Joe Gebbia: Executing Your Idea Starts With a Small Single Step

About this presentation

We all have that idea that we can’t shake out of our head, the one that we think about in the shower or daydream about. Entrepreneur Job Gebbia, shares how his team grew their idea, Airbnb, into a national startup the hard way: by staying lean, “doing things that don’t scale” like meeting users one at a time, and by taking one small step at a time.

Joe leads us in a storyboarding exercise that helped his team take ideas and push them into reality. If you’d like to follow along, download the Airbnb Storyboard Frame sheet and grab a pencil. When finished, tweet Joe at @jgebbia, and be sure to use the hashtag #nextstep.

About Joe Gebbia

Joe defines the Airbnb experience. He is dedicated to creating an inspiring and effortless user experience through sharp, intuitive design, and crafts the product roadmap to make it so. Joe values products that simplify life and have a positive impact on the environment, and ensures that the company adheres to these tenets.

Prior to Airbnb, Joe was employed by Chronicle Books, co-founded Ecolet, a green design website, and developed several consumer products, including CritBuns, a product featured in the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial. An alumnus of the Rhode Island School of Design, Joe earned dual degrees in Graphic Design and Industrial Design.




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  • Marcel Cozma

    Shameless copy of presented as an original idea. Not ok!

    • ranndino

      Not really. Couch surfing is free.

      Also, I guess once someone invented a coffee shop all the other coffee shop owners shamelessly copied it.

  • Joe Nicklo

    I think this one didn’t kick in for me until 18:35, everything before that was just a bit of a long, drawn out build up.

  • kshduisburg

    I like the storyboarding idea. It has potential as a planning instrument.

  • Razle

    Felt like I was back in primary school when he asked the crowd to draw their own idea. I can’t stand that “see you had it in you in you all along” approach where the speaker sees themselves as this amazing eye opening mentor. I’m pretty sure whatever ideas the crowd has had in the past, the first thing they would have done is sketched it out. The talk was a bit hollow

  • Rob

    Funny, the process Joe followed in coming up with and building AirBNB isn’t anything like the process he talks about here. He just quit his job and got desperate. Then turned that into a business. It only took three years and venture funding. At no point did he draw a picture. Not sure I’d recommend this process as helpful in building a real business.

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