Yuan Wang

“Imagine the end state and then work backward” is one of the key product principles at Airbnb. Every day millions of guests come to Airbnb searching and browsing places to stay for their future trip. What does a magical trip mean for guests? How might we consistently deliver the magical experiences to guests? How might we establish better trust between hosts and guests?

In 2018, shortly after I joined Airbnb, I led an initiative to envision the future of accommodation listing platform and guest experiences. With this output, my team now portraits a robust body of forward-looking projects that are getting momentum and support from leadership and cross-functional partners. It also has resulted in new ways of collaborating with partners across the organization.

As the design lead that works on the accommodation listing platform, there are many teams that I collaborate with regularly. To ensure guests will have a consistent and high-quality experience using Airbnb, I often find myself spending time influencing and collaborating with designers from stakeholder teams and rallying others to solve key problems for guests.


 Starting the mentorship pilot program for Airbnb design meant a lot for me personally. Shortly after joining Airbnb, I noticed that although the entire design team had a healthy gender balance, there was progress to be made for the design leads group. That motivated me to think about ways to better support the growth of the women within our team.

I approached this project as to how I would solve for a product design problem. I conducted a few casual interviews, gathered data from my research, and wrote down a 1-pager to outline the problem and propose solutions and timelines. The proposal was well received. With the leadership support, I collaborated with a small team to execute every phase of the pilot program, which included designing survey questionnaires, pairing mentors and mentees, and coming up with biweekly topic suggestions.

It was incredibly fulfilling for me to see 70 mentors and mentees signed up and paired up. Many of them co-created an amazing relationship during this program. We've successfully scaled this program to benefit mentees of all genders. The mentee participation across the design team has grown over 2x.

Sharing my perspective with her helped to remind me to re-overcome my own hangups on the same topic. It was awesome to talk to someone that’s totally different from me in many ways with similar challenges.
— Mentor
We opened up to one another in vulnerable ways, and I feel like I have a bond with her because of that. She helped me reflect on my strengths and weaknesses with a different perspective.
— mentee