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Midweek Motivation Can We Move Slowly and Fix Things?

"Move fast and break things" (aka. MFABT for the remainder of this post) was originally coined by Mark Zuckerberg for his internal Facebook team regarding design and management. But it has since become a catchphrase for how many start-ups and entrepreneurs think about "disruptive" technology. More is better. Dominate at all costs. Worry about lines and red tape and protocol later. We'll address later what got broken and its consequences on communities and people's lives.

In our field, Airbnb MFABT. And plenty of other participants are following in line.

But as many of us are starting to realize, MFABT isn't always a sustainable plan when it comes to actual neighborhoods where we live and conduct business. Using a platform that MFABTs comes with strings attached, especially when the MFABT'er doesn't have your best interest in mind (my concerns video here).

The longer we go not combatting the effects of MFABT, the greater we increase our risk.

So in trying to think how we -- the professional side of the industry -- can combat the barrage of negative repercussions, and do so on an individual level, I think a good mantra is to go completely opposite...

Instead, can we move slowly and fix things?

How to Move Slowly and Fix Things (aka. MSAFT?)

1. Competitors: any owner or manager in town looking to do things the right way should be embraced, collaborated with, and supported. Anyone MFABT should be encouraged (first) about doing things the right way (positive encouragement can go a long way). And if it's obviously not working the MFABTs should be ostracized. Use strength in numbers to MSAFT together. THIS is the art of social change: people seeing you perform a pro-social behavior pressures others to adopt.

2. Guests: get as close or as "proximate" to your guests as possible, both with pre-arrival communication (email/phone/text/talking head video) and on-the-ground once they arrive. It also helps to explain what you ARE NOT. "If you're looking for a fly-by-night crash pad where you can host parties or make noise, this is not the place for you."

3. Homeowners: Homeowners need to understand the cost of MFABT on their property and the power/profitability of MSAFT long-term. Do a survey to truly gauge their understanding of your service BEFORE taking on the property. And send them examples of MSAFT any chance you get to reiterate that slow and steady wins the race.

4. Neighbors: Forge real relationships with neighbors: give them a call: invite them to coffee: bring them avocados or marshmallow peeps: make sure they know you're not MFABT and they can call you ANYTIME. This also comes in very handy when one of your rentals almost burns down (thread).

Some other MSAFT techniques we've featured in previous week's newsletters:
  • Moments of Engagement: Curate special interactions in which you win over guests, turning them from stranger to friend (and reviewer/repeat/referral booker). Moments of engagement are interactions that connect us: the openings for lines of communication and meaningful relationships (that generate dollaz).
  • Be Picky: being picky is about defending your earned position in the marketplace and choosing quality over quantity.
  • Small Changes Mount: Small incremental changes in pricing and price structure can yield significant cumulative returns over the course of the year. The better your track record, the more bold you can get with these kinds of changes. You don't need software to do this: you need conviction.
  • Build Trust: Trust comes when a vacation rental host is genuinely more interested in ensuring that the visitor has a great vacation than in getting them to book his or her property. The vacation rental business that builds the most trust, wins.
Discussion Question: What are some other ways we can (on an individual level OR as a group) combat the impact of irresponsible or short-sighted people threatening our calling? What are the aspects we haven't figured out yet?
 
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Christina

Counselor
Inner Circle
UGH we have one of those in our market and he just signed another owner, who incidentally we have know for YEARS, because he is willing to lie and do the wrong things. I have no idea how to combat it except just continuing to do the right thing.
 

StacyW

Counselor
Inner Circle
Accelerator
It is frustrating for sure to watch these horrible companies come in and dazzle our owners with shiny things and ridiculous promises to do so much more. We had a luxury owner leave us and go to a competitor like this and as soon as her contract was up she was back and now knows it isn't all it's cracked up to be. I use her story when owners ask about those other companies. They have unlimited funds and that is hard on us a small business that doesn't have those.
 

Robin

Counselor
Inner Circle
So many sayings apply here:

"If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys"
"over-promise, under-deliver"
"trust is a beautiful thing...until it's gone"

MFABT styled growth is the scourge of our industry, but it is also the defining opportunity for the hyper-local VRM to dance circles around the bigger players and out-perform on every level. Guest care and home care are what truly matter. Neither of these can be done remotely at arm's length.

Don't follow these company's practices and attempt to mimic their short-cuts. You will find yourselves outgunned if you simply try to copy them.

Make it personal, pay attention to the details, be authentic.

There's nothing wrong with moving slow....if you are doing it right every time.
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
I just finished listening to Matt Landau Matt Landau discussion about "the 4 Pillars of Limited Edition Hospitality" on Heather Heather 's podcast "Vacation Rental Success". May I suggest that the answer is FLoSS!

