Chip Conley | The iconic hospitality entrepreneur is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent work, Wisdom@Work, is inspired by his experience simultaneously mentoring and reporting to Airbnb’s young CEO, Brian Chesky.

In this interview you’ll hear how the business icon put his ego through “a shrinking process” when joining Airbnb with an average employee age half his own in a sector where his industry knowledge was golden but his tech knowledge was almost nil. In the process he made some amazing discoveries about the advantages of a multigenerational workforce and the power of curiosity and cultivating a beginner’s mind. 

As a rebel entrepreneur at age 26, Chip founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality and served as CEO for 24 years, While CEO he wrote Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow with a foreword by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, who shares Chip’s belief that business success depends on creating a culture where employees find fulfillment and reach their full potential. Under Chip’s leadership Joie de Vivre grew to be the second largest boutique hotel company in the US, an achievement he attributes to applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to employees  in first, as well as customers and investors.

After selling Joie de Vivre in 2010, Chip wasn't sure what was next. He could have retired at age 52. But the young founders of Airbnb came calling. He served as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy for four years — while also being CEO Brian Chesky’s mentor — and continues today as a Strategic Advisor to the company’s leadership. 

SHOW NOTES  

Send a comment to Chip!

Chip talks about...

  • The realization that "Wow, I'm not going to be CEO."
  • What made him slide down in his chair at an early Airbnb meeting
  • Understanding the difference between smart and wise
  • The false dichotomy of Millennials vs Boomers in the workplace
  • Bucking the notion of a "3-stage life" by endorsing mid-career re-fueling
  • How a fascination with Burning Man helped him be a better executive

 Airbnb |  Like Chip’s company Joie de Vivre, Airbnb experienced a phase of rapid growth, becoming 1 of the top 2 largest hospitality companies in the world, along with Marriott. Co-founder Brian Chesky contributed the Foreword to Wisdom @ Work saying, “Chip Conley will be your guide in learning how to cultivate a beginner’s mind...and be the sage counselor.”

Chip and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Speak Together
Check out Brian’s and Chip’s  conversation at the Commonwealth Club about their journey together at Airbnb and the insights that led to writing Wisdom @ Work. Oct 2018

The "Mentern" Concept  |  Chip coined the term “mentern” to reflect what he says is the ideal combination of both teaching and learning from his younger colleagues.  While he and Brian Chesky were living the mentern experience, Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway were bringing it to the big screen in The Intern. 


Joie de Vivre Hotels  |  Chip founded Joie de Vivre and led the company as a disruptor in the industry to become the 2nd largest boutique hotel chain in AmericaCheck out Chip’s 2005 interview with SFGate for a great overview of Joie de Vivre’s inception as well as a glimpse into what it’s like to wrestle with hard-edged business issues while maintaining founding virtues. By 2010, Chip was a sought-after source of how to keep a values-driven company relevant in a difficult market environment.  
Read and listen to the advice he shared with Fast Company.  

Cultural Curiosity  |  Chip observed  that “as we get more digital, ritual becomes more important to people.” Or as he says, as URL's have increased, it has grown our need for IRL's (In-Real-Life experiences). Thus grew his fascination with festivals. Chip serves on the Board of the Burning Man Festival. After visiting 36 festivals in 20 countries around the world he founded Fest300 as a passion project.

Peter Drucker |  Drucker was a management thought leader who pioneered several concepts which still inform most modern industries. In his 95 years, he published 40 books, including 2 novels, and received more than 20 honorary doctorate degrees from American and European universities. In the interview, Chip describes Peter Drucker as his role model in the concept of lifelong learning. Chip expressed admiration that Drucker wrote two-thirds of his 40 books after the age of 65, and every two years would go study a new subject that has nothing to do with being a business school professor.
The Drucker Institute  | https://www.drucker.institute/programs/city-of-lifelong-learning/

Your Career is a Jungle Gym, Not a Ladder  |  Chip refers to a career as a jungle gym rather than a ladder - a potent analogy that originated with Pattie Sellers in a 2009 Fortune article and gained even more traction when Sheryl Sanders featured it in her 2013 bestseller Lean In.  

Books by Chip - click to purchase or read reviews

Foreword by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

Foreword by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

Foreword by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

Foreword by Richard Branson

MORE ABOUT CHIP CONLEY

World’s First Midlife Wisdom School | In January 2018, Chip founded the  Modern Elder Academy (MEA), the world's first "midlife wisdom school," where attendees learn how to repurpose a lifetime of experience for the modern workplace. MEA's beachfront campus is located in Baja California Sur, Mexico. 

Chip Conley Website | At Chip’s website, you can check out recent articles about his multi-generational workplace leadership, follow his blog, and subscribe to Chip’s email newsletter.

Sharing is Caring