Airbnb

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pages: 290 words: 87,549

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

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, housing crisis, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Justin.tv, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Network effects, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, RFID, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Y Combinator, yield management

Online, January 19, 2016, http://www.eonline.com/news/732247/no-resort-necessary-gwyneth-paltrow-uses-airbnb-for-mexican-vacation-with-her-kids-and-boyfriend-brad-falchuk. 59 $10,000 per night: Carrie Goldberg, “Inside Gwyneth Paltrow’s Latest Airbnb Villa,” Harper’s Bazaar, June 23, 2016, http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/travel-dining/news/a16287/gwyneth-paltrow-airbnb-france/. 61 “on Airbnb?”: Greg Tannen, “Airbnb-Tenant Reviews of the Candidates,”The New Yorker, July 8, 2016, http://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/airbnb-tenant-reviews-of-the-candidates. 61 “Dreams Come True”: Natalya Lobanova, “18 Fairytale Airbnb Castles That’ll Make Your Dreams Come True,” BuzzFeed, June 15, 2016, https://www.buzzfeed.com/natalyalobanova/scottish-airbnb-castles-you-can-actually-rent?utm_term=.ss2Kvbx6J#.abpLnz0PW. 64 “yearning to belong”: Brian Chesky, “Belong Anywhere,” Airbnb, July 16, 2014, http://blog.airbnb.com/belong-anywhere/. 65 “hippy-dippy concept”: Ryan Lawler, “Airbnb Launches Massive Redesign, with Reimagined Listings and a Brand New Logo,” TechCrunch, July 16, 2014, https://techcrunch.com/2014/07/16/airbnb-redesign/. 66 (“equal-opportunity genitalia”): Douglas Atkin, “How to Create a Powerful Community Culture,” presentation, October 30, 2014, http://www.slideshare.net/FeverBee/douglas-atkin-how-to-create-a-powerful-community-culture. 68 wander the globe: Prerna Gupta, “Airbnb Lifestyle: The Rise of the Hipster Nomad,” TechCrunch, October 3, 2014, https://techcrunch.com/2014/10/03/airbnb-lifestyle-the-rise-of-the-hipster-nomad/. 69 most e-mailed articles that week: Steven Kurutz, “A Grand Tour with 46 Oases,” New York Times, February 25, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/garden/retirement-plan-an-airbnb-travel-adventure.html.

The company wouldn’t exit hypergrowth for quite a long time—it is still in it—but more key executive hires would come, as would a move in 2013 into huge new headquarters. Airbnb had gone from being called the “eBay for space” in Silicon Valley elevator-pitch parlance to becoming a standard that other start-ups were modeled after: Boatbound pitched itself as the Airbnb of boats, dukana was to be the Airbnb of equipment, and DogVacay was the Airbnb for dogs. These days, Airbnb is a juggernaut. There are more than 2,500 employees, including 400 engineers and a customer-service department that’s bigger. And that’s just inside the company. There is also the most important constituency in the Airbnb story, and it lies outside the four walls of its headquarters: the hosts and the travelers; in other words, the millions of people who turned Airbnb from a company into a movement. 3 Airbnb Nation * * * * * * Uber is transactional; Airbnb is humanity.

Chapter 2: Building a Company 35 “How to Start a Startup”: Sam Altman, “How to Start a Startup,” lecture with Alfred Lin and Brian Chesky, video, accessed October 10, 2016, http://startupclass.samaltman.com/courses/lec10/. 36 (six new core values in 2013): The six core values put in place in 2013 were “Host,” “Champion the Mission,” “Every Frame Matters,” “Be a cereal entrepreneur,” “Simplify,” and “Embrace the Adventure.” 41 in the first half of 2016 alone: “Uber Loses at Least $1.2 Billion in First Half of 2016,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek, August 25, 2016, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-25/uber-loses-at-least-1-2-billion-in-first-half-of-2016. 45 a surge in bookings: Owen Thomas, “How a Caltech Ph.D. Turned Airbnb into a Billion-Dollar Travel Magazine,” Business Insider, June 28, 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com/airbnb-joe-zadeh-photography-program-2012-6. 46 according to TechCrunch: M. G. Siegler, “Airbnb Tucked In Nearly 800% Growth in 2010; Caps Off The Year with a Slick Video,” TechCrunch, January 6, 2011, https://techcrunch.com/2011/01/06/airbnb-2010/. 47 just $7.8 million: Tricia Duryee, “Airbnb Raises $112 Million for Vacation Rental Business,” AllThingsD, July 24, 2011, http://allthingsd.com/20110724/airbnb-raises-112-million-for-vacation-rental-business/. 48 Lacy, then at TechCrunch: “Brian Chesky on the Success of Airbnb,” interview by Sarah Lacy, TechCrunch, video, December 26, 2011, https://techcrunch.com/video/brian-chesky-on-the-success-of-airbnb/517158894/. 49 claimed ten thousand listings: Alexia Tsotsis, “Airbnb Freaks Out Over Wimdu,” TechCrunch, June 9, 2011, https://techcrunch.com/2011/06/09/airbnb. 49 (“Technology-Enabled Blitzscaling”): Reid Hoffman, “Blitzscaling 18: Brian Chesky on Launching Airbnb and the Challenges of Scale,” Stanford University, November 30, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?


pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

But the naiveté of twenty-six-year old CEOs, the hubris of their venture capital advisers, and the narrowness of vision of the hacktivists, still fighting the battle of the 1990s and promoting open source, do not bode well. Bibliography Airbnb. “Airbnb Economic Impact.” The Airbnb Blog—Belong Anywhere. Accessed May 9, 2015. http://blog.airbnb.com/economic-impact-airbnb/. ———. “Airbnb’s Economic Impact on New York City.” The Airbnb Blog—Belong Anywhere. Accessed May 9, 2015. http://blog.airbnb.com/airbnbs-economic-impact-nyc-community/. ———. “Building Trust with a New Review System,” July 10, 2014. http://blog.airbnb.com/building-trust-new-review-system/. ———. “One Way Forward: After the Crash, Keeping the Roof Overhead, Airbnb Stories.” Airbnb. Accessed May 9, 2015. https://www.airbnb.com/stories/new-york/one-way-forward. ———. “Sandy’s Impact: Opening Doors in a Time of Need, Airbnb Stories.” Airbnb. Accessed May 9, 2015. https://www.airbnb.com/stories/new-york/sandys-impact. The Office of New York State Attorney General Eric T.

Eviction, Ex-Tenant Says.” 10 Marritz, Two True Stories from the Airbnb Wars.” 11 Airbnb, “Sandy’s Impact.” 12 Coscarelli, “Airbnb Poster-Child Was Evicted for Airbnb-Ing a Converted Barn She Didn’t Own.” 13 Hantman, New York: The next Steps. 14 Electronic Frontier Foundation, Airbnb, Inc. v. Schneiderman; Internet Association, “The Internet Association Files Amicus Brief to Quash the NYAG Subpoena against Airbnb.” 15 Chesky, “Who We Are, What We Stand for.” 16 Tam, “New York AG’s Office.” 17 Flamm, “Strange Bedfellows in Airbnb Dispute.” 18 Krueger, “On Behalf of Regular New Yorkers, Sen. Krueger Responds to Airbnb’s ‘Three Principles.’” 19 Tiku, “Airbnb’s New Office Has a Replica of the Dr. Strangelove War Room.” 20 The Office of New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, “Airbnb in the City.” 21 Airbnb, “Airbnb’s Economic Impact on New York City.” 22 Bingham, “The Sharing Economy: Q&A With Airbnb’s Chip Conley.” 23 UNWTO, “Annual Report 2013.” 24 Kassam, “Naked Italians Spark Protests against Antics of Drunken Tourists in Barcelona.” 25 Essers, “Amsterdam Using Airbnb Listing Service to Identify Illegal Rentals.” 26 Haverkort, “Airbnb Is Allowed in Amsterdam.” 27 Hantman, “Good News from Amsterdam.” 28 News, “Amsterdammers Can Rent Their Homes to Tourists via Airbnb after All.” 29 Hantman, “More Good News in Amsterdam.” 30 News, “Amsterdammers Can Rent Their Homes to Tourists via Airbnb after All.” 31 van Daalen, “Airbnb to Collect Tourist Taxes in Amsterdam.” 32 News, “Amsterdammers Break Airbnb Rules: Long Lets with Too Many People.” 33 Robinson, “Moving Forward in Barcelona.” 34 Robinson, “Update from Barcelona: Airbnb Policy Blog.” 35 Kuchler, “Airbnb to Collect and Remit Taxes for Hosts in Paris.” 36 French, Schechner, and Verbergt, “How Airbnb Is Taking Over Paris.” 37 Schofield, “Short-Let Apartments Spark Paris Row as Airbnb Thrives.” 38 French, Schechner, and Verbergt, “How Airbnb Is Taking Over Paris.” 39 Njus, “Portland Legalizes Airbnb-Style Short-Term Rentals.” 40 Peltier, “Airbnb Faces Big Fines in Portland If Hosts Don’t Get City ­Permits.” 41 Mesh, “City Commissioner Nick Fish Berates Airbnb Lobbyist.” 42 Davies, “Activists Vow to Buy Abandoned Cinema and Save Rome’s Bohemian Soul.”

Chapter 2 1 Botsman, “Transcript of ‘The Currency of the New Economy Is Trust.’” 2 Fowler and Rusli, “Don’t Talk to Strangers, Unless You Plan to Share Your Mac-and-Cheese.” 3 Tanz, “How Airbnb and Lyft Finally Got Americans to Trust Each Other.” 4 Botsman, “The Sharing Economy Lacks a Shared Definition.” 5 Owyang, “The Collaborative Sharing Economy Has Created 17 Billion-Dollar Companies (and 10 Unicorns).” 6 “From the People, for the People.” 7 Lapowsky, “Believe It.” 8 Schor, “Debating the Sharing Economy.” 9 Johnson, Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age. 10 Tam and Merced, “Uber Fund-Raising Points to $50 Billion Valuation.” 11 LeWeb, Douglas Atkin—Airbnb—LeWeb London 2013. 12 Leonard, “The Sharing Economy Gets Greedy.” 13 Bulajewski, “The Cult of Sharing.” 14 Cortese, “Loans That Avoid Banks?” 15 Clark, “A Transition at Peers to Create Greater Impact.” Chapter 3 1 Botsman and Rogers, What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. 2 Chesky, “Shared City.” 3 Chesky, “Who We Are, What We Stand For.” 4 Baker, “Barclays: Airbnb Usage To Surpass Hotel Cos., But Not For Business Travel.” 5 Robinson, “Update from Barcelona: Airbnb Policy Blog.” 6 Bradshaw, “Lunch with the FT: Brian Chesky.” 7 Airbnb, “Airbnb Economic Impact.” 8 Airbnb, “One Way Forward.” 9 Said, “Airbnb Profits Prompted S.F. Eviction, Ex-Tenant Says.” 10 Marritz, Two True Stories from the Airbnb Wars.” 11 Airbnb, “Sandy’s Impact.” 12 Coscarelli, “Airbnb Poster-Child Was Evicted for Airbnb-Ing a Converted Barn She Didn’t Own.” 13 Hantman, New York: The next Steps. 14 Electronic Frontier Foundation, Airbnb, Inc. v.


pages: 373 words: 112,822

The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

“Airbnb Introduces Instant Bookings for Hosts,” ProBnB, October 12, 2013, http://www.probnb.com/airbnb-introduces-instant-bookings-for-hosts. 20. Daniel P. Tucker, “Airbnb Won’t Comply with Subpoena from New York Attorney General,” WNYC, October 7, 2013, http://www.wnyc.org/story/airbnb-wont-comply-subpoena-new-york-attorney-general/. 21. “Airbnb’s Economic Impact on the NYC Community,” Airbnb, http://blog.airbnb.com/airbnbs-economic-impact-nyc-community/. 22. “Ruling in Airbnb’s Case in New York,” New York Times, May 13, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/05/13/technology/ruling-airbnb-new-york.html. 23. “New York Update,” Airbnb, August 22, 2014, https://www.airbnbaction.com/new-york-community-update/. 24. http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-releases-report-documenting-widespread-illegality-across-airbnbs-nyc. 25. Jessica Wohl, “Airbnb CMO Knocks Uber’s Growth Tactics,” Advertising Age, October 16, 2015, http://adage.com/article/special-report-ana-annual-meeting-2015/airbnb-cmo-knocks-uber-growth-tactics/300948/.

A young Brian Chesky with his parents, Bob and Deb, in Niskayuna, New York. (Courtesy of Airbnb) A teenage Nathan Blecharczyk at home in Boston, already running a successful internet business. (Courtesy of Airbnb) The original AirBed & Breakfast website in October, 2007. (Courtesy of Airbnb) The Airbnb founders (from left: Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky (seated), and Joe Gebbia in their Rausch Street Apartment. (Courtesy of Airbnb) Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia with his seat cushion, CritBuns, “the ultimate sitting tool.” (Courtesy of Airbnb) The Airbnb founders outside the Y Combinator startup incubator in Mountain View, Calif. (Courtesy of Airbnb) The Airbnb co-founders (From left: Blecharczyk, Chesky, and Gebbia) in their first offices in 2010. (Courtesy of Airbnb) A young Travis Kalanick (right) with his father, Don, mother, Bonnie, and brother, Cory.

Michael Arrington, “The Moment of Truth for Airbnb As User’s Home Is Utterly Trashed,” TechCrunch, July 27, 2011, http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/27/the-moment-of-truth-for-airbnb-as-users-home-is-utterly-trashed/. 16. EJ, “Airbnb Nightmare: No End in Sight,” Around the World and Back Again, July 28, 2011, http://ejroundtheworld.blogspot.com/2011/07/airbnb-nightmare-no-end-in-sight.html. 17. Ibid. 18. Drew Olanoff, “Airbnb Ups Its Host Guarantee to a Million Dollars,” Next Web, May 22, 2012, http://thenextcom/insider/2012/05/22/airbnb-partners-with-lloyds-of-london-for-the-new-million-dollar-host-guarantee/. 19. Brian Chesky, “Our Commitment to Trust & Safety,” Airbnb, August 1, 2011, http://blog.airbnb.com/our-commitment-to-trust-and-safety/. 20. James Temple, “Airbnb Victim Describes Crime and Aftermath,” SFGate, July 30, 2011, http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Airbnb-victim-describes-crime-and-aftermath-2352693.php. 21.


pages: 289

Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy by Alexandrea J. Ravenelle

"side hustle", active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, barriers to entry, basic income, Broken windows theory, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, East Village, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Howard Zinn, income inequality, informal economy, job automation, low skilled workers, Lyft, minimum wage unemployment, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, passive income, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, precariat, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, very high income, white flight, working poor, Zipcar

The opening page of the Airbnb website (see fig. 5) emphasizes sharing and community: the text announces, “Welcome Home,” and the company’s tagline is “Belong Anywhere.” According to the company’s website, Airbnb is “your home, everywhere.” There’s even a video on “how Airbnb hosts create a sense of belonging around the world.” Figure 5. With messages like “Welcome Home,” Airbnb presents prospective guests with the idea of an open and accepting community. Screenshot by author. The section targeted at hosts, “Earn money as an Airbnb host,” is focused on the financial- and personal-control aspect of hosting (see fig. 6). Workers are assured that “no matter what kind of home or room” they have available, Airbnb “makes it simple and secure to earn money.” For those who remain hesitant, Airbnb assures them that “you’re in full control of your availability, prices, house rules and how you interact with guests.”

A quick Google search for “airbnb trashed apartment” provides numerous cases of homes destroyed and possessions ruined: a drug-induced orgy in Canada, a wild party resulting in a feces-and-used-condom-covered New York City penthouse, and an “overweight orgy” Freak Fest in a New York City apartment.68 A Huffington Post article from July 2014 even provides a handy summary of “Airbnb horror stories” that includes meth addicts, stabbed hookers, hosts being evicted because of their Airbnb activities, and a squatter who refused to leave.69 Not all of stories are sensational—some are as simple as an Airbnb guest flushing sanitary napkins and causing ten thousand dollars’ worth of water damage.70 Even Airbnb user forums include stories and documentation of trashed homes; and the Abundant Host, an Airbnb listing consultant, has shared a blog post documenting a stay that included broken possessions, rule violations, and generally disruptive behavior in her own home. While it’s true that hotels, too, experience rowdy guests and destroyed rooms, hotel rooms are known for their neutral and often nondescript decor. By comparison, many Airbnb locations are private homes with numerous unique personal effects.

She knows how to market the apartment, such as by talking about the exposed brick walls and the neighborhood, in a way to make it appealing to prospective guests. But, as in the case of Kitchensurfing chefs, not all Airbnb hosts identified as entrepreneurs. And as noted earlier, many hosts were Strivers and a few would fall within the category of Strugglers. There are also a few notable differences between the sort of people who become Airbnb hosts and the sort who work with Kitchensurfing. For instance, while some Kitchensurfing chefs engaged in their food work full time, few Airbnb hosts only hosted. Most had full-time occupations or identities outside Airbnb, whether as students, lawyers, writers, or small business owners, and their Airbnb work was a side hustle or part-time effort. Part of this divide derives from the fact that while Airbnb hosting can require multiple emails or being on call part of the time, it is often less labor-intensive and time-consuming than creating a menu, shopping for ingredients, and cooking for clients.


pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

additive manufacturing, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, peer-to-peer rental, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Zipcar

Some of the key events played out as follows. Airbnb responded to the request by issuing a public statement in which the company reiterated its commitment to work with, not against, local governments. While acknowledging that there may be a few “bad actors” abusing their platform to operate illegal hotels, Airbnb argued that it was unfair to penalize thousands of hosts acting in good faith in order to stop a small number of illegal hotel operators and slumlords that were never part of the Airbnb vision. In a statement posted on the Airbnb site on October 6, 2013, David Hantman, their global head of public policy at the time, assured hosts that “in the days ahead, we’ll continue our conversations with the attorney general’s office to see if we can work together to support Airbnb hosts and remove bad actors from the Airbnb platform.

The organization’s website proclaims: “Far from being a harmless service where New York City residents can share their homes with guests to the City, Airbnb enables New York City tenants to break the law and potentially violate their leases, it exacerbates the affordable housing crisis in our neighborhoods, and it poses serious public safety concerns for Airbnb guests, hosts and their neighbors.”4 In May 2014, Airbnb agreed to hand over anonymized data on its New York City users, but only after a judge ruled that Schneiderman’s initial subpoena to access information on hosts across the state was too broad. Shortly thereafter, Schneiderman and his office issued a report, “Airbnb in the City.” This report indicated that between January 2010 and June 2014, a significant fraction of Airbnb stays and revenue in New York City were from hosts with three or more properties. (However, additional data shared with me by Airbnb’s New York City Manager Wrede Petersmeyer in December 2015 indicates that the fraction of stays and revenue from hosts with three of more properties was significantly lower between November 2014 and November 2015.

The first large Internet-enabled peer-to-peer market, eBay, was founded in 1995, went public in 1998, and it remains visibly successful as I write this book in 2015. Why did it take until 2007 for Airbnb and the others to emerge? What was missing until recently? Airbnb—Design Your World Right I first met Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, as a dinner guest in the summer of 2013, at a loft in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, where I mingled with a group of Airbnb hosts, NYC entrepreneurs, and sharing advocates. Chesky, a designer who trained at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), sees his foray into entrepreneurship with Airbnb as being part of the fifth chapter of his life. “I really loved hockey growing up,” he recounted when we spoke in the spring of 2015. “I went to Canada, then went to a youth sports academy for hockey.


pages: 280 words: 82,355

Extreme Teams: Why Pixar, Netflix, AirBnB, and Other Cutting-Edge Companies Succeed Where Most Fail by Robert Bruce Shaw, James Foster, Brilliance Audio

Airbnb, augmented reality, call centre, cloud computing, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, future of work, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Jony Ive, loose coupling, meta analysis, meta-analysis, nuclear winter, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh

They work to define and prioritize impactful work with the rest of their team including product managers, designers, data scientists and others.” nerds.airbnb.com/engineering-culture-airbnb/. 10Own Thomas. “How Airbnb Manages Not to Manage Engineers.” 11The importance of experience in Airbnb is suggested when realizing that the head of what most firms call human resources is called the head of employee experience at Airbnb. His job is to enrich what employees experience at Airbnb—creating a sense of belonging through a wide range of factors, including the design of the workspace, communication and education efforts, the food in the company cafeteria, and a variety of recognition and reward programs. 12Thomas, “How Airbnb Manages Not to Manage Engineers.” 13These questions are similar to those proposed by Peter Drucker in his famous five questions in The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008). 14“Top Three CEO Bindspots,” Build, December 5, 2011. 15Vijay Govindarajan and Anil K.

He wondered what it would feel like to have a meeting in that room—wouldn’t it be more interesting, more fun, and more productive than sitting in the boring conference rooms found in most corporations? At the Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco, each conference room is a nearly exact replica of an Airbnb rental somewhere in the world. Attend a meeting at Airbnb and you may be working in a room that replicates one of its apartment rentals in Paris. Or you may find yourself in a replica of Frank Sinatra’s former home in Palm Springs, which is also a listing on the Airbnb website. At most firms, you find photographs of the firm’s products or customers in the lobbies or on conference room walls—Airbnb, as in many areas, goes one step further. The company also provides a range of benefits, including free gourmet food three times a day. It is puppy friendly, allowing its employees to bring their dogs to the office. Each employee receives $2,000 a year to stay in Airbnb rentals anywhere in the world when on vacation.

The company went from having $100 million in startup funding to $5 million before it turned profitable. Airbnb and Netflix were focused on survival. 5Austin Carr, “Inside Airbnb’s Grand Hotel Plans,” Fast Company, March 17, 2014. The CEO noted about his firm’s annual objectives, “If you can’t fit it on a page, you’re not simplifying it enough . . . . I told my team they have to put the entire plan on a page this big by next week—same size font.” 6“PandoMonthly: Fireside Chat with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky,” Pando Daily, January 14, 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yPfxcqEXhE. 7Carr, “Inside Airbnb’s Grand Hotel Plans.” 8Owen Thomas, “How Airbnb Manages Not to Manage Engineers,” Readwrite, June 5, 2014, readwrite.com/hack. 9See Airbnb’s website: “Making this environment possible requires a few things. Engineers are involved in goal-setting, planning and brainstorming for all projects, and they have the freedom to select which projects they work on.


pages: 286 words: 87,401

Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, Bob Noyce, business intelligence, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, database schema, discounted cash flows, Elon Musk, Firefox, forensic accounting, George Gilder, global pandemic, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, late fees, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tesla Model S, thinkpad, transaction costs, transport as a service, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, web application, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, yellow journalism

This can take many forms, ranging from formal in-person meetings to electronic communications to things as seemingly neutral as office layout and design. Airbnb, for example, employs a wide range of channels to maximize cultural transmission. The weekly e-mail cofounder Brian Chesky sends to all Airbnb employees is a powerful one. “You have to continue to repeat things” Brian told our class at Stanford. “Culture is about repeating, over and over again, the things that really matter for your company.” Airbnb reinforces these verbal messages with visual impact as well. Brian hired an artist from Pixar to create a storyboard of the entire experience of an Airbnb guest, from start to finish, emphasizing the customer-centered design thinking that is a hallmark of its culture. Even Airbnb conference rooms tell a story; each one is a replica of a room that’s available for rent on the service. Every time Airbnb team members hold a meeting in one of those rooms, they are reminded of how guests feel when they stay there.

Airbnb then embarked on an aggressive international expansion plan, including the acquisition of Accoleo, a smaller and more affordable German Airbnb clone, that allowed Airbnb to compete directly with Wimdu in its home market. By the spring of 2012, Airbnb had opened nine international offices, setting up shop in London, Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Moscow, and São Paulo. Bookings had grown ten times since that previous February, and in June 2012 Airbnb announced its ten millionth booking. “The Samwers gave us a gift,” Brian admitted many years later in our Blitzscaling class. “They forced us to scale faster than we ever would have.” By choosing to grow at a breakneck pace, Airbnb had achieved a dominant position in its market. Despite the initial advantages that the Berlin-based Wimdu had in human resources, financial capital, and European market knowledge, the techniques that Brian and his cofounders implemented allowed Airbnb to meet and ultimately defeat its challenger. 2010: SHENZHEN, CHINA, TENCENT HEADQUARTERS About a year before Airbnb embarked on its blitzscaling journey, in a different CEO’s office on the other side of the world, the message that would change everything arrived in the middle of the night.

Systemic risks may require an immediate, “stop the presses” response. In 2011, for example, an Airbnb host in San Francisco came home and discovered that an Airbnb guest had trashed her house and stolen her possessions, including her grandmother’s jewelry. Airbnb’s initial response, which was to coordinate with the police department and compensate the host financially but to emphasize that such incidents would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, may have been legally sound, but didn’t address the systemic issue—hosts losing trust in Airbnb. After he recognized the magnitude of the problem, Brian Chesky took decisive action. First, he accepted full responsibility, in writing, on the official Airbnb blog, “With regards to EJ, we let her down, and for that we are very sorry. We should have responded faster, communicated more sensitively, and taken more decisive action to make sure she felt safe and secure.


pages: 330 words: 91,805

Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business climate, call centre, car-free, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, congestion charging, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, decarbonisation, different worldview, do-ocracy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Ferguson, Missouri, Firefox, frictionless, Gini coefficient, hive mind, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, openstreetmap, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Turing test, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Zipcar

Bixi, B-cycle, CitiBike, DecoBike, Hubway, Social Bikes, and Velib are “like Zipcar for bikes.”3 Hello Health is “like Zipcar for online concierge medicine.”4 Ziplens is “like Zipcar for photographers.”5 SnapGoods is “like Zipcar for Gadgets.”6 And Cohealo is “the Zipcar for hospital gear.”7 Other platforms aggregate the excess capacity of assets that were individually too small to bother with and make them into something reliable and consistent, thus creating enough value to make tapping into those resources worthwhile. Airbnb, which allows people to rent out all or a portion of their own homes, is definitely the company of reference here, and in recent years there have been many start-ups that describe their business as “like Airbnb for x.” GetMyBoat is “like Airbnb for boats.”8 HovelStay is “like Airbnb for adrenaline junkies on a budget.”9 And Rover.com is “like Airbnb for your dog.”10 Both Zipcar and Airbnb are examples of access platforms that, through slicing or aggregation of excess capacity, enable users to get more value out of an asset by using it more conveniently and cheaply than they could before.

