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3 strokes of genius, 30 years of unbroken profitability


Sitting in a club with Herb Kelleher, Rollin King picked up a napkin and on it made three strokes to form a triangle. As he wrote San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas on each of the three points of the triangle, Rollin explained an idea -- a NEW idea that became Southwest Airlines.

Amazingly, Rollin's simple picture illustrates the operating principles of the company that he and Herb decided to start that day: fly short routes between busy cities, avoid hubs, and where possible fly into smaller, secondary airfields. "One napkin, one good idea, one profitable airline." says Dan Roam in The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures.

If you place Rollin's triangle side by side with the route maps of the big airlines of the day, that's when you clearly see why his business idea was NEW and destined to succeed.

Comments

  1. Congratulations Pradeep for the 50th Blog. It is nice , simple and Thought provoking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting blog, but as you are probably aware Southwest left this simple model in 2009 as it was too limiting and they now are flying agressively into crowded hub airports such as Denver, LaGuardia, Dulles, and now Boston as they do not want to lose market to upstarts to them such as JetBlue started by Needleman. Thanks for the thought.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Sam. The objective was to illustrate how a simple picture can powerfully communicate a business concept. But you have a point ... maybe I should have mentioned this clearly in the article. Thanks, again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations Pradeep for this milestone.

    I am a regular reader of your blog. Thanks for sharing these nuggets of wisdom. Your ability to touch upon a wide variety of contemporary topics and giving new insights is remarkable. Pictures added in your blog makes it memorable and more interesting to read.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for your comments and wishes. Hope I find NEW ways to improving the work!

    ReplyDelete

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