touch with consumers. And you are taught that you have to really understand what consumers want. And as you know, consumers can’t always tell you, so you have to observe, you have to do all kinds of different research. And it’s a very disciplined place. It’s very quantitative, and I still do things today that I learned at Proctor & Gamble.

HH: And from there, you go to Bain & Co., which of course I wrote a book about Mitt Romney, I spent a lot of hours with the former governor of Massachusetts, I know a lot about Bain & Co. What did Bain & Co. teach you?

MW: Bain was an excellent business education, because you work on two different clients at any given point in time. So you see a full range of businesses from consumer businesses to industrial businesses, to a whole host of business problems from cost reduction to marketing to acquisitions. And you learn there to get up to speed very fast, because you can’t spend a month trying to learn the business. You’ve got to dive in right away. And again, you learn that 80/20 rule. In business, you know, 80/20 works all the time. 20% of the sales force usually generates 80% of the sales. 20% of the products usually generate 80% of the sales. So that ability to focus in and understand how business works was part of the education.

HH: Which kind of companies, if you can say, I’m not sure about confidentiality, did you consult with in those years?

MW: So credit card companies, cruise line companies, commercial banks, video game manufacturers, beer manufacturers and distributors.

HH: I made the argument about Romney in the book, A Mormon In The White House?, that he had learned to govern well because he learned to absorb a lot of different information sets from a lot of different settings. You have to do it fairly quickly. When you were done at Bain, why did you leave?

MW: Well, I’d been there nine years, and I loved every single moment of it, but I got a great job offer…

HH: Okay.

MW: And is was to go down to the Walt Disney Company just after Frank Wells and Michael Eisner had taken over after Disney had been in decline for so many years. And it was such an exciting offer. And I was ready to make the transition from consultant to principal, and it was a terrific company, and I was excited by it. So we actually moved to L.A. for four years.

HH: Before we go to Disney, you and Romney worked together. Obviously, he has now endorsed your candidacy.

MW: Yes.

HH: He’s working hard for you. You endorsed his candidacy. What’s that…was he a mentor? Or was he a colleague?

MW: Oh, he was a mentor. I mean, when I was a new consultant, and I think he was a manager at Bain & Co. at the time, very up and coming, and he was actually my first boss at Bain & Co., and I worked with him over the years, on and off, for ten years. So I’ve known Mitt almost thirty years now.

HH: Do you think he’ll be back in the hunt?

MW: I don’t know. I think he certainly is interested, and you see him every place now. And I know he’s very much involved in the debate about the future of the Republican Party, and the future of the country. So we’ll see.

HH: We’ll come back to that. I want to talk about what you learned from both that and the McCain campaign, but let’s get to Disney. What did you do for Disney?

MW: So I started off in strategic planning, which is a normal way one would enter a company like Disney from a consulting firm, and spent a year or so there, and then went over to the Disney consumer products arena, which is the part that does all the licensing of product and book publishing, magazine publishing.

HH: Did I read you opened the store in Japan?

MW: So I was part of the team, yeah, that took the Disney stores to Japan, actually started their publishing operation, Hyperion Press, in New York, and wrote the original business plan for that, and did a whole host of things.

HH: In the course of this, we’ve got about thirty seconds to the break, Meg Whitman, have you traveled extensively abroad?

MW: Yes, I have traveled extensively abroad, not only with Disney, but also with e-Bay, because e-Bay is a global company.

HH: And do you think that that gives you some advantage when it comes to governing?

MW: Absolutely. I mean, we are just one part of a global economy. The world is a very big place. And that experience of traveling all over the world, seeing different people, different cultures, different economic systems, I think is invaluable.

– – – –

HH: Meg Whitman, just to get you up to e-Bay, two more jobs I want to talk about – Stride Rite and Hasbro. And where was FTD in this, by the way? FTD was somewhere in this chain?

MW: Right before Stride Rite.

HH: All right, so we’re at FTD now. I mention this because my sister-in-law, also HBS, went out to Calyx and Corolla and helped run that.

MW: Yeah.

HH: You turned FTD into, what was it, a consortium of buyers?

MW: It was a member-owned florist association.

HH: And what was it when you left?

MW: It was a for profit private company. So it was one of the first Bain Capital, Perry Capital leverage buyouts that took a member-owned association actually private.

HH: And in terms of what you learned there, I read in some of your biographical materials, that may have been the most difficult job up to e-Bay, and why was that?

MW: It was very challenging, because member-owned associations actually exist for different reasons than for profit companies. There is, you know, this sort of connecting over a shared area of interest, it hasn’t been run really for profit, so that transition was far more difficult, I think, than any of us thought. And it’s a great organization. FTD has been part of our lives since I was a little girl, but it was hard.

HH: It’s very hyper-competitive. Not only do I know from my sister-in-law, but is a sponsor of this program…

MW: Right.

HH: …and obviously FTD is growing…

MW: And 1-800-FLOWERS.

HH: So hyper-competitive, but that’s…do you enjoy that kind of a challenge?

MW: Oh yeah, that doesn’t bother me at all. It was just a hard transition, as I said, from a member-owned florist association. It was a leverage buyout, which means the company had a lot of debt on it, so there were lots of requirements. But I learned a lot. It was the first time I was actually a CEO, and the first time that you do that, you learn a tremendous amount. So it was a very good experience. But in the end, I said you know what, if this is fixable, it’s not fixable by me. And I was living in Boston commuting to Detroit for that little period of time, so I decided to leave and ultimately, actually joined Hasbro.

