Joe Gebbia, chief product officer and co-founder of Airbnb — a online service company that provides a platform for individuals to rent unoccupied living space and other short-term lodging space to guests was in Bangalore today. Joe agreed to spend some time at the YourStory.in office on his visit here and we were thrilled to host him. But little did we know what was in store when we announced his meetup at 8 in the morning today. Phones rang non-stop, mails packed every inbox and all our energies through the first half of the day was spent on only managing the rush. We received an amazing 100 responses within just three hours of the announcement and had to close registrations, because the venue of the meetup — our office — couldn’t hold any more people.
Joe begin his narrative at 14.30 hours, talking about his journey and how he started Airbnb. He started his story by discussing his first love — design. A design graduate from Rhode Island School of Design, the passion with which he spoke about design is something lacking with entrepreneurs in India. It’s not that we don’t know the importance of design or the place it occupies in business. But what we currently lack is the thought process. Many would agree when we say that design is a bit of an after-thought, something that is forced when it comes to startups in India.
Joe spoke about iteration- correct and continue; one of the key aspects when you’re building a startup. The other interesting point was how one should look at a product and market- they’re like two gears. They don’t mesh initially and seem to be far away but slowly they start coming together as you correct and continue. Joe also stressed on the need to raise the right amount of capital and above all, persistence. “Don’t get disheartened by the long months during the ‘trough of sorrow’ when there is no traction, keep your ears open and sit with your customers when they’re using your product,” advised Joe. One might already know of all these things but one characteristic Joe exhibited was thrilling- his burning love for what he’s doing. One could feel the energy and passion in his talk and if you think about your product in such a fashion, there’s hardly a force that can stop one from succeeding.
The participants at the meetup also threw a volley of questions at Joe and the session could have continued for hours if only Joe had more time. One thing that endeared Joe to one and all was his style of speaking. Arguably, the biggest takeaway was the love with which Joe presented. It is more than half the battle won! No inhibitions, just doing what you love doing and telling everyone about it- that’s the mantra.
Talking to entrepreneurs post the event, it was really encouraging to see the enthusiasm and the fact that they loved the session. One of the participants commented: “This is a great initiative by YourStory and it is really inspiring to hear such stories.” We received similar feedback after the meetup we organized with Bowei Gai and Benjamin Joffe and we’ll continue to initiate more such events in the future. So if you missed the boat this time, make sure you catch the next one. Stay updated by subscribing to our newsletter.
Stay tuned for the video shoot of Joe’s talk and check out all the pictures here.