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Threshold for compromise



The common advice you get from spiritual or religious leaders, and sometimes even from parents is that you need to have a high threshold for compromise. But no coach or mentor ever lets you entertain even a slight threshold for compromise.

If you're thinking of shipping your product, you had better listen to the coach or the mentor. Because the moment you start having a threshold for compromise, your product starts to suffer.

Airbnb and Orkut are two great examples (at either end) of this.

While Airbnb obsesses about culture and only allows those people to list their premises on the site who buy into the culture and are investing heavily in building the host community by organising several meetups, conventions and workshops the world over for disseminating best practices for the hosts. They realise that their brand is only as valuable as the service provided by the hosts listed on their site, who are not their employees. Airbnb has little threshold for compromise when it comes to the customer experience. And this is in line with the 'Belong Anywhere' branding. This is also advocated by Brian Chesky's famous 'Don't fuck up the culture' post.

Meanwhile, Orkut (a once popular social network), that many of you may not even remember, had a high threshold for compromise when it came to the user experience. They never fixed the spam profiles that eventually led to their downfall.

Now, Uber, which is in a similar position to Airbnb, even after the Delhi incident, don't seem to get the importance of this like Airbnb does.

They ought to listen to Peter Thiel's advice to Brian Chesky as well, but before they do that, they ought to build the kind of culture that is worth not fucking up. They have realised too late the need to have a low threshold for compromise, but fortunately, with time yet to fix it.

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