Doug Lebda is a latecomer to reading Jack Welch's “Jack: Straight from the Gut,” but he's got good reason to pick up the business book classic.
When he was an executive at IAC/Interactive Corp., Lebda got to work regularly with the former General Electric Co. honcho, now a consultant.
“What's great about him is he can be both very tough and very demanding but also extremely inspirational,” said Lebda, chief executive of Charlotte-based Tree.com Inc., the parent of online loan marketplace LendingTree.
Other books on his reading list lately include:
Tom Hayes' “Jump Point,” which explores the growth of the Internet and social networking.
James Surowiecki's “Wisdom of Crowds,” which argues large groups of people are smarter than an elite few.
Lebda, who founded LendingTree in 1996 and returned when IAC spun off Tree.com this year, gets his news mostly from MSNBC, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal. Online, he uses Yahoo Finance for financial news and searches with Google and Ask.com (an IAC property).
Perhaps surprising for the head of a technology company, Lebda, 38, isn't a big iPod guy. He'd rather let his car radio create a playlist.
“It always takes me a while, believe it or not, to adopt new technology,” he says. “I like for the kinks to get worked out.”
For those who would like to emulate his entrepreneurial success, Lebda has simple advice.
“Go do it,” he says. “The challenge and thrill of being an entrepreneur is you'll never work harder at anything in your life, but you'll also never enjoy it more. At the same time, anybody who wants to do it for work/life balance should find another profession.”