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A chat with Farelogix CTO, Tim Reiz
The patent is called ‘Accessing large data stores over a communications network’ and it addresses the performance needs of calculating fares and availability, an activity that requires the processing of billions of constantly changing transactions. Application #8719374B1 was the fastest patent ever to be granted in the U.S. and is the brainchild of Farelogix CTO, Tim Reiz.
The patent is a simple example of Tim’s unwavering commitment to innovation. It also reflects a relentless drive to build air commerce technology that’s incredibly performant – a design principle at the heart of all Farelogix offer engines.
Back in 2004, Tim joined Farelogix after a 5-year stint with PASS Consulting where he served as CEO for North America. While there, Tim built the XX1 server that normalizes GDS messages using XML. It was a chance meeting at a PhocusWright conference in Tampa that resulted in both Tim and Jim Davidson (CEO of Farelogix), joining Farelogix at the same time. As part of the agreement with PASS Consulting, Tim brought with him rights to the XX1 source code and it was this code that would later form the foundation of Farelogix Open Connect technology and the IATA New Distribution Capability (NDC) schema. NDC and related technologies have since gone on to revolutionize air commerce by making it possible for airlines to control and market their air offer across all channels.
Tim jumped at the opportunity to move from professional services into a growing software product company like Farelogix, as it gave him the opportunity to flex his creative muscle and ultimately leave an indelible mark on the airline industry.
When I caught up with Tim recently, he said: “I enjoy solving problems and doing it well. There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing what the industry really needs, going off and building a prototype, and then having customers get excited about it. That’s how you change an industry and that’s what we have done at Farelogix.”
Tim’s comments got me thinking about Elon Musk’s ‘first principles’. This concept spurns the common approach to reasoning and problem solving, which is by analogy. Musk argues that this pattern sucks innovation into the trap of making small improvements on what has been done before. Rather than building on the past, ‘first principles’ advocates starting from scratch by distilling down any problem to a series of fundamental truths, and reasoning up from there. For Musk, this methodology fosters giant leaps forward in terms of game-changing innovation. This is what Tim has achieved at Farelogix.
After building Farelogix Open Connect, Tim and his team turned their attention to merchandising. The initial focus was on developing the FLX Merchandise engine, which is used by airlines today to rapidly grow ancillary revenue by enabling them to sell and dynamically bundle an unlimited number of air and ancillary products. Next came FLX Shop and Price, a high-performant shopping and pricing engine that enables airlines to handle the exponential rise in search, and support any number of pricing strategies including ATPCO and non-ATPCO based fares, dynamic offers and optimization using any number of inputs and influencers. Tim’s most recent innovations include airline controlled availability calculation and off-PSS connection building that can be run on a single laptop.
“Success is getting something to work and then selling it to customers who need it,” added Tim.
What about failure? I was curious to learn if Tim had ever failed to achieve what he had set out to do. Unsurprisingly, his first answer was “no” until he remembered an iPhone app that didn’t exactly fly off the shelves. I figure success comes easily to Tim, especially since building technology that moves the needle isn’t just a job, it’s a vocation that he lives, breathes, and even dreams about. So, what’s currently occupying his mind?
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is big for us right now. We’re making a significant investment in building out the technology to take advantage of AI and hiring data science talent,” he said. “In the near future, airlines won’t have to define the rules that construct the offer; AI will do that for them.”
He added that, “We intend to embrace more revenue management methods, formulas and known concepts into the engines and to apply them to merchandising and offer optimization. It’s really exciting!”
I asked Tim to fast forward to 2028 and imagine what the world would look like. He predicts a future where many tasks are automated and controlled by AI. Unlike Elon Musk who recently admitted that ‘AI scares the hell’ out of him, Tim is more philosophical:
“I love technology and I’m not scared by it. It’s just too fascinating,” he said.
If you are interested in learning more about Farelogix technology and what's on the road map, join us at FLX-Disrupt which is taking place 24 - 26 April in Miami. FLX-Disrupt is the industry’s only event dedicated to innovating airline revenue management, commerce, and distribution through new generation technologies and strategies. It's complimentary for airline executives. To request your invitation click here or the button below.