Wow ! Brian Chesky of Airbnb on what it took & takes !
Inspiring Takeaways from this Interview in a Class at Stanford
A number of people have told me that Airbnb is the worst idea that has ever worked
Before Airbnb I was different than most tech founders because I went to art school at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and studied industrial design.
My parents were both social workers and when I told them I was going to art school they were sure I was going to move back home. My parents always told me if I got a job I should make sure I got one with health insurance. That was the extent of my perceived ambitions.
However at RISD they told you because you were a designer, you could change things — that I could go out and do and change anything I wanted to do.
After school I got a job and one of my college friends Joe Gebbia kept trying to convince me to leave my job and move to San Francisco to do a startup. We had no idea what we wanted to do but we knew we wanted to do something. When I told my roommates I was leaving they thought I was crazy and needed an intervention.
At the time, I had $1,000 in my bank account and I drove to SF, this was in 2007. Upon arriving to San Francisco I had learned my portion of rent for the place we had was $1,200 so I literally didn’t have enough to pay rent.
we had no money — so what if we created a bed and breakfast for the design conference. The problem with this idea was we didn’t have any beds — however we did have 3 inflatable air beds. This is where we came up with the name “Air bed and breakfast” and our first site wasairbedandbreakfast.com.
The core idea was — what if you could book someone’s home just like you could book a hotel room, anywhere in the world.
We didn’t have this flash of inspiration that Air bed and breakfast was going to be huge. In fact we started building a different product — a roommate search tool. We worked on this for 4 months and then realized “roommates.com” had already built this service. I couldn’t believe how much time we wasted on this before checking the URL roommates.com
I learned that being an entrepreneur and being unemployed is just a difference in mindset
One thing I learned is, big ideas sound stupid in the beginning. I’ve always heard that if your idea is any good there is no problem with sharing it because people will dismiss it. Many ideas come from solving your own problem which aren’t life changing problems — but these ideas could potentially become life changing ideas.