I connected his office with others in the sharing economy to see what might be done. I’ll admit that I failed to tap into the potential of excess capacity in cars because of insurance issues. But Airbnb did spring into action—1,400 Airbnb hosts in the New York metro area offered up rooms for free to those who needed them.26 The Airbnb website wasn’t structured for zero-cost rooms, and frankly, the connection between displaced families and Airbnb hosts was not well communicated. Some matches were made and real families benefited, but most rooms went empty. Still, the idea of using existing communities and platforms to respond to disasters took hold. Lessons were learned, and in 2013 Airbnb launched a disaster response initiative that makes it easy for Airbnb hosts to provide space for people in need when disasters strike.27 Since then, hosts have opened their door to displaced residents in response to emergencies around the world, including in San Diego in response to major fires; in Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia for people affected by the Balkan floods; in London, Sardinia, and Colorado after serious flooding hit those regions; in Kefalonia after an earthquake hit the island; in Toronto and Atlanta following severe ice storms; and in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.

In response to a disaster, Airbnb emails hosts in the affected area to see if they want to participate. Listings can be set to “free,” and Airbnb waives its own fees. All the transactions are still supported by Airbnb’s usual guarantees. A small amount of investment from Airbnb providing those guarantees helps to make an enormous amount of accommodation available, supported by the work done all the way through the development of the platform. It’s an efficient way for people to volunteer support, but it needs the Peers Inc model to coordinate and provide accountability. This new Airbnb disaster response group is kept apprised of disaster response updates. When it partners with a city or state in advance of anticipated disasters (now there’s a crazy thought!), Airbnb can use its standard communication tools to prepare hosts by sending out emergency preparedness materials and inviting them to training programs.


pages: 302 words: 73,581

Platform Scale: How an Emerging Business Model Helps Startups Build Large Empires With Minimum Investment by Sangeet Paul Choudary

3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, frictionless, game design, hive mind, Internet of things, invisible hand, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social software, software as a service, software is eating the world, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, TaskRabbit, the payments system, too big to fail, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Wave and Pay

The cycle repeats with The Recipient now acting as The Sender. This cycle, driving viral growth, is repeatedly observed across diverse startups. In a move that is now a part of startup folklore, Airbnb reverse-engineered an integration with Craigslist that allowed hosts on Airbnb to post their listings (value units created on Airbnb) simultaneously on Craigslist. Travelers on Craigslist (the external network, in this case) would see the listing and join Airbnb to make a booking. Over time, this integration, in combination with several other initiatives from Airbnb, created the repeatable cycle mentioned above and led to Airbnb’s rapid growth early on. INCENTIVES FOR VIRAL GROWTH An ongoing theme that we note through most of this book is the design of incentives for users. The design of incentives (both organic and inorganic), and consequently, of new behaviors and habits, is core to the creation of network effects, and it is also central to the generation of viral growth.

A horizontal reputation system, on the other hand, while feasible, would not be very useful because of the contextual nature of trust. Craigslist’s inability to cater well to high-risk interactions makes it especially susceptible to competition in these categories. ANOTHER AIRBNB? Airbnb famously leveraged Craigslist to solve its chicken-and-egg problem. It allowed hosts to post their listings to Craigslist and directed travelers back, from Craigslist to Airbnb, for the transaction. Additionally, it also lured sellers on Craigslist to list on Airbnb, offering a better transaction experience. More importantly, Airbnb has built a strong reputation system to build a worldwide community of travelers and hosts. It allows both parties to rate each other and has focused on building a huge corpus of reviews. Additionally, it offers verification services to verify hosts, where a photographer visits the actual listing and takes representative photographs.

This is what Tinder did by launching at college parties. ...AND BACK TO BORING CONFERENCES Finally, Airbnb figured its own way to make conferences work. While an alternative to the traditional hotel industry today, Airbnb gained initial traction by promoting itself around important conferences, in specific cities. This helped the platform aggregate a lot of transactions in a limited space and time. Conference attendees needed a place to stay, and hosts needed to see the platform bring them some business. When hotels would get fully booked, attendees would turn to Airbnb. By launching during events with high accommodation-seeking activity, Airbnb ensured there was enough value created for both sides to keep them engaged, and have them use Airbnb even beyond the conference. PLATFORM SCALE IMPERATIVE Concentrating in space and time helps the platform leverage existing offline activity by embedding its core interaction into this activity and making it more efficient.


pages: 421 words: 110,406

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--And How to Make Them Work for You by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Marshall W. van Alstyne, Geoffrey G. Parker

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, business process, buy low sell high, chief data officer, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, data is the new oil, digital map, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, Haber-Bosch Process, High speed trading, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, market design, Metcalfe’s law, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pre–internet, price mechanism, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game, Zipcar

This means continually scouting the real estate markets for promising territories, investing in existing properties or building new ones, and spending large sums to maintain, upgrade, expand, and improve them. Upstart Airbnb is, in one sense, in the same business as Hilton or Marriott. Like the hotel giants, it uses refined pricing and booking systems designed to allow guests to find, reserve, and pay for rooms as they need them. But Airbnb applies the platform model to the hotel business: Airbnb doesn’t own any rooms. Instead, it created and maintains the platform that allows individual participants to provide the rooms directly to consumers. In return, Airbnb takes a 9–15 percent (average 11 percent) transaction fee for every rental arranged through the platform.1 One implication is that growth can be much faster for Airbnb or any rival platform than for a traditional hotel company since growth is no longer constrained by the ability to deploy capital and manage physical assets.

In response, an extension developer now offers professional support under the rubric of “Airbnb photography service” to create compelling images that should make an Airbnb host more successful. Extension developer Pillow (formerly known as Airenvy) supports hosts on the platform by providing tools to simplify property listing, guest checkin, and cleaning and linen delivery. Other developers, including Urban Bellhop and Guesthop, make travel arrangements for guests, such as dining reservations and babysitting services. With the assistance of outside firms, an Airbnb host can offer a suite of services that compares to those provided by a full-service hotel. In order to facilitate this extension of its platform’s functionality, Airbnb must open its business to participation by these extension developers. But calibrating its degree of openness is a challenge for Airbnb. If the platform is too closed—if it is too onerous for extension developers to hawk their wares on the site—it will lose the opportunity to provide valuable extra services to platform users, perhaps alienating participants in the process.

In some cases, superior platform design enables a platform to dramatically outcompete a preexisting rival. Airbnb initially had far fewer users than the much older Craigslist, which also provides listings of rooms and apartments for short-term rent. However, Airbnb did a much better job at the key platform functions of facilitation and matching. On Craigslist, a person seeking a room for rent had to drill down through an unmanaged list of options clustered by city and organized by time of posting. By contrast, Airbnb allowed a person to search through options organized not only according to these characteristics but also by quality, number of rooms, price, and mapped geolocation. Furthermore, users could also strike deals directly through Airbnb, whereas Craigslist users had to go off platform to make a rental agreement. This made Airbnb far easier to use and enabled the platform to rapidly outgrow the erstwhile category leader.


pages: 269 words: 70,543

Tech Titans of China: How China's Tech Sector Is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder, and Going Global by Rebecca Fannin

Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, call centre, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fear of failure, glass ceiling, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, QR code, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, young professional

Given the Alibaba connection and its tech knowhow, Xiaozhu is using facial recognition technology to check in guests in China. Maybe this is something that Airbnb could adopt. The pressure is on Airbnb, a unicorn-valued company that is gunning for an IPO and looking to emerging markets for growth. Airbnb has doubled its investment in China and tripled its number of staffers in China. But Airbnb’s local rivals are spending more in promotions and marketing. Airbnb China’s chairman is realistic about how the American-bred company can move as fast or spend as much money as local competitors. “It is truly eye-opening how much a local company is willing to spend and spend with very little revenue, but based on the idea that it’s kind of winner takes all,” Blecharczyk told 996 podcast cohosts Hans Tung and Zara Zhang of GGV Capital, an investor in Airbnb. “We probably will never be willing to spend as much as the competitors, but we will definitely spend more than we do in other countries.”13 Taking Notes on China Business: Evernote Taking the go-local approach to the extreme, Silicon Valley–based note-taking app Evernote spun out its China unit in mid-2018 and gave the Chinese management team full autonomy over day-to-day operations.

At Airbnb in China, guests can learn how to make Chinese soup dumplings or listen to Chinese opera, and then share their stories of experiencing local, authentic China on a content site that Airbnb developed to create awareness and inspire travelers to China to try out and get accustomed to the home-sharing concept. Airbnb is really making an effort in China, but those efforts aren’t always successful. A promotional campaign recently offered 100 Airbnb free nights and experiences to Millennials who didn’t have a chance to travel within the past year, and got 10,000 sign-ups. But another promotion featuring an essay contest for four winners to fly to China and stay in a watchtower on the Great Wall bombed. The contest, planned with a state-owned tourism agency, was abruptly halted after online objections of Airbnb’s plans and government disapproval. As Airbnb prepares to go public in New York, its China journey will become more central to its success.

He’s predicting super growth based on expectations that, by 2030, China will be the world’s biggest tourist destination, replacing France, as more middle-class Asians spend more on travel and as China’s 400 million Millennials get into sightseeing. He expects China will be Airbnb’s number one destination market globally by 2020 and Chinese tourism its largest source of business. Today, he oversees a 200-person team in China and some 200,000 rental homes and apartments in Chinese locations, tiny but scaling up out of Airbnb’s large base of 5 million homestay listings globally. The quality of Airbnb China listings is similar to those anywhere in the world, but guests and hosts in China tend to be younger, the Millennial generation who are attuned to Western culture. The opportunity in China is massive, since tourism is a major force in the country’s growing economy.11 The most popular destinations for Airbnb guests are Shanghai and Beijing, and Shenzhen is seeing the fastest growth. Going local, Airbnb reviews every listing, monitors the quality of listings, inspects homes, and counsels hosts on design and in-home services.


pages: 294 words: 82,438

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, complexity theory, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, haute cuisine, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, Network effects, obamacare, Paul Graham, performance metric, price anchoring, RAND corporation, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Startup school, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Wall-E, web application, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Firsthand account of how former Y Combinator entrepreneurs mimicked the Y Combinator experience by pretending that they had just been accepted again. [>] Another way of learning: Derek Thompson, “Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on Building a Company and Starting a Sharing Revolution,” Atlantic, August 13, 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/08/airbnb-ceo-brian-chesky-on-building-a-company-and-starting-a- sharing-revolution/278635/. [>] As Brian recalled: Ibid. [>] Like clockwork: Tame, “From Toilet Seats to $1 Billion.” [>] The founders coupled these: Jessie Hempel, “More Than a Place to Crash,” Fortune, May 3, 2012, http://fortune.com/2012/05/03/airbnb-more-than-a-place-to-crash/. [>] The founders also had: Vella and Bradley, “Airbnb CEO—‘Grow Fast but not Too Fast.’” [>] Airbnb ended up with: Tomio Geron, “Airbnb Hires Joie de Vivre’s Chip Conley as Head of Hospitality,” Forbes, September 17, 2013, http://www.Forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/09/17. [>] In fact, Airbnb: Salter, “Airbnb: The Story Behind the $1.3bn Room-Letting Website.” [>] Airbnb has become: Thompson, “Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on Building a Company and Starting a Sharing Revolution.” 8.

They were, and the founders let hosts know. The founders also had preconceived assumptions about what would work for Airbnb. For instance, they initially thought professional property managers would make good Airbnb hosts. They learned, however, that property managers were not the right fit for the company, whose quirky, personal vibe favored ordinary people who had never hosted before but were inspired to share their space and local knowledge. Airbnb ended up with better simple rules: (1) enter international destination cities, (2) focus first on recruiting hosts, and (3) share with hosts Airbnb’s hospitality principles, like providing professional-quality photos of their properties and having fresh soap on hand for guests. Airbnb’s initial rule of targeting the host cities of major conferences was a reasonable place to start, but like most people and organizations, Joe and Brian needed time and real-world experience to craft better simple rules.

., “Learning by Doing Something Else: Variation, Relatedness, and the Learning Curve,” Management Science 49, no. 1 (2003): 139–56. [>] Maybe you even know: Alex Konrad and Ryan Mac, “Airbnb Cofounders to Become First Sharing Economy Billionaires as Company Nears $10 Billion Valuation,” Forbes, March 20, 2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2014/03/20/. [>] You may not, however: Kathy especially thanks Florence Koskas for sharing her thoughts and bibliography. Two revealing firsthand video accounts from the founders are “1000 Days of Airbnb, Airbnb Founder—Brian Chesky—Startup School 2010,” 2010, www.youtube.com, accessed September 19, 2014; and “Joe Gebbia—The Airbnb Story,” 2013, www.youtube.com, accessed September 19, 2014. See also Matt Vella and Ryan Bradley, “Airbnb CEO—‘Grow Fast but not Too Fast,’” Fortune, July 18, 2012, http://fortune.com/2012/07/18/. [>] Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky: Jared Tame, “From Toilet Seats to $1 Billion: Lessons from Airbnb’s Brian Chesky,” in Startups Open Sourced: Stories to Inspire & Educate, May 30, 2011. [>] When the two friends: Jessica Salter, “Airbnb: The Story Behind the $1.3bn Room-Letting Website,” Telegraph, September 7, 2012, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9525267/Airbnb-The-story-behind-the-1.3bn-room-letting-website.html. [>] Because of the success: Ibid. [>] Y Combinator is a “seed accelerator”: Benjamin L.


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New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World--And How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans, Henry Timms

"side hustle", 3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, battle of ideas, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, Chris Wanstrath, Columbine, Corn Laws, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, future of work, game design, gig economy, hiring and firing, IKEA effect, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, Jony Ive, Kibera, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, profit motive, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Snapchat, social web, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, web application, WikiLeaks

They needed to maintain that critical point of difference from checking in and out of a Best Western; losing the communal and community spirit of their early days was a real business threat. And there was another threat, too: the regulatory challenges to Airbnb that were popping up in cities all over the world. Airbnb had begun to rally its hosts as a way of fighting back against city governments, which made users’ bond with the platform even more critical. So Airbnb relaunched its brand, with a brand story made for the age of new power. Douglas Atkin, an Airbnb executive with the unusual corporate title “Global Head of Community,” summed it up as “creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” Airbnb’s new logo was not designed to be admired, but to be remixed and adapted by different affinity groups within the Airbnb community. The soft, malleable, inverted heart (or pretzel, depending on your perspective) drew a level of online engagement perhaps best summed up by Fast Company’s headline: “This Tumblr shows everything Airbnb’s new logo looks like, in addition to a vagina.”

The soft, malleable, inverted heart (or pretzel, depending on your perspective) drew a level of online engagement perhaps best summed up by Fast Company’s headline: “This Tumblr shows everything Airbnb’s new logo looks like, in addition to a vagina.” Airbnb even introduced a tool, called Create, to make it easier to remix the logo and make it more meaningful for a host’s own purposes. “Most brands would send you a cease and desist letter if you tried to recreate their brand,” said Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky when the identity was launched. “We wanted to do the opposite.” The Create tool was a little gimmicky, no doubt, but it signaled the way Airbnb saw its community—as a place where you could both belong and be yourself. That’s consistent with Marilynn Brewer’s behavioral science concept of “optimal distinctiveness,” which suggests that the right recipe for building an effective group is making people feel like they are part of it and that they can stand out in it.

“creating a world where”: Douglas Atkin, email to the authors, November 3, 2017. “This Tumblr shows”: Joe Berkowitz, “This Tumblr Shows Everything Airbnb’s New Logo Looks Like in Addition to a Vagina,” Fast Company, July 21, 2014. “Most brands would send”: Austin Carr, “Airbnb Unveils a Major Rebranding Effort That Paves the Way for Sharing More Than Homes,” Fast Company, July 16, 2014. “optimal distinctiveness”: M. B. Brewer, “The Social Self: On Being the Same and Different at the Same Time,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 17 (1991): 475–482. “We used to take belonging for granted”: Brian Chesky, “Belong Anywhere,” Airbnb blog, July 2017. www.airbnb.com. “Take me to the Hilton”: “About,” July 2017. www.hilton.com. “greatest achievements”: Chuck Gates, interview with authors, June 2017.


pages: 344 words: 96,020

Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis, Morgan Brown

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DevOps, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, game design, Google Glasses, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, minimum viable product, Network effects, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional

Andrew Chen, “Growth Hacker Is the New VP Marketing,” @andrewchen (blog), accessed September 13, 2016, andrewchen.co/how-to-be-a-growth-hacker-an-airbnbcraigslist-case-study/. 11. Michael Carney, “Brian Chesky: I Lived on Cap’n McCain’s and Obama O’s Got Airbnb Out of Debt,” January 10, 2013. Pando (blog), accessed September 13, 2016, pando.com/2013/01/10/brian-chesky-i-lived-on-capn-mccains-and-obama-os-got-airbnb-out-of-debt/; Chen, “Growth Hacker Is the New VP Marketing”; Dave Gooden, “How Airbnb Became a Billion Dollar Company,” Dave Gooden (blog), June 31, 2011, accessed September 13, 2016, davegooden.com/2011/05/how-airbnb-became-a-billion-dollar-company/; Rishi Shah, “Airbnb Leverages Craigslist in a Really Cool Way,” GettingMoreAwesome (blog), November 24, 2010, gettingmoreawesome.com/2010/11/24/airbnb-leverages-craigslist-in-a-really-cool-way/. 12. Matthew S. Olson, Derek van Bever, and Seth Verry, “When Growth Stalls,” Harvard Business Review, March 2008. 13.

Alex Schultz, “Lecture 6: Growth,” How to Start a Startup (blog), startupclass.samaltman.com/courses/lec06/. 9. Palihapitiya, “Facebook on the Path to 1 Billion Users.” 10. Jordan Crook and Anna Escher, “A Brief History of Airbnb,” slideshow at TechCrunch (n.d.), techcrunch.com/gallery/a-brief-history-of-airbnb/; “How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Startup to a Billion Dollar Business,” First Round Review (n.d.), firstround.com/review/How-design-thinking-transformed-Airbnb-from-failing-startup-to-billion-dollar-business/. 11. Austin Carr, “19: Airbnb,” Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies 2012, February 7, 2012, fastcompany.com/3017358/most-innovative-companies-2012/19airbnb. 12. Schultz, “Lecture 6: Growth.” 13. Jack Dorsey, “Instrument Everything,” eCorner (Stanford University), February 9, 2011, ecorner.stanford.edu/videos/2643/Instrument-Everything. 14.

A good rule of thumb is: whether you are selling a service, or a physical product, or some kind of information or content, the value of your incentive should be as closely aligned to that as possible. Cash offers can work also, but for the best effect, it’s important that they’re also related to the core value of the product. Airbnb offers a $25 incentive for both inviters and invitees to use toward a future stay booked through Airbnb. Here, using messaging tied to the product or brand matters; in Airbnb’s case they use language suggesting that customers share the great experience of living like a local that Airbnb delivers, rather than just blatantly offering the cash. Similarly, for our grocery app team, offering a referral program where each shopper using the app gets a $10 discount on their next grocery order makes good sense, as it acts as a onetime discount on their purchase.


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The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups by Randall Stross

affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, always be closing, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Burning Man, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, high net worth, index fund, inventory management, John Markoff, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, transaction costs, Y Combinator

He says Vidyard could add analytic reports to the videos that they are already serving or “we can serve and take the entire piece off of your shoulders.” He closes with a mention that both Vidyard and Airbnb have shared parentage. “Thanks and let me know—we’re very glad to be YC!” His message is forwarded to Venetia Pristavec, the manager in charge of Airbnb’s videos. Airbnb presently is using the video service of Vid Network, a startup that does the video hosting and analytics that Vidyard plans to offer. But Pristavec says that Airbnb is looking for a new video provider. Unfortunately for Vidyard, Airbnb has narrowed the field of replacement candidates to a pair of big names in video hosting, Ooyala and Brightcove. Clearly, Airbnb has decided to move away from relying on a startup and instead shift to a much larger company as its video supplier. Litt is not daunted.

When Michael Litt looks at Airbnb’s Web site, which makes use of videos, he sees a natural home for Vidyard’s services. Airbnb’s AirTV section has videos of the more unusual lodging listings or colorful Airbnb hosts—its nickname is “the ‘Cribs’ of Airbnb.” Vidyard’s software is not finished, but Litt goes after Airbnb, sending an e-mail to the cofounders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. It is the very first week of the summer session. Always Be Closing. The subject heading of Litt’s first e-mail message is “AirTV—Current YC company looking for some quick insight!” He opens, “Hey Guys, Sorry to bother. We’re building a platform for video serving (encoding, analytics, customization included) and would love some insight into what you guys are doing with AirTV.” He says Vidyard could add analytic reports to the videos that they are already serving or “we can serve and take the entire piece off of your shoulders.”

Steven Levy’s Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984) extricates the word “hacker” from derogatory associations. To Levy, “hacker” simply means “those computer programmers and designers who regard computing as the most important thing in the world.” He traces the hacker culture back to the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT in the late 1950s. 6. “Airbnb Celebrates 1,000,000 Nights Booked!” Airbnb blog, February 24, 2011, http://blog.airbnb.com/airbnb-celebrates-1000000-nights-booked. The company launched its service in August 2008, before it was funded by YC. CHAPTER 1: YOUNGER 1. http://jasonshen.com/. In early years, the blog had the longish subtitle of “A Blog on Conquering Fear, Doing Great Work and Making Things Happen.” It evolved and by early 2012 it took a pithier form: “Conquer Fear & Do Epic Sh*t.” 2.


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Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

cid=AEN20160223003651315. 6 “I kind of felt powerless”: Jordan Novet, “Go Board Game Champion Lee Sedol Apologizes for Losing to Google’s AI,” VentureBeat, March 12, 2016, http://venturebeat.com/2016/03/12/go-board-game-champion-lee-sedol-apologizes-for-losing-to-googles-ai. 6 “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company”: Tom Goodwin, “The Battle Is for the Customer Interface,” TechCrunch, March 3, 2015, https://techcrunch.com/2015/03/03/in-the-age-of-disintermediation-the-battle-is-all-for-the-customer-interface. 7 over a million people: Ellen Huet, “Uber Says It’s Doing 1 Million Rides per Day, 140 Million in the Last Year,” Forbes, December 17, 2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2014/12/17/uber-says-its-doing-1-million-rides-per-day-140-million-in-last-year. 7 one of 300 cities in 60 countries: Anne Freier, “Uber Usage Statistics and Revenue,” Business of Apps, September 14, 2015, http://www.businessofapps.com/uber-usage-statistics-and-revenue. 7 640,000 different lodging options: Chip Conley, “Airbnb Open: What I Learned from You,” Airbnb (blog), November 25, 2014, http://blog.airbnb.com/airbnb-open-chips-takeaways. 7 191 countries: Airbnb, “Airbnb Summer Travel Report: 2015,” accessed January 11, 2017, http://blog.airbnb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Airbnb-Summer-Travel-Report-1.pdf. 7 a yurt in Mongolia: Airbnb, “Nomadic Life in the Countryside,” accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/13512229?s=zcoAwTWQ. 7 James Joyce’s childhood home: Airbnb, “James Joyce’s Childhood Home Dublin,” accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/4480268. 7 4,500 shops across the United States: Wal-Mart, “Our Locations,” accessed January 13, 2017, http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/our-locations. 7 $180 billion of property and equipment assets: US Securities and Exchange Commission, “Form 10-Q: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,” December 1, 2016, http://d18rn0p25nwr6d.cloudfront.net/CIK-0000104169/2b25dfe5-6d4a-4d2d-857f-08dda979d6b9.pdf. 7 number of Chinese people using Alibaba’s apps: Alibaba Group, “Consumer Engagement Driving Growth for Mobile Taobao (Alizila News),” June 28, 2016, http://www.alibabagroup.com/en/ir/article?

language=en. 209 “High reputation beats high similarity”: Ibid. 209 “can actually help us overcome”: Ibid. 211 SoulCycle: SoulCycle, “All Studios,” accessed February 6, 2017, https://www.soul-cycle.com/studios/all. 217 But if it’s costly to switch: See, for instance, Paul Klemperer, “Markets with Consumer Switching Costs,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 102, no. 2 (1987): 375–94; and Joseph Farrell and Garth Saloner, “Installed Base and Compatibility: Innovation, Product Preannouncements, and Predation,” American Economic Review (1986): 940–55. 219 more than $15 billion in loans: Douglas MacMillan, “Uber Raises $1.15 Billion from First Leveraged Loan,” Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2016, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-raises-1-15-billion-from-first-leveraged-loan-1467934151. 221 The lodging-industry benchmarking company STR: Bill McBride, “Hotels: Occupancy Rate on Track to Be 2nd Best Year,” Calculated Risk (blog), October 17, 2016, http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2016/10/hotels-occupancy-rate-on-track-to-be_17.html. 221 In Los Angeles the daily hotel rate: Hugo Martin, “Airbnb Takes a Toll on the U.S. Lodging Industry, but Los Angeles Hotels Continue to Thrive,” Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-airbnb-hotels-20160926-snap-story.html. 223 Airbnb was responsible for a 10% decline: Gregorios Zervas, Davide Proserpio, and John W. Byers, “The Rise of the Sharing Economy: Estimating the Impact of Airbnb on the Hotel Industry,” last modified November 18, 2016, http://cs-people.bu.edu/dproserp/papers/airbnb.pdf. Chapter 10 THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY: THE EMERGENCE OF THE CROWD 229 the author Robert Wright: Robert Wright, Twitter page, accessed February 6, 2017, https://twitter.com/robertwrighter. 229 “Most newsgroup traffic”: Robert Wright, “Voice of America,” New Republic, September 13, 1993, http://cyber.eserver.org/wright.txt. 230 “The things [the Net] changes”: Ibid. 231 An estimated 130 million books: Leonid Taycher, “Books of the World, Stand Up and Be Counted!

But they also won’t be destructive to everything that existed before. The destructive potential of platforms is both real and large, but it’s not unlimited. Many hotels, for example, have continued to do quite well even as Airbnb has spread widely and quickly. The lodging-industry benchmarking company STR, for example, found that 2015 and 2016 had the two highest overall occupancy rates on record for the US hotel industry. And these high occupancy rates are not always achieved through discounting. In Los Angeles the daily hotel rate rose 8% in 2015, even though Airbnb rentals represented 12% of all lodging. Why Airbnb Won’t Vacate Hotels Why have platforms deeply disrupted the business of traveling around cities, but not the business of staying in them? The reason is that getting a ride across town is a largely undifferentiated experience, while staying overnight is definitely not.


