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Wednesday
May152013

Lesson from Airbnb: Give Yourself Permission to Experiment with Non-scalable Changes

If you are stuck drowning in too much data and too many options and are dazzled by all the possibilities of code, here's a helpful bit of advice from Airbnb's rags to riches origin story: it's okay to do things that don’t scale

A corollary is the idea of paying attention to and learning from what your users are actually doing and let that lead you without out that annoying voice in your head second guessing you, yelling but that will never scale! Worry about building something good, then worry about making it scale.

In Airbnb's case they noticed people weren't booking rooms because the pictures sucked. So they flew to New York and shot some beautiful images. This is a very non-scalable and non-technical solution. Yet it was the turning point for Airbnb and sparked their climb out of the "trough of sorrow." Previously they had been limited by the Silicon Valley idea that every feature had to be scalable. Not every solution can be found behind a computer screen.

For the full story please read How design thinking transformed Airbnb from a failing startup to a billion dollar business.

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