Meet Andrew Collins, President and CEO of Sentient Jet
Collins knows how to get around. The man in charge of Sentient Jet, a Braintree-based company that provides on-demand access to private jets, tells us why Logan needs a makeover, how Boston’s startup scene has evolved, and where to lunch if you’re looking to make a deal.
I’m amazed by the startup scene in Boston. When I was in it, it wasn’t half of what it is today, and there weren’t a lot of consumer-facing startups. It was very much enterprise-related or people trying to solve Internet “plumbing” scenarios. Nowadays, the creativity of the startup scene in Boston is amazing. It’s everything from Drizly—on-demand alcohol—to customized clothing to people still trying to solve really complicated technology problems. The diversity, the depth, and the amount of funds that have hit the region to drive innovation are exceptional.
For business lunches, there are two go-to spots for me. One is the University Club of Boston because it’s quiet, they do a great job with service, and you don’t worry about who you’re seen with if there’s anything confidential that you’re working on. If you’re looking to get someone talking, liven them up, get good food, and have a lot of fun, Oak Long Bar is my favorite spot.
My dad owned 23 retail auto-part stores around New England, and he gave me the best business advice I ever received. It’s fairly non-PC, but it was “Money talks and bullshit walks.”
The hardest career choice I ever made was deciding to run Sentient Jet: It was a turnaround, I had been working for the company for a number of years, I had a lot of friends and a lot of peers, and there was a lot that had to get done. I questioned whether I was the right person to do it. I also didn’t want to fail the people who I had cut my teeth with at this company. I wrestled with it, but eventually I said yes, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The challenge that we face with Logan is that Boston has moved from a provincial city to a global city. We’re known for innovation, academia, and having the best sports teams. I think the aesthetic of Logan should be a lot more welcoming and more of a personification of what Boston represents. It’s the first thing a lot of people see when they come to the city, and I feel like they have some work to do there.
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, was one of the most interesting books I have ever read in that it drove me to read a ton more books, by him and others. In business, there is a book by Robert Slater called Ovitz, which is about Michael Ovitz, who founded the Creative Artists Agency. That to me represented an incredible story about what you can build through relationships.
Every executive should know how to be open, honest, transparent, and direct.
If I had to describe Boston in three words, they would be: innovative, challenging, and historic.
Growth is achieved by having the best people. We have incredible people at Sentient Jet. Adding more incredible people to the team is always the challenge. As you scale your growth, you have to align your talent, and that’s easy to say but hard to do.
Sentient Jet at a Glance
Based in: Braintree
Founded in: 1999
Starting cost for 25 hours of private flight time: $124,825
Number of Sentient Jet cardholders: Nearly 6,000
Number of private flights scheduled by Sentient Jet on any given day: Between 75 and 150