You’re reading What They Said, a project by Chris Gallo since 2014.

Joe Gebbia


Joe Gebbia is the co-founder of Airbnb. This is a super long conversation with Tim Ferriss on his podcast. Tons of entertaining stories, including a high school senior prank and working as a ballboy meeting Michael Jordan.

A lot of useful tidbits too. At the end of the conversation, Joe offered a good summary of takeaways from all that he shared, so I transcribed the last few minutes. Watch and listen to the whole conversation here.

Entrepreneurship is 2:31:44

I hope if there is any takeaway from the stories we talked about today is that there is just a long lineage of trying things, bumping into walls, getting rejected, failing, reframing that failure into learning, and trying to continue forward.

So by the time Airbnb came around, I had been in the gym of entrepreneurship for many years. It’s like you don’t wake up and run a marathon all of a sudden. Nobody does that. You train for it.

So the time it’s ready for race day, your body is conditioned for it. Your body and muscles, everything is ready for you to go run 26 miles.

And I think entrepreneurship is the exact same way. I think it’s a misconception when people look at the magazine covers and read the stories of successful companies, they think, wow, people started that and built it, and everybody came. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I think Field of Dreams is probably the worst movie that ever happened to entrepreneurship. Because it created this idea, if you build it, they will come. And I can tell you if you build it, they won’t come.

It takes this incredible perseverance and sometimes irrational belief in yourself to bring something to life in front of a lot of adversity and a lot of people saying it can’t happen.

So, I hope if there is any takeaway from the stories I shared today it’s that the simple act of spotting an opportunity, coming up with an original solution, and taking the third hardest step - putting something into the world, trying something, putting your idea into practice.

It doesn’t have to be the big idea. It’s about being in the gym and doing a rep, the gym of entrepreneurship. It’s just getting in the habit of doing those three things. You spot an opportunity, you come up with a solution, and you put your idea into the world.

The more you can do that, the better you are at spotting the opportunity. And Airbnb just happened to be a part of the lineage of all of things I told you that happened before.


The equation 2:33:54

sw² + wc = mo

So, what that stands for is when you introduce a new idea to the world …

Some will love it, some won’t, plus who cares equals move on.

Keeping going until you find the people that love your idea.


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