Episode Details S2 E1 (Part 1) with Kate Shaw of Airbnb: To Airbnb via the Soviet Union and Star Wars

Let’s work through the problem of Change in both society and Workplace Learning with the first part of a two-part debate with Kate Shaw, Director of Learning at Airbnb. A very high-profile Workplace Learning practitioner with a peerless CV that includes working at both Lucasfilm and Apple – but which started out with Kate studying Russian History at college and which gave her a defining experience visiting with people who were at once so different from us but who also had their own perspective “as valid as my own” – Kate and I go on a journey that hits stops like:

  • Why you can think you’re a depressed nihilist – but how you get betrayed by a love of great food into being a happy Epicurean!
  • How a trip to live among the ‘Cursed Enemy’ can change you up
  • How having a Mom who struggled to get the kudos for her work shapes your whole view on life, work, and a Changing workplace
  • Why a VC was so unimpressed with the original elevator pitch for Airbnb that he asked, ‘I hope you guys have other ideas than this?’… about a platform that has now hosted half a billion nights and is at a higher valuation than its 100-year old biggest competitor
  • Why you sometimes need to stop working with Silverbacks
  • The link between Design and Technology
  • Why College just isn’t ever going to enough any more
  • Why the good stuff happens when you make things collide – and much more.


Kate and I talked a lot about the idea of ‘Blitzscaling,’ as defined by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh in the book of the same name published last year: go here for the book’s website, and here for it on Amazon.

Remember this is the first of a 2-part episode, so we will have more notes for the second and final part in 2 weeks’ time.

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