The Airbnb Way: 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth Through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging by Joseph Michelli is a challenging and engaging work taking a timely look at how “disruptors” of the status quo are changing our world, but there’s more. It fixes its attention on Airbnb and provides a wide-spanning overview about how such companies are fusing a near holistic focus on customer interaction with technology to open new vistas of human interaction, reinforce and reshape existing social structures, and redefine ways of “doing business” in the 21st century. Michelli takes on an impressive agenda with this work, the latest in a series of such books he’s written exploring the changing relationship between individuals and service providers, and succeeds in delivering a work that is both prescriptive and reflective of our technologically driven world.
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I am taken by his ease and familiarity with the subject. Michelli doesn’t pursue a single track with the work and explore it to its logical end but, rather, recognizes the synergy between multiple layers of human experience and how our evolving technology and personal relationships has and continues to transform everyday lives and events. Human evolution proceeds apace, for better or ill, and has given rise to new players in the business world who envision themselves as much more than just faceless conglomerates or corporations; instead, they are positioning themselves as players in the global community with a vested interest in expanding the purview of commercial endeavors. This reaches far beyond some multi-million dollar company providing sizable and tax-deductible donations to charitable organizations; it drives to the heart of a growing desire for corporations and commercial forces to act as “good corporate citizens” with stakes in our species’ continued forward progress.
His writing makes it clear this operates on both a macro and micro level. He does so by illustrating overarching corporate visions and contrasting them with the experiences of those “on the ground” in the Airbnb business, hosts and superhosts alike, providing service to the company’s customers. The book likewise uses numerous graphics, tables, and lists to further strengthen these points. Michelli never outlines his lessons in humdrum fashion but, instead, layers his ideas and concepts throughout the book while never abandoning the reader with lapses into obtuse or unwieldy prose. The Airbnb Way is clear and concise from beginning to end.
The use of objective facts and data is another important tool at his disposal. Michelli has conducted a great deal of research prior to writing this book and integrates it into the text without ever relying on other’s conclusions too much; they serve to add further weight to his own conclusions. Anyone interested in the evolution of modern business models and how they are affecting and envisioning human interaction in new ways will find much to think about after reading this book. The Airbnb Way: 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth Through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging is comprehensive without ever seeming dense or impenetrable and stands as, arguably, Michelli’s definitive words on the subject for now.