Marketplaces are notoriously hard to start, but amazing if they work. In his six years at Airbnb, Jonathan Golden watched it scale over 100X on every metric: listings, users, revenue, employees, and, yes, sometimes complexity. He joined at an inflection point in the business, when the product was shifting from niche to early adopter, from a marketplace for air mattresses to a truly viable accommodation alternative. As the company boomed, they lived through many more inflection points, even existential challenges. But that creative, “we’ll get through this no matter what” attitude always got us through. This post summarizes the five biggest inflection points Jonathan witnessed, and the lessons learned from each.
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