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Nathan Blecharczyk Quotes

Nathan Blecharczyk

Nathan Blecharczyk quotes: advice from the Airbnb billionaire.

“Part of being an entrepreneur is, like, it’s just so great to run your own business, that feeling you get.”

“How do we do this in a way that we think we can be successful?  The starting assumption is… that the default is to be unsuccessful, for sure.  So you have to have a pretty strong rationale for how you’re going to approach it, and you’re going to have to be choiceful.”

“I think it’s a fine balance between conviction and paranoia because when you’re paranoid, you can easily question your conviction and change direction, which if you do that too many times, is a big problem.  At the same time, if you have so much conviction that you’re kind of overly confident, that’s a big problem too.  I think finding that middle ground and sticking with it, while also being very reflective, is critical.”

“You need to ask a lot of questions.  I think you have to be a student of the market, and I think you have to go into it assuming you know nothing.  So having that blank slate is important.”

“I’d say also that you don’t have to make all these decisions at once.  The product work could happen immediately.  Meanwhile, your business is growing and you’re just learning from the community too.  I mean that’s also, I think, hugely informative.”

“Look at what’s happening organically aside from what you are manually trying to do, and you can learn so much.”

“It’s not just exciting to build things but to explore new fields and to recognize what comes with that is a lot of uncertainty.”

“Our mindset has always been: be the student.  Don’t assume anything and ask all the questions.  There’s no dumb question.”

“The key to being a successful public company is to set the right expectations and be able to deliver.”

“For entrepreneurs, choosing your co-founders is like a professional marriage.  You’re going to go through tough times, and you need to remember that ideas can change, but business partners can’t.”

“Silicon Valley is super competitive and super expensive for talent, for office space, for everything.”

“More efficient workers are always in an employer’s best interest.”

“I realized that I’m increasingly in a position where I know a network of people, and I’m able to connect more or less anyone.”

“I have incredible wealth, and I think there’s a great responsibility to use this position to do good stuff.”

“I actually almost made a million dollars while in high school.”

“I started at the age of 12, and I really feel like that was the key moment.”

“I don’t feel like my life happens to me.  I feel like I happen to my life.  I feel that I’m in the driver’s seat.”

“When we founded Airbnb in 2008, our dream was to help create a world where you could belong anywhere, and that vision has taken root in almost every country in the world.”

“What we’ve seen with competition around the world is that they look at us and they say, ‘Oh that’s a successful model.  I’m going to raise a bunch of money and try to beat them quickly.’  I think that is a common mistake, because to build the kind of business we built, we purposely have kind of gone slow and it’s been built through word of mouth and user testimony and trust building, and not through direct sales.”

“You have to be honest about what your strengths and weaknesses are.”

“When you offer consumers choice, let them vote with their wallets.”

“When we survey people about Airbnb and their embrace of it, we see a stark contrast between millennials and those who are older.  Millennials get it, they love it, and they lean into it.  Others eventually like it too, but are much more resistant to change.  I think it’s because millennials grew up with the internet in a period of dramatic shifts technology-wise, so they are used to embracing constant change and being at the forefront.”

“To attract millennials to a company you need to paint a big vision for how you’re having an impact in the world.  It’s not just a job; it’s kind of like a calling.”

“We also see a lot more blending of work and personal life, so we try to create an environment that’s quite flexible, that allows people to work hard but also to take their time when they need it.”

“What I am definitely very passionate about is investing in young people.  There is so much potential at that age.  If we could just get to people while they’re young, when they are at their most curious, that would be a very impactful place to invest.”

“The entrepreneur I admire the most right now I would say Elon Musk, simply because he’s just taking on like these kind of almost unthinkable challenges.”

“I mean, I’d much rather be popular with millennials because they’re going to grow older and you’re going to grow with them, so you have a long lifetime to grow with them.  But I also think as millennials go off and have families, they want to afford larger homes in urban areas which they have an affinity for, I think we can be a part of that journey.  Meaning, I think we can help them to buy a bigger home, to live a higher lifestyle and be that stepping stone.  That’s what we’ve seen elsewhere.”

“I’m married.  I have a daughter, so I put aside time in the day to spend with them.”

“Work is fun, right?  It is, honestly.  But that aside, I have a family… so they keep me quite busy and that’s pure joy.  Aside from family, I go to the gym [laughter].  I don’t know what’s so funny about that.”

“I think staying healthy is really important when you’re working hard, especially even just de-stressing, working out, whatever form that takes, has, throughout all my endeavors… starting at a much younger age… has helped me a lot to stay focused and get stuff done and be productive.”

“Being a father gave me a new purpose for existing.  That newfound purpose has somehow given me the stamina and patience to take on the endless stream of challenges that come along with parenthood.”

“I cannot deny that there are unavoidable, day-to-day tradeoffs between being a parent and a professional.  There are only so many hours in a day.”

“I don’t like asking people for things, so if I can do it myself, that’s the mindset I have.  My dad is very much a do-it-yourself kind of person, so I had a strong sense of independence.”

“I don’t like spending money.”

“I like to keep things simple.”

“[What book are you reading right now?] Right now I’m reading something called Seven Powers.  It’s a book about basically strategy, and it talks about the difference between strategies that really endure and create enduring power, versus what might create success in the short term.  Basically the book says that everything can be boiled down to seven strategies, and so it’s kind of interesting to see something so simple.  I mean the story behind so many different successful companies and to hear so many individual stories.”

“It’s still very early days for me, since all my wealth is in private stock, which isn’t liquid.  But I know that I’ve acquired a really big responsibility, and I want to start learning now so that when the day comes that I actually do have the ability to make these gifts, I will be ready.”

“I think that I have been more successful than I ever would have imagined, and I know that I have been given a gift, more than I perhaps deserve.  What excites me is having an impact on the world.  So I have to think about how I can take this gift and reinvest it.  That’s why I signed the Giving Pledge, which is something that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett started and which is basically a pledge to give away half your wealth, if not more, over the course of your lifetime.”

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