Mark Tilden

Team Spotlight: Mark Tilden

Team member:

Mark Tilden

What is your position at FlightStats?

Co-founder and Director of Product

What made you interested in what you do?

I am fascinated with starting technology businesses. I’m way past my prime as an engineer, but the product part is fascinating. I love talking to customers to learn what their problems are so I can think of ways to fulfill their needs.

How long have you been working at FlightStats?

Since the beginning of time. I’m older than dirt.

How has FlightStats evolved since you started?

We’ve really matured our business processes and our focus. Many startups begin being engineering driven. We often start with a solution in search of a problem, which worked in the early years. But now we build products based on customer needs, not only based on what we think is interesting.

What do you like about working at FlightStats?

People. We have an amazing team of smart, dedicated people. There are about a dozen people who have been with us basically their entire professional lives. It’s really humbling that these people would devote their careers to our company. There is a quote I really believe in that goes: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” We wanted the culture to empower people to be creative and do their best.

What’s the best part of developing products at FlightStats?

What really gives me a jazz is sitting on an airplane wearing my FlightStats t-shirt and hearing someone say, “Oh FlightStats! I use them all the time.”  It’s really fun to see that what you do is making a difference. You feel like a significant part of the travel ecosystem. I love seeing all the people that use and consume FlightStats data. We think at least one-third of all of the traveling public refers to FlightStats data when they’re traveling. We’re having a real influence on the travel industry and hopefully making people’s lives better.

What are your hopes for our industry?

We are right in the middle of what is probably the most important problem that remains in travel: disruption. Travel is wonderful until it sucks and when it sucks, it REALLY sucks. We have an opportunity to make travel better by helping airlines identify disruptions and helping agencies handle disruptions. We can’t stop disruptions, but we can help various stakeholders solve the problem more efficiently. We can even help them see it coming by predicting disruptions. They can step in and handle the problem before it happens. The opportunities are enormous, and we’re perfectly positioned to be significant in solving that problem.

What do you do in your free time?

I am a coast guard licensed captain and I love anything that floats. I have competitively sailed most of my life. I have sailed across the Pacific to Hawaii twice. I also love meeting people and hearing about their lives.

Any other fun facts you want to share?

Leonardo DiCaprio used one of the products I worked on. The product was distributed to American Airline’s top tier frequent travelers, and he was one of them.