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Do the Unscalable, like AirBnb

Airbnb had a very humble beginning, just a couple of mattresses in their own apartment. That performed quiet well, soon the founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia launched a website and got properties listed in couple of cities.

They went through what most entrepreneurs face even today, problem in customer acquisition. They were not sure why the platform was not taking off as much as they expected.

To figure out what was going wrong, Brian and Joe decided to experience their NY listings like customers and what they figured out was that the hosts were not presenting their properties attractively.

“Do Things that Don’t Scale” is an article written by Paul Graham (Founder of Y-Combinator and mentor to Brian and Joe during their YC times)

In the article Paul has explained how the AirBnB founders themselves rented a couple of cameras and visited all the properties to take better pictures and replaced them on the website.

Bookings took off!

But was it scalable solution? not at that point.

Simply because they could have sent out emails to all the hosts to upload better images but they chose to take matter into their own hands.

“Airbnb now seems like an unstoppable juggernaut, but early on it was so fragile that about 30 days of going out and engaging in person with users made the difference between success and failure”, Paul Graham.

Leave a comment if you know a company with similar strategy


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