Author(s): Leigh Gallagher
This is the inside, behind-the-scenes story of airbnb - the company reshaping how we travel. Two broke art school graduates set up a platform that - in six short years - became the largest provider of accommodation in the world. Now valued at $25.5 billion, it is in the very top tier of Silicon Valley 'unicorn' startups. Yet Airbnb has been controversial - disrupting a $500 billion hotel industry makes you a few enemies - and many regulators and politicians want to shut it down. Hotel owners don't know whether to copy it or kill it, neighbours of Airbnb rentals complain about transient visitors, hosts report increases of damaged property, and some tech industry analysts think it's grossly overvalued. Beyond the headlines and the horror stories, Airbnb has changed the terms of travel for a whole generation. People who care more about finding like-minded locals than hotel breakfasts, and which has found a platform to build trust between hosts and guests in a way that hotels have struggled to replicate. This is the first, definitive book to tell the remarkable story behind Airbnb in all its forms - cultural zeitgeist, hotel disruptor, enemy to regulators - and the first in-depth character study of its leader Brian Chesky, the thoughtful, curious 34-year old founder and CEO, by the journalist who knows him best. On the way we'll discover why their business idea took root, the mistakes they made and how they learned from them, how they have grown surrounded by controversy, the parallels with uber, and where they are going next.
Leigh Gallagher is Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune magazine, where she edits feature stories on a variety of subjects. She is a seasoned business news commentator, appearing regularly on US news programmes and is a co-chair of the Fortune U.S. State Department Global Women's Mentoring Partnership and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.