Noah Tratt, who oversees our Media Solutions business at Expedia (the ad arm of the business) is the latest Working Geek from GeekWire! Check out how he balances work and life and managing teams all over the world.
GeekWire | By Monica Nickelsburg | May 19, 2017
As Expedia senior vice president of regional brands, Noah Tratt is constantly traveling the world. He’s been with Expedia for 15 years, first joining the company in 2002 to lead its car rental business.
To stay connected with his kids, he sends Snapchats “so they can see how a cappuccino looks the same no matter where you are in the world.”
With Expedia constantly sending Tratt to exotic locations, you might expect his children to be in awe of his job. But being kids, they’re always ready to serve him up a slice of humble pie to go with those cappuccinos.
“My daughter used to tell people that ‘mom is an amazing artist and makes beautiful paintings, and dad helps people with car rentals,’” Tratt said. “Kids, they keep you humble.”
Tratt’s job involves a bit more than car rentals these days. He runs several of Expedia’s global brands, like Orbitz, Travelocity, and Wotif, working closely with teams in Dallas, Chicago, London, Brisbane, and Sydney.
“As a result, my day-to-day role is ever changing and involves a ton of travel, which is great because there really is no better way to understand travel than really doing it,” he said. “One of the reasons I suspect I was chosen for this role is my stature. I fit nicely in the new economy seats on most airlines.”
We caught up with Tratt for this installment of Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
Current Location: “Based in Bellevue, Wash. but currently traveling in Brisbane, Australia (where Wotif, the leading Online Travel Agency in Australia is located).”
Computer type(s): “Rasberry Pi.”
Mobile device(s): “Google Pixel on the Google Fi service: a new paradigm for international travel. It has reduced my bill to something more reasonable while providing me with a service that has changed the way I travel by making me able to use my phone the way I do when I am home.”
Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: “Besides Stuxnet? Definitely Haiku Deck. A totally new way to tell a story.”
Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “We’ve made the transition from largely private offices to more and more open space. I am still on the fence. Some days it works well for me and on other days I need a Ritalin and think Joel Spolsky is a sage.”
Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “I don’t have a magic formula and if you asked my kids they’d give me a D- here. That said, I try to make getting home for dinner a priority. And when I can’t get home I photograph my dinner and share it with my kids on Snapchat so they can see how a cappuccino looks the same no matter where you are in the world.”
Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “Facebook. Because it’s fascinating to see what my high school friends are eating for lunch.”
Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? “Which inbox? Facebook and LinkedIn rarely get my attention. My voicemail resembles that of a delinquent Rent-A-Center customer, but my inbox, overall, it’s pretty clean. I delete liberally. Right now I currently have a few dozen e-mails unanswered in it.”
Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? “Do I count the places where I am double booked? Does a triple booking count as three meetings or one? This week, I am embarrassed to report, more than 70 (counting double and triple bookings). That’s not a mark of distinction but a mark of disorganization.”
How do you run meetings? “I aspire to get to a place where I only run meetings that are absolutely necessary. I’m not there yet.”
Everyday work uniform? “Anything by Diane von Furstenberg.”
How do you make time for family? “Merge the two. I use my kids in corporate videos and have them ride an exercise bike to help power my devices. Both build character and an appreciation for hard work and dedication. But in all honesty, it’s just prioritizing and using a name tag so the kids remember who you are.”
Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “My best days are when I can ride my bike to and from work.”
What are you listening to? “I love some of the local bands that have come out of the PNW such as Blind Pilot and the Decemberists, but since the Internet told me that dogs love reggae I have been rediscovering, with my pooch, some of my favorite reggae hits from my childhood. I am also trying to get her excited about ska but right now she’s indifferent. ”
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “Besides GeekWire? The Onion because everyone needs to make laughing a priority, particularly at work.”
Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “I like to read about the places I am traveling before I get there. For recent trips to Cuba, I particularly enjoyed Che Guevara, a Revolutionary Life and Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba. I also like to read about current events because nothing stops a conversation like introducing a political opinion longer than 140 characters. I just read Dexter Filson’s the Forever War and because of the current environment, I decided to revisit the classic The Wit and Wisdom of Spiro T. Agnew.”
Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? “Early riser. All the best dinner specials start at 4 p.m.”
Where do you get your best ideas? “I have the honor of working with some incredibly smart people and part of our culture is challenging even the things that are working well. I also have developed a lot of friendships within the industry with partners. Having the opportunity to listen to what folks have to say usually inspires some pretty solid thinking on most topics.”
Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “Expedia coddles me. I know this because I have been lucky enough to get some exposure to some refugee families that have been resettled in the Seattle-area by Jewish Family Service (JFS). I recently spoke to someone who after being resettled here from the Central African Republic (CAR) landed a cleaning job at one of the restaurants at Sea-Tac. Because his shift ended after the last bus left for the night, he would spend four hours sleeping at the airport waiting for the first bus of the morning. He’s now saved up enough to get a car and is helping some of his friends from the CAR get settled. Helping others is always worth emulating.”