The other day I watched a 3 hours long talk by Brian Checky, founder and CEO of Airbnb. To be honest, despite the length I watched it a couple of more times. The lessons of their journey are just simply incredible. So here are my Top 3 learnings from the interview.
Nr 1. “It is better to have 100 people that loves you than 1million that kinda like you.”
Apparently the secret is that there are no secrets! It is incredibly simple- concentrate on the real customers love and the rest will follow. As Brian puts it: you don’t need to worry about the complexity of growth, scalability, tricks and hacks, just make people love you for what you do.
One of the advices he gives to new entrepreneurs is to start by taking a group of 5 people and give them have the most amazing experience ever. That could be in anything from Excel spreadsheets to holiday trips. Once you find the experience people really love, only then you should get into scalability mindset.
Nr2. “When you buy an IPhone Steve Jobs wont come to sleep on your couch, but I did.”
Obviously, the “love rule” brings us to the second well known true- know your customers.
Brian used to fly from Silicon Valley to New York every week and go door-to-door taking pictures as “the professional photographer”. By doing so he got to know the whole community very well, their stories and their needs. Even more importantly, instead of asking questions and doing market research, they got a chance to truly understand dynamics by observing it first hand and participating in the usage of the product.
Taking pictures of each community member was not scalable nor probably really necessary, but that was exactly what they needed to know their customers and make them love Airbnb. Insights led to changes in their product and that was the time when they started to take off.
Nr3. “You guys are like cockroaches- you just won’t die…. In investment nuclear winter you want cockroaches! ”
Looking back into Airbnb story: their struggles, debts, starvation, misfortunes, one cannot simply understand how they kept on going. That’s irrational on any level. According to Brian there were two things that gave them the grit: support of each other among founders and their own “Airbnb experience”.
Instead of being visionaries they were more like expeditionaries. They experienced on their own what is like to be a host and meet new people renting out your own flat. With an assumption that “if we, ordinary guys, liked the experience there must be more like us”, they set out and never looked back.
It is just a glimpse of what is in the video so I would strongly advice not to freak out by the length and check out the interview. Here is the link.
So what are your top 3 outtakes? Is it a Buffet advice or hot glue Obama O’s story?