Firm Founders “Learned to Cope With a Lot of Adversity and Have a Lot of Resilience”

(p. B6) I’m a sucker for good stories about the founding of companies.

Yvon Chouinard started apparel maker Patagonia in a chicken coop; James Dyson went through 5,000 prototypes on his way to inventing a bagless vacuum cleaner; Steve Ellis opened Chipotle burrito shops simply to earn enough money to start a gourmet restaurant (he never got that far).

Airbnb Inc.’s story takes the cake. In 2008, a couple entrepreneurial types living on Ramen noodles in San Francisco cooked up an online home-sharing scheme. They recruited a computer scientist, funded their idea in the early days by maxing out credit cards and selling politically-themed cereal boxes, and held on until their company shook up the entire lodging industry.

. . .

“There’s this crazy idealism that founders have,” Brian Chesky, one of those Airbnb founders and the company’s chief executive, told me this week in a video chat. “They’ve learned to cope with a lot of adversity and have a lot of resilience.”

For the full commentary, see:

John D. Stoll. “ON BUSINESS; Airbnb Defied the Startup Odds. Will It Survive a Pandemic?” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, April 18, 2020): B6.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date April 17, 2020, and has the title “ON BUSINESS; Airbnb Defied the Odds of Startup Success. How Will It Survive a Pandemic?”)

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