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Growth Hacking Techniques, Disruptive Technology - How 40 Companies Made It BIG – Online Growth Hacker Marketing Strategy by Robert Peters

Airbnb, bounce rate, business climate, citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, digital map, Google Glasses, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, pull request, revision control, ride hailing / ride sharing, search engine result page, sharing economy, Skype, TaskRabbit, turn-by-turn navigation, ubercab

This is one of the more infamous and technical of the “great” growth hacking stories, and worked brilliantly until AirBbB began to directly contact Craigslist users. Those people had no idea who or what AirBnB was and began to complain that the company was using a “black hat” hack. The interactions AirBnB attempted to initiate were fairly aggressive, going out to Craigslist users who had specifically indicated they did not want to be contacted by commercial entities. While AirBnB was working outside of the Terms of Service for Craigslist, they characterized the relationship as “symbiotic.” This claim is highly semantic since Craigslist didn’t offer a public API in 2009. The AirBnB hack was a reverse engineered stealth integration. The engineers created a bot that automatically posted listings to Craigslist by logging in, acquiring a URL, filling in all the necessary information, and allowing the AirBnB user to hit the “post to CL” option. The coding behind the hack was complex and capable of jumping through a number of hoops on the Craigslist end, including the default anonymous address provided to posters.

If a self-promoter of any kind starts an AMA and refuses to answer hard questions, they are likely to be savaged by the Reddit community. AirBnB The San Francisco company Airbnb was founded in August 2008. It currently has more than 500,000 listings for lodgings available for rent in 34,000 cities and 192 countries. A wide variety if spaces are included, from whole house to rooms and even some private islands! The service’s success was largely dependent on a brilliant albeit questionably ethical growth hacking strategy involving Craigslist. Before they were shut down, Airbnb had an option for users to cross post their available accommodation listings to Craigslist, which created inbound links both for the individual user, but also for the Airbnb platform. This is one of the more infamous and technical of the “great” growth hacking stories, and worked brilliantly until AirBbB began to directly contact Craigslist users.

The coding behind the hack was complex and capable of jumping through a number of hoops on the Craigslist end, including the default anonymous address provided to posters. Without a doubt, AirBnB knew that if they were caught, they’d be kicked off, which is exactly what happened. They invested the time, money, and considerable programming resources to complete the hack anyway because they knew that by the time they were caught, they would already have captured their own user base and from that point could be self-sufficient. It is not unusual for a start-up to leverage the power of an existing big platform. Just look at the success Zynga has had providing access to its games via Facebook. The difference is that AirBnB took a guerrilla approach to the “bootstrapping” and did so without the knowledge or consent of Craigslist. Without question, the growth hack worked for AirBnB and it does illustrate the idea that all marketing techniques, including aggressive growth hacks, have a short lifespan.


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What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers

Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bike sharing scheme, Buckminster Fuller, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, George Akerlof, global village, hedonic treadmill, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, information retrieval, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, out of africa, Parkinson's law, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Simon Kuznets, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, South of Market, San Francisco, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, web of trust, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Hosts are not paid in full until twenty-four hours after a guest has checked in. Airbnb charges hosts a standard 3 percent service fee and travelers an additional 6 to 12 percent depending on the reservation price. Aside from turning Airbnb into a real business with a profitable revenue model that has been growing at more than 10 percent every month since they launched, the founders believe that some form of payment “puts both parties on the best behavior and makes the whole process more reliable.” When Chesky told his grandfather about the idea behind Airbnb, “It seemed totally normal to him. My parents had a different reaction. I could not figure out why at first.” Chesky later realized that his parents grew up in the hotel generation, whereas his grandfather and his friends would stay on farms and in little houses during their travels. Airbnb is not very different from that experience.

The same is true of Collaborative Consumption. Airbnb has received an array of top-tier traditional press, from Time magazine to CNN, but founder Brian Chesky admits it’s the “viral thing” that has enabled Airbnb to build a critical mass of more than 85,000 users in more than 115 countries in less than two years. “People want to go to work on Monday and when asked what did you do over the weekend to be able to say, ‘Well, I hosted this brother and sister from Sweden.’ ” Users want to declare their collaborative, nonowning, or sharing status. “People approach Airbnb all the time with ideas on how they can help us. They will start forums, host their own Meetups, and more than 80 percent will write a review after their stay,” Chesky explains. An early fan even came up with Airbnb’s tagline, “Travel like a Human,” which the founders agreed perfectly summed up their ethos.

Chesky marvels, “When we started I never thought people would be renting out tree houses, igloos, boats, villas, and designer apartments.” For the most part, the people and places are not vetted, inspected, or interviewed by Airbnb. It’s up to users to determine if they want to host a guest or if they want to stay with someone based on kaleidoscopic photos of the property, detailed profiles, and other users’ reviews. As the site has grown, in fact, the founders have removed rules they initially thought would be required. They took away the initial cap on charges of $300 because they realized that people were using the Airbnb community for far more than budget accommodation. Today you can find castles for rent in England for $3,000 a night. The only fixed rules on Airbnb are that the travelers must be able to ask the host questions before they book, and rooms can’t be a commodity, which excludes most hotels.


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WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

,” Harvard Business Law Review 4 (2014): 235, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Law & Economics, Research Paper No. 14–41, posted December 18, 2014, https://ssrn.com/abstract=2539098. 293 “if not more than, the bottom line”: Etsy, “Building an Etsy Economy: The New Face of Creative Entrepreneurship,” 2015, retrieved April 4, 2017, https://extfiles.etsy.com/Press/reports/Etsy_NewFaceofCreativeEntrepreneur ship_2015.pdf. 293 the ouster of Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s CEO: The Associated Press, “Etsy Replaces CEO, Cuts Jobs Amid Shareholder Pressure,” ABC News, May 2, 2017, http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/etsy-replaces-ceo-cuts-jobs-amid-shareholder-pressure-47167426. 293 supported more than 10,000 jobs: “Airbnb Community Tops $1.15 Billion in Economic Activity in New York City,” Airbnb, May 12, 2015, https://www.airbnb.com/press/news/airbnb-community-tops-1-15-billion-in-economic-activity-in-new-york-city. 293 helped them stay in their home: “Airbnb Economic Impact,” Airbnb, retrieved April 4, 2017, http://blog.airbnb.com/economic-impact-airbnb/. 294 A third-party economic study: Peter Cohen, Robert Hahn, Jonathan Hall, Steven Levitt, and Robert Metcalfe, “Using Big Data to Estimate Consumer Surplus: The Case of Uber,” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 22627, September 2016, doi:10.3386/w22627. 294 nine million third-party sellers: Duncan Clark, Alibaba: The House That Jack Built (New York: Harper, 2016), 5. 294 in order to favor more lucrative sales by big brands: Ina Steiner, “eBay Makes Big Promises to Small Sellers as SEO Penalty Still Stings,” eCommerce Bytes, April 23, 2015, http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y15/m04/i23/s02. 294 half of all private sector employment: “SBA Advocacy: Frequently Asked Questions” Small Business Administration, September 2012, retrieved May 12, 2017, https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf. 295 “now drying the clothes”: Steve Baer, “The Clothesline Paradox,” CoEvolution Quarterly, Winter 1975, retrieved April 3, 2017, http://www.wholeearth.com/issue/2008/article/358/the.clothesline.paradox. 296 value as and if created: Mariana Mazzucato, The Entrepreneurial State (London: Anthem, 2013), 185–87. 296 “a minuscule fraction”: William D.

In May 2017, two years after Etsy’s IPO, investor anger at the company’s lackluster financial results led to the ouster of Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s CEO. Airbnb doesn’t do an overall economic impact statement like Google, Kickstarter, or Etsy, but regularly publishes studies of individual cities. For example, in its 2015 study of Airbnb in New York City, the company calculated that visitors staying with Airbnb hosts generated $1.15 billion in economic activity during the prior year and supported more than 10,000 jobs. A 2016 study claimed an economic benefit to the Netherlands of €800 million. There is of course some offsetting loss of income to hotels, so these numbers likely deserve further scrutiny. But it’s important to note that Airbnb’s benefit is distributed more directly to ordinary people and small businesses than are the profits of large hotel chains. Across all the cities they’ve studied, 74% of Airbnb properties are outside the main hotel districts.

Across all the cities they’ve studied, 74% of Airbnb properties are outside the main hotel districts. Airbnb guests spend 2.1 times longer than the average hotel stay, and spend 2.1 times more than hotel visitors, with 41% of it spent in local neighborhoods not usually frequented by tourists. While professional Airbnb hosts play a larger role in some markets like Japan, Airbnb is increasingly enforcing a “one host, one home rule” to minimize the conversion of rental housing stock to short-term rentals. Eighty-one percent of hosts share their own home, 52% of hosts have low to moderate income, and 53% say that the income from Airbnb has helped them stay in their home. Even Uber, the bad boy of the WTF? economy, likes to tout their positive social goals. The origin story on its website concludes: “For the women and men who drive with Uber, our app represents a flexible new way to earn money.


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Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Yes, hotels may be collecting some data behind the scenes, perhaps to market to you better in the future, but they have no interest in turning you down as a patron, nor do they have the legal right to do so based on your identity. Those rules don’t quite apply with Airbnb, which encourages users to log in with their Facebook accounts and provide detailed profiles. Some Airbnb users have reported being discriminated against because of their appearances. Franklin Leonard, who owns the Black List, a script discovery and reading service in Hollywood, recounted to me a story about trying to book Airbnb lodging for a business trip. Leonard travels frequently and had had success with Airbnb in the past. Six months before a film festival, he tried to rent a house in Austin for himself and several employees, but the owner refused, saying he wouldn’t rent anything more than three months out.

Tasks sometimes end up being more dangerous than advertised, and TaskRabbit doesn’t offer insurance or other protections for a contract worker who falls off a ladder or gets sick on the job. Property owners using Airbnb have to clean their homes, keep essential supplies stocked, and communicate with renters. The property owner must make sure his or her insurance will cover all eventualities, as Airbnb offers a $1 million “host guarantee” that it claims is not a substitute for traditional insurance. Members of the sharing economy also must worry about the legal gray area in which they’re doing their work. Airbnb and Uber have both resisted negotiating with municipal authorities. New York City officials have declared the former illegal, saying that it amounts to an unlicensed hotel operation. Zoning restrictions and leasing terms may also prevent someone from renting a room or residence on an informal basis. And a few high-volume landlords have used Airbnb to rent dozens of properties illegally, while others have used the service to run prostitution rings or host orgies.

Aug. 30, 2013. tomslee.net/2013/08/why-the-sharing-economy-isnt.html. 239 “unreasonable obstacles”: ibid. 239 Atkin’s connection to Peers: Nitasha Tiku. “Airbnb’s Industry Mouthpiece Astroturfs for Donations.” Valleywag, a blog on Gawker. Dec. 11, 2013. valleywag.gawker.com/airbnbs-industry-mouthpiece-astroturfs-for-donations-1481305550. 239 Pierre Omidyar and Peers: Ryan Chittum. “Fortune Flacks for the ‘Sharing Economy.’” Columbia Journalism Review. Dec. 10, 2013. cjr.org/the_audit/fortune_flacks_for_the_sharing.php. 239 “We’ll provide everything”: Peers. “Help Fix the Law in New York.” action.peers.org/page/signup/office-drop-by-in-newyork-. 240 “You are responsible”: Airbnb. “Terms of Service.” May 22, 2012. airbnb.com/home/terms. 241 Uber financing program: Mark Milian. “Uber Drivers to Get GM and Toyota Financing Deals.” Bloomberg News.


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The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

Another of Andreessen Horowitz’s venture investments is Airbnb, a peer-to-peer marketplace founded in 2007 that allows anyone to rent out a room in their home, transforming it into a hotel. By the end of 2013, Airbnb had topped 10 million guest stays from an active list of 550,000 worldwide properties in 192 countries that included spare rooms in homes, castles, and yurts.111 And in February 2014, the 700-person startup raised a $475 million round of investment at a valuation of $10 billion,112 which makes it worth about a half as much as the $22 billion Hilton corporation, a worldwide chain with 3,897 hotels and 152,000 employees. Airbnb cofounder Brian Chesky describes the company as a platform of “trust” in which the reputations of guests and of hosts will be determined by feedback on the network.113 But Airbnb has been beset by such a scarcity of trust from the authorities that 15,000 New York City hosts were subpoenaed in May 2014 by New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman because they may not have paid taxes on their rental incomes.

No, the Internet is not the answer, especially when it comes to the so-called sharing economy of peer-to-peer networks like Uber and Airbnb. The good news is that, as Wired’s Marcus Wohlsen put it, the “sun is setting on the wild west” of ride- and apartment-sharing networks.44 Tax collectors and municipalities from Cleveland to Hamburg are recognizing that many peer-to-peer rentals and ride-sharing apps are breaking both local and national housing and transportation laws. What the Financial Times calls a “regulatory backlash”45 has pushed Uber to limit surge pricing during emergencies46 and forced Airbnb hosts to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.47 “Just because a company has an app instead of a storefront doesn’t mean consumer protection laws don’t apply,” notes the New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who is trying to subpoena Airbnb’s user data in New York City.48 A group of housing activists in San Francisco is even planning a late 2014 ballot measure in the city that would “severely curb” Airbnb’s operations.49 “Airbnb is bringing up the rent despite what the company says,” explains the New York City–based political party Working Families.50 The answer is to use the law and regulation to force the Internet out of its prolonged adolescence.

Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (New York: Routledge, 2005), p. 83. 107 Marc Andreessen, “Why Bitcoin Matters,” New York Times, January 21, 2014. 108 Ibid. 109 Colin Lecher, “How Did a $10 Potato Salad Kickstarter Raise More than $30,000?,” Verge, July 7, 2014. 110 Sarah Eckel, “You Want Me to Give You Money for What?,” BBC Capital, May 1, 2014. 111 Ryan Lawler, “Airbnb Tops 10 Million Guest Stays Since Launch, Now Has 550,000 Properties Listed Worldwide,” TechCrunch, December 19, 2013. 112 Sydney Ember, “Airbnb’s Huge Valuation,” New York Times, April 21, 2014. See also Carolyn Said, “Airbnb’s Swank Digs Reflect Growth, but Controversy Grows,” SFGate, January 27, 2014. 113 Thomas L. Friedman, “And Now for a Bit of Good News . . .” New York Times, July 19, 2014. 114 Will Oremus, “Silicon Valley Uber Alles,” Slate, June 6, 2014. 115 See Dan Amira, “Uber Will Ferry Hampton-Goers Via Helicopter This July 3rd,” New York, July 2013, nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/07/uber-helicopter-uberchopper-hamptons-july-3rd.html. 116 Jessica Guynn, “San Francisco Split by Silicon Valley’s Wealth,” Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2013. 117 Paul Sloan, “Marc Andreessen: Predictions for 2012 (and Beyond),” CNET, December 19, 2011, news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57345138-93/marc-andreessen-predictions-for-2012-and-beyond. 118 Mark Scott, “Traffic Snarls in Europe as Taxi Drivers Protest Against Uber,” New York Times, June 11, 2014. 119 Kevin Roose, “Uber Might Be More Valuable than Facebook Someday.


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Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

Before the election, the company bought sneering billboards that advertised how much money they had contributed to the city: Dear SF Tax Collector, You know the $12 million in hotel taxes? Don’t spend it all in one place. Love, Airbnb Of course, Airbnb had only paid those taxes after a fight. A second billboard carried on impudently: But … if you do spend all $12 million in one place, we suggest burritos. Love, Airbnb The anti-Airbnb measure was defeated, but turnout was significantly lower than the previous year and the winning side represented a mere 18 percent of eligible voters. Such was the state of local democracy in San Francisco. “If the poor don’t like it, let ’em buy their own city,” one Sharpie-wielding vandal opined on a wall in the Mission. As broke as I was, I was still an appendage of the tech industry, and I absorbed some of the contempt the natives directed toward newcomers.

Bad tips and an eviction notice. The well-off newcomers couldn’t help but rub it in. Airbnb, which had perhaps more than any other company contributed directly to the displacement of San Francisco tenants by taking some six thousand units off the long-term rental market, addressed its critics with open contempt. Neighborhood activists placed a municipal referendum on the November 2015 ballot that would have forced the venture-capital-backed startup to compete fairly with existing hotels and rental homes. The measure included provisions to ensure that Airbnb hosts paid taxes, stayed up to code, and reported occupancy and earnings. Among other restrictions, it also limited short-term rental hosting to permanent city residents. In response, Airbnb took its lobbying efforts from City Hall to the streets. Before the election, the company bought sneering billboards that advertised how much money they had contributed to the city: Dear SF Tax Collector, You know the $12 million in hotel taxes?

When another woman deemed it “sketchy” that Luna was renting out the living room, Luna delivered a coup de grâce: “her behavior was abhorrent … she brought 2 drifter guys whom she picked out of nowhere … I hope that the information above is helpful to her next potential airbnb host.” Most of these critical reviews actually pulled punches. The broken bed frame murdered my spine every night. The overcrowding was absurd. It sometimes took as long as an hour to get a turn in the bathroom, which was filthy, and where the only roll of toilet paper had MIKE scrawled across the top in Sharpie. The prevalence of misleadingly positive reviews could only be explained by the system of mutually assured destruction implicit in the Airbnb review process. Praise was usually repaid in kind. However, the merest tremble of complaint, however valid, was sure to be answered with devastating slander. One previous guest wrote that when she and her boyfriend accidentally checked out late, Luna “threatened to keep our airbnb deposit unless we gave her a positive review.”


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Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work by Alex Rosenblat

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, big-box store, call centre, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Chrome, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, job automation, job satisfaction, Lyft, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ralph Waldo Emerson, regulatory arbitrage, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social software, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, TaskRabbit, Tim Cook: Apple, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, urban planning, Wolfgang Streeck, Zipcar

THE MYTH OF TECHNOLOGICAL EXCEPTIONALISM Taxi drivers have protested that Uber violates the laws that regulate their industry by operating without permits,57 but Uber maintains that it is not a taxi company—it’s a technology company that uses neutral algorithms to merely facilitate connections between consumers and drivers. Meanwhile, the growth of Uber has quickly become a threat to the highly regulated taxi industry’s monopoly on chauffeur services. Companies like Uber and Airbnb separate themselves from their predecessors, taxis and hotels, by emphasizing the altruistic premise of their “sharing” platforms. Airbnb argues that it is a technology platform, like Facebook, YouTube, or Google, that connects hosts with guests. In conflicts with Airbnb, the hotel industry alleges that the company operates illegal hotels: hosts rent out their spare rooms or homes to traveling guests but do not have to comply with the safety regulations that govern hotels or bed and breakfasts.58 Likewise, Facebook, which is in the business of sharing news, resists being categorized as a media company.

The condescending ads, which hinted broadly at the city’s ingratitude for the taxes that Airbnb’s business generates, followed an $8 million lobbying campaign by the company against San Francisco’s 2015 ballot measure Proposition F. Voters ultimately rejected the proposition, which would have restricted short-term rentals and thus undermined Airbnb’s short-term-rental business model.11 Gratitude logic is part of how Uber drums up popular support for its regulatory evasions. Even in cities like New York, Chicago, or Toronto, with strict quotas on how many cabs can be in operation, Uber prevails when it insists that it’s not a taxi company but rather a technology company; the old rules don’t apply to the digital world. For consumers, Uber disrupted a calcified taxi industry that was chiefly known for its inadequate service, while Airbnb undid the monopoly that expensive hotels had on tourism by creating a platform for hosts to rent out their spare bedrooms or homes.12 The unrepentant politics of disruption became the social standard for assessing the value of technological innovation in society, against the value of entrenched industries.

Benjamin Peters, How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Internet (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016), 11. 25. Benjamin Edelman, Michael Luca, and Dan Svirsky, “Racial Discrimination in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from a Field Experiment,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, September 16, 2016, www.benedelman.org/publications/airbnb-guest-discrimination-2016–09–16.pdf. 26. Sam Levin, “Airbnb Gives In to Regulator’s Demand to Test for Racial Discrimination by Hosts,” The Guardian, April 27, 2017, www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/27/airbnb-government-housing-test-black-discrimination. 27. Alex Rosenblat, “Uber’s Drive-By Politics,” Motherboard, May 27, 2016, https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/gv5jaw/uber-lyft-austin-drive-by-politics. 28. Michael King, “Lege for Sale?” Austin Chronicle, March 14, 2017, www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2017–03–14/lege-for-sale/. 29.


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The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models by Barry Libert, Megan Beck

active measures, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business intelligence, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversification, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Infrastructure as a Service, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus Rift, pirate software, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, software as a service, software patent, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Wall-E, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Evan Bakker, “Bankers Across the Globe Expect Major Tech Companies to Cut Into Their Retail Banking Business,” Business Insider, March 18, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/bankers-expect-their-retail-banking-revenue-to-fall-2015-3. 2. Barry Libert, Yoram (Jerry) Wind, and Megan Beck Fenley, “What Apple, Lending Club, and Airbnb Know about Collaborating with Customers,” HBR.org, July 3, 2015, https://hbr.org/2015/07/what-apple-lending-club-and-airbnb-know-about-collaborating-with-customers; and “What Airbnb, Uber, and Alibaba Have in Common,” HBR.org, November 20, 2014, https://hbr.org/2014/11/what-airbnb-uber-and-alibaba-have-in-common. 3. “Did You Know? Facts from Our Executive Compensation and Benefits (ECB) Proprietary Databases,” Alvarez & Marsal, issue 8, November 10, 2014, http://www.alvarezandmarsal.com/sites/default/files/files/Age-CEO-CFO-COO.pdf.

PALMER, former Dean, the Wharton School; former CEO, Touche Ross (now Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited) “The Network Imperative is a must-read because professional relationships, business models, and the way we position value in only three to five years will be changed to a point that is difficult to grasp. Lead the change in your company, or be prepared to eat dust.” —JEROME PERIBERE, President and CEO, Sealed Air “Today’s management education is focused on the firm. It is clear that networks like Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon require us to rethink management education if our future leaders are to have any chance of survival and growth. The Network Imperative is a must-read for all business, public policy, and academic leaders—today’s and tomorrow’s.” —DAVID C. SCHMITTLEIN, John C. Head III Dean, MIT Sloan School of Management “One of the most insightful and practical books on how networks are creating future competitive advantage.

The primary law of networks is that value expands exponentially with the number of connections within the network. With the growth of digital platforms, organizations can now expand their network connections rapidly and at very low cost. Today’s leading organizations are network-centric and are creating remarkable economic returns by capitalizing on network advantages, such as co-creation with their customers (Facebook); digital platforms (Amazon); shared assets (Uber and Airbnb); and big data insights (Netflix and Google). Leaders and investors who want to participate in the network revolution need to envision their future, and the future of their industry, based on intangibles and networks or risk falling behind. The Network Imperative provides the why and how to survive and thrive in the age of hyperscale digital networks. It defines the ten principles for network organizations and a five-step process for pivoting your organization toward today’s most valuable and profitable business models.


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Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas

"side hustle", activist lawyer, affirmative action, Airbnb, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Heinemeier Hansson, deindustrialization, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, friendly fire, global pandemic, high net worth, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hyperloop, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor, zero-sum game

Danah Boyd’s critique of the tech barons is from her essay “It’s Not Cyberspace Anymore” (Points blog on Medium, February 2016). On the campaign against discrimination on Airbnb, see “Airbnb Has a Discrimination Problem. Ask Anyone Who’s Tried to #Airbnbwhileblack,” by Aja Romano (Vox, May 6, 2016). Airbnb’s report in response to the accusations is titled “Airbnb’s Work to Fight Discrimination and Build Inclusion,” by Laura W. Murphy (September 8, 2016): http://blog.atairbnb.com/​wp-content/​uploads/​2016/​09/​REPORT_Airbnbs-Work-to-Fight-Discrimination-and-Build-Inclusion.pdf?3c10be (accessed September 2017). The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s allegations against Airbnb are contained here: www.dfeh.ca.gov/​wp-content/​uploads/​sites/​32/​2017/​06/​04-19-17-Airbnb-DFEH-Agreement-Signed-DFEH-1-1.pdf (accessed September 2017). Airbnb’s response to California’s charges is also contained in the above document.

Two months after the viral explosion of #AirbnbWhileBlack, however, when the company received complaints from California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging that it “may have failed to prevent discrimination against African American guests” and “may have engaged in acts of discrimination” itself, Airbnb retreated. “While Airbnb simply operates a platform and is not well positioned to make determinations regarding the booking decisions Hosts make in each case,” the company said in a legal response, “Airbnb has recognized on its own based on available data that some third-party hosts on its site are likely violating Airbnb’s policy against racial discrimination, and that its policies and processes have, to date, been insufficient fully to address the problem.” Yet despite a Harvard Business School study that backed up users’ claims of discrimination, the company said it was merely engaged in the “publication of rental listings,” a humble role that it said “immunizes” it against liability. Airbnb, it argued, “cannot be held legally liable for the conduct of its third-party users.”

Each entrepreneurial venture could take on a different social problem. “In the case of Airbnb, the way you alleviate housing suffering is by allowing people to share their homes,” Ferenstein said. An Airbnb ad campaign along these lines featured older black women thriving now that the entrepreneurs had helped them to rent out rooms and make extra money. Of course, many poor people don’t own homes or have a surplus of space to rent out. And many African Americans find it difficult to rent on the platform—hotels can no longer easily discriminate by race, but spare-room hoteliers often do. But what was even more striking than these blind spots was the notion, implied in Ferenstein’s idea, that the winners should receive a kickback from social change. Indeed, in the case of Airbnb and other so-called win-wins, the claim of a harmony of interests is hope masquerading as description.


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Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday

Airbnb, iterative process, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, market design, minimum viable product, Paul Graham, pets.com, post-work, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Steve Wozniak, Travis Kalanick

The start-up world is full of companies taking clever hacks to drive their first set of customers into their funnel. The necessity of that jolt—needing to get it any way they can—has made start-ups get very creative. Let’s look at Airbnb again. The company’s most effective marketing tactic (besides making a great product) would never have been conceived or attempted by a pure marketing team. Instead, the engineers coded a set of tools that made it possible for every member to seamlessly cross-post his or her Airbnb listing on craigslist (because craigslist does not technically “allow” this, it was a fairly ingenious work-around). As a result, Airbnb—a tiny site—suddenly had free distribution on one of the most popular websites in the world. As Andrew Chen wrote in a case study of this tactic: Let’s be honest, a traditional marketer would not even be close to imagining the integration above—there’s too many technical details needed for it to happen.

And by the transitive property, anything that gets customers is marketing. That is what growth hackers have taught us. Run down the list of the start-ups we’ve talked about in this book, from Hotmail to Airbnb to Groupon to Spotify, and see the startling fact: tactics that no one would have previously described as “marketing” turned out to be the marketing steroids behind their business growth. For Hotmail, it was inserting an e-mail signature at the bottom that turned every e-mail sent by one of its users into a pitch for new users. For Airbnb it was craiglist infiltration, which allowed Airbnb hosts to use the site as a sales platform. For Groupon and LivingSocial it was their referral offers that paid users to share deals with their friends. And for Spotify, it was the free “advertising” it got from Facebook integration.

