TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

The Anatomy of a Great Decision

Improving our decision-making abilities should be a central goal. Better decisions save time, money, and stress. While it’s an investment now, in the long run, learning principles and developing a multidisciplinary lens that we can apply throughout life is a worthy investment.

As we have said before, a decision should not be judged solely on its outcome. Sometimes good decisions produce bad results. A recruiting process that has resulted in mostly excellent candidates will still occasionally fail to weed out a bad fit. It is impossible to have perfect and complete information for all the variables involved. So we do the best with what we have.

Using a decision journal can move us to that place where we are consistently making better decisions. At its core, the technique of identifying and reflecting on process from beginning to end helps us achieve the two main qualities in better decisions:

1. Using principles, not tactics
2. Looking at a situation through a multidisciplinary lens

These qualities are what we need to improve over time. And in the same way compounding interest increases our bank balance, better decisions produce exponentially better results the more of them we make. Hard decisions today, made well, prepare us to make decisions more easily in the future.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

What Seven Years at Airbnb Taught Me About Building a Business

Create strong culture, stay laser-focused on problems, and set wildly ambitious goals

In 2012, shortly after Airbnb acquired our startup, I overheard co-founder Joe Gebbia giving guidance to a designer tasked with redesigning the homepage. He said, "Build something the internet has never seen before." I vividly remember thinking, What does that even mean? And is this the bar for everything around here? Looking back, I've come to recognize that this mindset has been one of the key ingredients in Airbnb's historic growth.

I first joined Airbnb as an engineer, then became one of the first members of the budding PM team. Back then, there were a couple dozen engineers, a few designers, and two very cute dogs. Over the next seven years, as the company scaled to thousands of global employees, countless cute dogs, and over $30 billion in value, I took on a lot of interesting problems and worked with many incredible people. Since leaving a few weeks ago, I've been jotting down my biggest lessons from these experiences. I've realized I should share these lessons with anyone else working to build a company. I can't promise they will all apply to your situation, but they have been core to Airbnb’s success.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

The Dawn of the Reliance Economy

Your attention was never the endgame

Despite the way we position it, technology is no longer a tool to solve problems; it has been twisted into a tool to grow profits. Capitalism isn't geared to solve problems. If a company truly solved a problem, it would put itself out of business. Instead, the system is geared to keep consumers perpetually in need. For every solution we create, we have to manufacture a new problem. One way we do this is through planned obsolescence: intentionally designing things to have a short lifespan, which drives frequent upgrade cycles. This is the reason Apple releases a new iPhone every year and stops supporting older versions. This is also the reason that the average appliance now lasts about eight years, and why the fashion industry pushes seasonal trends.
,br> But planned obsolescence isn't the most powerful problem a company can generate. The most powerful problem a company can create is the "I can't live without it" problem. If a product replaces a human skill, we become reliant on it, and making us reliant is the ultimate long-term growth strategy. Monopolization isn't just about pushing out the competition. It's about monopolizing human capability.

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