Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Airbnb Story: HowThree Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions . . . and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher

I love stories about these plucky little start-ups that make it big - it's like a modern-day version of the Horatio Alger myth or the Cinderella fairy tale. In the age of information, everyone's out to create the next big website or app, trying to find that niche that everyone has miraculously ignored and yet desperately needs.

AirBnb is one of those businesses that started out in someone's apartment and ended up becoming a booming global enterprise. THE AIRBNB STORY chronicles the company's origins, its growth, its struggles, its successes, and its potential for growth.

I didn't actually know what AirBnb was, until I watched Adam Conover's "Adam Ruins Everything" video about AirBnb (and much of what he says can be found in the chapter on AirBnb's struggles). We've all heard the horror stories about tenants from hell, but we've also seen the BuzzFeed listicles about the most fantastic listings on the site, many of which are crazy affordable, and amazing hosts who end up forming not just a customer-client relationship but a personal one.

AirBnb is, at heart, like most other large companies: it has positives and negatives, but it found a niche that hadn't really been deeply explored. They went exploring, and ended up creating a multi-billion-dollar company because of it.

The book itself is a little slow to start, with a lengthy prologue, but quickly picks up in pacing. I liked that the author was actually able to sit down with the founders and ask them questions. She had a good narrative "voice" and did a good job explaining how AirBnb entered the pop culture lexicon. If you are interested in start-ups or the corporate culture of tech companies, you will like this book.

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

3.5 out of 5 stars

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