start-up

Design Thinking at Airbnb

This great video with one of the co-founders of Airbnb provides great insights about how to incorporate design thinking, user research, and an open-minded attitude at a start-up.

One of my favorite concepts from the talk is that of not designing everything to be scalable. Some of the things that made Airbnb most successful were not scalable but allowed them to think about their business more creatively.

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Failure Fireside Potluck

Photo via Kevin Adler from a Fireside Potluck

A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Fireside Potluck, hosted by my StartingBloc friend and founder of inthis, Kevin Adler. The topic was one familiar to this blog–failure. (You may remember that Kevin participated in SocialStory’s Celebrating Failure series.)

With nearly 40 strangers cramped into a lovely San Francisco living room, we had a two-hour, open, honest, and insightful discussion on what failure means personally, professionally, and in society. Here are some highlights from our discussion:

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Considering a Start-Up? Think Again.

This is a very important HBR article on why there is a problem with the founding a start up “bandwagon.”

We’re all susceptible to myths. The new zeitgeist is that entrepreneurship is the be-all and end-all path. But the first step in deciding whether to be a founder is to manage the vanity that’s in all of us, and not be blinded by the herd.

The article mainly discusses the warning signs of vanity in the urge to found a start up. It encourages potential founders, and especially young people, to think about their reasons for wanting to become a founder, and whether the choice is actually right for their lifestyle and goals. 

Having an entrepreneurial spirit is a great asset, and if you do have the psychological disposition (and the new or game changing idea), by all means, found a start up. They can do a lot of good for the economy, disrupt an industry, service, or idea, and change lives.

But entrepreneurship for the sake of entrepreneurship deeply concerns me. It ignores not just personality types, but also the vital need for intrapreneurship and ensuring that efforts are not duplicated or resources wasted because everyone wants to start their own organization instead of working together or improving what already exists.

Considering a Start-Up? Think Again.