Uber driver Paul English isn’t your typical ride-sharing business owner. In 2012, he sold his internet travel service Kayak to Priceline for $1.8 billion.
After the sale, English realized most of his outings were with tech and nonprofit people, Inc.com explained.
Wanting to expand his horizons he started driving for Uber. In his Tesla Model S. On Halloween. After hosting a costume party.
“I went out driving from midnight to 2 a.m.,” English told Inc. “People thought it was kind of hilarious that someone dressed up like a vampire was driving a Tesla.”
English drives for a few hours a week and when asked he tells his passengers that he’s also an engineer. But his true motivation is to hear about their lives.
“He keeps a notebook and writes down a sentence about every rider. One of his more memorable passengers was a 13-year-old girl from China, who was visiting high schools in Boston. She hoped that attending one would make it easier to get into Massachusetts Institute of Technology–where English is a part-time instructor at the business school. He mentioned that to her,” Inc explains.
His newest startup, Lola, which has raised $19.7 million, is nearing its launch. The service has travel agents create itineraries for consumers, who will rate their experience from one to five.
English’s Uber rating is 4.97. “Being a competitive person,” English says, “I wonder: Who didn’t give me five stars? What did I do wrong?”
Lola is being setup the same way because “I want my agents to be competitive,” English tells Inc.com. “Having ratings allows you to say, ‘I want to get better.'”
Next up for English? He tells Inc.com that there is a bar next to his office and he might volunteer one night a week with his employees so they can better get to know people and what they want.