Our stock price was down to $1.75 from $22. We were in a Smart Money magazine fold-out as one of the internet companies closest to the sun – flaming out. Customers were getting skittish about buying our leads. Barrons said we were out of cash. LendingTree – circa 2001.
In response, our beloved CTO Rick Stiegler stood on a chair in front of a few hundred employees and shouted – “We weren’t as good as we thought we were at 22 [dollars per share], and we’re not as bad as we feel now. So just get back to your desks and create great products to make our customers happy.”
Thereby Rick poignantly demonstrated LendingTree’s core value – “Winning despite obstacles”. So much is wrapped up in those three words.
Winning is not just succeeding or achieving. It’s more – Starting every day with a game-on attitude and the drive and spirit of a sportsman.
“Despite” infers expectation of a tough competition, and embracing it.
Obstacles are mere hurdles for the runner, not defeated. Market shifts, regulations, competitors, funding gaps – all to be faced not as crises but as mile markers for the race.
The story ended with a sale two years later at the original price of $22. A good day at LendingTree.
May we all take this value into the new year and capture the leaderboard in our endeavors.
Photograph courtesy of Gabriella Santander.