This was clearly a better market, but the founders sensed they could improve the idea further, so they pivoted slightly to target the type of traveler who didn’t want to crash on couches or in hostels but was looking to avoid hotels. This did better still. Finally, based on feedback and usage patterns, they shortened the name to Airbnb, abandoned the breakfast and networking parts of the business, and redefined the service as a place for people to rent or book any kind of lodging imaginable (from rooms to apartments to trains, boats, castles, penthouses, and private islands). This was explosive—to the tune of millions of bookings a year in locations all over the world. Airbnb had a good idea in 2007. The founders could have spent all their time and energy trying to force the “let people crash on your floor and feed them breakfast” angle and created a small business around it. Instead, they treated their product and service as something malleable and were able to change and improve it until they found its best iteration.


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Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design by Alvin E. Roth

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, computer age, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, deferred acceptance, desegregation, experimental economics, first-price auction, Flash crash, High speed trading, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, law of one price, Lyft, market clearing, market design, medical residency, obamacare, proxy bid, road to serfdom, school choice, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, two-sided market, uber lyft, undersea cable

You can see the problem. Airbnb’s business model worked well enough in the beginning, when the market was small and the travelers were intrepid young people on tight budgets who were willing to take the time to find a good deal. Airbnb’s competitors in those days were similar Web services, such as the London-based Crashpadder (acquired by Airbnb in 2012) and the Toronto-based iStopOver (acquired by the Berlin-based 9Flats, also in 2012). Competition in those days was based largely on attracting more and more hosts and travelers in order to make the market thicker. That’s why bigger fish acquired littler fish. But as Airbnb became huge, with lots of hosts and travelers, it became increasingly common to have to make multiple attempts to nail down a reservation. Meanwhile, Airbnb’s main competitors were no longer other small Internet businesses, but giant hotel corporations such as Hilton, Marriott, and Best Western.

On any given call, the only thing the reservation clerk could tell you was whether, say, room 1226 at the San Francisco Hilton was available for the night you wanted. If not, you had to make another call to find out about room 1227, then another for room 1228. Booking a room with an Airbnb host was a little like that. So Airbnb had to figure out how a market with many hosts offering one room at a time could compete more effectively with hotels. Price was obviously important. But it was the spread of smartphones that helped Airbnb close the speed gap, and that may have mattered even more than price. Today, as hosts manage their reservations on their smartphones, they don’t have to wait until they return home to confirm a booking—they just check their phones. They can also, as soon as the room is booked, immediately update their Airbnb listing to remove its availability. That in turn makes it easier for a traveler searching for a room to find one that’s available, even though he or she still has to query one room at a time.

Markets that involve offers and responses require easy two-way communication. This is why the rise of mobile communications has been so important for the development of many Internet markets: smartphones shorten response times. Consider Airbnb, which makes a market between travelers looking for a nice, cheap place to stay and hosts who want to rent out their underused guest rooms and apartments. When Airbnb started in San Francisco in 2008, most people communicated with the Internet via computers. So if you wanted to make your guest room available for visitors the following week, you might use your laptop to post it on Airbnb in the morning before leaving for work. When you came home in the evening, you would check to see whether anyone had expressed an interest—and if so, you would confirm his or her booking. Easily done. Now look at the other side of this transaction.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

It lowers hotel room rates and transfers some of that value to people with a spare bedroom while also creating new value. While Airbnb rents castles and lodges the likes of Charlie Songhurst, its data also show that it is allowing people to travel who otherwise could not and is making it possible for people to stay on vacation longer. Where a typical tourist stay is three nights, the average Airbnb guest stays for five nights. Finally, Airbnb extends the opportunity for supplemental income to hundreds of thousands of households. I think it is no coincidence that the sharing economy took off during the economic crisis, when people throughout the United States and Europe needed extra income. Half of Airbnb hosts are moderate or low income. Of the 5,600 Airbnb hosts in Berlin, 48 percent of their earnings go for essential living expenses such as rent.

In the seven years since: Mo Ibrahim, “Celtel’s Founder on Building a Business on the World’s Poorest Continent,” Harvard Business Review, October 2012, http://hbr.org/2012/10/celtels-founder-on-building-a-business-on-the-worlds-poorest-continent/ar/1; “Mo Ibrahim African Leaders Prize Unclaimed Again,” BBC News, October 14, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24521870. eBay’s business is based: “Online Extra: Pierre Omidyar on ‘Connecting People,’ Bloomberg Businessweek, June 19, 2005, http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/195874-online-extra-pierre-omidyar-on-connecting-people?type=old_article. It has more than 800,000 listings: “About Us,” Airbnb, https://www.airbnb.com/about/about-us. With a valuation of $20 billion: Ingrid Lunden, “Airbnb Is Raising a Monster Round at a $20B Valuation,” TechCrunch, February 27, 2015, http://techcrunch.com/2015/02/27/airbnb-2/; “Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H),” Yahoo! Finance, http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=H; “#1006 Brian Chesky,” “The World’s Billionaires,” Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/profile/brian-chesky/. At the conclusion of Chesky’s creation: Steven T. Jones, “Forum Begins to Bridge the Housing-Transportation Divide,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, October 10, 2014, http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2013/04/24/hype-reality-and-accountability-collaborative-consumption.

., an empty apartment, empty seats in a car, or skill as a math tutor) and connect them with people looking for a specific service. One of the best-known examples is Airbnb. Every time I speak with the company’s cofounder and CEO, Brian Chesky, he repeats the company’s creation story to me. In autumn 2007, Brian and his buddy Joe were unemployed in San Francisco and trying to figure out how to pay the rent. All the hotel rooms in the city were booked up for a conference, so they decided to use their three unused air mattresses and breakfast cooking skills to create a low-end bed and breakfast. They marketed it as “Airbed and Breakfast.” It helped them pay the rent and launched the idea for Airbnb: a marketplace to connect underused lodging space with people struggling to find affordable accommodations. Fast-forward to today: Airbnb is effectively the world’s largest hotel chain without owning a single hotel room.


pages: 229 words: 61,482

The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want by Diane Mulcahy

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, collective bargaining, creative destruction, David Brooks, deliberate practice, diversification, diversified portfolio, fear of failure, financial independence, future of work, gig economy, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, mass immigration, mental accounting, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, passive income, Paul Graham, remote working, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, wage slave, Y Combinator, Zipcar

The Gig Economy gives us options to rent or access cars (Zipcar, Uber), bikes (Hubway, Citi Bike), fully furnished apartments and homes (Airbnb, Onefinestay), clothes (Rent the Runway, Le Tote), jewelry (Haute Vault), and just about anything else. With the ability to access so much so easily, we need to come up with pretty compelling reasons to buy. There’s even a lifestyle emerging built on the foundation of the access economy. Prerna Gupta, a serial entrepreneur, wrote about her experience living what she calls “the Airbnb lifestyle.”1 She and her husband lived in several countries over the course of the year, staying in temporary Airbnb housing in every location and carrying all of their possessions in a few suitcases. Her experience made her question the need to return to a traditional home-based life and led to a “palpable change” in her relationship with her possessions. She believes that the Airbnb lifestyle will become more common in part due to the changes in how we work.

To evaluate the possibility (and financial impact) of renting, start with online calculators that can give you a preliminary idea of the financial differences between renting and buying both a home and a car.11 Accessing housing instead of owning it might make more sense at various stages in your life. If renting doesn’t sound appealing, there is a new “Airbnb lifestyle” of accessing housing that might be more interesting. Returning ex-pats Elaine Kuok and David Roberts wrote about the year they spent living “home-free” in Airbnb apartments around New York City to explore a variety of neighborhoods.12 Their lifestyle offers them flexibility they couldn’t have if they were committed to a year-long lease or a multidecade mortgage. I contacted David on Twitter for an update, and, as of this writing, he and Elaine are enjoying a second year of their home-free lifestyle.

., September 18, 2013. www.cfp.net/docs/public-policy2013-fin-planning-profiles-of-amer-households.pdf 4. CFP Board, “New Research Shows Most American Households Do Financial Planning, but the Extent of this Planning Varies Greatly,” September 18, 2013. www.cfp.net/news-events/latest-news/2013/09/18/new-research-shows-most-american-households-do-financial-planning-but-the-extent-of-this-planning-varies-greatly CHAPTER 9 1. Gupta, Prerna, “Airbnb Lifestyle: The Rise of the Hipster Nomad,” Tech Crunch, October 3, 2104. techcrunch.com/2014/10/03/airbnb-lifestyle-the-rise-of-the-hipster-nomad/ 2. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit,” February 2016. www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/interactives/householdcredit/data/pdf/HHDC_2015Q4.pdf 3. Wolff, Edward N., “Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962–2013: What Happened over the Great Recession?”


pages: 406 words: 105,602

The Startup Way: Making Entrepreneurship a Fundamental Discipline of Every Enterprise by Eric Ries

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, centralized clearinghouse, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, connected car, corporate governance, DevOps, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, index card, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, obamacare, peer-to-peer, place-making, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, universal basic income, web of trust, Y Combinator

These stories illustrate what that process has looked like in a variety of settings. AIRBNB’S SECOND FOUNDING Trips, which I first talked about in Chapter 1, marks Airbnb’s second founding. But before Trips was launched, it languished for a while because the company wasn’t focused on it even as it continued to grow its core business. The urgency Brian Chesky felt about ushering his company into its next phase had sent him back to the inspirations that had made it a success in the first place. Among them was the book that had motivated him to move to San Francisco and start Airbnb: Neal Gabler’s biography Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. Rereading it, Chesky became captivated by the story of how Disney used storyboarding to create Snow White, Disney’s first fully animated film, a feat no one had thought possible. Airbnb hired a Pixar artist to storyboard an entire trip from end to end, from the perspectives of both the host and the guest: that was how the company found what might be its next big idea.

You can’t stay the same.”2 Zadeh and Chesky realized that in order to come up with something completely new, they needed to give themselves the time and space to experiment—something they’d had when they launched the company, purely because of circumstance, but hadn’t been prioritizing as Airbnb grew. They created a small dedicated team within the company, led by Chesky, whose first mission was an afternoon at Fisherman’s Wharf, a scenic spot overlooking San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge, where out-of-towners flock and souvenir shops abound. The result, which came several years later, was the launch of Airbnb Trips, a trip-planning service that marks the company’s first major expansion. In Chapter 8 you’ll learn more about what came between that afternoon and the product launch, and about Airbnb’s structure, which allows both for the maintenance of its core product and for experiments with new ideas, like Trips. It’s the philosophy behind being able to make bets that may or may not pay off, rather than to simply refine a current success, that I want to highlight here.

PART ONE THE MODERN COMPANY “HYPERGROWTH FOR A COMPANY ALSO REQUIRES HYPERGROWTH OF THE PEOPLE INSIDE IT.” In 2006, you probably never would have even thought of renting a stranger’s apartment instead of checking in at the Hilton. As of this writing, more than 100 million people have,1 thanks to Airbnb. At its core, the company is already experimental. If it weren’t, it never would have uncovered a whole hidden market and grown in just ten years to a valuation of $30 billion. So what more could startup thinking possibly bring to a company that very recently found huge success by disrupting an entire market? A few years after Airbnb launched, the company’s original team started looking around for growth opportunities. They’d added new features to their existing product, including user verification and host insurance to increase confidence in the platform, and they’d formed a partnership with Concur Technologies to capture business travelers.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Local Motors, an ExO, accomplishes the same thing for just $3 million—a 1,000x improvement, albeit not to the same production scale. Next, consider Airbnb, a company that leverages users’ extra bedrooms. Founded in 2008, Airbnb currently has 1,324 employees and operates 500,000 listings in 33,000 cities. However, Airbnb owns no physical assets and is worth almost $10 billion. That’s more than the value of Hyatt Hotels, which has 45,000 employees spread across 549 properties. And while Hyatt’s business is comparatively flat, Airbnb’s number of room-nights delivered is growing exponentially. At its current pace, Airbnb will be the biggest hotelier in the world by late 2015. Similarly, Uber, the Airbnb of cars—Uber converts private automobiles into taxis—has been valued at $17 billion. Like Airbnb, Uber has no assets, no workforce (to speak of) and is also growing exponentially.

A telling example is how Netflix, with its centralized DVD rentals and small footprint, easily outmaneuvered and eventually destroyed Blockbuster, despite its 9,000 stores and distributed geographical assets. In the software world, Salesforce.com, which operates 100 percent in the cloud, can adapt to changing market conditions much faster than can competitor SAP, given that the latter requires customized installations onsite. We’ve already discussed Airbnb, which by leveraging its users’ existing assets, is now valued at more than the Hyatt Hotels chain worldwide. While Hyatt has 45,000 employees spread out across its 549 properties, Airbnb has just 1,324, all located in a single office. Similarly, Lending Club, Bitcoin, Clinkle and Kickstarter are forcing a radical rethinking of the banking and venture capital industries, respectively. (No retail outlets are involved in these new financial tech startups.) Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is structured to maximize the benefits of a small-form factor.

From that date on, the cost of running a data center moved from a fixed CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) cost to a variable cost. Today, it is almost impossible to find a single startup that doesn’t use AWS. We have even found a simple metric that helps to identify and distinguish emerging Exponential Organizations: a minimum 10x improvement in output over four to five years. The following shows some ExOs and their minimum 10x performance inprovement over their peers: Airbnb Hotels 90x more listings per employee GitHub Software 109x more repositories per employee Local Motors Automotive 1000x cheaper to produce new car model, 5-22x faster process for a car to produce (depending on vehicle) Quirky Consumer Goods 10x faster product development (29 days vs 300 days) Google Ventures Investments 2.5x more investments in early stage startups, 10x faster through design process Valve Gaming 30x more market cap per employee Tesla Automotive 30x more market cap per employee Tangerine (formerly ING Direct Canada) Banking 7x more customers per employee, 4x more deposits per customer Look again at Waze.


pages: 252 words: 73,131

The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—And They Shape Us by Tim Sullivan

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, creative destruction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, helicopter parent, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, proxy bid, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy

Well, his first twenty-six customers said he was a really nice guy. And you share three friends on Facebook! How do you know you’re not renting your DC apartment to the Unabomber? He has twenty-six ratings too from prior rentals, and he left them all spotless. And there you have the Airbnb narrative. All that’s stopping Uber and Airbnb from realizing their dreams of a better, more efficient world are the villains in this laissez-faire fairy tale: the cab and hotel lobbies that profit from the old economy status quo (at the expense of the rest of us, as the Uber and Airbnb lobbies are quick to remind us) and their bureaucratic counterparts in government who are too lazy or rule-bound to care about doing what’s right. Let’s start with what we can all agree on: the Uber app is awesome. Especially for the over-forty set who suffered under big taxi’s reign for most of their adult lives, there’s a head-shaking sense of amazement when you summon a cab with—literally—the touch of a button to pick you up from some godforsaken San Diego strip mall that happens to have the city’s best sushi (the taxi dispatcher said it would be “at least an hour”).

Especially for the over-forty set who suffered under big taxi’s reign for most of their adult lives, there’s a head-shaking sense of amazement when you summon a cab with—literally—the touch of a button to pick you up from some godforsaken San Diego strip mall that happens to have the city’s best sushi (the taxi dispatcher said it would be “at least an hour”). It’s like having your own personal cab genie. (Just mention Uber to an iPhone-owning senior citizen, and you’ll really see what we mean.) Airbnb is an epic leap forward when compared to the epic leap of faith involved in renting a room via its predecessors, the classified ads or Craigslist. But let’s not confuse a set of groundbreaking market innovations with the end of market frictions. Yes, there are entire websites devoted to Airbnb horror stories—the trashed homes, the tenant-turned-squatter. There’s an equal number of angry rants directed at Uber. Neither of us rents our idle real estate assets when we’re out of town and not because we’re old-fashioned. We’ve also experienced market frictions of a more mundane variety.

As a bit of add-on market research, one of us, Ray, decided to rent an apartment for the night via Airbnb. The renter’s credentials were impeccable. He worked at an international organization and traveled a lot—hence the oft-vacant apartment. His place was described by past Airbnbers as neat, clean, well located. What could go wrong? Well, after arriving well past midnight courtesy of train delays, Ray found an unmade bed and suspiciously stained sheets. Whatever its shortcomings, you can be fairly sure that you won’t be changing your own bedding at 2 a.m. when you’re booked at the Marriott. Did Ray leave an appropriately worded public review? No, actually. Because the host seemed like a nice guy, and anyway, what goes around comes around: you don’t want to get known on Airbnb as Mr. Critical. (Ray did send a private communication to the host suggesting he wash his sheets more often.)


pages: 83 words: 23,805

City 2.0: The Habitat of the Future and How to Get There by Ted Books

active transport: walking or cycling, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, big-box store, carbon footprint, cleantech, collaborative consumption, crowdsourcing, demand response, housing crisis, Induced demand, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kibera, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, McMansion, megacity, New Urbanism, openstreetmap, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, Zipcar

Within the company’s first year and a half, it signed up 10,000 vehicles. Airbnb has similarly destigmatized strangers in private homes. Today, half of the company’s hosts are renting out a spare room, living alongside a stranger. The other half are turning their empty apartments over to unknown tenants. One of the older companies in the sharing space — at all of 4 years old — Airbnb has spawned its own share of mimics. “There’s such a proliferation of ‘the Airbnb of XYZ,’” Turner says, “and I think some of the models probably aren’t going anywhere, like the ‘Airbnb of toilets’ or the ‘Airbnb of dogs.’” But she predicts that services meeting the needs of both sides of a market — the givers and receivers in sharing — will succeed. Airbnb, for instance, helps homeowners and also increasingly serves a freelance work force as prone to temporarily changing cities as jobs.

“Either consciously or subconsciously, [people] are realizing that that involves the public realm, the commons, sharing goods and services and infrastructure. And I think that kind of bleeds into your personal life.” This move back into city centers also coincided with the Great Recession. Those big houses and multiple cars, it turns out, were beyond many of our means. And it’s no coincidence, Turner says, that Airbnb — a company founded around shared housing — was born in 2008, just as the United States was entering a recession built on a housing crisis. For many Airbnb hosts, the spare rooms they rented through the service helped them keep their homes. City living, for all its allure, is expensive, but the sharing economy makes it possible for more people, whether they’re sharing a car because they can’t afford to own one, or a bike because they’ve got nowhere to store it. We’re also witnessing a shift toward sharing because of technology.

Although one persistent problem at Union Kitchen is quite modern: the chaotic parking scene outside on the narrow block shared by an auto mechanic, a Chinese noodle shop, a woodworker, and a printing press. Sharing has its downsides, too. We’re used to the notion of sharing libraries, public parks, and train cars. But in many ways, American culture drifted away from sharing as a value when we spread out from city centers and into the suburbs. Molly Turner, director of public policy for the short-term rental lodging website Airbnb, pins the turning point to an iconic image: Richard Nixon, in Moscow, introducing Nikita Khrushchev to the modern marvel of the washing machine available for private consumption in every American home. Beginning with the era of that washing machine, Turner argues, we forgot how to share. In the so-called Kitchen Debate, Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev dispute their countries’ relative merits while touring the United States exhibit in Moscow in 1959.


pages: 237 words: 67,154

Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet by Trebor Scholz, Nathan Schneider

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, capital controls, citizen journalism, collaborative economy, collaborative editing, collective bargaining, commoditize, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, deskilling, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, future of work, gig economy, Google bus, hiring and firing, income inequality, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, lake wobegon effect, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer, post-work, profit maximization, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, SETI@home, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Zipcar

The first two approaches are based on the belief in negotiation with corporate owners and with government. The Domestic Workers Alliance, for example, formulated a Good Work Code in hopes that policy makers would endorse their guidelines and that platform owners would follow them. Seattle imposed a tax on Uber and gave drivers the right to unionize, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City made attempts to curb the number of Uber cars, and the city of San Francisco tried to regulate Airbnb. A third pathway is to move production outside of the market altogether. Yochai Benkler labeled this “non-market peer production,” with the most successful example being Wikipedia. And, finally, for the compensated labor market, there is a fourth approach, which is platform cooperativism, a model of social organization based on the understanding that it is hard to substantially change what you don’t own.

The “cooperativism” part is about an ownership model for labor and logistics platforms or online marketplaces that replaces the likes of Uber with cooperatives, communities, cities, or inventive unions. These new structures embrace the technology to creatively reshape it, embed their values, and then operate it in support of local economies. Seriously, why does a village in Denmark or a town like Marfa in rural West Texas have to generate profits for some fifty people in Silicon Valley if they can create their own version of Airbnb? Instead of trying to be the next Silicon Valley, generating profits for the few, these cities could mandate the use of a cooperative platform, which could maximize use value for the community. Platform co-ops already exist, from cooperatively owned online labor brokerages and marketplaces like Fairmondo, to video streaming sites that are owned by filmmakers and their fans. Photographers co-own the stock photography cooperative Stocksy and massage therapists in San Francisco started the freelancer-owned online labor market Loconomics.

Soon, we may no longer have to contend with websites and apps but, more and more, with 5G wireless services (more mobile work), protocols, and AI. We have to design for tomorrow’s labor market. In the absence of rigorous democratic debates, online labor behemoths are producing their version of the future of work right in front of us. We have to move quickly. Together with cities like Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro, which have already pushed back against Uber and Airbnb, we ought to refine the discourse around “smart cities” and machine ownership. We need incubators, small experiments, step-by-step walkthroughs, best practices, and legal templates that online co-ops can use. Developers will script a WordPress for platform co-ops, a free-software labor platform that local developers can customize. Ultimately, platform cooperativism is not merely about countering destructive visions of the future, it is about the marriage of technology and cooperativism and what it can do for our children, our children’s children, and their children into the future. 5.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social intelligence, social software, standardized shipping container, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

CHAPTER 5 NEW BUSINESS MODELS: MAKING IT RAIN ON THE BLOCKCHAIN Founded a month before the market crashed in 2008, Airbnb has become a $25 billion platform, now the world’s largest supplier of rooms as measured by market value and rooms occupied. But the providers of rooms receive only part of the value they create. International payments go through Western Union, which takes $10 of every transaction and big foreign exchange off the top. Settlements take a long time. Airbnb stores and monetizes all the data. Both renters and customers alike have concerns about privacy. We brainstormed with blockchain expert Dino Mark Angaritis to design an Airbnb competitor on the blockchain. We decided to call our new business bAirbnb. It would look more like a member-owned cooperative. All revenues, except for overhead, would go to its members, who would control the platform and make decisions.

All revenues, except for overhead, would go to its members, who would control the platform and make decisions. BAIRBNB VERSUS AIRBNB bAirbnb is a distributed application (DApp), a set of smart contracts that stores data on a home-listings blockchain. The bAirbnb app has an elegant interface: owners can upload information and pictures of their property.1 The platform maintains reputation scores of both providers and renters to improve everyone’s business decisions. When you want to rent, the bAirbnb software scans and filters the blockchain for all the listings that meet your criteria (e.g., ten miles from the Eiffel Tower, two bedrooms, four-plus star ratings only). Your user experience is identical to that in Airbnb, except that you communicate peer to peer on the network, through encrypted and cryptographically signed messages not stored in Airbnb’s database.2 You and the room owner are the only two people who can read these messages.

An open world where everyone can contribute to our technology infrastructure, rather than a world of walled gardens where big companies offer proprietary apps. A world where billions of excluded people can now participate in the global economy and share in its largesse. Here’s a preview. Creating a True Peer-to-Peer Sharing Economy Pundits often refer to Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, and others as platforms for the “sharing economy.” It’s a nice notion—that peers create and share in value. But these businesses have little to do with sharing. In fact, they are successful precisely because they do not share—they aggregate. It is an aggregating economy. Uber is a $65 billion corporation that aggregates driving services. Airbnb, the $25 billion Silicon Valley darling, aggregates vacant rooms. Others aggregate equipment and handymen through their centralized, proprietary platforms and then resell them. In the process, they collect data for commercial exploitation.


pages: 288 words: 66,996

Travel While You Work: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Business From Anywhere by Mish Slade

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, business process, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Hangouts, Inbox Zero, job automation, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Lyft, remote working, side project, Skype, speech recognition, turn-by-turn navigation, uber lyft

Your new apartment Almost all the time, Rob and I will book accommodation in advance through Airbnb. In certain regions (like South East Asia and South America), many people choose to book a hostel for a couple of nights and go out looking for serviced apartments when they arrive – which is possible because those types of apartment are plentiful and cheap there. While this method is less compatible with getting down to work, it's a viable option and might be worth considering. Whichever method you choose, make sure you know which amenities and features to look out for before you say yes to any apartment! For a detailed explanation of everything you want from an apartment (before you book it), register your purchase of this book at www.worktravel.co. If you've booked a place in advance (e.g. using Airbnb), here are some extra things you can figure out before you arrive, to save time and hassle once you get there: Ask the host about connecting to the wifi: will they be sending you the network and password in advance, or will it be written down somewhere when you arrive?

I might be on a teaching tour for telecommunications to any part of the world, or I might be staying in one location creating a circus show or training in something new and interesting. I do travel for the sake of it and make sure I have trips that I take just for the hell of it and work from wherever I am. I have a base near the circus school in Glasgow, but make sure that I spend time working with other schools around the world – recently in NYC and Brazil. Most of my travel is solo and could be in a hotel, Airbnb (www.worktravel.co/airbnb) or staying with a network of friends. I would normally spend around 50% of my time outside the UK Did you do the same work before you became a digital nomad? I did with regards to telecommunications, but I slowly moved from being office-based in London to being remotely based in Scotland, to now being based wherever I like. The circus school work developed in parallel and was set up to work in a way that ensured that I could still remain nomadic.

There's a Mac App called World Clock (www.worktravel.co/worldclock), which is useful for checking the times back home (or around the world) for meetings etc. Shameless plug: my app World Time Widget (www.worktravel.co/timewidget) does the same thing on iPhone. Having a local SIM makes life so much easier. [See Chapter 1: Settle In Fast for more information about buying a local SIM.] Airbnb (www.worktravel.co/airbnb) can be good for finding accommodation. Blake Boles: Adventure company owner Can you provide a bit of information about what you do and how you got into it? My company, Unschool Adventures (www.unschooladventures.com), leads international trips and U.S.-based educational programs for self-directed young adults. In a nutshell, I lead groups of ~10 teenagers (ages 14-19) on 4- to 6-week-long international trips that are focused on exploration, cultural immersion, and learning to become an independent traveler (recent destinations include Argentina, New Zealand and Nepal).


pages: 290 words: 72,046

5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich With Purpose by Nik Halik, Garrett B. Gunderson

Airbnb, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, business process, clean water, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, Ethereum, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial independence, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Home mortgage interest deduction, Isaac Newton, litecoin, Lyft, market fundamentalism, microcredit, minimum viable product, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Nelson Mandela, passive income, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, side project, Skype, TaskRabbit, traveling salesman, uber lyft

Here are just a few examples of ways you can use the sharing economy to boost your income: Airbnb Airbnb, VRBO, and other companies allow you to rent a room or your whole home to travelers, thus earning supplemental income with existing assets. In just over seven years, Airbnb has become a multibillion dollar company with more than two million listings across 190-plus countries. There are many things to consider before starting an Airbnb service, including municipal laws (many cities don’t allow it); competing rates in your area; and the costs of hosting, such as cleaning, higher utility bills, taxes, and Airbnb’s payment processing fee (6 to 12 percent). Your listing will be displayed on Airbnb’s website, and you can also cross-promote it using any free social media platforms or your own website. Airbnb arbitrage is the process of renting out a property that you do not own but rent for yourself.

