Title: Why Airbnb’s New Head of Design Believes ‘Design-Led’ Companies Don’t Work
Context: It’s not who’s leading the culture of your organization that matters, it’s who is being led that makes the difference.
Synopsis: The engineers have had their shot and they — for the most part — royally screwed things up. Sure they came up with some great tech but man, they sure did piss off most of the average customer base through hideous UI’s, arcane interaction patterns, and convoluted workflows that most people were simply unable to “grok” (see, even their language is mystifying). So now — surely — the designers deserve a shot at the top spot. I mean, all we hear about is how important “great”, “simple”, “amazing”, well-designed experiences are! They are the lifeblood of any product that has even the slightest hope of being successful. These are facts. I will not argue them. Unless this opinion is totally misguided and simply moves a few pieces around the board without getting us any closer to a repeatably successful product development culture. I mean hey, what do you want from us? We’re only designers, we’ve never done this before.
Best Bit: “Airbnb’s approach does seem fairly novel, simply because it deals with a problem that bedevils any product company to one degree or another: Designers tend to design for themselves, whether they intend to or not.”

via wired.com