Designer, entrepreneur, and Airbnb co-founder, Joe Gebbia. was known as the “art guy” in grade school when he started his first business selling illustrations of Ninja Turtles. Then, while pursuing dual design degrees, he founded his first legit startup with RISD’s basketball team, The Balls. Now as the leader of innovation and ideation at Airbnb he’s focused on exploring new attitudes of sharing and trust. Oh, and don’t tell him he can’t do something. He will go to extremes to prove you wrong. Isn’t that so, Professor Jones?
What is your earliest memory?
Building lego monsters on the kitchen floor.
How do you feel about democratic design?
Design is a series of decisions that solve a problem. Designers have the option of when to include people in those spectrum of decisions, knowing they will weigh in eventually, either in the beginning to provide insight, or the big test at the end – do they actually use your solution. Your choice.
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?
Challenges are gifts.
How do you record your ideas?
Analog - sketchbook in my back pocket
Digital - Trello
What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?
What book is on your nightstand?
Leonardo da Vinci (Issacson)
Why is authenticity in design important?
People are wired to spot the unauthentic.
Favorite restaurant in your city?
What might we find on your desk right now?
A 1970’s tape dispenser from a rural village in Japan.
Who do you look up to and why?
One time when I was 16, I was watching an interview with Warren Buffett. The reporter asked him for a tip on what to invest in. Rather than giving what everyone expected – stock insight or company to put your money in, he said, “Invest in yourself”.
What are the last five songs you listened to?
I Feel it Coming (The Weeknd)
Samba e Amor (Bebel Gilberto)
Ohh Wee (Mark Ronson)
Like it or Not (Bob Moses)
Morning Phase (Beck)