An arbitrage opportunity exists where you generate more money renting out the property on Airbnb than it costs you to rent from the landlord, providing you free rental status. If you want to rent on Airbnb, but have a landlord, approach him or her and get permission to rent out the space. Offer your landlord something on the income side, perhaps a flat rate or a percentage of all Airbnb earnings on the property. One of Garrett’s clients, Demi, was a single mom and yoga instructor. She heard about Airbnb and started renting out two bedrooms in her personal residence. She generated enough cash flow from those bedrooms that she was able to buy another home, move out, and then rent out the whole house. She now earns between $1,000 and $1,800 a month from her Airbnb property. Uber/Lyft You can earn money on your schedule.

See sharing economy accountability, and healthy inner circle action active income, Active/Passive Income Scale and cash flow and entrepreneurship and freedom and Growth investments and income growth and investment resources and Momentum investments Passive Income Score Sheet and passive vs. active income streams as trap using to fund lifestyle and wealth creation step See also income; passive income Active Income Ratio (AIR) Active/Passive Income Scale administrative fees adventure advertising, and materialism advertising revenues, as entrepreneurial opportunity Airbnb, as entrepreneurial opportunity The Alaska Life (blog) Alexander the Great AliExpress.com alkaline water, and energy amplification amateurism, and purpose Amazon American Psychological Association AnnualCreditReport.com arbitrage opportunities, and Airbnb artificial intelligence Ashe, Arthur auctions.godaddy.com auto insurance, as protective expense automobile expenses, as tax deduction B Bailie, Gil Bank Strategy Bannister, Roger Berkshire Hathaway Berry, Bertice Bitcoin Bittrex.com body energy boom/bust cycles boredom Bradbury breaks, and energy amplification Buffett, Warren business ownership, and economic cycles vs. self-employment business ownership (not managing), and Active/Passive Scale business ownership (working and managing), and Active/Passive Scale business startups, as Momentum investment opportunities buzzsumo.com C Calls to Action, Passive Income Ratio when to begin using Your 5 Day Weekend Plan Contract Your Debt Free Plan Your Entrepreneurial Income Plan Your Freedom Lifestyle Plan Your Investing Plan Your Power Up!


pages: 270 words: 79,180

The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit by Marina Krakovsky

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, Joan Didion, Kenneth Arrow, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social graph, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, ultimatum game, Y Combinator

With its feedback system and fraud department, eBay serves as a pretty powerful watchdog in protecting buyers from unscrupulous and incompetent sellers—and in eliciting the very best behavior from good sellers such as Ann Whitley Wood.28 Craigslist provides a lot of value as a Bridge, but it does very little in the way of policing the trading activity it facilitates, a shortcoming that’s opened up entrepreneurial opportunities for the hundreds of specialized start-ups that do a better job of ensuring honest buyer and seller behavior in a particular niche (on top of better user interfaces with more specialized search tools). Perhaps the best-known of these “spawn of Craigslist”29 is Airbnb: you can rent (or rent out) a room through Craigslist, but how comfortable would you be dealing with a stranger directly?30 In his book Game-Changer, David McAdams contrasts Airbnb, an effective Enforcer, with a rival company, HomeAway (which runs the site VRBO.com, Vacation Rental By Owner). Unlike Airbnb, HomeAway allows property owners to get away with deceptive descriptions of their rentals31—in part because, unlike Airbnb, it allows individual owners to opt out of reviews.32 Now, you might be saying that VRBO is not trying to be an Enforcer. In fact, VRBO might that say it’s right there in the name: “By Owner,” not by agency.

The number rises to $10,000 for Gold, $25,000 for Platinum, and an astounding $150,000 per month for Titanium. 17.You must also get consistently high feedback scores from your buyers: fall anywhere below 98 percent positive feedback, and you lose your PowerSeller status. 18.Interview with Ann Whitley Wood, September 24, 2013. 19.Along the same lines, a recent article pointed out that large players also dominate the Prosper Marketplace (where two-thirds of the lenders are hedge funds and other large institutions) and that nearly half of the hosts on Airbnb had at least three listings on the site, suggesting these hosts weren’t just renting out a spare bedroom. See William Alden, “The Business Tycoons of Airbnb,” New York Times Magazine, November 25, 2014. 20.Paul Resnick, Richard Zeckhauser, John Swanson, and Kate Lockwood, “The Value of Reputation on eBay: A Controlled Experiment,” Experimental Economics 9, no. 2 (2006): 79–101. 21.Nira Yacouel and Aliza Fleischer, “The Role of Cybermediaries in Reputation Building and Price Premiums in the Online Hotel Market,” Journal of Travel Research 51, no. 2 (2012): 219–26. 22.Michael Anderson and Jeremy Magruder, “Learning from the Crowd: Regression Discontinuity Estimates of the Effects of an Online Review Database,” The Economic Journal 122, no. 563 (September 2012): 957–89. 23.Michael Luca, “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com,” Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 12–016. 24.Carl Shapiro, “Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputation,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics (November 1983): 659–79. 25.Investing in a storefront is one of several ways sellers can elicit trust among buyers.

Quality: Exclusion by Platforms with Network Effects,” Harvard Business School Working Paper, 11–125. 11.Julia Angwin, “Putting Your Best Faces Forward,” Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2009. 12.Note the difference between pseudonymity and anonymity; by giving users the opportunity to establish a track record under a given pseudonym, a system that allows pseudonyms combines the best features of anonymity with the best features of real names. For a discussion of some of the economics of pseudonyms, see Eric J. Friedman and Paul Resnick, “The Social Cost of Cheap Pseudonyms,” Journal of Economics and Management Strategy 10, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 173–99. 13.Airbnb does something similar. See Itay Fainmesser, “Exclusive Intermediation,” SSRN Working Paper, March 17, 2014. 14.Julie Weed, “For Uber, Airbnb and Other Companies, Customer Ratings Go Both Ways,” New York Times, December 1, 2014. 15.Gary Bolton, Ben Greiner, and Axel Ockenfels, “Engineering Trust: Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information,” Management Science 59, no. 2: 265–85. 16.For example, compare TripAdvisor (which enables anyone to post a review) with Expedia (where only customers can post a review): although someone can post a fake review on either site, it is much more costly to do so on Expedia.


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The Four: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Divided and Conquered the World by Scott Galloway

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, California gold rush, cloud computing, commoditize, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, follow your passion, future of journalism, future of work, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Khan Academy, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, passive income, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, undersea cable, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, working poor, young professional

Uber’s cash hoard gives them the ability to ramp up a city, as can other ride-hailing firms with sufficient capital. However, Airbnb needed to achieve a critical mass of supply in one city and demand (awareness) in many others—people visit Amsterdam from all over the world. There is competition for Uber in every major city, as a firm only needs to establish liquidity in one market. Airbnb needed, and reached, scale on a continental and then global level. Airbnb’s and Uber’s valuations (at time of this writing) are $25 billion and $70 billion, respectively. However, I believe Airbnb will surpass Uber’s value by the end of 2018, and Uber will register the mother of all write-downs as word spreads regarding their lack of product differentiation and regional competitors take an awful income statement ($3 billion in losses on $5 billion in revenues in 2016) and make it worse. Airbnb is the most likely “sharing” unicorn to become the Fifth Horseman.

In sum, LinkedIn is the Bruce Jenner of this analysis: a great athlete who did a lot of things well . . . after all, Bruce won an Olympic gold medal for the decathlon, and was on the box of the Wheaties I ate in elementary school (sorry, Caitlyn, you’ll always be Bruce to me). But Jenner was never a gold medalist in any of those individual sports. He was, to use an old phrase, “A Jack (now Jill) of all trades, but master of none.” Airbnb It would be tempting to say Airbnb is the Uber for hotels, and move to the next candidate. However, there are stark differences that illuminate Airbnb’s competitive strength, relative to Uber, and how the T Algorithm can be used to influence strategy and capital allocation. While they both are global and enjoy access to cheap capital, their product has substantially different variance. NYU Stern Professor of Management Sonia Marciano (clearest blue-flame thinker in strategy today) believes the key to establishing advantage is finding points of differentiation where there is large, real or perceived, variance.

This has likely been the case for a while, but Uber’s CEO frat rock (that is, shit for brains) behavior has prompted people to discover on their own that Lyft is the same thing. The Airbnb platform takes on greater importance as an arbiter of trust, as there is greater variance in the product—a houseboat in Marin vs. a townhouse in South Kensington. United Airlines has more differentiation than Uber right now, as they can drag someone off a plane (due to their fuck-up), but if you need to get from San Francisco to Denver (United hubs), you’re going to forgive, because that United flight is highly differentiated (only choice). In addition, Airbnb has another moat regarding product. Specifically, the liquidity of their product. Liquidity translates to having enough suppliers and customers who can be matched to make the service viable. Both have achieved this. However, the liquidity Airbnb has garnered is more impressive and harder to replicate.


pages: 602 words: 177,874

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Bob Noyce, business cycle, business process, call centre, centre right, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, demand response, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Flash crash, game design, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land tenure, linear programming, Live Aid, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, pattern recognition, planetary scale, pull request, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, Transnistria, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban decay, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Once those pieces were in place and scaled a few years after 2007, Airbnb just took off, not only because all that complexity—someone in Minnesota renting a yurt from someone in Mongolia—could be reduced to one touch, but also because it could be done in a way that parties totally trusted. In fact, the most interesting thing Chesky and his fellow Airbnb makers made was one of the most complex things to make at scale: trust. Airbnb’s founders understood that the world was becoming interdependent—meaning the technology was there to connect any renter to any tourist or traveling businessperson anywhere on the planet. And if someone created the trust platform to bring them together, huge value could be created for all parties. That was Airbnb’s real innovation—a platform of trust—where everyone could not only see everyone else’s identity but also rate them as good, bad, or indifferent hosts or guests.

The idea was to create a global network through which anyone anywhere could rent a spare room in their home to earn cash. In homage to its roots, they called the company Airbnb, which has grown so large that it is now bigger than all the major hotel chains combined—even though, unlike Hilton and Marriott, it doesn’t own a single bed. And the new trend it set off is the “sharing economy.” When I first heard Chesky describe his company, I confess to being a little dubious: I mean, how many people in Paris really want to rent out their kid’s bedroom down the hall to a perfect stranger—who comes to them via the Internet? And how many strangers want to be down the hall? Answer: a lot! By 2016, there were sixty-eight thousand commercial hotel rooms in Paris and more than eighty thousand Airbnb listings. Today, if you go to the Airbnb website you can choose to stay in one of hundreds of castles, dozens of yurts, caves, tepees with TVs in them, water towers, motor homes, private islands, glass houses, lighthouses, igloos with Wi-Fi, and tree houses—hundreds of tree houses—which are the most profitable listings on the Airbnb site per square foot.

Today, if you go to the Airbnb website you can choose to stay in one of hundreds of castles, dozens of yurts, caves, tepees with TVs in them, water towers, motor homes, private islands, glass houses, lighthouses, igloos with Wi-Fi, and tree houses—hundreds of tree houses—which are the most profitable listings on the Airbnb site per square foot. “The tree house in Lincoln, Vermont, is more valuable than the main house,” said Chesky. “We have tree houses in Vermont that have had six-month waiting lists. People plan their vacations around tree house availability!” Indeed, the top three all-time popular Airbnb listings are tree houses—two of which made the owners enough money to pay off their actual home mortgages. Prince Hans-Adam II offered his entire principality of Liechtenstein for rent on Airbnb (seventy thousand dollars a night), “complete with customized street signs and temporary currency,” The Guardian reported on April 15, 2011. You can sleep in the homes that Jim Morrison of the Doors once owned or take your pick of Frank Lloyd Wright houses or even squeeze into a one-square-meter house in Berlin that goes for thirteen dollars a night.


pages: 374 words: 89,725

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger

Airbnb, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, clean water, disruptive innovation, fear of failure, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Thomas L Friedman, Toyota Production System, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Zipcar

They wondered, What if we take this idea on the road and test it in another city? With the 2008 Democratic presidential convention in Denver, they found the perfect place to launch—lots of people coming into town, not enough hotels. But how would those visitors, and the people with space to rent, learn about Airbnb? Gebbia and Chesky couldn’t afford ads; so they had to make news. The founders knew that the news channels would be doing stories about how crowded and overbooked Denver was. They pitched Airbnb as a “solution story” to news producers and ended up on CNN. The bookings came in and the Denver launch was a success. But Gebbia says they kept questioning, kept iterating and refining the model for another year before they felt they had it right. They used the site themselves, stayed in rentals, and asked, What’s working here and what’s not?

Why do we do things the way we do them? How many squares do you see? Why can’t computers do more than compute? (the question that helped “invent the Internet”) Why should you be stuck without a bed if I’ve got an extra air mattress? (Airbnb’s formative question) Why can’t we find a place for out-of-towners to crash for a night or two? What if we provide more than just a mattress to sleep on? What if we could create this same experience in every major city? What if we take this idea on the road, and test it in another city? How would those visitors, and the people with space to rent, learn about Airbnb? What if you could pay online? Why are we limiting this to the US? What if we go global? Why should we, as a society, continue to buy things we really don’t need to own? What if we spent the next hundred years sharing more of our stuff?

The changes are fueled by the questions being asked—but those changes, in turn, fuel more questions. That’s because with each new advance, Thrun said, one must pause to ask, Now that we know what we now know, what’s possible now? In some sense, innovation means trying to find and formulate new questions that can, over time, be answered. Those questions, once identified, often become the basis for starting a new venture. Indeed, the rise of a number of today’s top tech firms—Foursquare, Airbnb, Pandora Internet Radio—can be traced to a Why doesn’t somebody or What if we were to question, in some cases inspired by the founder’s personal experience. One such example, which has become a modern classic business story, is the origin of the Netflix video-rental service. The man who would go on to start the company, Reed Hastings, was reacting to one20 of those frustrating everyday experiences we’ve all had.


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Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans, Richard Schmalensee

Airbnb, Alvin Roth, big-box store, business process, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, if you build it, they will come, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Lyft, M-Pesa, market friction, market microstructure, mobile money, multi-sided market, Network effects, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Victor Gruen, winner-take-all economy

They’ll list those rooms and their prices on Airbnb, and runners can search for a place that fits their needs and their budgets. As of November 30, 2015, more than a thousand places were already listed for the 2016 marathon. With Airbnb, runners will have more choices for more convenient places to stay than ever before, and many people in Boston will have some extra income. Airbnb is one of the leaders in what’s known as the “sharing economy.” That’s one of the most popular business buzzwords of 2015. A Google search of that phrase yields more than 30 million hits. According to Google trends, there weren’t any news headlines with “sharing economy” in them before February 2010. There were a hundred in November 2015, more than twice as many as in September 2014. What’s novel and what isn’t here though? Airbnb and other companies that are part of the “sharing economy” are multisided platforms.

Fizzle or Sizzle Part III Creation, Destruction, and Transformation 11. Moving Money 12. Gone Missing 13. Slower and Faster Than You Think Glossary Notes Index Acknowledgments About the Authors Introduction MANY OF THE BIGGEST COMPANIES IN THE WORLD, INCLUDing Alibaba, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, News Corp., Rakuten, Tencent, and Visa, are matchmakers. So are many of the most exciting and valuable start-ups, such as Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, Didi Kuaidi, Flipkart, Lending Club, Pinterest, Spotify, and Uber. What these businesses have in common is that they all connect members of one group, like people looking for a ride, with another group, like drivers looking for passengers. Matchmakers are very different from the businesses that have been the staple of college economics classrooms and MBA lectures for decades. They operate under a different set of economic rules.

Now we call these businesses multisided platforms.2 Don’t let the economists’ unsexy name fool you.3 Multisided platforms are anything but boring. Some even facilitate mating. Multisided platforms can create great value for society and fortunes for their entrepreneurs and investors. Three of the five most valuable companies in the world in 2015—Apple, Google, and Microsoft—use this business model.4 So do seven of the ten start-ups with the highest market values—including Uber and Airbnb.5 Let’s get one thing clear, though, before you invest more time in learning about multisided platforms from us. This isn’t a gee-whiz “use the [fill in the buzzword] strategy and you’ll make a billion, impress your boyfriend or your mom, and retire by the age of thirty-five” book. We aren’t going to tell you that the matchmaker strategy, which did make Bill Gates the richest person on earth, will work for you.


pages: 567 words: 122,311

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz

Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, constrained optimization, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, frictionless market, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, inventory management, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, platform as a service, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, sentiment analysis, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social software, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, telemarketer, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, web application, Y Combinator

Hopefully, as a result, you’ll see the derailment in time to avoid it. We want you to rely less on your reality distortion field, and rely more on Lean Analytics. Airbnb Photography—Growth Within Growth Airbnb is an incredible success story. In just a few years, the company has become a powerhouse in the travel industry, providing travelers with an alternative to hotels, and providing individuals who have rooms, apartments, or homes to rent with a new source of income. In 2012, travelers booked over 5 million nights with Airbnb’s service. But it started small, and its founders—adherents to the Lean Startup mindset—took a very methodical approach to their success. At SXSW 2012, Joe Zadeh, Product Lead at Airbnb, shared part of the company’s amazing story. He focused on one aspect of its business: professional photography. It started with a hypothesis: “Hosts with professional photography will get more business.

A concierge approach in which you run things behind the scenes for the first few customers lets you check whether the need is real; it also helps you understand which things people really use and refine your process before writing a line of code or hiring a single employee. Initial tests of Airbnb’s MVP showed that professionally photographed listings got two to three times more bookings than the market average. This validated the founders’ first hypothesis. And it turned out that hosts were wildly enthusiastic about receiving an offer from Airbnb to take those photographs for them. In mid-to-late 2011, Airbnb had 20 photographers in the field taking pictures for hosts—roughly the same time period where we see the proverbial “hockey stick” of growth in terms of nights booked, shown in Figure 1-1. Figure 1-1. It’s amazing what you can do with 20 photographers and people’s apartments Airbnb experimented further. It watermarked photos to add authenticity. It got customer service to offer professional photography as a service when renters or potential renters called in.

It got customer service to offer professional photography as a service when renters or potential renters called in. It increased the requirements on photo quality. Each step of the way, the company measured the results and adjusted as necessary. The key metric Airbnb tracked was shoots per month, because it had already proven with its Concierge MVP that more professional photographs meant more bookings. By February 2012, Airbnb was doing nearly 5,000 shoots per month and continuing to accelerate the growth of the professional photography program. Summary Airbnb’s team had a hunch that better photos would increase rentals. They tested the idea with a Concierge MVP, putting the least effort possible into a test that would give them valid results. When the experiment showed good results, they built the necessary components and rolled it out to all customers.


pages: 116 words: 31,356

Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, future of work, gig economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mittelstand, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, platform as a service, quantitative easing, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, total factor productivity, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unconventional monetary instruments, unorthodox policies, Zipcar

Whereas the previous platforms have all developed business models that generate profits in some way, today’s lean platforms have returned to the ‘growth before profit’ model of the 1990s. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have rapidly become household names and have come to epitomise this revived business model. These platforms range from specialised firms for a variety of services (cleaning, house calls from physicians, grocery shopping, plumbing, and so on) to more general marketplaces like TaskRabbit and Mechanical Turk, which provide a variety of services. All of them, however, attempt to establish themselves as the platform upon which users, customers, and workers can meet. Why are they ‘lean’ platforms? The answer lies in an oft-quoted observation: ‘Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles […] and Airbnb, the largest accommodation provider, owns no property.’57 It would seem that these are asset-less companies; we might call them virtual platforms.58 Yet the key is that they do own the most important asset: the platform of software and data analytics.

Whereas firms once had to spend large amounts to invest in the computing equipment and expertise needed for their businesses, today’s start-ups have flourished because they can simply rent hardware and software from the cloud. As a result, Airbnb, Slack, Uber, and many other start-ups use AWS.79 Uber further relies on Google for mapping, Twilio for texting, SendGrid for emailing, and Braintree for payments: it is a lean platform built on other platforms. These companies have also offloaded costs from their balance sheets and shifted them to their workers: things like investment costs (accommodations for Airbnb, vehicles for Uber and Lyft), maintenance costs, insurance costs, and depreciation costs. Firms such as Instacart (which delivers groceries) have also outsourced delivery costs to food suppliers (e.g. Pepsi) and to retailers (e.g.

This chapter argues that the new business model that eventually emerged is a powerful new type of firm: the platform.10 Often arising out of internal needs to handle data, platforms became an efficient way to monopolise, extract, analyse, and use the increasingly large amounts of data that were being recorded. Now this model has come to expand across the economy, as numerous companies incorporate platforms: powerful technology companies (Google, Facebook, and Amazon), dynamic start-ups (Uber, Airbnb), industrial leaders (GE, Siemens), and agricultural powerhouses (John Deere, Monsanto), to name just a few. What are platforms?11 At the most general level, platforms are digital infrastructures that enable two or more groups to interact.12 They therefore position themselves as intermediaries that bring together different users: customers, advertisers, service providers, producers, suppliers, and even physical objects.13 More often than not, these platforms also come with a series of tools that enable their users to build their own products, services, and marketplaces.14 Microsoft’s Windows operating system enables software developers to create applications for it and sell them to consumers; Apple’s App Store and its associated ecosystem (XCode and the iOS SDK) enable developers to build and sell new apps to users; Google’s search engine provides a platform for advertisers and content providers to target people searching for information; and Uber’s taxi app enables drivers and passengers to exchange rides for cash.


pages: 290 words: 119,172

Beginning Backbone.js by James Sugrue

Airbnb, continuous integration, don't repeat yourself, Firefox, Google Chrome, loose coupling, MVC pattern, node package manager, single page application, web application, Y Combinator

Let’s take a look at three of these companies and find out why they have chosen Backbone. You’ll find many more case studies listed at the official Backbone web site. 11 Chapter 1 ■ An Introduction to Backbone.js Airbnb Airbnb is one of Y Combinator’s greatest success stories, providing a collaborative sharing service for people to rent living space across 192 countries. Airbnb has used Backbone in a number of its products, from its mobile web application to web site features including wish lists and matching and in its own internal applications. An example of how Backbone is used in the mobile website can be seen in Figure 1-8. Figure 1-8. Backbone features extensively in Airbnb’s technology stack While initially Airbnb used Rails in the back end with Backbone on the client side, it has evolved the mobile application to now use Node.js on the server, which also includes Backbone.

This results in the ability to share application logic that is relevant on both sides, without the need to rewrite in different languages. You can find out more about Airbnb’s use of Backbone at its developer blog at http://nerds.airbnb.com/weve-launched-our-first-nodejs-app-to-product/. SoundCloud SoundCloud is a German-based music distribution platform with the ability to upload or listen to user-created content. The team initially used Backbone as the underpinning of its mobile web application but has since utilized it for the front end of its desktop web site too, an example of which can be seen in Figure 1-9. 12 Chapter 1 ■ An Introduction to Backbone.js Figure 1-9. SoundCloud desktop web site with player controls One of the reasons that the engineering team chose Backbone was that “it doesn’t prescribe too much about how it should be used.” Similar to Airbnb, SoundCloud decided to use Handlebars as the templating engine because of the ability to add custom helpers and the precompilation of the templates.

While this can help minimize the page load time, it can lead to delays when the user does actually request the information. If your application is built with server-side technologies, such as Grails, JSP, or .NET, it is possible that you could populate some of the initial models and collections with JSON data. This technique has become more popular, especially with Airbnb making its Rendr library available to all as an open source project on GitHub (https://github.com/airbnb/rendr). This project allows Backbone code to be rendered both on the client and on the server. More importantly, it makes it easy to pass the Backbone model content to your page when it is being rendered on the browser, allowing the server to perform the bulk of the network operations. Finally, you may decide to refactor the API calls that are made from the client to server side as a result of some performance analysis of your application.


pages: 400 words: 88,647

Frugal Innovation: How to Do Better With Less by Jaideep Prabhu Navi Radjou

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Computer Numeric Control, connected car, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, global supply chain, IKEA effect, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, reshoring, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, software as a service, standardized shipping container, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, women in the workforce, X Prize, yield management, Zipcar

Peer-to-peer sharing platforms It is now increasingly easy for individuals to share their assets, products and skills without the need for (or interference of) intermediaries. In Germany, home-owners can generate their own solar energy and sell any excess into the grid. Perhaps more dramatically, since its inception in 2008, Airbnb (a community marketplace for short-let rentals) has established a presence in 190 countries with over 600,000 listings. (Over half of Airbnb hosts rely on this market to pay their rent or mortgage.) Already the world’s fifth largest “hotel” chain (by number of beds), Airbnb is on its way to becoming the world’s largest short-stay accommodation business, without owning a single building. Similarly, Uber, a taxi service that connects users with drivers at the tap of a smartphone, has recently launched an extension called uberPOP in several European capitals. uberPOP is a peer-to-peer service that enables non-professional drivers to register their cars to transport individuals, thus earning extra income in their free time.

Similarly, why pay $400 for a night in a New York hotel when Airbnb will find you a couch to crash on in Manhattan (or 8,000 other cities the site covers) for $40? This grassroots shift from an ownership-based consumer economy to a sharing society is propelling the growth of a peer-to-peer economic model based on frugality that involves sharing, bartering, swapping, renting or trading. Collaborative consumers do not covet the latest and fanciest products; they prefer good-enough solutions that meet basic needs. Collaborative consumption, a concept popularised by Rachel Botsman in her book What’s Mine Is Yours, threatens to disrupt many industries. In 2013, more people used BlaBlaCar, a leading European car-sharing service, than travelled by the high-speed Eurostar train between London and Paris.8 Airbnb now rents more room nights annually than Hilton’s entire hotel chain does globally.

