Power to the People: Glassdoor’s Speaker Series Debuts

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Glassdoor is excited to announce its new Speaker Series, welcoming influential leaders, visionaries and extraordinary people to share their stories with Glassdoor employees. This new program debuted with Glassdoor’s very own co-founder and chairman, Rich Barton. In a talk on the power of transparency and doing what’s right for ‘the little guy – and gal,’ Rich kicked off Glassdoor’s speaker series in a captivating way, connecting his innovative and entrepreneurial path with our own mission: helping people everywhere find a job and company they love.

In addition to being Glassdoor’s non-executive chairman and co-founder, Rich is an entrepreneur and investor known for disrupting industries – most famously the travel and real estate markets. He founded Expedia nearly 20 years ago and served as the company’s president, CEO and board director through its acquisition in 2003. Now, he is the co-founder and executive chairman of Zillow and a venture partner at Benchmark. He sits on the boards of Netflix, Nextdoor, RealSelf, Avvo, among others. Further, he is an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), appointed by President Obama in 2014.

Rich spoke on a variety of topics and fielded questions from Glassdoor employees then took part in a Founders Panel with co-founders Robert Hohman and Tim Besse. Here are our three favorite takeaways from Rich’s talk:

1. A ‘Power to the People’ Philosophy Works

One of Rich’s biggest messages was about his “power to the people” philosophy that is rooted in setting information free and shifting control and power from those who historically serve as gatekeepers to the masses. The idea of Glassdoor came directly from this concept: critical information about jobs and companies should be available to job seekers and employees so they can make better, more informed decisions about one of the biggest parts of their lives – their jobs. How can we negotiate a fair salary if we do not know what others in our field, job title or location earn?

Rich said, “Freedom is primal.” Information has the ability to set us free. In this example, we can be free from pay inequality with more information about what others like us make. We do not want to be held back from useful information we know is accessible or held back from what we know is right. Rich said it simply, to be empowered to know what salary you should be earning based on experience and fair market value: “Show me your salary, and I’ll show you mine.” This is one step to realizing equal pay for equal work and fairness for all.

2. Technology Revolutionizes Industries

Technology has been a catalyst to setting information free. It has the power to revolutionize the modern world. Whether it is through your smartphone, the Internet of Things or a self-driving car, technological advancements allow us to learn more and do more. It also gives people power and access to information that they haven’t had until now.

One of the ways Rich has seen this in play is through Zillow and empowering home buyers with real-time information about home listings on their smartphones. As you travel through neighborhoods, it is invaluable to have that information at your fingertips when you need it most. Before Zillow, that information was generally only available through real estate agents and rarely, if ever, was it available in real time.

3. Transparency: Turning the Lights On

“Wouldn’t transparency make all things work a little better?” Rich asked the audience. For people who are used to being in the dark, turning on the lights can be eye opening and empowering. Transparency is like turning on the lights – and can spark a revolution.

The companies Rich has been involved in and works with today have one thing in common: bringing transparency to industries where information was previously locked away and only few had the key. Expedia, Zillow, Glassdoor, RealSelf and others provide information – and power – to the people. And, when people have power and knowledge, amazing things can happen.

We think so. And, we’re pleased Rich, Robert Hohman and Tim Besse had the passion, tenacity and drive to make the idea for Glassdoor a reality… and our 30 million registered users appreciate it too!

Watch our blog for future installments of Glassdoor’s Speaker Series.

To connect with Rich, follow him on Twitter @Rich_Barton or follow his personal blog,hopperanddropper.com.

Want to work at Glassdoor? We’re hiring!