BRIAN CHESKY: Joe and I are broke. We’re losing weight, and I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose. You know those binders that you put baseball cards in? We put credit cards in them. At this point I am $25,000 in credit card debt. Joe is tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt. So this is make-or-break. We need a lifeline.
REID HOFFMAN: That entrepreneur in need of a lifeline? That’s Brian Chesky. Co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, a service that lets you rent a couch for the night. Or a cabin. Or a castle. Today, Airbnb is valued at $30 billion. Eight years ago? A very different picture.
CHESKY: We have this website and maybe 50 people a day are visiting it and we’re probably getting like 10 to 20 bookings a day. By the way, we’ve been working for a year and a half. So for anyone who’s worried their company doesn’t have enough traction, that was our traction.
HOFFMAN: It was 2008. An election year in the United States. Barack Obama was running against John McCain. Brian was at the Democratic National Convention, hatching a PR campaign for Airbnb – one that could rescue the company and their credit card bills.
Brian Chesky is co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, the leading marketplace for home rentals with three million listings worldwide. Brian graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he learned how to “design with empathy” for his customers.
“What would a 10-star check-in be? The Beatles in 1964 … I’d get off the plane to 5,000 high-school kids cheering my name.”
- BRIAN CHESKY
“It's really hard to get even 10 people to love anything. But it's not hard if you spend a ton of time with them."
- BRIAN CHESKY
“If you're not getting passionate, detailed feedback from some of your users, you're off track."
- REID HOFFMAN
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky knows: If you want your company to truly scale, you have to do things that DON'T scale. Handcraft the core experience. Serve your customers one-by-one. And don't stop until you know exactly what they want.