“Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted.” — Albert Einstein
A friend shared a fantastic podcast episode with me today: Brian Chesky of Airbnb on Steven Bartlett’s show, “Diary of a CEO.”
Brian shares his journey building Airbnb and covers many of the low points and personal challenges of being a founder, grappling with balancing work and friendships, and a lot more. I highly recommend giving the episode a listen.
Something Brian also talked about creativity, instinct, and measuring success.
He highlighted that Airbnb is one of the few companies in the Fortune 500 with a designer and creative talent in the boardroom.
The world of business has come to praise measurement and financials more than creativity. Yet, the world is changing faster than ever, requiring ever more creative thinking to adapt and change.
I’ve always struggled with balancing instinct, creative ideas, and doing bold but immeasurable work against the “proper” way to do things: small, measurable experiments, data-driven decision-making, and focusing on ROI.
It reminded me of a quote I read a while ago from David Ogilvy:
“I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgment; they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.”
Why put craft into anything if you can’t prove it makes a difference?
Why go the extra mile to make things “just right” if no one seems to care?
Brian’s suggestion is to not try to measure it.
As soon as someone passionate about their craft has to justify making their work as good as it can possibly be, they should probably move on.
Craft and creativity must be baked into your company’s culture. As a leader, you are the one that sets and reinforces that culture in every action you take.
The whole conversation inspired me. Speak up for what you believe in a little more.