Through these multiple initiatives, AmEx is attempting to understand and solve a complex, multi-dimensional socio-economic problem. The unbanked and underbanked spend 10% of their $1 trillion disposable income on fees, the same amount as they spend on food. Schulman asks:13 “Imagine if you could turn loose almost $100 billion back into the economy?” Engage restless entrepreneurs, hackers and tinkerers Airbnb, an online short-let rental company, was launched in 2008 by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, two young people with no experience of the hotel industry. By 2014, Airbnb had become the fifth largest hotel chain in the world, filling more room nights than all the Hilton hotels put together (and Hilton began in 1919). Similarly, in 2006 Frédéric Mazzella and Nicolas Brusson founded BlaBlaCar which, by 2014, had emerged as Europe’s largest car-sharing firm. BlaBlaCar now transports over 1 million passengers a month, which is more than Eurostar, a high-speed railway service connecting London with Paris and Brussels.


pages: 340 words: 100,151

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It by Scott Kupor

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, carried interest, cloud computing, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, family office, fixed income, high net worth, index fund, information asymmetry, Lean Startup, low cost airline, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Myron Scholes, Network effects, Paul Graham, pets.com, price stability, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, Startup school, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, VA Linux, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

The more challenging aspects of market size estimation come from startups going after markets that do not exist currently or that are smaller markets today because they are constrained by the current state of technology. Take Airbnb. When Airbnb first raised money, the use case was predominantly people sleeping on other people’s couches. One could have asked the question of how many starving college students there were who would do such a thing, and have reasonably concluded—similar to the size of the mac and cheese and ramen markets, other products purchased by starving college students—that the market simply wasn’t that big. But what if the service expanded to other constituents over time? Maybe then the existing hotel market would be a good proxy for total market size. Okay, but what if the ease of booking reservations and the lower price points that Airbnb offered meant that people who never before traveled decided that they would now do so—what if in fact the market for travelers needing accommodations would expand as a result of the introduction of Airbnb?

His entire professional career effectively led him to the development of Nicira, which by the way was ultimately acquired by VMware for $1.25 billion. Perhaps the founder had a unique experience that exposed her to the market problem in a way that provided unique insights into the solution for the problem. The founders of Airbnb fit this bill. They were struggling to make ends meet living in San Francisco and noticed that all the hotels were sold out locally whenever there was a major convention in town. What if, they thought, we could rent out a sleeping spot in our apartment to conference attendees to help them save money on accommodations and help us meet our rent obligations? And thus was born Airbnb. Perhaps the founder has simply dedicated his life to the particular problem at hand. Orion Hindawi and his father, David, founded a company called BigFix in the late 1990s. BigFix was a security software company that focused on endpoint management—the process by which companies provided virtual security for their PCs, laptops, etc.

Okay, but what if the ease of booking reservations and the lower price points that Airbnb offered meant that people who never before traveled decided that they would now do so—what if in fact the market for travelers needing accommodations would expand as a result of the introduction of Airbnb? As it turns out, the success of Airbnb to date seems to suggest that the market size has indeed expanded, owing to the existence of a new form of travel accommodations that never previously existed. Fortunes can be won or lost based on a VC’s ability to understand market size and think creatively about the role of technology in developing new markets. CHAPTER 4 What Are LPs and Why Should You Care? There is a story that Queen Isabella of Spain was the first true VC. She “backed” an entrepreneur (Christopher Columbus) with capital (money, ships, supplies, crew) to do something that most people at the time thought was insane and certain to fail (a voyage) in exchange for a portion of the to-be-earned profits of the voyage that, while probabilistically unlikely, had an asymmetric payoff compared to her at-risk capital.


pages: 206 words: 60,587

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau

"side hustle", Airbnb, buy low sell high, inventory management, Lyft, passive income, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, Uber for X, uber lyft

• SIDE HUSTLE STARTER KITS: Brief guides to several popular hustles discussed in the book • HOW TO VALIDATE AN IDEA WITH $10 AND A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT: How to use Facebook ads to get immediate feedback • WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER: A template for learning more about your target market • BUY A RENTAL PROPERTY WITH A $1,575 DOWN PAYMENT: A quick primer from my go-to expert on real estate hustling • RESOURCES AND FREE STUFF: Various resources and referrals APPENDIX 1 Side Hustle Starter Kits PUT YOUR COUCH OR SPARE BEDROOM ON AIRBNB!*1 With more than one million listings, Airbnb has changed the way people travel all over the world. At the same time, it’s also opened up a gold mine of opportunities for side hustlers. If you have any kind of space where a stranger can sleep, you may be able to publish—and make money from—it on the site. Creative students have rented out their dorm rooms over semester break. Tenants have leased additional apartments and then sublet them every single night, pocketing the difference between what they earn in nightly fees and what they pay in monthly rent. Homeowners have built tiny cottages in their backyards to house guests. In short, you don’t need to be a real estate baron to profit from Airbnb. Here’s all you need to know to get started: BUSINESS MODEL: Rent your home (or part of your home) to a visitor.

WHY: A huge market of people are actively searching Airbnb listings every day, and the business is very easy to learn. AVERAGE STARTUP COST: Variable. EASE OF STARTUP: Low. LONG-TERM POTENTIAL: Medium. SKILLS REQUIRED: Customer service (quick response time matters). Having great photos of your rental space also makes a big difference in average rental rates, so if you’re not a photographer, recruit a friend to help create the initial listing. BENEFITS: A turnkey income source. Once it’s up and running, your entire responsibilities consist of responding to inquiries, welcoming guests, and dealing with any issues. DOWNSIDES: If something goes wrong, it’s up to you to fix it. WORKFLOW: 1. Set up your rental space (apartment, spare bedroom, campsite…). 2. Create an Airbnb account and make a basic listing. 3.

When Andrea Hajal moved to Texas from her native Spain, she gained true love but left behind her beloved pets. Her fiancé was from the United States, and after traveling together for a couple years, they decided to marry and settle down in Austin. Andrea enjoyed her work as a nutritionist, but her real love was animals, especially dogs. One day while she and her fiancé were staying in a rental apartment on a trip to Canada, she had an idea: “What if there was something like Airbnb, but for dogs? You know, so their owners could travel and leave the dogs somewhere better than a kennel?” A year later, she stumbled on Rover.com—a service that did exactly what she’d described, essentially providing a platform where animal-loving hosts could rent their spare doggie bed out to canine guests. Andrea eagerly created a profile, advertising her home as a welcoming place for dogs of all breeds.


pages: 161 words: 44,488

The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology by William Mougayar

Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, business process, centralized clearinghouse, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, fiat currency, fixed income, global value chain, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, market clearing, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, prediction markets, pull request, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, sharing economy, smart contracts, social web, software as a service, too big to fail, Turing complete, web application

Transparency asks the question: can we see it? Truth asks: can we verify it? HOW AIRBNB DESIGNED TRUST FOR STRANGERS What does Airbnb have to do with blockchain-based trust? A lot. There is a lesson from Airbnb, which has mastered the art of allowing strangers to sleep in your house without fear. At the onset, matching two strangers with each other and facilitating a transaction to completion is very similar to a blockchain facilitating peer-to-peer interaction between two (or more) parties that do not know each other. What is common to both situations is what lubricates the transaction and allows it to happen in an orderly and trustworthy manner. That common element is about sharing identity and reputation details. In the case of Airbnb, guests share a lot of information about themselves—a key step that helps the host in gaining confidence about trusting them.

On the blockchain, identity and reputation are the primary entry-level factors that effectively lock the peer-to-peer transaction in place. Says Joe Gebbia, Airbnb co-founder, “It turns out, a well-designed reputation system is key for building trust. We also learned that building the right amount of trust takes the right amount of disclosure.” Whereas Airbnb has designed for the human element of trust, the blockchain was designed for a parallel element of transactional trust, where the human is also part of it, but behind the scenes, and that human is represented on the blockchain via their identity and reputation status. Eventually, Airbnb could also apply a user’s blockchain identity and reputation to complement their current reputation and identification process. Why reinvent something if the blockchain provides a solid alternative that is portable to other services?

Introduction to Blockchain Applications The Blockchain’s Narrative is Strong A Meta Technology Software, Game Theory and Cryptography The Database vs. The Ledger Looking Back So We Can Look Forward Unpacking the Blockchain State Transitions and State Machines— What Are They? The Consensus Algorithms Key Ideas from Chapter One Notes 2: How Blockchain Trust Infiltrates A New Trust Layer Decentralization of Trust—What Does it Mean? How Airbnb Designed Trust for Strangers A Spectrum of Trust Services Based on Proofs The Blockchain Landscape Benefits and Indirect Benefits Explaining Some Basic Functions What Does a Trusted Blockchain Enable? Identity Ownerships & Representation Decentralized Data Security Anonymity & Untraceable Communication Blockchain as Cloud Getting to Millions of Blockchains Key Ideas from Chapter Two Notes 3: Obstacles, Challenges, & Mental Blocks Attacking the Blockchain with a Framework Approach Technical Challenges Market/Business Challenges Legal /Regulatory Barriers Behavioral/Educational Challenges Key Ideas from Chapter Three Notes 4: Blockchain in Financial Services Attacked by the Internet and Fintech Why Can't There be a Global Bank?


pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Danielle Sacks, “The Sharing Economy,” Fast Company, May 2011, http://www.fastcompany .com/1747551/sharing-economy (accessed November 12, 2013). 30. Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption (New York: HarperCollins, 2010), xv–xvi. 31. Bruce Upbin, “Airbnb Could Have More Rooms than Hilton by 2012,” Forbes, June 29, 2011, http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/06/29/airbnb-could-have-more-rooms-than-hil ton-by-2012/ (accessed June 18, 2013). 32. “Airbnb at a Glance,” https://www.airbnb.com/about (accessed June 18, 2013). 33. “Airbnb Global Growth,” https://www.airbnb.com/global-growth (accessed June 18, 2013). 34. Andrew Cave, “Airbnb Plans to Be World’s Largest Hotelier,” Telegraph, November 16, 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/leisure/10454879/Air bnb-plans-to-be-worlds-larget-hotelier.html (accessed November 26, 2013). 35.

These systems provide significant environmental benefits by increasing use efficiency, reducing waste, encouraging the development of better products, and mopping up the surplus created by over-production and -consumption.30 Sharing Everything Much of what we own goes unused some of the time. Sharing spare rooms or even couches has become a big-ticket item among enthusiasts. Airbnb and HomeAway are among the many start-ups that are connecting millions of people who have homes to rent with prospective users. Airbnb, which went online in 2008, boasted 110,000 available rooms listed on its site just three years later and was expanding its available listings by an astounding 1,000 rooms every day.31 To date, 3 million Airbnb guests booked 10 million nights in 33,000 cities, spanning 192 countries.32 In 2012 bookings were growing at a blistering pace of 500 percent a year, an exponential curve that would bring envy, if not terror, to any global hotel chain.33 Airbnb is expected to pass the venerable Hilton and InterContinental hotel chains—the world’s largest hotel operations—in 2014 by filling up more rooms per night across the globe.34 Like other shareable brokers, Airbnb gets only a small cut from the renter and owner for bringing them together.

Airbnb, which went online in 2008, boasted 110,000 available rooms listed on its site just three years later and was expanding its available listings by an astounding 1,000 rooms every day.31 To date, 3 million Airbnb guests booked 10 million nights in 33,000 cities, spanning 192 countries.32 In 2012 bookings were growing at a blistering pace of 500 percent a year, an exponential curve that would bring envy, if not terror, to any global hotel chain.33 Airbnb is expected to pass the venerable Hilton and InterContinental hotel chains—the world’s largest hotel operations—in 2014 by filling up more rooms per night across the globe.34 Like other shareable brokers, Airbnb gets only a small cut from the renter and owner for bringing them together. It can charge such low fees because it has very low fixed costs and each additional rental brokered approaches near zero marginal cost. Like all the new sharable sites, the lateral scaling potential on the Internet is so dramatic that start-ups like Airbnb can take off, catch up to, and even surpass the older, global hotel chains in just a few short years. Airbnb is a private firm operating in a shared Internet Commons. Couchsurfing, Airbnb’s major competition, is of a different mold. It started as a nonprofit organization and remained so until 2011. During that time, it picked up 5.5 million members in 97,000 cities in 207 countries.35 (Although it switched nominally to a profit-making operation in 2012, it continues as a free service, but users can pay a one-time $25 membership fee if they so choose.)36 Its members provide free lodging to each other.


pages: 168 words: 50,647

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson

"side hustle", Airbnb, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

The sharing economy version of that is a company called AirBnB, which allows homeowners to post their rooms online so people coming to visit can stay in them. It’s often less expensive than a hotel and many people like getting to know a city as a resident instead of as a tourist. Let’s say Julian has a house that he owns in Dallas, Texas. He usually has one spare bedroom, so he lists it on AirBnB as available. He has filled a market need that ten years ago would have only been available to someone with millions of dollars that could build a hotel. A market opportunity that would have been available to a few thousand people that could afford to build a hotel is now available to a few million people that may have a spare bedroom. There are not many more houses now in the U.S. than there were 5 years ago, but AirBnB has created more inventory (extra rooms to stay in) without creating more supply (building hotels).

If he had to pay a sales or customer service person to explain it repeatedly, his business wouldn’t have been profitable. The Long Tail revealed that niche and Andrew took advantage of it.33 How New Markets Create New Markets As the world economy continues to grow, new markets are created then fracture, creating even more new markets. AirBnB was built on the back of Craigslist. Because people would post their rooms for rent on Craigslist, AirBnB would copy over their new listings to Craigslist. People would find out about AirBnB if they were searching for rooms on Craigslist. They took one section of a bigger marketplace—short term housing on Craigslist—and built a company around it. Just like Jake and Andrew, they were able to serve that “small” market better than Craigslist. It’s not just major tech companies either. Let’s use Eventbrite as an example of a bigger marketplace.

There are not many more houses now in the U.S. than there were 5 years ago, but AirBnB has created more inventory (extra rooms to stay in) without creating more supply (building hotels). Uber and Lyft have done for the taxi industry what AirBnB has done for the hotel industry—anyone with a car can become a taxi driver by signing up online to drive for the service. In the past it was difficult and expensive to become a taxi driver. Some cities require drivers to invest tens of thousands of dollars to buy a medallion just to drive a taxi. Uber and Lyft now let anyone do the work by instead going through a background check. A lot of people use this as supplemental income when making a job transition. They don’t have to invest thousands of dollars—they can just sign up on the website and make a few thousand bucks a month between jobs. Others like Digital Ocean, a hosting company, have done the same thing with digital real estate by enabling cloud based development.


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The People vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, off grid, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, ultimatum game, universal basic income, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

Frankin Foer, World Without Mind (Jonathan Cape, 2017) p.191. 11 Foer, World Without Mind, p. 114 12 You find the petition on the www.change.org web page under ‘Save Your Uber’. 13 The Uber Privacy Policy is available on their website. https://privacy.uber.com/policy 14 This website is archived at www.web.archive.org. Search for www.google.com, and search for the date 18 January 2012. 15 Biz Carson, ‘Airbnb just pulled out a clever trick to fight a proposed law in San Francisco’, www.uk.businessinsider.com, 7 October 2015. Shane Hickey and Franki Cookney, ‘Airbnb faces worldwide opposition. It plans a movement to rise up in its defence’, Observer, 29 October 2016. Heather Kelly, ‘Airbnb wants to turn hosts into “grassroots” activists’, www.cnn.com, 4 November 2015. 16 Since 2015, Facebook has been the biggest driver of traffic to media sites. Some publishers – especially smaller, local ones – stake everything on Facebook, and then disappear if it changes its algorithms.

It’s impossible to ignore the buzz, the thrill, and the enterprise of the place. Alongside it, though, is another world, inhabited by the people who are left behind in the mad rush towards progress: the ignored women in tech start-ups who complain about misogyny, the Uber drivers who can only afford to live 70 miles away and have to work on zero-hour contracts, the long-time residents who are turfed out so their landlords can rent out their homes on Airbnb. It’s a place where minorities struggle on low-wage service jobs, serving the largely white affluent tech workers. The median house value in both San Francisco and Silicon Valley is now around a million dollars, and the average rent is over three thousand per month for a two-bedroom flat: beyond the reach of almost anyone but tech workers. (The average salary in San Francisco is $46,000, and less if you don’t work for Facebook, Google, etc.)

In 2017 I interviewed Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, the most important fund in Silicon Valley for tech start-ups. Thousands of businesses apply every year to access Y Combinator’s funding and guidance, in exchange for a small slice of their company. Sam is a Princeton dropout and frequently wears a hoodie, yet when I met him, he was only 31 years old and already a multi-millionaire. He is often described as ‘the man who invents the future’. The companies Y Combinator have funded include Airbnb and Starsky Robotics, and are now altogether valued at $80 billion. Aware of the potential turbulence that AI might unleash, Y Combinator recently started to fund a pilot in universal basic income. UBI, as it is commonly referred to, is an increasingly popular idea to deal with the possible rise of joblessness and tech-fuelled inequality. The basic concept is that governments should give everyone enough money to live on, with no strings attached.


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The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity From Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips

Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, creative destruction, different worldview, disruptive innovation, double helix, fear of failure, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, megacity, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer rental, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

THE WORLD OF COPYCAT INNOVATION is not limited to the types of counterfeit consumer goods sold in Chungking Mansions. Since the Internet revolution, with information so readily accessible, products, services, even whole businesses can be cloned and copied with ease. The Berlin-based company Wimdu, for example, is an exact replica of the successful platform Airbnb, a peer-to-peer rental market that provides an alternative to hotels. Wimdu was built by reverse-engineering Airbnb’s functions and borrowing from the site’s look and feel. Illustrating the power of iteration over pure invention, Wimdu created in a matter of months what it had taken Airbnb four years to develop. By June 2011, the company had raised over $90 million.7 Wimdu was started by three now-infamous German brothers—Oliver, Marc, and Alexander Samwer—who have a history of reverse-engineering U.S.-based innovations and selling them back to the originator for a hefty price.

“Chinese Authorities Find 22 Fake Apple Stores,” BBC News, August 12, 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14503724. 6. Julie Zaveloff and Robert Johnson, “China Unveils a Knockoff Version of an Entire Austrian Village,” Business Insider, June 4, 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com/china-has-built-a-copycat-version-of-an-entire-austrian-village-2012-6. 7. Robin Wauters, “Investors Pump $90 Million into Airbnb Clone Wimdu,” Techcrunch, June 14, 2011, http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/14/investors-pump-90-million-into-airbnb-clone-wimdu/. 8. Matt Cowan, “Inside the Clone Factory: The Story of Germany’s Samwer Brothers,” Wired, March 2, 2012, http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/04/features/inside-the-clone-factory/viewall. 9. Oded Shenkar, Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2010). 10.

At the same time, Internet-based platforms—so-called time banks—have allowed Spaniards to exchange services, skills, knowledge, and trades. These platforms permit unemployed and underemployed individuals to exchange what they do have for goods and services that they need. This trend toward “collaborative consumption” is taking place worldwide. As Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers chronicle in their book, What’s Mine Is Yours, sharing, trading, and selling idle items, time, and services is a rising trend. From Airbnb (a rental website that has gone from 120,000 listings in early 2012 to over 300,000 at the time of this writing) to Zipcar (the car-sharing service that was sold to Avis for $500 million in January 2013), people the world over are moving away from the fixed, formal “own it” model to a more fluid “exchange it” approach. The importance of the informal economy is starting to become more apparent in other European countries.


pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Feeding more activity to the ledger simply cedes more of humanity and business alike to a growth-centric industrial model that was invented to thwart us to begin with. That’s the problem with any of the many new ways we have of earning income through previously off-the-books activities. On the one hand, they create thrilling new forms of peer-to-peer commerce. eBay lets us sell our attic junk. Web site Airbnb lets us rent out our extra bedrooms to travelers. Smartphone apps Uber and Lyft let us use our vehicles to give people rides, for money. Unlike many of the other platforms we’ve looked at so far, these opportunities don’t lead to power-law distributions, because a car or home can be hired only by one person at a time. As long as you’re listed on the network and have decent reviews, you should do as well as anyone else.

As long as you’re listed on the network and have decent reviews, you should do as well as anyone else. From the consumer’s side, these apps are amazing. If you need a ride, you can open Uber and see a map of the area along with tiny icons for the available cars. Pick a car based on its location, the driver’s ratings, and the estimated price. The driver finds you based on your own GPS location and your profile picture. Payment happens automatically, tip included. Airbnb is equally seamless. Enter a place and date and the Web site instantly renders a map with available options clearly indicated. Roll over any location to see a photo, details, and ratings for each. Book the room, and you’ll find out where to meet your host or pick up the keys. Like Uber, it’s unparalleled for choice and convenience. For the providers, on the other hand, these services create a new watermark for how many of one’s hours and assets should be grist for the ledger and ultimately in service of some corporation’s growth.

Just as Lanier would have us share our data, these new companies would have us share our homes, cars, and anything else. Only it’s not really sharing; it’s selling. In fact, just as there used to be an Internet that ran entirely on “shareware,” there were originally free versions of these new asset-renting platforms. Couchsurfing.com created a global community of people who both give and receive space in their homes. Airbnb, its commercial successor, pitches itself the same way but operates very differently—not only do boarders pay for lodging, but the vast majority of rentals are for entire apartments. Their ads show people sharing an extra bedroom and a place at the family table, but the statistics reveal that the vast majority (87 percent) of hosts leave their homes in order to rent them.37 Homes become amateur hotels, as the original residents try to live off the arbitrage between the rent they pay, the rent they earn, and the cost of living somewhere other than home.


pages: 165 words: 50,798

Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything by Peter Morville

A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, business process, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, disruptive innovation, index card, information retrieval, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Lean Startup, Lyft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, Nelson Mandela, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, source of truth, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, zero-sum game

Staff rarely say more than hello. But Airbnb is different. I’m staying in a home with my host. It’s like crashing with a friend you don’t know. Of course, Sophie comes highly recommended. She has a 5-star rating and dozens of glowing reviews. I’m not at all worried about safety or security. And while I’m not sure I’d want our daughters being Airbnb hosts, I’m not a complete stranger to Sophie. She’s seen my profile, references, and Facebook account. She knows I have a verified ID. Airbnb has my home address, phone number, credit card, and driver’s license. I’m about as far from anonymity as can be. And her property is protected by a one million dollar host guarantee. Airbnb has invested in an architecture of trust that helps them scale up safely to serve millions of guests around the world. Figure 1-9. Airbnb’s architecture of trust.

But this inquiry is important. Connectedness has consequences. Information changes everything. That’s why I’m willing to travel. Systems Thinking I’m in Silicon Valley. I’m in a cab headed to my hotel. Actually, that’s not true. I’m hitchhiking and plan to sleep with a stranger named Sophie. Okay, that’s not quite right either. But that’s how our eleven year old daughter explained my experiment with Uber and Airbnb to my wife. Yes, once again, I’m making myself uncomfortable. I’m an advisor to the School of Library and Information Science at San José State University. Since 2009, the program has embraced a 100% online model. Ironically, I’m here for a face to face meeting. And I’m using this visit to California as an opportunity to dip my toes into the infamous sharing economy. So, I’m not in a cab, and I’m not hitchhiking.

Airbnb’s architecture of trust. But like Uber they do have problems. In New York, Airbnb has been declared illegal, and landlords given big fines. In Paris, hosts unwittingly rented to prostitutes who used their home as a brothel. All around the world, neighbors are disturbed by the presence of strangers in what they thought were single-family homes. And, of course, hotels are furious. They’re losing business. So they insist on enforcing the laws. All innovations have unintended consequences, and the system always kicks back. These are lessons we must heed as we take information to the next level. Mobile apps aren’t products. They are service avatars that link users into business ecosystems. Websites aren’t products either. They are systems within systems. That’s why content management is messier than garbage collection, and why information architects must be systems thinkers.


pages: 374 words: 97,288

The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy by Aaron Perzanowski, Jason Schultz

3D printing, Airbnb, anti-communist, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, carbon footprint, cloud computing, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Firefox, George Akerlof, Hush-A-Phone, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, peer-to-peer, price discrimination, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, software as a service, software patent, software studies, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, subscription business, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, transaction costs, winner-take-all economy

By 2011, 66 percent of these young households had a vehicle.” 2. Tim Logan, Emily Alpert Reyes, and Ben Poston, “Airbnb and Other Short-Term Rentals Worsen Housing Shortage, Critics Say,” Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-airbnb-housing-market-20150311-story.html, accessed September 4, 2015; Laura Kusisto, “Airbnb Pushes Up Apartment Rents Slightly, Study Says,” Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2015, http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2015/03/30/airbnb-pushes-up-apartment-rents-slightly-study-says/, accessed September 4, 2015. 3. Rachel Monroe, “More Guests, Empty Houses,” Slate, February 13, 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2014/02/airbnb_gentrification_how_the_sharing_economy_drives_up_housing_prices.html, accessed September 4, 2015. 4.

That’s not to say we should do away with new models of allocating and sharing resources, or that we should favor incumbents at all costs. But we need to be fully aware of the bargains we are striking. There are losers in the sharing economy, and they aren’t just legacy taxi companies and expensive hotels. The savings Airbnb users realize and the company’s profits are in part the result of externalities—costs that Airbnb and its users aren’t bearing. In cities big and small, there is evidence that Airbnb contributes to rent increases for residents.2 As more housing units are devoted to the sharing economy, fewer are available for locals to rent. Long-term renters have even been evicted to make room for vacationers.3 The unseen costs of the sharing economy are also borne by the increasing number of workers classified as independent contractors.

Although important in their own right, these are all examples of a much broader and deeper cultural shift away from ownership. We see evidence of this transformation in the emergence of the so-called “sharing economy.” For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers broadly to services and business models that enable individuals and organizations to share, rent, and reuse resources, often enabled by technology. If you’ve ever gotten a ride in an Uber or spent the night in an Airbnb rental, you’ve taken part in the sharing economy. The range of goods and services in the sharing economy is staggering. In addition to rides and apartments, there are platforms for renting parking spots, bicycles, private planes, and clothes. Other platforms help neighbors share tools and household goods. LeftoverSwap and EatWith even apply the sharing model to meals. In everyday English, “sharing” implies something given freely.


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Some things remain the same. Researchers have found that, accounting for other variables, Airbnb guests pay black hosts less than they do white ones.8 The sharing economy, in reality, relies on disintermediating existing businesses and minimizing regulatory costs. Amateur chauffeurs, chefs, and personal assistants now perform, at a lower cost, work once undertaken by full-time professionals. Airbnb, Lyft, and others do not always comply with regulations designed to ensure a minimum level of skill, standard of performance, safety and security, and insurance coverage. Taxi and hire-car drivers have protested about services that undercut their often regulated charges and livelihoods. There have been anecdotes about orgies in Airbnb-rented properties, and accidents or assaults involving ride-sharing drivers.

