Airbnb was failing in 2009 to the point the team was forced to max out credit cards. The key lessons are:
It's Okay to Do Things That Don’t Scale
- The founders realized one problem was that photos on the listings sucked.
- They took a completely non-scalable and non-technical solution: manually help amateur customers take better photos on listings.
- A week later, improving the pictured doubled firm’s weekly revenue.
- Code alone can’t solve every problem
Let people be pirates
- Make small bets on new features, and then measure if there’s a meaningful return on the bet.
- If there’s a payoff, send more pirates in that direction
- Allow people to take measured, productive risks on behalf of the company that can lead to the development of major new features
Everyone learns to ship on day one
- Earns new employees their sea legs and shows that great ideas can come from anywhere