Handle adversity. Embrace uncertainty. Never settle.
Oct. 7, 2021

How to patch a $40 billion air mattress.

Although it's a hard pill to swallow, you have to go through a crisis in order to learn how to handle other crises.

In retrospect, the Co-founder, CEO of Airbnb Brian Chesky was grateful that Airbnb was born in a crisis. At the height of the recession and with the rent past due, Chesky and his roommates inflated an airbed and rented out their living room to total strangers for cash. 

Thus a business was born out of creative desperation. 

Today Airbnb is used as both a noun and a verb. (Going out of town? Just Airbnb it!) Now the word is synonymous with your favorite restaurant chain, but 10 years ago it sounded like the craziest idea ever. 

Airbnb was like the worst-best idea ever. The scraping for coins in between the couch cushions for rent money kind of idea morphed into a $40 BILLION valuation. 

Airbnb was all set to go public....

 then the pandemic hit. 

80% of Airbnb's business was wiped out and Chesky had no idea if they'd even be around to service the remaining 20%. 

Airbnb was hemorrhaging money to the tune of $300 million per month. In the travel industry, what better time to go to investors than in a pandemic to hit them up for a $2 billion loan-not knowing if it'll be enough nor if you'll even be around to pay it back. 


No one could've ever predicted nor prepared for the world to shut down, but fortunately for Chesky and Airbnb, this was just another crisis. 

Airbnb was literally born for this. 

Chesky raised the $2 bill and went to work. 

Here are 4 ways Chesky snatched Airbnb from the flames of defeat:

  1. Be decisive: All of your options may be crap, but pick one of them;  you can always adjust along the way. (Or you could instead wait for the tooth fairy.)
  2. Be principally oriented:  Principles are what you know that you know that you know to be true. In creating his principles, Chesky asked himself, "If it all goes down in flames, how do you want to be remembered?" Do you want to be remembered as the leader who went down with a fight or the one who folded?
  3. Communicate early and often. Like a trauma surgeon, check your patient's (aka people's) vitals. Check their pulse throughout the day. Their minds are swirling with fear. Show them that you'll be should to shoulder with them through it all. Keep your people moving productively by giving them direction. 
  4. Manage your own psychology. On the Jordan Harbinger Show, Chesky said that this was THE MOST important of all of the rules. In a crisis, your people don't want someone who is a soupy mess nor someone who is stone cold. Regulate yourself based on the current situation and the task at hand. Bone-headed mistakes will be made. Plans will backfire and it may feel like you're hours away from going under. Keep yourself together. Lead from the front. Be the example.

Chesky and his team pulled through. Airbnb went public, but there will be other crises looming. It may come unexpected, but Chesky's ready because he is battle-tested. 

Are you?

You have to go through to get to.

You have to go through the valleys in order to get to the summits and the only way you get there is how you handle a crisis.

16 years ago I didn't handle my first major hurricane well. (Hell, I almost got fired. Buy me a beer and I'll tell you about it.) But 16 years later, I handled the next major hurricane that devastated my city waaaay better. 

And that's the thing....

Every crisis that you go through, prepares a little bit more you for the next one. 

Let me know how your progress is going.

If you want to learn more on how to lead yourself and others through a crises, watch the full video below. 

Annnnd go to www.marshbuice.com. There you can search from nearly 700 podcast episodes as well as connect to me wherever you hang out on social media.

Remember the greatest sale you will ever make is to sell you on you. Because you're more than enough. Stay amazing. Stay in The Sales Life.