AirBNB co-founder Brian Chesky’s childhood obsession

In a conversation on the Masters of Scale podcast series, Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of AirBNB, shared his childhood fascination with redesigning everything from toys to tennis shoes – a drive for problem solving that would help him reshape how we travel.

“I remember the first time I was in an airplane – I was probably 7 years old – I went to St. Louis. I grew up in [a small suburb of] Albany, New York. I never really got outside of my town very much. I went to St. Louis, and I just realized suddenly the perceived world was just infinitely larger to me. We get to St. Louis and my favorite part was just driving around the city. My dad would ask me, “Where do you want to go?” And I’d say, “Everywhere.” I had to see the whole city.”

“In hindsight, I had some odd behaviors. I learned how to do plans drawings. Plans are when you draw from looking down. So, you basically look at floor plans. I would start doing this of different cities. A little bit older, I had a friend whose dad was a landscape architect and they had landscape architect drawings in their backyard. And so when I was 8 years old, I got really into landscape architecture, which is an incredibly weird thing for an 8-year-old to be interested in. I was obsessed with the placement of decks and designs and landscaping and thought that was really awesome. The thread through all of this was I liked to redesign backyards, cities, neighborhoods and then I got into architecture and started redesigning homes.”

Imagine the power of understanding, as a child, the scale of the world. Imagine standing, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, thinking of the endless possibilities that lay ahead of you. Imagine where it might lead.

That’s why we should all look around us, explore, learn about new places and new people and dream bigger than our own house or home town or country.