Airbnb’s Brian Chesky ‘Gets That Vision Thing’!


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Airbnb’s founder and Chief Executive Brian Chesky has just launched the latest ‘vision’ for the business and it’s all very ambitious stuff! As the business is now 10 years old, he has shared in a open letter to the Airbnb community his picture of the future for the next 10 years.

It ‘re-imagines’ the travel industry and highlights the role that Airbnb will play in doing that. It’s about growth, it’s about expanding the offer and reaching new markets in type and location. That includes creating facilities for EVERY type of traveller, whether you want a honeymoon getaway, a boathouse, or a tree-house!

A big step up target is Airbnb Plus which has luxury houses with a concierge service – certainly a long way from the original vision of 1,000 people renting their airbeds for fellow guests at conferences and events back in 2008 and their initial idea of “democratising travel”.

In a fantastic interview on the Danny In The Valley podcast, he explains how they went from that original ‘vision’ of the people renting their airbeds at conferences, to people renting their rooms, and then someone wanting to rent a room in London without a conference being involved, through to people renting their homes all around the world. He also talks about the vision for the next 10 years, and it’s exciting stuff – there’s even talk of an airline AirBnb!!!!

Credit: AirBnb

It’s a great example of a business demonstrating 3D Characteristic #1: Get That Vision Thing! Our research into successful Dramatically and Demonstrably Different businesses (more details here) shows that they have a clear picture of the future that ‘stimulates excites and inspires everyone’ in the business and this drives their performance. It’s worth pointing out that Martin Luther King didn’t stand on Capitol Hill in 1963 and say “I’ve got a strategic business plan and a cash flow forecast”. He created a ‘dream’ that changed the world. We’re not saying your business has to change the world, but do you have a picture of the future that ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’ both you and of course, your people?

Where will your business be in 5 years time? What will you be doing (differently)? What won’t you be doing? What will be happening that isn’t happening now? What won’t be happening that is?  How will you be feeling? What will be in place in 3 years time? If that needs to happen, what needs to be in place in 12 months time? Do you have that clear picture? Do your people know it? Does it shape and focus them (and you) in your day to day activities?

So what does a vision will like? Well it’s NOT.. simply a set of financial figures, a business plan…. a ‘pie in the sky idea’ (although we think it should stretch you’!)…. or the words in the MD’s speech at the company annual conference!

A ‘vision’ IS …. a picture of future we want… something that stimulates, excites and inspires…. shared, agreed and committed to at a senior level…. a point of strategic focus for everyone to work towards…. and a driver and shaper of performance.

So, what does ‘Getting That Vision Thing’ involve?

Well, here are 10 Things We See 3D Businesses Do:


1. Create it…. They establish a clear picture of the future that ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’ everyone in the business. It starts by being something that ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’ themselves.

2. Establish Consensus…. There is clear agreement of that picture of the future from all the key players in the business.

3. Get ‘Buy – In’…. Everyone in their business has bought into that future picture and feels part of it

4. Make It Tangible…. They turn their vision into clear tangible goals and targets that drive both individual and business performance

5. Get ‘Alignment’…. They ensure everyone in the business has clear objectives and performance targets linked to that vision – they all pull in the same direction!

6. Use it… They ensure that their vision shapes and drives their day to day decisions at every level of the business.

7. Celebrate Success…. They proactively highlight and share their successes and the individuals that contribute to it.

8. Keep It ‘Alive’… They proactively keep all their people updated on progress and plans in a timely, meaningful and relevant way.

Steve-Jobs-with-iphone9. Work ‘ON’ it…They consistently create time for their (senior) people to think and work ‘strategically’ ‘on’ the business to review progress and look forwards

10. Revisit And Redo It…. They consciously create time to keep looking ahead and create their next vision!

So 3 questions for you…

  1. Have you ‘Got That Vision Thing’?

  2. Are your people stimulated, excited, and inspired by it?

  3. Are you?

As another one of the great ‘visionaries’ of our time, Steve Jobs said…

“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you”

If you want to find out more about the 7 Characteristics Of 3D Businesses, you can buy the book by clicking on the icon below:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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