Chesky at Config

Didn’t get a chance to attend Figma’s design conference, but caught a recording of the founder of Airbnb after a few of us were discussing it at work.

Wrote up some notes that I found particularly relatable and inspiring.

Brian Chesky talk –

He felt like Airbnb as a product was losing its magic. Looked around and realized a couple things: The company was run by PMs and over time, the more people that he added, the less the product changed.Decided to make drastic changes and be more design lead. Design meaning less of a department and more of how to think about the world/product.

  • No a/b tests
  • One single roadmap for whole company. If its not on there, its not getting done. All approved by him.
  • Elevated design to same level as PM.
  • Combined PM role with product marketers – you can’t build a product if you don’t know how to talk about it.
  • Created a tiny design team that looks across the entire product.


  • Obsess over every detail.
  • Don’t ship anything you aren’t proud of.
  • “Growth” is not a goal.
  • Present all work in its most native form.

Love this line:

“We can’t do new things without permission. And we don’t have permission until people love our core service. We have to get our house in order first.”

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Her language contains elements from Aeolic vernacular and poetic tradition, with traces of epic vocabulary familiar to readers of Homer. She has the ability to judge critically her own ecstasies and grief, and her emotions lose nothing of their force by being recollected in tranquillity.

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