Airbnb Rooms; Apple inspiration; Jony Ive redefining the mission
CEO Brian Chesky has said in a new interview that a number of the changes Airbnb has made – including Airbnb Rooms and a complete reorganization of the company’s structure – were inspired by Apple.
He added that the launch of Airbnb Rooms represents the company returning to its roots: letting people rent out a room in their home, rather than an entire apartment…
The company said earlier this month that it was returning to where the company started.
Airbnb began as a way to stay in a room in someone else’s home. This original idea of sharing a home offers two unique benefits. First, it’s more affordable for guests. More than 80 percent of private rooms are under $100/night, with an average rate of $67/night. Second, staying with a Host is a great way to meet someone new and experience the city like a local.
We think this idea is more important than ever. In the current economic environment, people want to travel affordably. And after years of being isolated during the pandemic, they’re looking for ways to connect with people and have authentic experiences. Now is the perfect time to stay in a room in someone else’s home.
Chesky told The Verge that Airbnb has also gone back to basics in its structure and marketing, and that this was inspired by Apple.
I hired somebody who changed the trajectory of the company, named Hiroki Asai. He was the creative director at Apple, and they really kind of brought me along on this methodology Steve Jobs had. Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997.
They were like 90 days from bankruptcy or maybe even fewer. And it was divisionalized. I think it had something like 80 products. And he did two things. He cut most of the products, and he went back to a functional organization, and that’s what we did.
And the other thing we did, which seemed crazy at the time, and it’s now totally intuitive, is we put the entire company on one road map. So for most tech companies, every executive has their own swim lanes. We said, “You have no swim lanes. Everyone works on everything together. Your only swim lane is your function.
We’re going to all collaborate.” I said, “I’m not going to push decision-making down. I’m going to pull decision-making in.” I’m the chief editor. I’m like an orchestra conductor, and I have to understand enough about each instrument to make sure it creates one sound. The other thing I said is, “We’re going to connect product and marketing together.”
Jony Ive redefining the company’s mission
He said that Jony Ive redesigned the company’s logo, but his biggest impact was on redefining the company’s mission. Although the company had “belonging” as a key focus, many did not see that as anything more than everyone is welcome.
Jony Ive said, “Well, you need to reframe it. It’s not just about belonging, it’s about human connection and belonging.”
And that was, I think, a really big unlock. The next thing Jony Ive said is he created this book for me, a book of his ideas, and the book was called “Beyond Where and When,” and he basically said that Airbnb should shift from beyond where and when to who and what?
Who are you and what do you want in your life? And that was a part of the inspiration behind Airbnb categories, that we wanted people to come to Airbnb without a destination in mind and that we could categorize properties not just by location but by what makes them unique, and that really influenced Airbnb categories and some of the stuff we’re doing now.
The full interview is a surprisingly interesting read.
Photo: Laro Photography/Unsplash
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