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A Summary of

How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Startup to a Billion Dollar Business  

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First Round Review
First Round Review
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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
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