How to grow, how to #BeMore & #DoMore, and how to come out of summer 2017 as the greatest version of yourself. Continue reading.
If you’ve talked with me about entrepreneurship or business I’ve probably mentioned AirBnB at some point during the conversation. Why do I love AirBnB so much? Well there are several reasons. But the most important one is that the company really struggled as a startup. The founders listened to many people tell them how crazy their idea was, and how AirBnB would never succeed.
After launching their company in 2008, AirBnB actually made early money by selling election themed cereal “Obama-O’s” and “Cap’n McCain’s”. They did this because their “big idea” wasn’t doing well. In fact, AirBnB’s website was only receiving 100 visitors a day – after an entire year of operations.
But the startup carried on. They joined a Silicon Valley incubator (basically, a “bootcamp” for young companies), raised a ton of money, and created a worldwide disruption in the travel industry.
In order to shift a billion-dollar market in 2017, entrepreneurs are pursuing ideas that sound crazy at first thought. And for good reason. Think about the companies that have really “blown up” in the past several years. Uber – who would trust a stranger to drive them? Instagram – we already have multiple social networks, why do we need one exclusively for photos? And of course, what many investors have called the craziest idea that actually worked – AirBnB.
It’s miraculous, really, that people are able to generate value in an economy without measurable demand for one’s idea.
Let’s be real – how do you figure out if someone would actually use an idea like AirBnB?
Well – and this is a shocker – you ask them.
I’m being a little sarcastic, but not entirely. And I’m certainly not patronizing.
Straight up, ask people – and ask them at scale.
You need to ask 1 to 3 thousand people to get a feel for the demand. Then you test the market. Then you ask again. And, yeah you guessed it, run another test.
It seems silly, it seems obvious. But it’s how the big ideas get big.
So, when AirBnB’s founders (Joe, Brian, and Nathan) were told that their crazy idea would never work, they didn’t give up. They continued to believe that people would eventually be interested in renting out their couch to a stranger – they asked, tested, asked, and tested.
If you take one thing away from this blog post this is it – don’t let someone else tell you your idea or your dream sucks without trying it.
(Earlier this year, the company raised a billion dollars at a 31 BILLION dollar valuation.)
If a company that is now worth billions of dollars had only 100 website visitors after a year, is the fact that you’ve underachieved up until this point really that big of a deal?
I know I don’t even need to answer that.
And since it’s not a big deal, I want you to do something.
I want you to try. That’s it. Just try something. Something new – something maybe you always wanted to do. It doesn’t have to be business related. It could be something as small as reaching out to a co-worker you’ve always wanted to get to know. Or going to the yoga class that you were invited to last month.
Because when we try new things – and this is not a business plug, this is practical life advice – however small those things might be, we grow. We get a little bigger. A little more confident. A little more knowledgeable. We get better.
And in my life, that’s measured by impact on others, there is nothing more that I could want.
I’m not a mind reader. But I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. What’s something new that you are going to try?
Much love to everyone on this Tuesday!