There’s no one at startups to teach young employees, says BLADE CEO Rob Wiesenthal

The top boss would rather youngsters first work at established companies before joining a startup.

BCCL
Rob Wiesenthal believes that being transparent helps a company handle bad press after an accident.
Rob Wiesenthal is flying high. Quite literally. The former CFO of Sony Corporation and COO of Warner Music Group is now the CEO of BLADE Urban Air Mobility, Inc — a New Yorkbased urban mobility service that includes luxury choppers.

When ETPanache meets Wiesenthal, he is sharply dressed in jeans, a blazer and statement frames. He makes an entrance as he disembarks the helicopter at Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai, rattling off observations to staff waiting nearby.

During a chat, the 53-year-old talks startups, tells us why it is okay not to have an MBA and how he’s happy he doesn’t have to work with family.


After years in the entertainment industry you moved to aviation. How do you know when it’s time to make a big change?
I’ve been working in corporate America since I was 21 and when I left I was 49 — it was now or never. I did a long time in corporate America and I felt I had the skills and saw the opportunity.

What advice would you give people — stick around in the same job or move around?
I never got an MBA. I think that working right after college at a big company gets you terrific skills. Too many people, especially now, think it’s fashionable to jump in startups, but there is no one there to teach them. I would say go to an investment bank for two years, go to a big company. Learn how to write, learn a little about finance, marketing, how to communicate and collaborate. They’re [startup employees] clever but their foundation is not strong.
ADVERTISEMENT

Rob Wiesenthal
Rob Wiesenthal shares why it is okay not to have an MBA .

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got bad press because of their frequent private jet usage. If they can’t justify their use of private air transport, how can others?
Environment is a big concern for us, but there is a misconception that helicopters are huge polluters. In terms of jets, people are concerned. But we need to be more sensitive to the environment in everything we do. Consumers want to see that you’re not just thinking about the bottom line. We move organs every week and we are saving lives. I’ll give you an example from New York. One helicopter going to the airport with six people has less of a carbon footprint that an SUV. It’s 40 gallons of fuel per hour and it’s a five-minute flight versus two hours in an SUV.

How does a company handle bad press after an accident?
You have to be transparent. You keep your phone on, talk to everyone — tell them the truth — tell them what you know and tell them what you don’t know as well.

ADVERTISEMENT
You’ve been surrounded by celebrities and businessmen. You’ve played the ukulele with Roger Waters on stage and were friends with Michael Jackson. Can you really have friends in business?
Good question. Sometimes it can happen naturally; you become friends with someone you have done business with. Blade India was formed because of a relationship with one of the partners. Our kids went to the same school. However, working with family is a little bit tougher. Family is a life sentence, friendships you can gracefully exit. I do not envy people with family businesses (laughs).

Seven Seaplanes For Your Flight Of Fancy
1/8
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a splash flying on a seaplane recently. While it was mistaken as the 'country's first seaplane flight' by some, these amphibious aircrafts are not a common sight on Indian waterfronts yet. However, seaplanes are popular leisure and strategic flight choices around the world.

Here are some of the admired amphibious flying machines:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a splash flying on a seaplane recently. While it was mistaken as the 'country's first seaplane flight' by some, these amphibious aircrafts are not a common sight on ..
Read More
The Kawanishi H8K (codenamed Emily) was the fastest and most heavily armed Japanese flying boat to enter service during World War II. It was considered by Allied pilots to be the hardest aircraft to shoot down. Although the H8K was designed as a long range maritime patrol aircraft, it was used for bombing raids during the war.

(Image: www.aviation-history.com)
The Kawanishi H8K (codenamed Emily) was the fastest and most heavily armed Japanese flying boat to enter service during World War II. It was considered by Allied pilots to be the hardest aircraft to ..
Read More
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China is building the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600. It will be used for firefighting and marine rescue missions. The 37 meters long aircraft is similar in size to a Boeing 737. The AG600 can take off with a maximum of 53.5 tons, has a maximum cruising speed of 500 kmph, and has a range of 12 hours or 4,500 km.

(Image: Twitter/@XHNews)
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China is building the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600. It will be used for firefighting and marine rescue missions. The 37 meters long aircraft is ..
Read More
Quest Kodiak 100 single-engine aircraft is the one Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to fly during the recent election campaign in Gujarat. The 10-seater aircraft has a Pratt & Whitney engine, Garmin G1000 avionics, and a max range of 975 nautical miles and payload capacity of 360 lbs as a seaplane. In India, it flies between Kochi to Lakshadweep Islands as a domestic air taxi service

(Image: www.questaircraft.com)
Quest Kodiak 100 single-engine aircraft is the one Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to fly during the recent election campaign in Gujarat. The 10-seater aircraft has a Pratt & Whitney engine, Garmi..
Read More
The Beriev Be-200 seaplane is a Russian multipurpose amphibious aircraft designed for fighting forest fires. It is fitted with flight navigation and communication equipment for better control at all flight phases including adverse weather conditions, day and night.

(Image: AP & www.beriev.com)
The Beriev Be-200 seaplane is a Russian multipurpose amphibious aircraft designed for fighting forest fires. It is fitted with flight navigation and communication equipment for better control at all ..
Read More
FlyNano is a tiny, all-electric single seat seaplane that promises the highest power-to-weight ratio available in the market in its category. Due to its small size and light weight design, the sensation of speed is remarkable. The Finnish seaplane has a take-off speed of 90 kmph and max speed of 120 kmph.

(Image: www.flynano.com)
FlyNano is a tiny, all-electric single seat seaplane that promises the highest power-to-weight ratio available in the market in its category. Due to its small size and light weight design, the sensat..
Read More
The MVP.Aero Model 3 is a two-seater amphibious light sport aircraft that can be used on land and water as well as snow. It has a flat floor and enough space for two people to stretch out and sleep with a hammock that can be stretched between the engine pylon and the tail. The aircraft is equipped with a Rotax 914 engine. It has a maximum cruise speed of 104 knots and full flap stall speed of 41 knots at sea level.

(Image: www.mvp.aero.com)
The MVP.Aero Model 3 is a two-seater amphibious light sport aircraft that can be used on land and water as well as snow. It has a flat floor and enough space for two people to stretch out and sleep w..
Read More
Singular Aircraft's SA03 is the first amphibian RPA (remotely piloted aircraft), equipped with a twin engine, and capabilities to land and take off on unpaved runways or on water, ice and on snow. It is affordably priced in its category and is fully customisable to the owner's needs. It is designed for agricultural, firefighting, surveillance and transporting cargo.

(Image: www.singularaircraft.com)
Singular Aircraft's SA03 is the first amphibian RPA (remotely piloted aircraft), equipped with a twin engine, and capabilities to land and take off on unpaved runways or on water, ice and on snow. It..
Read More

ADVERTISEMENT
Download
The Economic Times Business News App
for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.
READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE:

LOGIN & CLAIM

50 TIMESPOINTS

More from our Partners

Loading next story
Text Size:AAA
Success
This article has been saved

*

+