Brian Chesky had a lousy vision just before Airbnb’s IPO filing.

The dream changed the way he managed the company.

In a candid, one-on-one conversation on Wednesday, The Airbnb CEO discussed an event that altered his company’s story trajectory.

The Airbnb company is, by almost all measures, a Silicon Valley success story.

The company was established during the Great Recession, shot up through the famous Y Combinator program, made its debut in the epidemic in the year 2000, and is now valued at more than 70 billion dollars. However, things could have been different if not due to a nightmare in the latter part of 2019 that prompted the CEO and founder Brian Chesky to reconsider how he runs the company.

“I always thought it was made up when people have these dreams,” Chesky stated during a chat on the Fast Company Innovation Festival stage with FNDR CEO James Vincent. “I had this horrible dream that led me to leave the company. When I returned, I was shocked by the things I discovered. This was the same thing we’re doing when I realized it.”

Chesky revealed this idea to his cofounders at an annual meetup, in which they inquired about what he was planning to do as the company was set to submit a public filing.

“It is clear that the only moment when you shouldn’t rebuild an entire company from scratch is when you file your S-1. I was stuck, and the business was struggling to grow. Costs were rising. Then, all of a sudden, I was a designer in charge of this business that I had ended up being in this position, where it appeared more conventional and similar to all other companies?” Chesky said.

It’s not like Chesky believed the company was in danger, he said. However, he was determined to put aside that numb feeling and get back to his original purpose of being an artist. (Chesky took classes in industrial design while at the Rhode Island School of Design.) The company had more than a dozen divisions. Their subdivisions resulted in the central message not being carried out, and ultimately needing a strategy.

In the early days, Chesky was enthralled by the idea of operating his business differently. “Like if a designer ran a company, not like every other company, and I don’t know how to change it,” Chesky stated about this idea when he was at that time. Soon after that, he had made, the COVID-19 disease began spreading throughout the world, which forced Airbnb to change its business model.

Airbnb has begun to trim the divisions it had to streamline its structure. The company drastically cut its marketing budget but saw no impact. “We realized our brand is stronger and more differentiated, and we’re going to lean into our differentiation,” Chesky stated. “We’ll be doing lesser things, and we’ll be completely functional. We’ll become an innovative and driven business.”

“It’s not that creativity should drive everything,” the author declared. “It should be part of the room. It should be part of the discussion. And, if you’ve ever had those unwise tradeoffs in which no solution’s right, then creativity can be useful. Since when you’re faced with two options that aren’t ideal, the power of creativity can allow you to come up with a win-win third option.”

“And I think that there’s a creative renaissance that could happen because when you look at the next generation, they are different,” Chesky added. “They are a creative bunch, and I believe creativity strongly correlates with the humanistic. I believe that people would like to buy products from companies or join organizations that are humanist in their approach.”

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