An inspirational read for the day from Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and someone I truly believe is changing the world for the better and started the ultimate shift in giving power back to the individual.
Inspirational Read of the Day - Friday January 26th, 2018
I often read his work and it makes me do some deep life thinking. For those of you that don't know this platform changed my life and allowed me the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people in the world and see the best come out of those people everyday, much like I am seeing in the group. We are often taught that to get ahead in the world you must do it alone, be selfish, not share our knowledge etc.. What's crazy about that notion is that when we were all in kindergarten, I remember my teacher explicitly teaching that sharing is important and that being creative was important and that looking out for your classmate and standing up to bad behaviour was important. I'm not sure where along the way those principles were thrown out the door. I think the financial crises of 2008 really opened up our generation's eyes, and we no longer looked at the establishment the same way. Out came 21st century models like the blockchain, originally published as bitcoin, the sharing economy via uber and Airbnb and ultimately an incentive based system that rewards people for sharing and being creative.
I remember I read my first real article by Brian Chesky in early 2017 when he launched Airbnb experiences. Without going too deep, Airbnb experiences allow you as an individual to create an experience and use that idea for people that have interest in what you wish to share. Every human being is unique and every human being has something to offer from their experience. Whether that is doing a course on how to kite surf in Hawaii or doing a tour of a local city because you live there, it is YOUR creativity and YOUR skill that draws people to take part of your experience.
Before I end this I want to share an excerpt from the piece I read on that article from Brian Chesky.
He says that "In the future, I don't expect anyone to have jobs anymore. I expect people to have income streams. Imagine a world where you go over to your friends place and he cooks you and your group am amazing meal. Your group falls in love with the dish and you tell him to share it with the world. The next day he posts an experience on airbnb where up to 8 guests can be hosted at his place and enjoy his meal for $30 a piece. He does this five days a week. His monthly income is $4,200 a month (less fees and taxes). What's the moral of the story? Him cooking for 8 people is not a job, cooking is something he loves to do and he does not view it the way the institutional system forces us to hate our jobs through uncreativeness and rigidity. He also now has freedom to set his own hours, and be rewarded for his creativity. Welcome to the 21st century and the new digital nomadic world."
And now we can have our inspirational piece for the day, I hope that you got a glimpse of how much this company has changed my life for the better and how things like this and the blockchain technology are going to change the rest of ours forever.
From Brian Chesky:
📷 Hi Everyone ,I am absurdly lucky even to be writing this email. Ten years ago we started Airbnb. Joe and I couldn’t pay rent, so we created the first Air Bed & Breakfast and invited three people we’d never met to stay in our home. People said our idea would never work - “Strangers will never trust one another!” A decade later, people have checked into an Airbnb nearly 300 million times.
I was thinking about the next ten years of Airbnb when I received a phone call I’ll never forget. A close advisor told me that now was the time to “institutionalize your intentions so that even as you grow, you can minimize what conflicts with your vision.” It made me realize that we should write down what we want to institutionalize before it’s too late. So I asked myself, if Joe, Nate and I were gone tomorrow, what would we want the world to know about Airbnb’s intentions?
Airbnb is still young, and the cement hasn’t hardened. We are now big enough where anything is possible, but not so big that change would be nearly insurmountable. We can still be radical, and it couldn’t come at a more perfect time in the world. People are increasingly living in digital bubbles, trust in institutions is at a record low, and companies realize they have a greater responsibility to society.
It's clear that our responsibility isn’t just to our employees, our shareholders, or even to our community - it's also to the next generation. Companies have a responsibility to improve society, and the problems Airbnb can have a role in solving are so vast that we need to operate on a longer time horizon.
Technology has changed a lot in my lifetime, but how companies run has not. Companies face pressures based on legacies from the 20th-century, and the convention is to focus on increasingly short-term financial interests, often at the expense of a company’s vision, long-term value, and its impact on society. You could say that these are 20th-century companies living in a 21st-century world.