HH: I was talking with Mitt Romney when I was writing the bio, I said when you get close to something, the people who you have negotiated with, business is tough. They may have some bruises that they don’t want to forget, they may have some broken legs that they want to mend at your expense. Do you expect people to come out of the woodwork, you know, someone who was disappointed at FTD, someone at Disney who you have to be promoted over to come after you?

MW: You know, there’s not anyone out there I know of who feels that way, but I think whenever you get into public life, you have to think that there will be people who won’t be happy with what you did someplace along the line. You may not even know you made them unhappy. And so we’ll see what happens.

HH: But have you had to make tough, you know, like close a plant, shutter a division, fire a few people?

MW: Certainly at FTD, we had to let go a large number of people because we had to downsize the organization, we had to change the product line. There were many things that we had to do. It was true also at Hasbro. I was asked to lead a division that was losing $60 million dollars in operating income on sales of $600 million, so we had to make some changes there.

HH: Okay, let’s do Stride Rite, Keds and Hasbro, and then we’ll move onto e-Bay next segment. I know a little bit about Hasbro, because one of the my college roommates was one of their lawyers. Cam Nixon was over there, and it was a tough time to be in the toy business when you were there, ditto Keds. So these are worn-out brands, sort of like California, that needed resurrecting. What did you take away from those two companies?

MW: Well, you know, there’s nothing like being surrounded by great people. And your success in any turnaround is around the people that you ask to be part of your team, the cohesiveness of that team, and being on a shared set of mission and values. And I was very lucky at Keds. I was able to accept, get a great team. And the same was true at Hasbro. So that makes it fun, and it is also the most effective way to get things done.

HH: All right, now we’re getting to e-Bay, and next segment we’ll cover the nuts and bolts of growing it. How did you end up at e-Bay, because you’re on the East Coast now. Your husband must be doing practices back and forth. I’m not sure how he’s doing this.

MW: Well actually, his move, the move from when I left Disney to go to Boston was because of Griff.

HH: Okay.

MW: He got a chance to work at Harvard’s teaching hospital, the Mass General, as…

HH: That’s where…I thought I saw Mass General in there somewhere.

MW: Yeah.

HH: Okay.

MW: And so he really wanted to take that job, and I really didn’t want to leave Disney. But sometimes in life you do things that you don’t want to do, and this was his dream to go back to Boston. So we went back to Boston, and that’s how I ended up actually at Stride Rite. I looked for a job when I got back to Boston, then went to FTD, then went to Hasbro. So I was at Hasbro running the preschool division, running Barney, Arthur, Teletubbies, Mr. Potato Head, and that’s when I got the call to go to e-Bay.

HH: And it is Dr. Griff. I don’t know his last name. I can’t remember.

MW: Harsh. Griff Harsh.

HH: Is he passionate about the health care system? Obviously he must be passionate about brain surgery, but what about the health care system?

MW: Well, he thinks there is so much wrong with the health care system that it needs to be fundamentally overhauled, and we can talk about that when we get to policy issues.

HH: We will. And in terms of coming back, then, he had done his stint as a professor and as a teacher, so he was open to returning to the West Coast?

MW: Well, he was actually loving being at Harvard, I must say. He loved being at the Mass General. But I was asked to come interview for the CEO job at e-Bay, and originally I said no. I said we are here in Boston, the children were 10 and 13, we need to stay here. But I was persuaded to come out and meet with the 29 year old founder, and so I flew to California. At the end of the day, I called my husband from San Francisco International Airport, and I said Hon, we should move back to California.

– – – –

HH: I’ve got to tell you, Meg, anyone who’s run for office who has actually come to the studio has won.

MW: There you go.

HH: Arnold’s been here, John Thune, Norm Coleman, Jim Talent. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t lose later, both Norm, well, I don’t know if Norm’s lost, but Jim Talent has lost, and so…but it gets you around the first round, so it’s a great seat to sit in. In terms of e-Bay, you met coming in there today Mark Hammett. He’s a CEO of a startup up in the Valley, a ferociously competitive area when you walked in. and e-Bay wasn’t e-Bay when you took over.

MW: No.

HH: Give us sort of the e-Bay story in three minutes or less.

MW: Sure, sure. So I came out to interview with the 29 year old founder, a man named Pierre Omidyar, who is a very gifted, wonderful founder. And he described what was going on at e-Bay, and I immediately saw the potential. I had no idea it would turn out to be as big as it was, but I saw the potential, because what Pierre had created was a level playing field where you next door neighbor had an equal chance of success to a large corporation, where we provided the tools for our sellers and buyers to use, and inspired individuals took up those tools and created businesses in ways we never dreamed they would.

HH: Now when you first described it, you were not an internet person. I don’t even know if Stride Rite or Hasbro had gone onto web sales yet, had they?

MW: We just, no, no one had done it. I mean, we were, you have to remember, this was 1997, and I think we were doing e-mail. That was about the extent of our web experience. I had actually experimented with at FTD. But I was not an internet person. And so I went out and was immediately captivated. And I’ll tell you a funny story that will show you how nascent the company was. So when I interviewed, there was a receptionist with a picture behind her, and seemed very normal, I came back to show up for work, no receptionist, no picture, a hole in the wall. I said to Pierre, what happened to the receptionist? And he said, oh, we hired her for the day, because we thought if we didn’t have a receptionist, you wouldn’t think we were…

HH: You wouldn’t take the job?

MW: Exactly, you wouldn’t think we were grown up enough.

HH: Well now it’s 9,000 employees? Or more?

MW: 15,000.


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Friends and Allies of Rome