Chip Conley - WOBI on Innovation

Disruption, Peak Performance, and Emotional Equations with the Head of Global Hospitality at Airbnb

Head of Global Hospitality, Airbnb, TotalPicture Radio interviewChip Conley

On our plat du jour today we're serving up disruption. Industry disruption. Creative disruption, Technological disruption changing and challenging industries overnight. Disrupt was the theme of WOBI on Innovation in New York this year. One of the keynote presenters at WOBI to receive a standing ovation is our guest today -- Chip Conley.

Welcome to a special Leadership Channel Interview with Peter Clayton reporting. I first met Chip Conley in 2008, when his bestselling book, PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow, was published. (Check the side bar. You'll still find the podcast on TotalPicture Radio).

As the founder of the Joie de Vivre boutique hotel chain in 1987 Chip has already disrupted the hotel industry once. As current Head of Global Hospitality at Airbnb he is part of a team doing so again. Oh, by the way? The service industry represents two-thirds of the Global GDP.

Questions Peter Clayton asks Chip Conley:

Often times when super-successful people such as yourself are interviewed or profiled the focus tends to be on the good times and successes. However, as you revealed during your WOBI presentation you've had your fair share of bad times - wondering how you were going to meet payroll - after 9/11 your industry tanked. Can you share with us some of your struggles, learnings, and how were you able to come out of that dark tunnel - stronger and more profitable than ever?

As you know Chip, Airbnb has a massive ad campaign going on in NYC. However, city governments like Airbnb about as much as they like Uber. No occupancy tax. Right? Is that the crux of the problem?

Much of your book Peak, and your business strategy focused on Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. What about this approach resonated with you?

A quote from your WOBI presentation in NY: "The thing that defines a culture is what happens when the boss is not around." Why such a focus on culture, and as a CEO how do you go about creating culture?

Why is culture so important? As you mentioned, Southwest is the only American airline that has been in business over 25 years that has not gone bankrupt. They continue to have a great culture and value their employees.

All of the JDV hotels have themes based on magazines - your first hotel, the Phoenix in San Francisco was Rolling Stone Magazine, your hotel in Mountain View was WIRED - explain to us how this evolved and why it's become so successful.

Why did you decide to sell Joie de Vivre? Didn't it feel like giving up a child?

Has the culture you so carefully cultivated at JDV survived?

Another passion of yours is called Fest300 - The world's best festivals. Tell us about Fest300 and the inspiration behind it.

In 2012 Simon & Schuster published your latest book Emotional Equations Simple Steps for Creating Happiness + Success in Business + Life - another New York Times bestseller with a very unique concept - here's an example -- Authenticity = Self-Awareness x Courage. Where did you come up with this idea?

Do you have a favorite equation?

What is the one thing you think every start-up needs to focus on?

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