Alex Zoghlin brings more than 25 years of experience in technology, airline distribution and travel to ATPCO. He has founded six startups, including Orbitz, which he led to a successful IPO, and G2 SwitchWorks, a direct connect between major airlines and third-party distributors that was acquired by Travelport. Before becoming CEO of ATPCO, Zoghlin was executive vice president and global head of strategy, innovation and technology at Hyatt Hotels Corp. There, he learned lessons from the hospitality world that can be applied to the airline industry, such as addressing digital booking flows, digital display, unstructured datasets and dynamic pricing. When not working, Zoghlin enjoys spending time with his wife and four daughters, making music, building rockets that need Federal Aviation Administration approval to launch, and learning new things.
LINKS & LIKES
Unleash The Power Within You: The Life-Changing Magic Of 'How To Win Friends And Influence People'
(via LinkedIn, June 15)
Zoghlin: While I do not know the author of this post, Mwangi Kagwe, he was able to put his finger on why a book written by an industrialist 100 years ago is still so relevant today. I cannot tell you the number of people I have worked with/interacted with who seem to self-sabotage their careers or personal lives with how they interact with others. For some, there seems to be a complete lack of self-awareness (or care) about how they are perceived by others. Dale Carnegie's book recommends "being agreeable," which to a modern ear sounds like you are just agreeing to be manipulative—in fact, many contemporary reviews take that position. Mwangi, however, correctly translates the word "agreeable" to its proper modern meaning: "empathy," and a sincere interest in others. That one mindset change can fundamentally transform how one interacts with others, and frankly, one's own happiness in the world. This book is centered around the importance of empathy and the ability to see things from the perspective of the other person. When we put ourselves in someone else's place, looking at their views from where they stand, we find it easy to have positive interactions instead of an argument or disagreement. Carnegie offers a simple phrase to show that empathy: "I don't blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you, I would undoubtedly feel just as you do."
You Are A Computer, And No, That's Not A Metaphor
(via Substack, June 8)
Zoghlin: I have been involved in or worked with a version of machine learning/artificial intelligence for many, many years. In fact, before coming to ATPCO I created a company, Machine Learning Ventures, that solely focused on investing in AI companies. When new capabilities like GPT-3 come around, they just look like a smarter Stochastic Parrot—bigger data set, more relevant learning, but fundamentally, no intelligence or, more importantly, consciousness or understanding is involved. Thus, I have ignored most of the Chicken Little warnings about AI, as the AI that could end humanity does not look anything like the AI that can help you write your term paper. In fact, I have not heard or read anyone even hypothesize on the potential roadmap to get from a stochastic parrot to an AI with self-awareness or even subjective experience—until now. This is not a light article. It is written with more assumptions than anyone should be comfortable with but does lay out how consciousness in humans may have come to be, and how that could be applied to AI. Deserves more than the three "likes" it has received since its publication.
Innovating For Dynamic Offers @Scale
(Self-serving link, ATPCO blog, June 29)
Zoghlin: My friend and colleague Navid Abbassi wrote a great post introducing the complexities associated with dynamic offers at scale in the airline industry and introducing a white paper some of our team wrote on one conceivable way forward. Interesting reading for anyone thinking about what the future might look like in a world of offers and orders and personalized content at scale.
STORY TO WATCH
Navigating The Evolving EU ETS: What Can Transport Actors Expect?
Zoghlin: Willie Walsh correctly called environmental issues an existential threat to aviation long-term if the industry doesn't get ahead of regulations. He is right.
In December last year, the European Commission revised the rules of the European Emissions Trading System in aviation to ensure reaching the target of a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (Fit for 55) for the aviation sector.
CO2 regulation isn't "coming" to the aviation industry, it's already here. This is one reason why ATPCO and IATA partnered to collect and distribute airline CO2 emission data directly from airlines in a standardized format.
ATPCO is including these calculations in our Routehappy API. For airlines, we will be providing a standard way to view and audit the data as we do in all of our data collection processes to ensure all airlines are represented in a consistent, proper way for the consumer, and it is based upon their actual data rather than sampling or statistical averages.
Zoghlin: He was the "father" of information theory and invented the fundamental concept of 1s and 0s (logic circuits) in which our entire modern life is based.
He may be one of the most interesting "characters" who is not well-known by many people. Not only did he lay the foundations for modern computing, but his work also heavily influenced cryptography (Shannon's maxim is the basis for public key encryption), data science (data smoothing and prediction), quantization (invented sampling theory which moved communications from analog to digital) natural language processing, even computational linguistics.
Yet, despite all of this, he is best known either as the wacky guy juggling and unicycling inside Bell Labs or the MIT professor who invented the first wearable computer, putting a CPU in someone's shoe to beat the odds of roulette at a casino.
My primary question for him: Did he know at authorship how fundamental his idea on information theory would be to society, and is he surprised at how it turned out?
"A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures In Extreme Cuisines"
By Anthony Bourdain
Zoghlin: Although this book is over 20 years old, you will not find a better book that synthesizes two of my passions: travel and food. Written before he became a famous TV traveler, this book describes his life as a chef. Bourdain saw people for who they were, never idealized a culture and always realized his privileged viewpoint and how it skewed his thinking. This is a thought-provoking book that finds common ground across humanity: Food brings people together. Food is the conversation starter, the shared language across cultures, history and politics.