Leigh Gallagher – The Airbnb Story

Success stories are always appealing. What we now know as Airbnb started in 2004 with Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, two broke industrial and graphic design school graduates. Later their befriended programmer Nathan Blecharczyk joined. The three worked out an idea to rent out air beds and breakfast to make some money. This was the conception of what became Airbnb, now valued at $30 billion and on the eve of entering China.

The boys had the luck of a perfect timing to meet investors. The unique selling points of their business model, two markets where demand and supply are facing each other, a powerful payment system, starting as the Craigslist for rooms, but quickly becoming a disruptive force in hospitality services without owning any of the homes or rooms that are rented out. Leigh Gallagher tells The Airbnb Story in chronological order, and shares from an abundance of background information, memoirs, and interviews. Not only Airbnb is covered, also its main competitors (e.g. Away.com, VRBO.com, couchsurfing.com) and the differences in market approach, products and services offered and the outlook for the near future. Will the traditional hotel chains ultimately take over? Can market entrants or competitors somehow steal and copy the business model? And can Airbnb itself evolve into a successful multiproduct firm with spread risks to survive in the long run?

If Airbnb has disrupted hotels, travel, space, and trust, it’s also disrupted conventional management theory. The company’s rise is lacking corporate experience with the founders at their start. No MBA, but design school as a foundation. Learn from these three founding fathers of a real game-changer still in charge of this privately owned company. Media are normally running behind the facts: “Where everyone thinks Airbnb is today, is where we were two years ago.” The same will apply to this book, updated to the very end of 2016. In 2 years the Airbnb story will have different twists and outcomes.

About the author

Leigh Gallagher is an assistant managing editor at Fortune and the host of Fortune Live. She is also co-chair of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit and oversees Fortune’s 40 Under 40 editorial franchise. She appears regularly on CBS This Morning, Marketplace, CNBC, and many other programs.

I received a free review copy from Penguin Books, the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my personal, unbiased opinion.