In 1999, Michelle Peluso joined a team that was developing a Web site for last-minute travel deals. Called Site59, it was named for the 59th minute.

As chief executive, Peluso pushed managers to consider parallel businesses beyond last-minute travel such as last-minute gift buying, dry cleaning and even baby-sitting.

"We got carried away by our enthusiasm," admitted Peluso, 35, now president and CEO of Dallas-based Travelocity, which is owned by Sabre Holdings.

"With a startup, the tolerance for mistakes is smaller than if you're running a large company," Peluso said. "We were so hugely excited about the technology we were building that we spent too much time and intellectual firepower on applications we could do rather than our core application that we had to do."

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