Do things that don't scale lessons from airbnb


  • Reference meeting: "a11-xxx — talk — startup culture — lessons from airbnb, doign things that don't scale".

  • Parent project: Course on Culture and Leadership

  • Participants: Marcio S Galli

  • Text language: en-us

  • Tags: Leadership, culture, technology, start-up, growth, do things that don't scale, Paul Graham, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, Reid Hoffman, Marcio Galli, focus, patience.

  • Context: Study notes taken from video interviews with Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, Airbnb cofounders.

  • Document status: Copyright, draft.

Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky started to visit host apartments in New York

  • "Well,..if we do things that don’t scale, why don’t we just go take better photos? I have done photography in my whole life, took some classes at art school. Like, let’s just go to New York for one weekend, and we have no idea what is going to happen. We will e-mail our community in advance, we are going to say ‘hey, we want to come meet you, we want to send a professional photographer to come shoot your place!’ So, we would fly out, we rented this wide-angle lens camera from a place in Union Square — Reid and you guys were the professional photographers? — Joe that was the ah-ha moment for a lot of hosts. We would show up at the door, ‘hey, I am joe, nice to meet you’ and they are looking at your shoulder like where’s the photographer, here you go ‘oh, it’s also me too’; and then they put this look of disbelief on their face." (Joe Gebbia @ ScaleUp, 2017, 3:32s )

Joe Gebbia realizes the difficulties the hosts had to interact with the needed values in order to improve the experience

  • "But then something really interesting happened. We would go in, we take photos. And then we’d show them on the back of the camera and say ‘hey, what do you think?’ and they’re like ‘oh my God, my apartment looks so good! do you want to stay for some tea of coffee?’ And, so, I would sit down on the couch, and our earliest customers, much like yours, where zealots. These were the people willing to take a risk, try a new weird crazy product, be kind of outcast amongst their friends, which meant that they had a lot of knowledge. They had a lot of insights into this kind of activity because they were already doing it in other web sites." (Joe Gebbia @ ScaleUp, 2017, 4:12)

Transcript from Brian Chesky at Blitzscaling, 2015, 22min01sec

735 00:22:01,269 --> 00:22:03,394 The second thing was, Paul Graham.

736 00:22:03,394 --> 00:22:06,075 I think the second thing was Paul Graham

737 00:22:06,075 --> 00:22:07,433 gave us a series of advice

738 00:22:07,433 --> 00:22:10,815 that probably changed our business forever.

739 00:22:10,815 --> 00:22:13,777 Probably the most important single piece of advice I got,

740 00:22:13,789 --> 00:22:15,604 which is probably advice that is probably

741 00:22:15,604 --> 00:22:16,941 the most important advice I can give you,

742 00:22:16,941 --> 00:22:18,293 or one of the most important advice,

743 00:22:18,293 --> 00:22:20,128 is he basically drew out this chart

744 00:22:20,128 --> 00:22:21,927 and he basically said,

745 00:22:21,927 --> 00:22:24,748 it's better to have 100 people that love you,

746 00:22:24,748 --> 00:22:26,222 100 customers that love you,

747 00:22:26,222 --> 00:22:29,198 than a million customers that just sort of like you.

748 00:22:29,198 --> 00:22:30,167 In other words,

749 00:22:30,167 --> 00:22:32,141 if you have 100 people that absolutely love your product,

750 00:22:32,141 --> 00:22:34,069 they'll tell 100 people, and then they'll tell 100 people,

751 00:22:34,069 --> 00:22:36,101 or even 10 people, and this thing will grow.

752 00:22:36,101 --> 00:22:37,309 We call it growing virally.

753 00:22:37,309 --> 00:22:39,329 In fact, almost all movements in history

754 00:22:39,329 --> 00:22:40,768 have grown this way as well.

755 00:22:40,768 --> 00:22:42,626 There's like deeply passionate followers

756 00:22:42,626 --> 00:22:43,512 and they grow it.

757 00:22:43,512 --> 00:22:44,970 And they're customer advocates.

758 00:22:44,970 --> 00:22:46,724 And the problem is, in Silicon Valley,

759 00:22:46,724 --> 00:22:48,290 the general wisdom is,

760 00:22:48,290 --> 00:22:49,370 I need to build some app,

761 00:22:49,370 --> 00:22:51,030 this thing it needs to have this viral coefficient.

762 00:22:51,030 --> 00:22:52,540 I need to get millions of people to use it.

763 00:22:52,540 --> 00:22:54,079 And they gotta like it enough to share it.

764 00:22:54,079 --> 00:22:55,639 That's totally the wrong way to think about it,

765 00:22:55,639 --> 00:22:57,926 especially if you're in a service business like ours.

766 00:22:57,926 --> 00:22:58,889 So Paul Graham said,

767 00:22:58,889 --> 00:23:00,202 "All you have to do is get 100 people to like you.

768 00:23:00,202 --> 00:23:01,502 "Don't worry about millions of people."

769 00:23:01,502 --> 00:23:02,907 That was totally freeing.


Marcio é um empreendedor com interesse em inovação, empreendedorismo, cultura e gestão. Formado em ciências da computação, Marcio fez seu estágio de graduação no Vale do Silício em uma das empresas que marcaram a história da Internet (Netscape Communications). Posteriormente mudou-se para o Vale do Silício trabalhando para Netscape / America Online, Yahoo! e posteriormente ao voltar ao Brasil, para a Mozilla Corporation (criadores do navegador Firefox). Antes de se tornar empreendedor e consultor, Marcio pôde colaborar com vários departamentos como marketing, inovação, engenharia e em times de documentação e evangelismo. Se tornou autor de patentes internacionais e gosta de estudar e escrever para os futuros empreendedores e gestores. Marcio é apaixonado por comunicação, negócios, tecnologia e cultura. Alguns dos seus livros preferidos são High Output Management, Conscious Business, The Hard Things about Hard Things, Maslow on Management, The Startup of You, The Alliance, Zero to One, dentre outros.

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