We all joke that it’s easy to spend too much time on these services, but we don’t recognize quite how engineered our social media addictions are. I knew I had a bad habit, but I didn’t grasp the gravity of what has really happened: a few big tech companies have literally succeeded in securing my attention from literally the moment I wake up, every single day.
I started a boutique hotel company when I was 26 and, after 24 years as CEO, sold it at the bottom of the Great Recession, not knowing what was next.
That’s when Airbnb came calling. In early 2013 cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky approached me after reading my book Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow. He and his two Millennial cofounders wanted me to help turn their growing tech startup into an international giant, as their Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy. Sounded good.
But I was an “old-school” hotel guy and had never used Airbnb. I didn’t even have the Uber app on my phone. I was 52 years old, I’d never worked in a tech company, I didn’t code, I was twice the age of the average Airbnb employee, and, after running my own company for well over two decades, I’d be reporting to a smart guy 21 years my junior. I was a little intimidated. But I took the job.
In my case, I have four vocations: I’m a corporate strategist at a Fortune 500 company, US Navy Reserve officer, author of several books, and record producer. The two questions that people ask me most frequently are “How much do you sleep?” and “How do you find time to do it all?” (my answers: “plenty” and “I make the time”). Yet these “process” questions don’t get to the heart of my reasons and motivations. Instead, a more revealing query would be, “Why do you have multiple careers?”
Read more on Why you should have (at least) two careers
Because I once asked Seth for feedback on a product mockup, and he asked if I felt like I was ninety percent done or thirty percent done.
If I was ninety percent done, he would try to correct me on every little detail possible because otherwise a typo might make it into production.
But if I had told him I was only thirty percent done, he would gloss over the tiny mistakes, knowing that I would correct them later. He would engage in broader conversations about what the product should be.
Read more about Thirty Percent Feedback.
So what do you look at first when reviewing a new change to a software system?
That’s easy: You start with the customer’s need, you proceed to the customer’s happiness, and then you work your way down to the code from there.
— Gregory Brown
You have all the time you need. You always have. You simply have to decide how you want to use it.
— Peter Shankman