How Did I Get Here?

Glenn Kelman

Chief executive officer, Redfin
  • Education
  • Interlake High School, Bellevue, Wash., class of 1989
  • University of California at Berkeley, class of 1993
  • Work Experience
  • 1993–94
    Unpublished novelist
  • 1995–97
    Product manager, Stanford Technology Group Inc.
  • 1997–2004
    Co-founder, vice president for product and marketing, Plumtree Software Inc.
  • 2005–Present
    CEO, Redfin Corp.
  • Life Lessons
  • “A human being’s most important trait is the quality of his or her energy.”
  • “Even if it’s a good idea in the abstract, it might not be what you’re born to do.”
  • “A business has to have a mission beyond making money. It has to do good.”
  • With his twin brother, Wesley (right), and their mother, Linda, 1989
  • “I played soccer and was chess team captain. I was determined not to go into business. I just thought it was the definition of evil.”
  • “We were just a handful of people, so I did product, marketing, sales, and worked with engineering. It was entrepreneur boot camp.”
  • With Visa executive Chris Hughes (center) and Atlassian President Jay Simons after completing a Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, 2004
  • “I reapplied to medical school in 2005 and deferred to 2007. I’d been taking care of an ill family member and felt it was a higher calling. But medicine is not creative at all. It’s formulaic and prescriptive—I just couldn’t.”
  • With Wesley (right) and their father, Lloyd, in Hilton Head, S.C., 2015
  • “Everyone thought I would go to medical school. I got into Columbia and didn’t end up going.”
  • “You’re alone in a room all day, your girlfriend gets really tired of your novel, and then you’re broke and you hate yourself.”
  • With Wesley (right) at Denali National Park and Preserve, 2004
  • “We created the first portal software for businesses to see documents and data from dozens of different systems. I worked 90-hour weeks in every job except sales. We went public in 2002.”
  • “We launched Redfin Mortgage in January for lending money to our homebuying customers. The long-term goal is to make the whole process so fast that our borrowers can compete with cash buyers.”