Rich Barton appeared on my radar a few years ago when I saw him speak at a Goldman Sachs conference. He was introduced as the founder of Zillow, Glassdoor, and Expedia. That blew my mind. The same guy did all of that? Indeed, he did. And a lot of it was done in parallel.
Rich started at Microsoft in 1991, a couple years after graduating from Stanford with a degree in engineering. By 1994, Rich sparked the idea for Expedia, suggesting to none other than Bill Gates himself that the CD-ROM travel guidebook they were slated to create should instead be an online destination for booking travel. Gates approved the change and allowed Rich to lead the charge, ultimately launching Expedia online in 1996.
Expedia expanded and spun out of Microsoft with a separate IPO in 1999. It sold four years later for $3.6 billion to InterActiveCorp. Rich took a year off and joined Benchmark, a prestigious venture capital firm, as a partner just as he launched Zillow in February 2005. Two years later, in 2007 while still active with Zillow, Rich co-founded Glassdoor.
According to his LinkedIn profile, today Rich is chairman of each of Zillow Group, Glassdoor, and a new travel website called Trover. He sits on the boards of Netflix and Nextdoor among several others. Although not as well-known as Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, I put Rich’s ambition and execution right up there with both of them.