Jan 28 2010
#216 How Clever Entrepreneurs Turned 3 Air Mattresses Into Airbnb, The Site That Makes Any Home A Bed And Breakfast – with Brian and Joe
The founders of Airbnb are guys who couldn’t make rent a few years ago, but they kept turning desperation into creative solutions. In October 2007, eager to make extra money, they noticed that local hotels were booked up because of a conference. So they pumped up some inflatable mattresses and listed their place online as an “air bed and breakfast.” It was quirky and it worked. That little act of creativity became Airbnb, the (profitable) site that allows anyone to list their extra space for rent.
This interview is full of examples of that kind of hustle, like how they created and sold cereal called “Obama O’s.” That idea brought in a much-needed $30,000, but more importantly, it impressed investor Paul Graham of Y Combinator, who backed them. They jumped on that opportunity too, seizing every chance they could find to get Graham’s advice. His mentorship helped their company become profitable.
Along the way, they got impressive media hits by crafting interesting stories, improved their design by sleeping in their users’ homes and kept changing their product based on feedback. In this interview, they teach you how they did it.
Brian Chesky & Joe Gebbia are two of the co-founders of Airbnb. (The third co-founder is Nathan Blecharczyk.) Airbnb is a marketplace for renting space. Their open platform accommodates a ‘couch to a castle’, including vacation rentals, bed and breakfast, private rooms, and entire apartments. Travelers typically save money and get a local experience, while hosts have an easy way to earn extra cash and meet new people.
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