Airbnb’s Kate Dill Talks Business & Design
With a background in history and industrial design, Dill was exposed to the business world while participating in a study abroad program at a business school in Singapore. She realized MBA students tackled problems that were similar to those of designers, but in a different manner. This experience inspired her to conjoin business and design in her career at frog design, and now Airbnb.
During Dill’s tenure, the company changed its entire digital platform in an effort to clean up its design and streamline the entire system. She recalls this as being a great learning experience for learning how to make changes while keeping their hosts in mind. During the site’s transformation, Airbnb received feedback from hosts requesting that their number of guest reviews appear on the search interface, as it’s an important part of guests’ decision-making process. This experience created a stronger line of communication with Airbnb and their hosts early and often, which taught her team a lot about how to be better partners.
Dill’s idea of design has changed through her career and she spoke about design as being more than just creating products, but designing strategies, teams, and the way people work. She said, “Great design thinks about the business, the planet, and the users that are going to be impacted by those decisions.”