We want to design a company to meet the unique needs of the 21st-century. We want Airbnb to be a 21st-century company with two defining characteristics:
1. We will have an infinite time horizon.
2. We will serve all of our stakeholders.
Infinite time horizon
I know that a lot of companies are thinking about being long-term oriented, but an alternative way of thinking about it is being infinite. Being an infinite company is an idea that my friend, author Simon Sinek, has been discussing with me. Simon explained that a company’s purpose is to advance its vision, and since a vision is a mountaintop you never quite get to, you should have an infinite time horizon. But many companies are designed to be finite. Finite companies are focused on beating their competitors and appeasing short-term interests. But business is not finite. Unlike sports, there is no time clock, so there can be no winning or losing - there is merely surviving and innovating to endure. This doesn’t mean that meeting clear goals isn’t important or that you should lose your sense of urgency and avoid tough decisions. Short term success is still important so long as it advances your vision. As Simon put it, it means that your focus should be on getting to the mountaintop, not the rest stop on the way up the mountain.
We think that a company should survive to see the next century, not just the next quarter. A 21st-century company should eventually become a 22nd-century company. By having an infinite time horizon, a company can be more audacious, take more responsibility for what they make, and create more lasting change.
•We are instituting many actions to begin to put this ideal into practice, starting on February 22, where we’ll be announcing the next chapter to empower a host-led world with some substantial improvements to our service that set us up for an infinite time horizon.Serving all stakeholders
What is the purpose of a company? I would say its purpose is to realize its vision. But even this is no longer enough. We must realize our vision and ensure our vision is good for society. This means that we must have the best interest of three stakeholders in mind: Airbnb the company (employees and shareholders), Airbnb the community (guests and hosts) and the world outside of Airbnb.
To be a 21st-century company, we must find harmony between these stakeholders. For example, Airbnb the company must remain values-led, leading with boldness and compassion, while also building a highly valuable business. Airbnb must treat hosts in our community as partners and make guests feel like they belong. All the while, Airbnb must serve and strengthen local communities, while expanding diversity and acceptance in the world. Serving stakeholders means being honest about where we need to improve because we know we are far from perfect. One area we are focused on is making sure that, in markets that are significantly housing constrained, the Airbnb community is helping people stay in their homes and share their communities and not negatively impacting housing.
•To begin measuring how well we are serving all stakeholders, in March, we’ll release Airbnb’s first Annual Stakeholder Report. This report will explicitly identify the criteria by which we want to hold ourselves accountable to our stakeholders. In the same way that a company’s annual report facilitates the evaluation of its financial performance for shareholders, what we measure and talk about must indicate progress towards our effort to become a 21st-century company.New board member
Part of designing a 21st-century company is designing a Board of Directors that can help us implement our 21st-century vision and institutionalize our intentions. I am proud to announce that we will be adding Ken Chenault to our Board of Directors as our first non-affiliated independent director. Airbnb is built on trust. As the CEO of American Express, Ken has built one of the most successful trust-based companies in the world. It is a company that has endured and innovated for nearly 168 years. Ken and I spent time talking about the 21st-century model and in particular the role of trust as the infrastructure for such a model. Ken also believes deeply that, now more than ever, companies need to stand for values, character, and competence. As he says, “I think corporations exist because society allows us to exist. Corporations are not entitled to exist. So I think we have a responsibility and an obligation to help improve society.”
The next ten years, and beyond
Ten years after we started Airbnb, I have often thought, how could an idea like millions of strangers sleeping in each other’s homes ever work? The truth is that we, Airbnb the company, did not do most of this. Our hosts, and the broader Airbnb community, created most of this. And they have taught me two things: people are fundamentally good, and we are 99% the same.
If people are good and mostly the same, then we should be able to offer more than people sleeping in one another’s homes. We imagine a world where every one of us can belong anywhere. A world where you can go to any community and someone says, “Welcome home.” Where home isn’t just a house, but anywhere you belong. Where every city is a village, every block a community, and every kitchen table a conversation. In this world, we can be anything we want. This is the magical world of Airbnb. We will probably never fully realize this vision, but we will die trying.
Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Community
AirbnbSent with ♥ fromAirbnb Ireland
The Watermarque Building, South Lotts Road,
Ringsend, Dublin 4