Ep 118. Chip Conley: The Making of a Modern Elder
“My goal was to be the wisest, not the smartest, person in the room.”
At age 26 Chip Conley founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality, transforming an inner-city motel into the second largest boutique hotel brand in America. After running his company as CEO for 24 years, he sold it and went on to help the founders of Airbnb transform their start-up into the world’s leading hospitality brand. Chip served as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy for four years and today acts as the company’s Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership. Chip is a recipient of hospitality’s highest honor, the Pioneer Award, and holds a BA and MBA from Stanford University, and an honorary doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University. He serves on the boards of the Burning Man Project and the Esalen Institute, where the Conley Library bears his name. He recently launched the Modern Elder Academy.
In this episode Stew and Chip discuss Chip’s latest book, Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder and the future of work wherein so many in midlife will be reporting to those younger than themselves. They review the many ways organizations can capitalize on the loyalty as well as the wisdom of the mature employee. They talk about how intergenerational mutual learning is beneficial for both the individuals involved and for the company. Chip enumerates the ways a modern elder can add value not merely by dint of loyalty to the company and the capacity to mentor younger people, but also because they’ve accrued considerable experience, emotional intelligence, and wisdom -- not so much factual information as hard-won knowledge about how to make the process of working together work.