The summary of the Airbnb story and how the unicorn was built, the invaluable lessons from the founders

“If you launch and no one notices, you can keep launching. We kept launching, and people kept writing about it. We thought we’d just keep launching until we got customers.” – Chesky
Two lessons Airbnb founders learned from Paul Graham early on:
  1. It’s better to have 100 users who love you than 1 million users who just like you.
  2. Go to your customers
Chesky and Gebbia went door to door in NYC to meet with customers. They collected feedback, understood the customer’s pain points, organized meetups. They helped customers take pictures of their home to post on Airbnb….
Blecharczyk stayed back in SF to code the website.
Y Combinator invested 20% in Airbnb for 5% stake. Y Combinator provided coaching, mentoring, opportunities to meet future VCs.
Sequoia invested $585,000 and Youniversity invested $30,000 for 25% stake, which valued the company at $2.4 million. 3 founders then paid themselves a salary of $60,000 per year.
Chesky: the biggest enemy of startup is your own confidence and your own resolve.
Product/market fit = make something that people want
3 founders visited Zappos and other companies that wanted to emulate. They found out that they must have a set of values to guide the organization and a strong mission.
They composed their core values before hiring a first employee.
Interview process was intense. The 3rd engineer had to do 2 phone screens, in-person interviews with engineers #1 and #2 before meeting with Blecharczyk. After that, he met with Chesky and Gebbia. Before a decision was made, he had to come back twice to do a series of one-on-one with every person in the office.
The total of interview time was 15 hours. Then, he was given a timed three-hour take-home coding challenge.
The company grew to 25 people in summer of 2010 working in the 3-bedroom apartment.
Airbnb would hold the fee for 24 hours after the guest stay before releasing it to the host in order to ensure that everything is as expected by the guest.
Airbnb was emphatic  about certain things from the start: users are never more than 3 clicks   away from a booking, user experience is frictionless and easy.
Chesky and Gebbia focused on the look, simplicity, and overall experience of the website.
Issues that Airbnb solved:
  1. Payment system to enable seamless experience of paying for rooms and releasing payment to hosts.
  2. 24/7 customer support
  3. Search: matching the guest and the host so that both the guest and the host would not just like but like so much that both would use the platform again and would tell their friends.
Airbnb faced customer complaints about guests damaging the host’s belongings. The founders were advised to be careful in responding. They kept quiet and let the complaints surface. Finally, Chesky decided that he must stop managing the outcome and manage the situation in accordance with the company’s values.
Airbnb issued an insurance policy for the host of $1 million.
Airbnb also uses the classic marketing technique: giving hosts different statuses as rewards for their good behaviors.
Review system: users can only review after they pay. Host and user won’t see each other’s review for 24 hours.
Hosts and users can’t see phone number and address until a host accepted the request and reservation has been booked.
Don’t wait for a problem. If you want to work with a city, you should get to know a city. If you go there first and you come with the best of intentions, you could end up with a partnership. If a city comes to you, you could have many many years of potential conflicts.
If people like what you build, everything is a solvable problem with the application of smart people, time, and money. What you can’t solve for is if you built something nobody wants.
There are always good mentors at anytime. When Chesky was unemployed, he was just as shameless.
Chesky is a learning machine with extreme level of curiosity. Chesky constantly takes notes.
Chesky writes down what he learned during the week and sends an email to his staff to share. It becomes his management tool.
How to get your staff to play at the next level: you can’t really ask them to work harder when they are already tired but you can ask them to massively up-level their thinking.
Chesky is driven by a calling rather than fame or money. Buffett: Chesky would be doing what he’s doing if he didn’t get paid a dime for it.
Reference:  The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions . . . and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher

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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you are curious about the above method and how you can apply it to your life successfully, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com

10 traits of megasuccessful entrepreneurs

I wanted to look for a list of commonalities among CEOs and founders of unicorns, which are startups that surpass billion dollar valuation.

Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of BridgeWater which manages $160 billion in 2017, wrote in his best-selling book “The Principle” about his research for commonalities among successful entrepreneurs whose companies and products disrupted the industry. Ray called them shapers. I have heard others called them builders, disruptors, or simply entrepreneurs.

The following is from Ray’s book “The Principle”.

Shaper is someone who comes up with unique and valuable visions and builds them, typically over doubts and opposition of others.
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ray Dalio are shapers.
Ray researched shapers (Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos….) and came up with their commonalities:
    1. They visualize remarkable concept and build organizations to actualize them.
    2. They are independent thinkers who do not let anyone or anything stand in their way of achieving their audacious goals.
    3. They have very strong mental maps of how things should be done, a willingness to test those mental maps, and change the ways they do things to make them work better.
    4. They are extremely resilient because their need to achieve what they envision is stronger than the pain they experience.
    5. They have a wider range of vision than most people.
    6. They are able to see big pictures and granular details and synthesize the perspectives they gain at those different levels.
    7. They are simultaneously creative, systematic, and practical.
    8. They are assertive and open-minded.
    9. They are passionate about what they are doing, intolerant of people who work for them who aren’t excellent at what they do.
    10. They want to have a big, beneficial impact on the world.
Shapers would rate low on the question “Concern for others”. The reason is that when faced with a choice between achieving their goal or pleasing others, they would choose achieving their goals every time.
True shapers consistently move from one success to another and sustain over decades.
Check out Ray’s amazing book at https://www.principles.com

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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you are curious about the above method and how you can apply it to your life successfully, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

From one point of view, you would judge this man.
From another point of view, you would love this man.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

 

When facing a situation, ask yourself: what if?

