Founder Stories: Airbnb’s Nate Blecharczyk On Being The Only Engineer For The First Year

This week on Founder Stories, I sat down with Airbnb co-founder Nate Blecharczyk. One of the things that strikes me as original to Airbnb’s founding team is that, unlike most startups I can think of, two of the co-founders are designers, and Blecharczyk, who’s a co-founder and CTO, is an engineer.

“It’s pretty unusual, and I actually attribute a lot of our success to that combination,” says Blecharczyk. “We see things very differently because of our backgrounds and we’ve discovered that’s an asset. Sometimes it takes a little longer to reconcile our perspectives, but we find that if we take the time to do that we can come up with a superior solution. One that takes into account both points of view.”

Nate continues by explaining how Airbnb has been able to bring the collaborative culture of the founding team to the rest of the company. He and I also discuss being selective about hiring, building cross-functional product teams centered around projects rather than roles within in the company, and transitioning responsibility to Facebook’s Mike Curtis who recently joined as Airbnb’s vice president of Engineering. Watch the full interview above to learn more.

Editor’s Note: Michael Abbott is a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, previously Twitter’s VP of Engineering, and a founder himself. Mike also writes a blog called uncapitalized. You can follow him on Twitter @mabb0tt.