Scaling Product & Design at Airbnb

by Joe Gebbia

Co-founder of Airbnb, Joe Gebbia, sits down with Reid Hoffman to talk about scaling the product for Airbnb, and how they thought about designing the full chain of the travel experience (not just the accommodations element).

Topics include:

  • YC's Paul Graham giving Airbnb permission to do things that don't scale, which was the right advice. The first practical application of this advice: going to the hosts' locations to take better photos.
  • Realizing it's not just a website or a place to lay your head, it's the experience around it.
  • Design thinking: The end-to-end experience that people go through as they experience a product (whether your product is a bottle of water or a travel solution).
  • Ethnographic research: sitting in the living room of your customers to understand their full experience.
  • The moment when people started saying their product name and the word "love" was also when they saw revenue double.
  • Design for trust to make someone feel comfortable saying "yes."
  • If you really care about culture, get it right from the beginning -- get the people right and your culture will follow.
  • How the Airbnb founders trained others to find people who aligned with the company values.