When I first met Brent Hoberman in June of 2003 to interview for the job, I could tell he had tons of energy. During the interview, for example, he checked his e-mail while we were talking. I was taken aback, but when I mentioned it to the CTO, he said that’s just the way he is. Brent started LastMinute.com, and as CEO, he drives us as he drives the business.
We have site-monitoring technology, and Brent is constantly checking, catching errors. When he sees a problem, he calls several people to see what’s going on. It doesn’t matter what time it is, he calls. He calls me at 1a.m. and 2 a.m., and then he follows up at 7 a.m. I don’t think he sleeps at all. I can’t imagine him lying prone for more than a few minutes at a time. I think it frustrates him that other people do. One weekend, we were rolling out a software release, and I had been in the office for 24 hours. Brent was there too, and he had me call someone from marketing at midnight to find out about a voucher deal. She was stunned and appalled to hear from me.
I don’t think Brent is ever happy, and I think that’s a good thing. If he was happy, we just wouldn’t do as much. We’ve had nine major software releases and added about 40 racks of new equipment before the summer high season, among other things.
I’ve basically been on call 24/7 since August 2003, and it drains you. It’s exhilarating, but exhausting. Brent calls when he’s on holiday, from planes, from beaches. But he usually doesn’t call us when he knows we’re on holiday.
He’s not a monster.
—As told to Susannah Patton