Lessons from AirBnB on Rapid Scaling

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Zendesk’s Jessica Greene-Pierson and AirBnB’s Jessica Semaan discuss the early stages of growth for AirBnb, where the team grew from a handful of agents, to over 200 in the space of only 1 year.

Interestingly, Semaan likens the scaling of a small company into a big one to the scaling of a friendship to a full-on romantic relationship. As complexity is added, each party needs to be consistently reminded of what they want, what they expect to gain, what their values are, and why they are taking each step forward. An interesting implication of this theme, as Semaan points out, is that committing to new levels of customer service requires a great deal of resources and energy that a company may not be ready to commit. However, once the decision is made to provide a new type of support, that commitment cannot be scaled back easily.

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