AirBnb’s CEO Has Just Carried Out A Giant Product Ideas Marathon…On Twitter

It’s fairly common for large companies to have internal ideation sessions – there’s a form that employees can fill out with their product ideas, nothing really happens for a while, and then you might receive a T shirt or something for your efforts. But AirBnb CEO Brian Chesky took things a notch up this year – he turned to social media to decide his company’s product roadmap.

It started with a simple enough tweet.

Chesky isn’t exactly a Twitter celeb – he has 147k followers, and doesn’t even tweet all that often. But this tweet, in which the CEO of a multibillion dollar company was asking users for product ideas, took off. Ideas soon started pouring in.

Some were obvious, and even easy to implement.

There were even ideas that would help AirBnb increase monetization opportunities.

 

Some were surprising. A suggestion to accept payment via bitcoin received 200 retweets, indicating its popularity. It was an insight that folks at AirBnb had missed, and Chesky said that “didn’t expect as much interest as this has gotten on this thread.” But it was invaluable, direct user feedback all the same.

Chesky helped things along by responding to nearly every response that came his way, either with a thanks, or asking follow up questions.  And it being the internet, Chesky got his share of trolls, but handled them expertly.

 

 

By the end of the first day, 300 people had chimed in with their suggestions.

A days later, the number had reached 1000.

And by the end of the second day, the simple question had gone viral, and Chesky had received over 1700 responses. The AirBnb CEO had received dozens of workable product suggestions that could be implemented into his product. In addition to listening to large product teams who’d have pored over data and charts, he had the ear of his end users, and got to hear their concerns and ideas. one on one. And it was all for free.

CEOs traditionally needed to be leaders, understand numbers and business, and build great products. The CEOs of the future might also need a new skill – social media savvy.

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