What if this is not what the way it appears to be?

What if my point of view is misleading me?

What if it’s different?

 

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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you are curious about the above method and how you can apply it to your life successfully, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com

How to be a millionaire – the Arnold Schwarzenegger way

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria. He got into bodybuilding when he was 15. Using bodybuilding as a career and passion, he made a huge success, popularized bodybuilding, and got into acting with many box office movies. He was elected to become the Governor of California in 2003.

Even when Arnold did not have enough money, he invested in real estate. Instead of buying a house, he bought rental properties which enabled him to live for free while the properties paid for itself.

Since childhood, Arnold thought of himself as special and unique. He never set out to become average Hans or Franz. He never wanted to become like everyone else. Being different is the Arnold Schwarzenegger way. He didn’t have the same body as everyone else, has unique accent, drove different cars as everyone else. Even his last name is not like everyone else.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger way:

  1. Turn your liabilities into your assets. When Arnold wanted to get into movies, agents told him that his name, his body, and his accent were too weird. He worked on his accent as hard as bodybuilding to transform himself into a leading man.
  2. When someone tells you NO, you should hear YES. The only way to make the possible possible is to try the impossible. If you fail, so what? It’s what everyone expects anyway. If you succeed, you make the world a much better place.
  3. Never follow the crowd. Go where it’s empty. When everyone was buying a house, Arnold bought an apartment building. When every actor was trying to land a part in movies, Arnold held out to be the leading man. It’s easier to stand out when you aim for the top.
  4. No matter what you do in life, selling is part of it. No matter what you do, the most important thing is to make people aware.

In addition, 10 rules Arnold followed to be successful:

  1. Never let pride get in your way.
  2. Don’t overthink. Your mind needs relaxing time in order to have energy when needed. Turning off the mind is an art.
  3. Forget plan B. To test yourself and grow, you have to forget the safety net.
  4. You can use outrageous humor to settle a score.
  5. The day has 24 hours. When he was young in the USA, Arnold took classes, trained 5 hours, worked in construction, and did his homework.
  6. Reps, Reps, Reps. No matter what you do in life, it’s either reps or mileages. If you have done your reps, you don’t have to worry when the actual event happens. Arnold wrote down his goals every time he came to practice. Each time he crossed off a goal, he felt a sense of accomplishment.
  7. Don’t blame your parents.
  8. Change takes big balls.
  9. Take care of your body and your mind. “You have to build the ultimate physical machine but also the ultimate of the mind.” Arnold trained 5 hours everyday on his body and later on trained his mind by absorbing knowledge and reading. Clint Eastwood exercised even when he was directing and acting in a movie. Dmitri Medvedev when he was president of Russia worked out 2 hours everyday. The Pope in his sixties was known for getting up at five in the morning, reading newspapers in 6 different languages, doing 2 hundred pushups and 3 hundreds sit-ups before breakfast.
  10. Stay hungry. Be hungry for success, hungry to make your mark, hungry to be seen and to be heard and to have an effect. As you become successful, be hungry for helping others.

 

 

Referecence: Total Recall – My unbelievable true life story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

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10 powerful questions to scan someone to uncover their hidden cache of cashable assets.

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If you want to be successful and reach your leadership potential, you need to embrace asking questions as a lifestyle. Make it a habit to ask questions, instead of giving answer. Be the dumbest person in the room, instead of the smartest person in the room.

Asking the right questions of the right person at the right time is a powerful combination.
“The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.” – Thomas J. Watson
Following are 10 powerful questions to ask anyone, especially people you care deeply about.

Uncover from the Mind:

  1. Knowledge: what do you know? (knowledge, schooling)
  2. Skills: what can you do? (skills, know-how, street-smarts)
  3. Confidence: where have you been successful? (money, relationship, organization)
  4. Failures and fears: what have you failed at/feared?
  5. What are your three biggest problems/challenges?

Uncover from the Heart:

  1. Passion: What are your passions? 
  2. Desire: What are your desires?
  3. Talents: What are you good at?
  4. Wisdom: What are your life’s top three lessons?
  5. Connections: Whom do you know?

 

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Other popular articles:

  1. Life lessons from a Uber driver who was laid off
  2. A SPECIAL GIFT FOR YOU – WHY SHOULD I HIRE A COACH?
  3. Making 6 figures #2? How to avoid being one of 29% of American households with no retirement savings
  4. Leaders are readers
  5. How to guard yourself against negative influences
  6. Making 6 figures? How to avoid being one of 69% of Americans who have less than $1000 in the bank.
  7. How to get your dream job with no experience – Lessons from Bill McDermott
  8. 20 minutes that can change your life
  9. This simple skill is worth millions, helped many become millionaires, billionaires

About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you are curious about the above method and how you can apply it to your life successfully, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com