Gebbia is a cofounder and the chief product officer of Airbnb and in his talk, he offers listeners a glimpse into the realization that inspired the company's founding.
Now that Airbnb's a successful business, it doesn't seem that weird to find a stranger online and let them into your home for a night. But when Gebbia, along with his cofounder and current CEO Brian Chesky, approached investors, the idea was still very weird — and no one would invest.
Gebbia, a design-school graduate, decided to rely on solid design to turn Airbnb into a successful business. Specifically, both hosts and guests would be able to see reviews of the other person. And there would be prompts to encourage hosts and guests to share something about themselves.
"We bet our whole company on the hope that, with the right design, people would be willing to overcome the stranger-danger bias," Gebbia says. "What we didn't realize is just how many people were ready and waiting to put the bias aside."
He goes on: "When trust works out right, it can be absolutely magical."