We can win in our markets by building our business with the four pillars of success or FLoSS: Family, Local, Specialty, and Surprises. The disruptors are too busy moving fast and breaking things, which may work quite well for a tech company but can never be the model for vacation rental hospitality business since we are working with real people in real properties in real neighbourhoods / communities.
 
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BrendaS

Sampiere (Brenda) Family
Inner Circle
We answer our phone and we really care.

Those are two things the big companies can’t and won’t do. Unfortunately guests don’t find out “they don’t do that” until after the fact.

I think that can go on a t-shirt :)
 

Karla

Karla, Owner of Tropical Blessings
Inner Circle
I clearly missed class on MFABT’s, never heard the term until Matt Landau Matt Landau recently introduced the acronym. I learned that It meant moving fast and breaking things and I wondered who on the planet might want to break things. I sure don’t want to break things so it was time to run away from MFABT stat and I did.

Since I much prefer Fixing Things to Breaking Things MFABT did not pass
pass the test with the Quality Control Department of Acronyms. Suffice it to say, I was ironically forced to break up with MFABT immediately even though breaking up is sometimes hard to do. I don’t even want to go out on a single date with an MFABT if I can avoid it.

Obviously I was in a definite fix with MFABT as an acronym since I make a point trying to avoid breakage at Tropical Blessings in multiple ways on multiple levels and on multiple occasions. “Move Fast” sounds like it should come with flashing lights attached to it that read “Do Not Touch.” Dammit, MFABT needed a quick acronym trade in, even more annoying since it sounded like a dealership offer but fortunately MSAFT is available at the Acronym Dealership for the same price of “free” and it’s a much better deal since when in comes to my business and the rest of my life which is not an official business but is nobody else’s business either. I don’t want to break anything at all and I don’t want to break the hearts of guests by not fixing what must be fixed.

MSAFT sounds like a pretty good acronymic counter punch to MSABT. “Move Slow and Fix Things” sounds like a good way to go. We exercise acts of prevention. We also make repairs or replace what needs replacement.

We fix things, keep them fixed, or maybe we just keep on fixing because we love to make things better. Not always but the “fix things” phrase unfortunately sometimes comes with a “no choice” clause attached

The penultimate example of “Fix Things” is an Extreme Makeover. Tropical Blessings has been undergoing one since I bought it over a decade ago. Perfection will never be possible but I’m always engaged in actions to make the place better and improve guest communications and relationships. These efforts are driven by a fuel that’s a mixture of necessity, dedication, passion and inspiration.

As is oft quoted, “Timing is everything” so we must face the question of whether it’s better to “Move Fast” or “Move Slow” when fixing something. Maybe choosing the correct variable pace is an even better idea. However, at whatever speed at you choose to fix things you can never forget, neglect or ignore the importance of doing so. How about FIARP? Fix It At Right Pace. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes gradually.

“What‘a in a word?” Frankly everything. What’s in a acronym? A string of words that create a phrase like ASAP or ETC.
Both sometimes apply to fixing things.

I became aware of acronyms when I was 10 years old and together Elaine P. and I formed the PPIPEW Club: Practically Perfect in Practically Every Way. I can’t even recall how we came up with that idea but we even created a handbook and a set of rules. Our secret code names, respectively, were Peppermint Stick and Candy Cane.

I think Elaine and I were onto something when we were only a decade old. We qualified the word “perfect” and also qualified the phrase “in every possible way” with “practically” both of which contraindicate perfection.

About fixing things Move Fast or Move Slow both imply motion so don’t have a FIT as in “Fix it Today!” or “Fix it Tomorrow!” Go with the flow, attend to emergencies immediately and pace yourself right with the rest of it as if you were dancing. Crank up the tunes while fixing things and have a good time or just get the joh done and enjoy the good fix of feeling proud about maintaining your high standards.
 
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HeatherB

Counselor
Inner Circle
I have always loved this concept but never knew there was an acronym for it. I have long been the person in my circles that has firmly taken the reigns to slow the cart down before we get moving so fast that the wheels come off. No real point in having a cart with no wheels. Am I right?
 

AndyM

Counselor
Inner Circle
As small business Owners with limited resources our default operations are Move Slow and Fix Things. That being said I wish I had a magic wand and could fast forward to having every bed made on arrival and stripped for Guests on departure. I'd love to fast forward that one but limited options for linens and laundry in our resort area mean one baby step at a time while setting and managing Guest expectations along the way. I'd love to address this completely during my tenure as steward of my little part of the great vacation rental world. I hate having to put Guests to so much work on arrival and departure and so do they!
 
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