Great article: What seven years at Airbnb taught me

Here is a fantastic article by Lenny Rachitsky about some of the lessons he learned during his seven years at Airbnb.

I particularly liked the sections on nailing culture as a competitive advantage and thinking of your org design like a product. I also found some of the following templates useful:

Lots of other gems in there too!

1980’s Playboy Interview with Steve Jobs

Apple Macintosh Computer

We’ve done a lot of studies and tests on that, and it’s much faster to do all kinds of functions, such as cutting and pasting, with a mouse, so it’s not only easier to use but more efficient.

Steve Jobs, talking about that new invention “the mouse”

I came across this fantastic Playboy interview with Steve Jobs in the 80’s. He talks about the upcoming release of Macintosh and his predictions for a personal computer in every house.

Companies, as they grow to become multibillion-dollar entities, somehow lose their vision. They insert lots of layers of middle management between the people running the company and the people doing the work. They no longer have an inherent feel or a passion about the products. The creative people, who are the ones who care passionately, have to persuade five layers of management to do what they know is the right thing to do.

Steve Jobs

It really is a fascinating interview as he discusses his vision for Apple and computing. Looking back at his predictions 30 years later, he was incredibly prescient. Even back then, he was asked about standardising across the industry. He had this to say:

Insisting that we need one standard now is like saying that they needed one standard for automobiles in 1920. There would have been no innovations such as the automatic transmission, power steering and independent suspension if they believed that. The last thing we want to do is freeze technology.

Steve Jobs

I’m amazed how zoomed out his view was. He also shares some amazing anecdotes from his early years; picking up the phone book and calling Bill Hewlett (of Hewlett-Packard) and asking for a job, working to earn money so he could travel, traveling through India and getting his head shaved.

But the next thing is going to be computer as guide or agent. And what that means is that it’s going to do more in terms of anticipating what we want and doing it for us, noticing connections and patterns in what we do, asking us if this is some sort of generic thing we’d like to do regularly, so that we’re going to have, as an example, the concept of triggers. We’re going to be able to ask our computers to monitor things for us, and when certain conditions happen, are triggered, the computers will take certain actions and inform us after the fact.

Steve Jobs, 1985

1000 True Fans

Fans in audience

I was recently chatting to Adam, one of the best designers I know, about The Good News Email. He shared an article with me called 1000 True Fans, by Kevin Kelly, one of the founders of Wired Magazine. It really resonated with me, and is worth a read.

The takeaway: 1,000 true fans is an alternative path to success other than stardom. Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans. On your way, no matter how many fans you actually succeed in gaining, you’ll be surrounded not by faddish infatuation, but by genuine and true appreciation. It’s a much saner destiny to hope for. And you are much more likely to actually arrive there.

Kevin Kelly


Startup Wisdom: Kung Fu by Jason Cohen.

I came across this fantastic page packed full of interesting startup advice at Jason Cohen’s blog: A Smart Bear.

Some of the tips may sounds obvious or commonplace, but that’s because they’re true, and they’re also worth repeating. Often I’ll read an article like this and 90% of the advice will be familiar. While I’ve heard it before, it might only hit home in this moment, in this context – and that’s why it’s powerful.

  • If you have more than three priorities, you have none.
  • It’s better to complete 100% of 8 things than 80% of 10 things.
  • The “long tail” can sound appealing, but it sure is easy to sell vanilla ice cream at the beach even when you’re right next to another ice cream stand.
  • The only cause of Writer’s Block is high standards. Type garbage. Editing is 10x easier than writing.

Read the rest of the article here.