Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher, Texas discussed on How I Built This


I'm guy Roz and on today's show. How an eccentric Texas lawyer turned a crazy idea into Southwest Airlines. Now one of the biggest airlines in world. Could you could you start by introducing yourself, Mr. Keller registered herb, if you would her, please. Okay. Herb I can you just say your full name. This is herb Kelleher and your best known as the founder of Southwest Airlines. Great. How how old are you? Now. Eighty five. Okay. Great perfect. Okay. We are very excited. Talk to you about your story. I'm just going to jump in here for like to mention that before we really started our interview I had some time to just Chit chat with her. And I learned some interesting things about him like like what he eats for breakfast. Normally for breakfast. I have choose crackers and what he likes to drink while Turkey bourbon. And that he's been a smoker for pretty much his entire life. I just enjoy the magical mystical aroma and site of smoke. So how soon after you wake up? Do you have a cigarette? Well, it's a nanosecond tobacco king. With your crackers. Even before by cheese crackers for the story of how herb launched Southwest Airlines yet to go back about fifty years nineteen sixty six to be exact herb was a young lawyer. He's living in San Antonio, Texas, where he had started his own law firm, helping clients to start companies and one day one of herbs clients guy named rollin king calls him up. And he says he I heard about this airline called Pacific southwest at flies only in California. And I have an idea. Let's let's me for a drink rollin came to me with the idea of setting up a similar operation in Texas. And how soon after he sort of floated this idea to use saying? Yep. Let's do it. Let's start a company. It was a very short period of time. Maybe you know, like a minute. That fast. No it was longer than that. I was just joking, but within a very short days within days within days. Well, I I was very skeptical. But then I did some research and discovered that PSA was very successful in California that Texas supplied all the requisites for an intrastate airline because it was a big state that had large metropolitan areas far enough apart to justify flying. And so Houston, Dallas and San Antonio will the obvious first targets because they were the three largest cities in Texas. What did you know about airlines at the time? Well, I knew nothing about airlines, which I think made me imminently qualified to start one. Because what we tried to do it south west was get away from the traditional way that airlines had done business. So I started with the tabula Rasa blank slate. And I think that was very helpful. So at this point in how old are you, by the way at that point in your life? I was. Thirty five thirty five. Okay. So you had a family. Yes. Right for children for children. And you you've got this successful often by late was he was the airline industry profitable at that time. No. It was not notably profitable. As a matter of fact, Warren Buffett reportedly joked about it at one time and said if a capitalist had shot down the right brothers that Kitty Hawk in nineteen zero three the economy would probably be better off. And so it didn't have very great returns. It was constantly in difficulty. So why did you even think that this was a plausible idea? Well, I think it was the allure of doing something different doing something. That was exciting. I really always have had a great deal of curiosity. And then I thought to myself, well, you know, most the adults in the United States of America haven't been able to fly because of the cost. Barrier is too expensive is too expensive. They just thought it was business people long expensive counts. And so what I'm saying is that in terms of market analysis. There was a huge untapped market for flying out there..

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