Qantas CEO Alan Joyce had the perfect response to a 10-year-old aspiring entrepreneur who asked for his advice
Generally, it’s not a great business practice to give advice to your competitors. But Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce made an exception to that rule when he received a letter from a 10-year-old fan who wanted to start his own airline, and asked the exec for his best tips for doing so.
Alex Jacquot, the “CEO and co-founder of Oceania Express,” wrote the sweet letter to Joyce, asking for his advice.
He also hilariously begs, “Please take me seriously.” Not only are we taking him so seriously, but we are dead from how sweet this kid is.
“I’m Alex Jacquot, a 10-year-old boy (please take me seriously) and I want to start an airline,” the sweet kiddo starts his letter. “I have already started some stuff like what type of planes I’ll need, flight numbers, catering and more. I’m the CEO of the airline, which by the way is called Oceania Express.”
Alex goes on to explain that he’s hired his best friend to be co-CEO, as well as heads of finance, IT, maintenance, and legal. He’s clearly got a better sense for business than your average 10-year-old, but he’s still here to ask Joyce for some advice:
“Number one: I like working on my airline. Seeing as it’s the school holidays, I have more time to work. But I don’t have anything to do that I can think of. Do you have any ideas of what I can do? Seeing as you’re the head of Qantas, I thought I’d ask you. Number two: Do you have any tips on starting an airline? I’d be very grateful to know what you’d have to say.”
Alex’s third question is one that a lot of real airline executives are grappling with right now: the logistics of a long-haul direct flight from Australia to London.
“Seeing as it’s a 25-hour flight, we are having a lot of trouble thinking about sleep,” Alex writes. “Do you have any advice?”
Obviously, that letter is heckin’ cute. But it also shows that this kid has done his homework and he’s taking his dream to own an airline pretty seriously. That didn’t escape Joyce when he decided to respond.
“Dear Mr. Jacquot,” Joyce writes. “Thank you for letting me know about your new airline. I had heard some rumors of another entrant in the market, so I appreciate you taking the time to write. First, I should say that I’m not typically in the business of giving advice to my competitors. Your newly-appointed Head of Legal might have something to say about that, too. But I’m going to make an exception on this occasion, because I too was once a young boy who was so curious about flight and all its possibilities.”
Joyce went on to give Alex the advice he had asked for (his best tip? Make safety your airline’s biggest priority). But what’s more is how he handled Alex’s particular interest in Qantas’ work to launch a direct flight between Australia and London. Joyce went so far as to invite Alex to a face-to-face meeting with him to discuss the project. Ugh, it’s so sweet.
Obviously, Joyce’s response has thrilled the internet.
There’s no word yet on whether Alex is going to take Joyce up on that offer for a meeting, but we really hope he does. And we can’t wait to book a ticket on Oceania Express someday.
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