.), Managing Cities: The New Urban Context, John Wiley, 1995. 7 There are many different versions of this statement. The origins have been traced to a speech given by Martin Niemoller, the Lutheran pastor and victim of Nazi persecution, on 6 January 1946 to the representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt. 8 Cited in Jason Tanz, “How Airbnb and Lyft Finally Got Americans to Trust Each Other,” Wired, 23 April 2014. www.wired.com/2014/04/trust-in-the-share-economy. 9 William Alden, “The Business Tycoons of Airbnb,” The New York Times Magazine, 30 November 2014. www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/magazine/the-business-tycoons-of-airbnb.html. 10 Kevin Roose, “Does Silicon Valley Have a Contract-Worker Problem?” New York Magazine, 18 September 2014. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/silicon-valleys-contract-worker-problem.html. 11 Harley Shaken, a labor economist at the University of California at Berkeley, quoted in Louis Uchitelle, “The Wage That Meant Middle Class,” New York Times, 20 April 2008. 12 The Future of Retirement (2015) – Global Report, HSBC Holdings PLC. 13 Andrew Haldane, “The $100 Billion Question,” speech at the Institute of Regulation & Risk, North Asia (IRRNA) in Hong Kong, 30 March 2010. www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/news/2010/036.pdf. 14 Paul Brodsky, “Plastics,” 14 November 2011. www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/11/plastics/. 15 Martin Amis, “Martin Amis on God, Money, and What's Wrong with the GOP,” Newsweek, 10 September 2012. www.newsweek.com/martin-amis-god-money-and-whats-wrong-gop-64629. 16 Arnaud Marès, “Ask Not Whether Governments Will Default, but How,” Morgan Stanley, 26 August 2010. http://economics.uwo.ca/fubar_docs/july_dec10/morganstanleyreport_sept10.pdf. 17 Alan J.

The economy that benefits everyone focuses on transport (Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, GetTaxi, Hailo), short-term accommodation (Airbnb, HomeAway), small tasks (TaskRabbit, Fiverr), grocery-shopping services (Instacart), home-cooked meals (Feastly), on-demand delivery services (Postmates, Favor), pet transport (DogVacay, Rover), car rental (RelayRides, Getaround), boat rental (Boatbound), and tool rental (Zilok). Its cheerleaders frame the sharing economy in lofty utopian terms: it's not business, but a social movement, transforming relationships between people in a new form of Internet intimacy. Customers are not getting cheap services, but being helped by new, interesting friends. Providers are engaged in rich and diverse work, gaining valuable independence and flexibility. Lyft's slogan is “Your Friend with a Car.” Airbnb and Feastly urge hosts and guests to share photos and communicate to build trust.


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The Autonomous Revolution: Reclaiming the Future We’ve Sold to Machines by William Davidow, Michael Malone

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, QWERTY keyboard, ransomware, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, speech recognition, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, trade route, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, urban planning, zero day, zero-sum game, Zipcar

In the past, when travelers thought about where they would stay while visiting a distant city, the mental model that they called up was a hotel. The second important information component had to do with trust. Consumers assumed that if they stayed in a branded hotel, they would experience a certain level of quality. The Airbnb model has changed the rules and tools by substituting a different set of information equivalents for those assumptions. Now travelers think about staying in the homes of total strangers. And they trust a computer system—Airbnb—to find them one that is clean, safe, convenient, and fairly priced. The extent of the transformation that takes place as a result of information equivalence depends, first, on the amount of functionality that can move from one information equivalent structure to another. Second, the new information equivalent infrastructure must offer a significant perceived benefit.

Hawkins, “Car2Go Thinks We’d Rather Share Luxury Mercedes-Benz Sedans Than Smart Cars,” The Verge, January 30, 2017, https://www.theverge.com/2017/1/30/14437770/car2go-daimler-mercedes-benz-cla-gla-carsharing (accessed June 27, 2019). 50. “Millennials,” special advertising section, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/brand-connect/millennials/ (accessed June 27, 2019). 51. Ibid. 52. “10 Airbnb Competitors That You Should Know About,” Tripping, https://www.tripping.com/industry/rental-companies/9-airbnb-competitors-that-you-should-know-about. 53. “Find Your Next Workspace,” ShareDesk, https://www.sharedesk.net/ (accessed June 27, 2019). 54. Connie Loizos, “Uber Just Pissed Off Dozens of Longtime Employees; Now They’re Gunning for Management,” TechCrunch, June 8, 2017, https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/08/uber-just-pissed-off-dozens-of-longtime-employees-now-theyre-gunning-for-management/ (accessed June 27, 2019); and Mansoor Iqbal, “Uber Revenue and Usage Statistics (2019),” Business of Apps, May 10, 2019, http://www.businessofapps.com/data/uber-statistics/ (accessed June 27, 2019). 55.

CHAPTER FIVE COMMERCIAL TRANSFORMATION Rewriting Business and the Economy INFORMATION, INTELLIGENCE, AND SPATIAL EQUIVALENCES are reshaping commerce and the economy at large. Tom Goodwin’s now-famous observation encapsulates just how thoroughly the rules are being rewritten: Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.1 The worlds of business and finance are changing rapidly: online retailing, the sharing economy, freemium business models, streaming media, crowd-sourcing, peer-to-peer lending, virtual currencies. All this and more, and the Autonomous Revolution has hardly begun. New forms of business, driven by these opportunities, plus an explosion of new enterprises made possible by autonomous vehicles, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, are waiting in the wings.


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Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required by Kristy Shen, Bryce Leung

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, barriers to entry, buy low sell high, call centre, car-free, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Elon Musk, fear of failure, financial independence, fixed income, follow your passion, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, index fund, longitudinal study, low cost airline, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, obamacare, offshore financial centre, passive income, Ponzi scheme, risk tolerance, risk/return, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the rule of 72, working poor, Y2K, Zipcar

Canadians, meanwhile, can find the best options (like our favorite, the American Express Gold rewards card that comes with a 25,000-point sign-on bonus) at CanadianTravelHacking.com. AIRBNB Another trick we’ve learned to keep our costs down is using Airbnb. Between Airbnb and travel hacking, we saved around $18,000 a year. You get to experience living like a local, plus your own kitchen and access to a washing machine. Unlike staying at a hotel, where you’re stuck watching your waistline expand and your wallet shrink, Airbnb lets you feel at home. I’ve discovered all sorts of hidden gems (like the best place for a steak sandwich in Lisbon and the best dessert in Chiang Mai) by asking my Airbnb host for their recommendations. TRAVEL INSURANCE AND EXPAT INSURANCE “Massive heart attack,” “ICU,” “Might not make it.” These are words you never ever want to hear, especially when you’re halfway across the world from home.

COST OF TRAVELING THE WORLD Countries visited: 20 (the USA, England, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia) Region Duration Monthly Cost (USD) Monthly Cost (CAD) North America 1 month $2,441 $3,174 UK 1 month $3,962 $5,150 Western Europe 1 month $3,515 $4,569 Eastern Europe 1 month $2,657 $3,454 Asia 2 months $3,243 + $2,376 $4,216 + $3,089 Southeast Asia 6 months $2,031 + $2,057 + $2,038 + $1,836 + $1,674 + $1,703 $2,640 + $2,675 + $2,649 + $2,387 + $2,176 + $2,214 Total 12 months $29,533 USD/year $38,393 CAD/year Adding in $875 CAD per person per year × 2 = $1,750 CAD for travel insurance, it ended up costing us $30,879 USD or $40,143 CAD per year. The lie we’ve been sold is that traveling is expensive. But by splitting the year between expensive regions (like the UK, Western Europe, and Japan) and inexpensive ones (like Southeast Asia), our daily costs averaged only $42 USD or $55 CAD per person per day. We stayed in Airbnbs and hotels, sometimes going out to eat, sometimes cooking. We even managed to sneak in splurges like fresh oysters and lobsters in Boston, a four-day scuba-diving certification course in Thailand ($250 USD per person, accommodations included), scuba diving in Cambodia ($80 USD per person for two dives), hiking in the Swiss Alps ($87 USD per person), and Kobe beef ($48 USD per person) in Japan! Here are our costs broken down by region and category: NORTH AMERICA Category Cost in USD/Month/Couple Cost in CAD/Month/Couple Comments Accommodations $760 $987.65 Food $1,453 $1,889.40 28% spent on groceries, 72% on eating out Transportation $162 $211.32 Includes taxes paid on flights bought with frequent-flyer miles Activities $0 $0 Our biggest activity?

For one year, we spent only $40,000. By alternating the time spent in higher-cost locations like Western Europe with time in lower-cost places like Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, it’s possible to “design” a travel budget. Useful techniques to keep travel costs down: Travel Hacking: Using credit card signups to accumulate points for flights. Airbnb: Much cheaper than hotels, plus they often come with a kitchen so you can cook your own food and live like a local rather than a tourist. Make sure you get travel insurance! — 17 — BUCKETS AND BACKUPS During our first year of retirement, Bryce and I learned two important lessons: One, traveling the world could cost less than living in a high-cost city. Two, our retirement portfolio was surprisingly resilient.


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Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

Airbnb, airport security, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disruptive innovation, drone strike, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, source of truth, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, undersea cable, urban renewal, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Thompson FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2011 Among the various other startups in our shared office space, many of which went on to far greater things than AdGrok, was Getaround. To use that X of Y formulation so beloved of startup self-promotion, this was Airbnb for your car. By placing a small electronic device in your car to permit controlled access, you could list your car on a user-facing site that permitted searching and filtering. The borrower paid an hourly rate, Getaround took a cut, and you got paid for owning an often idle asset, similar to a spare bedroom on Airbnb. In the midst of this Brazilian telenovela we called tech entrepreneurship, fellow startup traveler Matt Tillman and I were plotting a bit of fun. I had noticed that a few of Getaround’s investors, no doubt as part of dogfooding solidarity, had placed their cars on Getaround’s site.

To paraphrase the very quotable Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, in the future there will be two types of jobs: people who tell computers what to do, and people who are told by computers what to do. Wall Street was merely the first inkling. The next place where this shift would be seen at whopping scale in terms of both money and technology (though I didn’t realize at the time) was in Internet advertising. And after that, it would hit transportation (Uber), hostelry (Airbnb), food delivery (Instacart), and so on. To take the theory further, computation would no longer fill some hard gap in a human workflow process, such as the calculators used by accountants. Humans would fill the hard gaps in a purely computer workflow process, like Uber’s drivers. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. There’s an additional lesson here. This shift from humans to computers took place predominantly on the equity side of things.

Here’s some startup pedagogy for you: When confronted with any startup idea, ask yourself one simple question: How many miracles have to happen for this to succeed? If the answer is zero, you’re not looking at a startup, you’re just dealing with a regular business like a laundry or a trucking business. All you need is capital and minimal execution, and assuming a two-way market, you’ll make some profit. To be a startup, miracles need to happen. But a precise number of miracles. Most successful startups depend on one miracle only. For Airbnb, it was getting people to let strangers into their spare bedrooms and weekend cottages. This was a user-behavior miracle. For Google, it was creating an exponentially better search service than anything that had existed to date. This was a technical miracle. For Uber or Instacart, it was getting people to book and pay for real-world services via websites or phones. This was a consumer-workflow miracle.


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The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

TASKERS IN THE PRECARIAT ‘Salaried employment in the traditional sense of the word is a notion that is gradually dying and we need to prepare ourselves for the change that is coming. Tomorrow I should easily be able to earn enough to live on, doing real work but without drawing a fixed salary. Instead, I could be an Uber driver, rent my house out through Airbnb, provide my work skills on community platforms. And why not think about becoming a teacher or lecturer via these same platforms?’ Pierre Calmard, CEO, iProspect12 That is one sanguine view of what is happening, presented by someone who is most unlikely to be an Uber driver or an Airbnb host any time soon. There is a more worrying perspective. The number of taskers is rising extraordinarily fast. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has predicted that by 2025 200 million nominally unemployed or part-time employees will be making extra from doing tasks through online platforms.13 But MGI is too optimistic in implying that those earnings will merely supplement a main source of income.

And Uber and others are finding ways to operate within the new rules or are operating on the old basis pending lengthy court appeals. The threat to professional standards remains. Disputes about standards are bound to arise whenever amateurs provide a service that hitherto was the exclusive preserve of those with qualifications or membership of an occupational community. Hotel and bed-and-breakfast organisations have attacked Airbnb, saying its ‘hosts’ have an unfair advantage because they do not need to comply with fire regulations or pay taxes on overnight stays. In New York, Airbnb has been accused of encouraging illegal lets and landlordism.24 Amateurism is a route for cheapening labour and increasing the rental income of the platforms. Taskers fit in the precariat. They lack income security, labour security and an occupational trajectory. They must do a lot of work-for-labour, unremunerated, off formal workplaces.

In a seminal book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen argued that innovation was ‘disruptive’ if it had the potential to generate new products or services or to deliver them in radically new ways.3 He and colleagues later claimed that the provision of services through digital platforms did not meet two criteria for disruptive innovation – that the innovation must target the low end of an existing market and mainly draw in non-consumers of existing options.4 But digital platforms surely qualify as disruptive on both counts. Uber, for example, has expanded the market for taxi services by offering cheap rides, drawing in users previously put off by high prices and lack of flexibility of traditional taxi services. By late 2015 Uber had over 1.1 million drivers and was operating in 351 cities in sixty-four countries.5 Airbnb has created a casual rental market enabling people to let rooms in their homes on a short-term basis, as well as providing a platform for conventional bed-and-breakfast operators. In 2015, it had 1.5 million listings, ranging from spare beds to castles in 34,000 cities and over 190 countries, and had more rooms on its books than some of the world’s largest hotel chains. On the retail side, one and a half million ‘makers’ sell jewellery, clothing and accessories through the online marketplace Etsy, giving small-scale artisans access to buyers all over the world.


pages: 491 words: 77,650

Humans as a Service: The Promise and Perils of Work in the Gig Economy by Jeremias Prassl

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, call centre, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market friction, means of production, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, pattern recognition, platform as a service, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, remote working, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Singh, software as a service, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, two tier labour market, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, working-age population

Michael Heiling and Sylvia Kuba, ‘Die Ökonomie der Plattform’, in Doris Lutz and Martin Risak (eds), Arbeit in der Gig-Economy: Rechtsfragen neuer Arbeitsformen in Crowd and Cloud (OGB Verlag 2017), 28, 33–4. 7. No taxonomy of the platform economy today seems complete without men- tioning platforms such as airbnb, a California-based company offering room and house rentals across the globe (http://www.airbnb.co.uk, archived at https://perma.cc/TF8R-YUSJ). At first glance, it has much in common with the on-demand economy platforms we are interested in: both match consumers and services through sophisticated rating algorithms, and both offer fully auto- mated payment and feedback systems. They are also subject to similarly polar- ized debates about their impact on local markets, as well as engaged in high-profile disputes with regulators. airbnb will nonetheless be excluded from subsequent discussion. The plat- form’s business model is premised on selling short-term access to assets, rather than work.

Molly Cohen and Arun Sundararajan, ‘Self-regulation and innovation in the peer-to-peer sharing economy’ (2015) 82(1) Chicago University Law Review Dialogue 116, 116–17. The authors graciously concede that ‘because the inter- ests of digital, third-party platforms are not always perfectly aligned with the broader interests of society, some governmental involvement or oversight is likely to remain useful’: ibid. 21. Ibid., 130–1. In their worked example of airbnb (a property rental business), they suggest: [delegating] regulatory responsibility relating to information asymmetry to plat- forms like Airbnb (whose interests are naturally aligned with the global aggregation of information and the mitigation of adverse selection and moral hazard), and let [local housing associations] play a key role in the regulation of local externalities, as the guest-noise and strangers-in-the-building externalities are typically local and primarily affect [the association’s] membership

You have great stories.’56 Micro-entrepreneurship promises to unlock the value of idle or under- used assets and skills, enthuses Nick Grossman of gig-economy investor Union Square Ventures: ‘Someone on Sidecar doing the same commute they do on a daily basis and picking up a rider, it’s really free money for the driver and reduced cost for the rider.’57 Perhaps best of all, we are told that the gig economy offers precisely the sort of work environment today’s labour force wants: flexible work, on an informal basis, and the ability to work ‘any- where’ using digital technology have all ranked highly in recent global sur- veys conducted by major professional services firms.58 No wonder, then, that Matt Hancock, one of the UK’s former junior ministers for business, was so euphoric in his foreword to a government- commissioned review: The sharing economy is an exciting new area of the economy. Digital innov- ation is creating entirely new ways to do business. These new services are unlocking a new generation of microentrepreneurs—people who are making money from the assets and skills they already own, from renting out a spare room through Airbnb, through to working as a freelance designer through PeoplePerHour. The route to self-employment has never been easier.59 Rethinking Employment Regulation What does this mean for employment law? Once more, we see a range of proposals based on tales of entrepreneurship and innovation—from a complete * * * Rebranding Work 47 rejection of employment law to a watering down of existing laws through new, less protective, categories.


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Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed by Alexis Ohanian

Airbnb, barriers to entry, carbon-based life, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Hans Rosling, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Occupy movement, Paul Graham, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software is eating the world, Startup school, Tony Hsieh, unpaid internship, Y Combinator

A few years ago, most would have scoffed at the idea that a couple of Rhode Island School of Design graduates in an apartment with laptops would have more rooms available for rent than the Hilton corporation6 (not a Hilton or even the biggest single Hilton hotel—the entire Hilton Hotels empire). But that’s exactly what happened. The guys at Airbnb.com (air bed-and-breakfast; see what they did there?) found a brilliant, simple way to connect people who have space, from spare bedrooms to entire homes, with people looking to rent, like vacationers and business travelers, in an online marketplace. These days, their company is valued in the billions and highly profitable. I had the privilege of watching them pitch their idea at Y Combinator Demo Day, if not the foresight to invest in them when I had the chance. Airbnb is a perfect example of a company that technologically could’ve existed before social media connected the web—websites like CouchSurfing.org and even craigslist had been facilitating this for quite some time—but thrived when it did because social media had created a critical mass of people who were comfortable turning online relationships into real-world business transactions.

Airbnb is a perfect example of a company that technologically could’ve existed before social media connected the web—websites like CouchSurfing.org and even craigslist had been facilitating this for quite some time—but thrived when it did because social media had created a critical mass of people who were comfortable turning online relationships into real-world business transactions. Five years ago, I doubt you would’ve found many international hotel companies who were worried about startups disrupting their industry. They owned all those expensive, big, solid buildings, after all! It would take ludicrous amounts of money to build a hotel empire in a few years, but that’s exactly what Airbnb did—except they did it with pixels rather than bricks. It turned out that a vast empire of hotel rooms was in our homes the whole time. Airbnb is just one example of disruption enabled by an open Internet, but there are countless others happening as we speak. No one can predict just how these industries will be disrupted—only that it’s a matter of when, not if. That’s the nature of innovation. We make things that never existed before. In an industry without the biases and inertia of “how things should be done,” you’ll have a tremendous advantage over incumbents—some of whom won’t adapt fast enough, even when they realize they must.

You’ve undoubtedly encountered products or services that have frustrated you. Keep a notepad handy—I prefer digital, but analog is fine, too—and write down whatever is upsetting you. There’s a good chance you’ll find a business in those notes. Remember, Adam’s awful experiences booking flights for the MIT debate team motivated him to start hipmunk because he figured there had to be a better way to search for flights online. Similarly, Airbnb got its start because the founders needed to pay their rent and realized there were lots of other people who would pay to rent the founders’ unused space. So many successful companies start out like this: the founders were having a problem, and they found a way to solve it. A company doesn’t have to start this way, but it’s the easiest place to start. Make something you’d use (and, ideally, pay money for).


pages: 326 words: 91,559

Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That Is Shaping the Next Economy by Nathan Schneider

1960s counterculture, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Mechanical Turk, back-to-the-land, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, disruptive innovation, do-ocracy, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Food sovereignty, four colour theorem, future of work, gig economy, Google bus, hydraulic fracturing, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, multi-sided market, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post-work, precariat, premature optimization, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, smart contracts, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, transaction costs, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, underbanked, undersea cable, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, working poor, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

Less encumbered by industrial civilization, they appeared to share with an ease and forthrightness long forgotten in the world Wind knew back home. Wind and I got to know each other in Paris while splitting a stranger’s apartment that we found through Airbnb. It was 2014, and thanks to apps like that, such apps were on the rise in urban centers.12 The internet was making it possible again for people to share resources such as cars, homes, and time—bringing us together, for a price. Capitalism’s creative destruction may have ravaged our communities for centuries with salvos of individualism, competition, and mistrust, but now it was ready to sell the benefits of community back to us on our smartphones. Without owning any guestrooms of its own, Airbnb was by then more valuable than Hyatt; Zipcar, which rents cars by the hour, had been bought by the international car-rental company Avis Budget. The sharing economy was also changing the way at least some people worked.

McKinsey and Company estimates as many as half of all jobs are vulnerable to existing technologies.6 Rather than industrial production and distribution—now outsourced to other lands—the apps offer postindustrial matching algorithms. But networked connections can do more than endlessly disrupt us. Behind so many disruptive tech companies lies an innovation that started with collaboration. Before there was Airbnb, travelers stayed in each other’s homes for free with Couchsurfing. While Google and Facebook were disrupting the print advertising industry, an Egyptian Google employee used Facebook to help set off the popular uprising that brought down the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Car sharing, crowdfunding, social networks—these are things that people previously turned to co-ops to do. The collaborative possibilities of the internet are cooperative possibilities, too.

But for the moment, challenging corporate control with shared ownership and shared governance wasn’t really on the table. When the sharing evangelist and consultant Rachel Botsman showed slides of Arab Spring crowds, those scenes served as an analogy, not a recommended course of action. She described sharers as “insurgents” against old-fashioned hierarchical businesses, engaged in “revolution,” “democratizing,” and of course “disruption.” Disruption came up at OuiShare Fest a lot. Just as Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry, the sharing startups present were poised to undermine more industries in short order. One could sense a general din of cheerfulness, as the startup boosters and organic farmers alike expected an imminent and inevitable disintegration of the economic establishment and a triumphant future of sharing ready to take its place. We heard little, however, about the effects that disrupting major industries might have on those people less well-equipped than the entrepreneurial class to adapt, about how workers on sharing apps usually lack what used to be standard benefits and rights of employment.13 At this all-English conference in Paris, the kinds of people most likely to be disrupted were not around to speak.


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Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

And it’s also possible to think of examples of companies that have invested to create valuable organizational assets outside their own firms. The remarkable Apple supply chain that Tim Cook was responsible for developing is clearly a long-term source of value for Apple, allowing it to bring products to market extraordinarily quickly. A valuable asset of so-called sharing-economy businesses like Uber or AirBnB is typically their network of committed suppliers—Uber’s drivers or AirBnB’s hosts. This too is an asset of lasting value that both companies have invested heavily to develop (and which they invest to protect, for example, against legal actions requiring them to treat their suppliers as employees). There’s a more general point here as well. It’s easy to identify examples of wasted spending by firms. But firms live under market pressure.

To put it another way, computers are physical devices that become useful and valuable when you fill them with useful, intangible information. Because computers and networks of computers deal in information, they also help make other intangible investment easier or more effective. Consider the network of big sharing-economy companies like Uber or AirBnB. There is nothing about their business models that absolutely requires computers and the Internet. Before everyone had a smartphone, there were networked cab companies, some of which, like London’s ComCab or Radio Taxis, used independent drivers. Before AirBnB, there were house-share clubs with brochures and telephone booking systems. Both the house-share clubs and the taxi networks made investments of time and money to develop their networks of suppliers. But in both cases, the Internet and smartphones made it possible to build very big networks, to do it more cheaply, and to strengthen the value of being a member of the network (through ratings and searchability, for example).

But the process of “software eating the world,” in venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s words, is not just about software: it involves other intangibles in abundance. Consider Apple’s designs and its unrivaled supply chain, which has helped it to bring elegant products to market quickly and in sufficient numbers to meet customer demand, or the networks of drivers and hosts that sharing-economy giants like Uber and AirBnB have developed, or Tesla’s manufacturing know-how. Computers and the Internet are important drivers of this change in investment, but the change is long running and predates not only the World Wide Web but even the Internet and the PC. The rise of intangible investment becomes clear if we look at data for the economy as a whole. For some years, economists have been measuring those aspects of intangible capital not in the national accounts and building increasingly accurate estimates of the amount of intangible investment going on.


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Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, financial independence, future of work, game design, gig economy, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, job automation, law of one price, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, payday loans, post-work, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

December 5, 2013. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/05/u-s-income-inequality-on-rise-for-decades-is-now-highest-since-1928/. 13   Friedman, Thomas. How to Monetize Your Closet. New York Times. December 21, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-to-monetize-your-closet.html; Geron, Tomio. Airbnb and the Unstoppable Rise of the Share Economy. Forbes. February 11, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/01/23/airbnb-and-the-unstoppable-rise-of-the-share-economy/#463a65b6790b. 14   Johnson, Justin Elof. Will You Leave Your Job to Join the Sharing Economy? VentureBeat. January 21, 2013. http://venturebeat.com/2013/01/21/will-you-leave-your-job-to-join-the-sharing-economy/. 15   Manjoo, Farhad. Uber’s Business Model Could Change Your Work.

He hoped that the gig economy—specifically Leila’s vision for it—would play out in Dumas as it had been conceived in Silicon Valley, that it would serve as a conduit for opportunities that had otherwise left his small town, and others like it, behind. CHAPTER 4 UBER FOR X Travis Kalanick joined his first startup more than ten years before co-founding Uber, dropping out of the University of California, Los Angeles, to work on a peer-to-peer music- and video-sharing startup. Airbnb’s first founders met at the Rhode Island School of Design. Two of Upwork’s cofounders created the freelancing site after working together, but from separate countries, on a previous startup.1 Like most of the people who founded gig economy companies, these founders were experts in creating technology products, not in mobilizing and managing large service workforces. Most had little or no experience in the industries that they now set out to disrupt.

Though some hired subcontractors, like Managed by Q, and some hired independent contractors, like Uber, the misconception behind both strategies was similar: “We’d build this beautiful interface, and of course the cleaning just happens,” Saman remembered thinking. “Of course the stuff just gets done.” PART II SUNSHINE, RAINBOWS, AND UNICORNS CHAPTER 5 LIKE AN ATM IN YOUR POCKET The percentage of adults who earned some income through websites like Uber, Airbnb, and Mechanical Turk grew 47-fold between 2012 and 2015, expanding to include around 4% of adults in the United States.1 As the gig economy gained traction, Silicon Valley was sure that it would change the world. And it was equally sure, or at least seemed hell-bent on convincing itself, that the change would be wonderful. This was typical of the tech industry, which tended to frame everything in terms of its world-changing positive social impact, sometimes to an unintentionally hilarious effect.


