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Experiencing Collaboration The Airbnb Way

Success is a Patient, Team Sport – Experiencing Collaboration The Airbnb Way

If you are someone who doesn’t like to wait, writing a book is not for you! This week my book, The Airbnb Way – 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community and Belonging will be released! The journey for this book began in January 2018 and “poof” 22 months later the book hits bookstores and begins to get shipped to those who pre-ordered it. I am already working on a book to be released in the fall of 2021!

Given that I’ve written nine business books, The Airbnb Way was completed rather swiftly. Several of my prior books took closer to three years from inception to publication! I share all of this to illustrate two points that relate to social trends, collaboration, and project completion.

  1. Trends, Markets, Delivery Changes – Undeniably, attention spans are shrinking, and people are seeking information in real-time. According to an article by Sarah Nichols for Book Riot, “In 2017, people in the U.S. 15 and older spent an average of 16.8 minutes a day reading (not including for work or school) … this is down from 22.8 minutes in 2005.” Research also shows that women read more than men and that men’s reading time has dropped more than that of women through the years. All of that would seemingly bode poorly for books, right?

According to the StatShot Annual Report from the Association of American Publishers (my category of books – adult non-fiction) showed a 5.4% revenue increase from 2016 to 2017 and audiobooks are the fastest growing category with 28.8% growth (fueled largely by younger consumers). Personally, I voice my own audiobooks whenever possible out of a desire to connect with readers. As such, you can hear me narrate The Airbnb Way when the book is released in audio soon.

So, what is the lesson from this? Consumer behaviors can change, yet markets for certain products can remain. Less non-work/school-related reading is occurring, but books (in certain categories) are prospering. Reading is declining, but listening to books is increasing.

  1. Collaborative Creation – As my book releases, you will find my name on the front. That makes it seem like I am responsible for the book. Don’t get me wrong, I wrote every word, but in many ways, that is a small part of the book’s journey.

For The Airbnb Way to be possible, Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s co-founder and CEO, had to give me permission to profile his business. That choice resulted in teams of Airbnb staff members planning, coordinating, and providing needed access. Simultaneously, an acquisition editor at McGraw-Hill had to present the book idea to a publication board and a book contract had to be negotiated between my publishing attorney and a representative from McGraw-Hill’s legal team.

Throughout the writing phase for The Airbnb Way, my team and I interviewed hundreds of Airbnb employees and Airbnb hosts from around the world. Content editors, proof-readers, copy editors, interior designers, cover designers, photographers, McGraw-Hill marketing and PR representatives, the team working for my personal PR agent, book printers, binders, transportation teams, warehouse crews, and online as well as brick and mortar retailers all left their mark on this book.

For me, there are so many lessons in the creation of a book. Here are a few to consider:

    • no one is self-made
    • achievements rely on team effectiveness
    • not everyone on a team receives their rightful acknowledgment
    • there is more to a brand than an individual
    • stay humble
    • be grateful

I am grateful to all those who have played a role in The Airbnb Way, not least of which are those who will take the time to read or listen to it.

I’d gladly share that gratitude with you directly and talk to you about your customer markets, delivery changes, or team-based effectiveness. Simply contact me here and again THANK YOU!

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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