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The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

Tesla, Elon Musk’s electric car company, has effectively been kicked out of some US states because it runs a direct-to-consumer sales model. New Jersey, for instance, withdrew Tesla’s license for dealer-free car sales in 2014, forcing it to go through a franchise if it wanted to sell cars in the Garden State.19 Likewise Airbnb, the online platform for individuals to rent out their homes, has effectively been banned or repeatedly fined in cities like Santa Monica and Barcelona.20 Other city authorities, such as in Berlin and New York, impose regulations – old or new – that seriously constrain homeowners from renting out beds or their entire home on sites like Airbnb.21 All too often innovators need to err on the wrong side of regulation if they aim to contest markets. The time and money of regulation If regulatory resistance to innovation is strong in business sectors that are comparatively less regulated, such as car sales and online services, imagine then the effects of regulation in energy, pharmaceuticals, neuroscience, medical technology, and other sectors with more complicated regulations.

12.OECD, Businesses’ Views on Red Tape. 13.Olson, The Logic of Collective Action. 14.Sellar and Yeatman, 1066 and All That. 15.This anecdote is from Diamandis and Kotler, Abundance. 16.Acemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail. 17.Downes, “Fewer, Faster, Smarter.” 18.Goodwin, “The History of Mobile Phones.” 19.Rogers and Ramsey, “Tesla to Stop Selling Electric Cars in New Jersey.” 20.Lepore, “How Santa Monica Will Enforce Its Airbnb Ban.” 21.Coldwell, “Airbnb’s Legal Troubles.” 22.Tabarrok, “Book Review: ‘Innovation Breakdown’.” 23.Gulfo, Innovation Breakdown. 24.Kay, “Miracles of Productivity Hidden in the Modern Home.” 25.Erixon, “EU Policies on Online Entrepreneurship.” 26.Tabarrok, “Book Review: ‘Innovation Breakdown’.” 27.CSDD, “Growing Protocol Design Complexity.” 28.Grabowski and Hansen, “Cost of Developing a New Drug.” 29.Herper, “The Truly Staggering Cost of Inventing New Drugs.” 30.Roy, “Stifling New Cures.” 31.CSDD, “Growing Protocol Design Complexity.” 32.Basu and Hassenplug, “Patient Access to Medical Devices.” 33.That figure is for 2010 when one of the authors was given a guided tour of the FedEx hub. 34.Button and Christensen, “Unleashing Innovation.” 35.Comin and Hobijn, “Technology Diffusion and Postwar Growth.” 36.Agarwal and Gort, “First-Mover Advantage.” 37.Jaffe and Trajtenberg, Patents, Citations and Innovations. 38.Mansfield, “How Rapidly Does New Industrial Technology Leak Out?”

Clinch, Matt, “How Apple Prompted This Country’s Downgrade.” CNBC, Oct. 13, 2014. At http://www.cnbc.com/2014/10/13/how-apple-prompted-this-countrys-downgrade.html. Coase, Ronald H., “The Nature of the Firm.” Economica, 4.16 (1937): 386–405. Coase, Ronald, and Ning Wang, How China Became Capitalist. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Coldwell, Will, “Airbnb’s Legal Troubles: What Are the Issues?” Guardian, July 8, 2014. At http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/jul/08/airbnb-legal-troubles-what-are-the-issues. Comin, Diego, and Bart Hobijn, “An Exploration of Technology Diffusion.” NBER Working Paper No. 12314. National Bureau of Economic Research, June 2006. Comin, Diego, and Bart Hobijn, “Technology Diffusion and Postwar Growth.” NBER Working Paper No. 16378. National Bureau of Economic Research, Sept. 2010.


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Built for Growth: How Builder Personality Shapes Your Business, Your Team, and Your Ability to Win by Chris Kuenne, John Danner

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, business climate, call centre, cloud computing, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gordon Gekko, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, pattern recognition, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, zero-sum game

But the inclusion of other people might also make it easier to avoid irreconcilable standoffs. So don’t rule out that possibility if a threesome or “more-some” intrigues you. And remember our advice about vesting curing many sins. A Trio Starts at Airbnb Two designers and an engineer walk into a bar . . . well, actually, the meeting took place elsewhere, but out of those early discussions about rethinking the entire hotel and couch-surfing experience came an idea to democratize it. With Driver Joe Gebbia and Crusader Brian Chesky on the guest and host experience and design side, and Explorer Nathan Blecharczyk handling engineering, Airbnb opened up a new world of private apartments and homes to visitors worldwide. “It’s pretty unusual, and I actually attribute a lot of our success to that combination,” Blecharczyk says. “We see things very differently because of our backgrounds and we’ve discovered that’s an asset.

An interesting personal observation on the Driver coauthors in this regard: one of us (John) prefers coequal frameworks in his venture activity because he feels that maximizes alignment between the parties and forces compromise when necessary; while the other (Chris) tends to view them as exceptions to his usual approach, believing that in order to win in competitive markets, a single person must have the tiebreaker vote in tough decisions. 4. Michael Abbott, “Founder Stories: Airbnb’s Nate Blecharczyk on Being the Only Engineer for the First Year,” TechCrunch, June 19, 2013, https://techcrunch.com/2013/06/19/founder-stories-airbnbs-nate-blecharczyk-on-being-the-only-engineer-for-the-first-year. 5. Special thanks to our University of California Berkeley faculty colleague, Dan Mulhern, for suggesting this approach to what he calls “paired leaders.” 6. Guy Kawasaki, “How to Find a Co-Founder,” Guy Kawasaki (blog), February 21, 2015, http://guykawasaki.com/how-to-find-a-co-founder/.

It’s no surprise many builders—perhaps you included—choose to embark on that adventure with cofounders. That’s a decision that immediately puts the issue of Builder Personality front and center—for both of you. Just take a look at this partial list of cobuilders: Apple: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak Microsoft: Bill Gates and Paul Allen Ben & Jerry’s: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield Intel: Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce P & G: William Procter and James Gamble Airbnb: Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia Google: Sergey Brin and Larry Page Rent the Runway: Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss Warby Parker: Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Andrew Hunt, and Jeffrey Raider Pinterest: Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp, and Paul Sciarra Eventbrite: Julia Hartz and Kevin Hartz HP: Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard These builder partnerships cut across industry, geographic, gender, and cultural lines.


pages: 309 words: 81,975

Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization? by Aaron Dignan

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, DevOps, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, endowment effect, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gender pay gap, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, hiring and firing, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, race to the bottom, remote working, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, smart contracts, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, source of truth, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the High Line, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, uber lyft, universal basic income, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Boundaries can be clearly defined or purposefully blurry. Agreements within teams can be explicit or informal. Enforcement can be lenient or strict. What matters is that we are intentional. Evolutionary Organizations play with these continuums in an increasingly nonbinary way. Burning Man blurs the lines between attendee and host, customer and volunteer, and in so doing creates a richer and more participatory experience. Airbnb does the same. A host in one city is often a guest in another. Wikipedia does the same, as do countless open-source projects and peer-to-peer platforms. The future of membership may end up looking like many ways to play, clearly defined and held simultaneously. As you may recall, in a complex system, the interactions matter more than the parts. A bench full of star players does not automatically produce a winning team.

Upon opening, the High Line was an instant phenomenon, and today it attracts more than five million visitors a year. In an unexpected twist, the buildings and real estate around the park, previously an eyesore, have now skyrocketed in value. The areas along the High Line are among the most desirable in the city. All because someone started with what was (almost) there. The history of human innovation is a story of happy accidents. Airbnb didn’t happen because of a vision to change travel and hospitality forever. It happened because a couple guys with an air mattress were short on rent. Their idea worked, so they did more of it. As leaders, we have been told we have to imagine a compelling future and drive everyone toward it. While this can gather people to our cause, it doesn’t do much to further it. Complexity expert Dave Snowden offers enigmatic but essential advice on the matter.

Startups bleed red, real businesses bleed black.” That’s smart money. And what about those organizations that need to go public to realize their vision? They face a situation so unappealing that today’s hottest startups are avoiding an initial public offering (IPO) for as long as they possibly can. The average number of companies who choose an IPO each year is one third what it was prior to 2000. Uber and Airbnb, valued at more than $60 billion and $30 billion respectively, are roughly a decade old and worth more than United Airlines. But they’re not listed yet. By comparison, when Amazon went public it had a market value of just $438 million. When companies don’t go public, only elite investors get to enjoy the climb. Yet all that’s waiting for leadership on the other side of the IPO rainbow is the constant scrutiny and pressure of a bunch of spectators.


pages: 291 words: 90,771

Upscale: What It Takes to Scale a Startup. By the People Who've Done It. by James Silver

Airbnb, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, business process, call centre, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, DevOps, family office, future of work, Google Hangouts, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

Facebook Messenger chose monthly active usage as their North Star because reach is always a struggle for networks, so they figured the best way to get reach was to get monthly active usage, which I agree with. With [digital] games, I’d say daily active usage. ‘With marketplaces, it’s usually a liquidity metric. The example I’ll give is Airbnb, which is nights booked. So you have a supply side, and you have a demand side. When there’s a successful transaction in the form of night units for Airbnb, that’s the sign of the marketplace working. So anything you do that’s driving up nights booked [or equivalent] is what you want to do for a marketplace. ‘For Uber and Lyft, it’s rides booked. So they don’t say kilometres driven; they could, and then you could incentivise people to do longer rides, but the theory is that ride length is not very elastic, so using these ride-sharing services for more rides is the right reflection of the utility of those apps.’

Pitching strategy is like an hourglass Tan White says that the best slide decks she sees are succinct but the culmination of an awful lot of work behind the scenes - they are often living documents that evolve as a team gets feedback from investors and customers, and as traction accelerates. Ideally they are the roadmap the business is actually following. ‘I always say to founders that pitching strategy is a bit like an hourglass. At the wide point of the hourglass you have your big vision - if you’re Airbnb, for instance, being the biggest property provider in the world that owns no property. The narrow part of the hourglass represents the product and customer traction you need to make today, to place you on the trajectory towards that big vision and make you credible: with Airbnb that would be increasing numbers of hosts advertising their spare room in San Francisco, and people paying to rent them, through your platform. ‘Then, when you go out to fundraise again for Series A, you are actually saying: “I need, say, £5m for the next 18 months to take me on these next five steps towards my big goal, and you should believe me because I have evidence I can build product and get customers engaged.”

So I count that as lucky that they had this story and maybe their talent lay in spotting that it would play a big part in taking them through to where they are now – all the way to millions of users and a billion-plus valuation.’ Authenticity However, the thing about a brand story, Sohoni continues, is that in order to have staying power it needs to be authentic – it cannot be bolted on retrospectively at the scaling stage. ‘Hindsight is great for articulating the points of resonance for a story, but you need an authentic story of an Airbnb type or TransferWise type or indeed a Seedcamp type for it to play through across [the years].’ By the time companies reach their Series A, let alone B, something, she says, ‘has gone seriously right’. When you’re right at the beginning, part of the reason your startup may not be resonating is that you don’t have a story which elicits an emotional connection with your product or service. ‘But when you’re at Series A or B, you’ve probably sold a million or so of your product, or you have anywhere upwards of a few hundred thousand users, so I believe by then the problem is one of articulating rather than not having an authentic story in the first place.’


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, gravity well, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, superconnector, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Go back ten years, and hospitality and lodging was an incredibly capital-intensive business. If you wanted to build a nationwide chain of available hotel rooms you had to, well, build those actual hotel rooms. But that’s not what Airbnb did. Technically, Airbnb is a hosting platform, except that term doesn’t exactly reflect the scale of disruption the company has wrought. By providing a place to post available spare bedrooms, open garage apartments, even empty vacation homes, this site allows anyone to turn unused space into a bed-and-breakfast. By mid-2014, just six years into their existence, Airbnb had over 600,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 192 countries and had served over 11 million guests. Most recently the company was valued at $10 billion—making it worth more than Hyatt Hotels Corporation ($8.4 billion)—and all without building a single structure.24 Then there’s Uber, a different kind of hosting platform—one going head-to-head with the taxi and limousine industry.25 Download the Uber app and you can order a car, get information about the driver, watch the car’s approach on a map, and, with your credit card already stored online, pay instantly.

The company simply provides a connection between people with assets (aka luxury cars) and you, the customer. In other words, by putting would-be passengers together with luxury vehicle owners, Uber cut out the middleman, dematerialized a boatload of infrastructure, and democratized a sizable segment of the transportation industry. And fast. Four years after launching their mobile, Uber is operational in thirty-five cities, and worth $18 billion. Quirky, Airbnb, and Uber are great examples of entrepreneurs taking advantage of the expanding scale of exponential impact. They have created billion-dollar companies in record time. They are the absolute inverse of everything we believed was true about scaling up a capital-intensive businesses. For most of the twentieth century, scaling up such businesses required massive investments and time. Adding workforce, constructing buildings, developing vastly new product suites—no wonder implementation strategies stretched years into decades.

Couple that with the incredible value proposition of abundant, longer, and healthier lives—there is over $50 trillion locked up in the bank accounts of people over the age of sixty-five—and you understand the potential. And understanding this potential is critical if you’re going to succeed as an exponential entrepreneur. Consider that, twenty years ago, the idea that a computer algorithm could help companies with funny names (Uber, Airbnb, Quirky) dematerialize twentieth-century businesses would have seemed delusional. Fifteen years ago, if you wanted access to a supercomputer, you still had to buy one (not rent one by the minute on the cloud). Ten years ago, genetic engineering was big government, and big business and 3-D printing meant expensive plastic prototypes. Seven years ago, the only robot most entrepreneurs had access to was a Roomba, and AI meant a talking ATM machine, not a freeway-driving autonomous car.


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The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, DevOps, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, young professional

One of the greatest examples of a nonscalable decision that made a huge impact from the get-go came from Joe Gebbia and his team at Airbnb. After seeing poor-quality photographs dominate the site’s marketplace for short-term rentals, they decided to hire professional photographers to capture high-quality images of each home. At the time, Airbnb was competing with Craigslist and was struggling to get the volume of transactions required to be a viable business. Rather than cut costs and further automate the listing of properties, the team decided to offer free professional photography for properties posted. As a result, properties on Airbnb looked far superior to those posted on Craigslist. This level of handholding, while certainly not economically scalable over time, set a level of quality and aesthetic for Airbnb that vastly differentiated their marketplace from Craigslist and other generic listing websites.

You then just have to stay alive long enough to become an expert so you can compete with the different skills and practices you bring. Some call this “faking it till you make it,” but I think it’s just burgeoning a new path to solve a problem in hopes that it becomes the preferred path. Companies like Airbnb, Uber, and others have done just this. Their founders were outsiders but had a strong opinion or vision about what should change. They then stayed alive long enough to become experts and compete with better technology, a superior path to market, and a lower cost structure. Joe Gebbia, cofounder of Airbnb, knew very little about the hospitality industry when he started the company. “I was so naive. On a scale from one to ten on how prepared I was . . . I was at a three,” he recalls. Joe and his team had the gall to start, but then it took years—and multiple attempts—for them to develop the model that ended up growing into the success we know today.

—SETH GODIN, author of Linchpin “Building a lasting business is 1 percent idea and 99 percent resilience. The Messy Middle details the unglamorous but essential lessons every founder needs to learn.” —JENNIFER HYMAN, cofounder and CEO, Rent The Runway “Starting a new venture is like jumping off a cliff and sewing a parachute on the way down. This book is the parachute.” —JOE GEBBIA, cofounder and chief product officer, Airbnb “Having been through the ups and downs of the messy middle many times, it’s critical to understand the challenges ahead. This insightful book empowers you to approach them head-on. Belsky’s powerful tool kit, based on hard-earned experiences, is an essential guide to building a compelling product, revolutionizing an organization, or growing your leadership abilities.” —TONY FADELL, inventor of the iPod, coinventor of the iPhone, founder and former CEO of Nest, principal at Future Shape Portfolio/Penguin An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC 375 Hudson Street New York, New York 10014 Copyright © 2018 by Scott Belsky Penguin supports copyright.


pages: 271 words: 52,814

Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy by Melanie Swan

23andMe, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, banking crisis, basic income, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, cellular automata, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative editing, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, friendly AI, Hernando de Soto, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, lifelogging, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, microbiome, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, personalized medicine, post scarcity, prediction markets, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, software as a service, technological singularity, Turing complete, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, web application, WikiLeaks

Beyond these situations in which a public interest must transcend governmental power structures, other industry sectors and classes can be freed from skewed regulatory and licensing schemes subject to the hierarchical power structures and influence of strongly backed special interest groups on governments, enabling new disintermediated business models. Even though regulation spurred by the institutional lobby has effectively crippled consumer genome services,3 newer sharing economy models like Airbnb and Uber have been standing up strongly in legal attacks from incumbents.4 In addition to economic and political benefits, the coordination, record keeping, and irrevocability of transactions using blockchain technology are features that could be as fundamental for forward progress in society as the Magna Carta or the Rosetta Stone. In this case, the blockchain can serve as the public records repository for whole societies, including the registry of all documents, events, identities, and assets.

Whereas Blockchain 1.0 is for the decentralization of money and payments, Blockchain 2.0 is for the decentralization of markets more generally, and contemplates the transfer of many other kinds of assets beyond currency using the blockchain, from the creation of a unit of value through every time it is transferred or divided. An approximate technological metaphor for Bitcoin is that it is analogous to the protocol stack of the Web. After the underlying Internet technology and infrastructure was in place, services could be built to run on top of it—Amazon, Netflix, and Airbnb—becoming increasingly sophisticated over time and always adding new ways to take advantage of the underlying technology. Blockchain 1.0 has been likened to the underlying TCP/IP transport layer of the Web, with the opportunity now available to build 2.0 protocols on top of it (as HTTP, SMTP, and FTP were in the Internet model). Blockchain 2.0 protocols either literally use the Bitcoin blockchain or create their own separate blockchains, but are in the same cryptocurrency decentralized technical architecture model of the three-layer stack: blockchain, protocol, and currency.

PayPal had been known for being on the edge of financial innovation, but it then became more corporate focused and lost the possibility of providing early market leadership with regard to Bitcoin. Now, PayPal has been incorporating Bitcoin slowly, as of September 2014 announcing partnerships with three major Bitcoin payment processors: BitPay, Coinbase, and GoCoin.37 Also in September 2014, Paypal’s Braintree unit (acquired in 2013), a mobile payments provider, is apparently working on a feature with which customers can pay for Airbnb rentals and Uber car rides with Bitcoin.38 In the same area of regulation-compliant Bitcoin complements to traditional financial services is the notion of a “Bitbank.” Bitcoin exchange Kraken has partnered with a bank to provide regulated financial services involving Bitcoin.39 There is a clear need for an analog to and innovation around traditional financial products and services for Bitcoin—for example, Bitcoin savings accounts and lending (perhaps through user-selected rules regarding fractional reserve levels).


pages: 543 words: 153,550

Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You by Scott E. Page

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Checklist Manifesto, computer age, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, deliberate practice, discrete time, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental economics, first-price auction, Flash crash, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, impulse control, income inequality, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, Network effects, p-value, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, race to the bottom, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, school choice, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, selection bias, six sigma, social graph, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the rule of 72, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, value at risk, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

In other words, the start-up must create a simultaneous double riot. The successful start-up Airbnb provides a mini case study of a double riot. Airbnb matches people willing to rent a house, room, or apartment with people looking for a place to stay for a short period of time. Airbnb needed to build two populations: renters and people letting out their apartments. People looking for a place to rent would visit the site only if the site had a sufficient number of places available for rent. Therefore, Airbnb needed to sign up people willing to list apartments. The first two launches of Airbnb failed. Listing an apartment on the site required effort—downloading pictures and including other information. No one had an incentive to list until Airbnb had a large population of renters. Thus, Airbnb needed enough listings to create a riot among renters—that is, to get renters to come to the site.

Thus, Airbnb needed enough listings to create a riot among renters—that is, to get renters to come to the site. They also needed enough renters to create a riot among those who wanted to list rooms and apartments. Whether Airbnb would take off would depend on the thresholds for the two groups. The bigger problem was getting people to list, as that required more effort. Airbnb overcame this problem by going door-to-door and helping people list their apartments. Once that happened, the renting riot began and the listing riot followed.2 The business succeeded because the founders were able to bootstrap a sufficient number of initial renters so that a double riot ensued. They constructed the tail, and the tail wagged the dog. Two Models of Segregation Our next two models, both developed by Thomas Schelling, explore segregation. People segregate by race and ethnicity at multiple scales.

Solving for H gives the result. 4 I thank Michael Ryall of the University of Toronto for this example. 5 The model’s findings are summarized in Meadows et al. 1972. 6 The suite of models are often referred to as the Club of Rome models, as the Club of Rome, a group founded by David Rockefeller in 1968, funded reports on the models and promoted the models’ findings. 7 By manipulating more variables with small ranges, he can drive the model’s prediction to nearly 30 billion. See Miller 1998. 8 On the first point, see Hecht 2008. On the second point, see MacKenzie 2012. 9 See Sterman 2006. 10 Glantz 2008. Chapter 19: Threshold Models with Feedbacks 1 See Granovetter 1978. 2 Airbnb’s founders paid the costs of going door-to-door by selling Obama O’s and Cap’n McCain’s cereal boxes during the 2008 presidential election. 3 See Jacobs 1989 for the revolving-door model. Empirical studies find that in jobs that require little formal education, bartending and gardening being examples, men leave (or choose not to enter) professions that include as little as 15% women (Pan 2015). 4 See Syverson 2007. 5 See Gammill and Marsh 1988 for a more detailed account. 6 See Easley et al. 2012.


pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hedonic treadmill, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

Peer-to-peer A new business model which is generating a lot of column inches for the idea of digital disruption is peer-to-peer commerce, the leading practitioners of which are AirBnB and Uber. Both were founded in San Francisco, of course – in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The level of investor enthusiasm for the peer-to-peer model is demonstrated by comparing AirBnB’s market cap of $20bn in March 2015 with Hyatt’s market cap of $8.4bn. Hyatt has over 500 hotels around the world and revenues of $4bn. AirBnB, with 13 members of staff, owns no hotels and its revenues in March 2015 were around $250m. Uber’s rise has been even more dramatic: its market cap reached $50bn in May 2015. This sort of growth is unsettling for competitors. Taxi drivers around the world protest that Uber is putting them out of business by competing unfairly, since (they claim) its drivers can flout safety regulations with impunity. Hoteliers have tried to have AirBnB banned from the cities where they operate, sometimes successfully.


pages: 233 words: 58,561

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Anne Wojcicki, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Wall-E

Revenue doubled to $400 a week, and Joe checked to make sure it wasn’t a bug in their accounting system. But the numbers were real. So they did another round of interviews, and another round of improvements. Revenue doubled again to $800, then $1,600, then $3,200 a week. That growth didn’t stop. That startup was Airbnb. Today, the online hospitality marketplace operates in more than 30,000 cities and 190 countries. They’ve served more than 35 million guests. It turns out it was an amazing idea, but to make it work, they had to do those interviews. “There’s this gap between the vision and the customer,” Joe says. “To make the two fit, you have to talk to people.” Airbnb’s interviews showed the founders how the product looked through their customers’ eyes, revealing problems the founders themselves couldn’t see. Listening to customers didn’t mean abandoning their vision. Instead, it gave them the knowledge they needed to combine with that vision, so they could close the gap and make a product that worked for real people.

Instead, it gave them the knowledge they needed to combine with that vision, so they could close the gap and make a product that worked for real people. We can’t promise that your interviews will make you as successful as Airbnb, but we can promise that the process will be enlightening. In the next chapter, we’ll talk about how to make sense of what you observe: taking notes, finding patterns, and drawing conclusions about next steps. INTERVIEWER TIPS With a Five-Act script, your interviews are sure to be effective. However, there are a few more techniques Michael uses to make them even better. 1. Be a good host For just a moment, imagine you are the target customer who comes in for an interview. You’ve shown up to try some new product (you’re not quite sure what) in a building you’ve never been to before, and you’ll be watched by some person you just met.

By the time they turned in their final assignment (a revised version of the game), they’d observed how the probability principles operated in real life. We’ve heard about sprints in all kinds of contexts. Legendary consulting firm McKinsey & Company began running sprints, as did advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. The sprint process is used at government agencies and nonprofits, as well as at major tech firms, at companies like Airbnb and Facebook. We’ve heard sprint stories from Munich, Johannesburg, Warsaw, Budapest, São Paulo, Montreal, Amsterdam, Singapore, and even Wisconsin. It’s become clear that sprints are versatile, and that when teams follow the process, it’s transformative. We hope you’ve got the itch to go run your own first sprint—at work, in a volunteer organization, at school, or even to try a change in your personal life.


pages: 318 words: 77,223

The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse by Mohamed A. El-Erian

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, balance sheet recession, bank run, barriers to entry, break the buck, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, currency peg, disruptive innovation, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, friendly fire, full employment, future of work, Hyman Minsky, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, income inequality, inflation targeting, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, Khan Academy, liquidity trap, Martin Wolf, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Norman Mailer, oil shale / tar sands, price stability, principal–agent problem, quantitative easing, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, yield curve, zero-sum game

It is also one that facilitates timely price discovery and technological leapfrogging, particularly in some developing countries. It enhances “winner-take-all” tendencies and is inseparable from rapidly changing consumer behaviors that seek more self-directed lives. It is a phenomenon that has been visibly conducive for companies like Airbnb and Uber to enhance consumer access to services that for too long have been deemed too expensive and/or unpleasant. And they did so using a powerful combination of technology, mobility, and superior customer interfaces. Just think, Airbnb is now a major supplier of “hotel” rooms. Yet the company has not built a single building. Uber is expanding aggressively in cities around the world, capturing a growing share of the urban transportation system. Yet it has not bought a single cab or limo. Both “share” a substantial stock of underutilized assets.

The reasons for this are truly multidimensional, involving not just the range of economic, financial, geopolitical, political, social, and technological factors that we have already discussed. They also speak to the impact of innovation. Today’s innovations threaten quite a few existing industries and activities with what I have called disruptions from other worlds.2 Going back to Airbnb and Uber as examples, both have disrupted and redefined their respective industries using approaches that had very little, if anything, to do previously with the areas they are disrupting so effectively and profoundly. Remember, Airbnb is yet to build a hotel. Nevertheless in six years, it has accumulated a million rooms for rent, compared to some 700,000 for the Hilton group over a much longer time period. The result is a set of radical new game plans that fundamentally shake the target industry’s rules and operating approach.

Having observed how new structured products were used, I noted at that time that complex derivative products were acting as a “credit risk transfer technology” that was enabling in a big way the migration of risk “to a new set of investors inexperienced in this arena and posing exposure problems for the international financial system.”6 — This time around, the assessment of risk and return is accentuated by an intriguing new type of entrant into financial markets. Similar to what has happened in the accommodation space with Airbnb, the transport sector with Uber, fashion with Rent the Runway, and retail with Amazon—just to name a few—the financial service industry is seeing interest from disruptors from “another world.”7 These nontraditional players disrupt traditional industries through the smart application of technological innovations and insights from behavioral science. In the financial world, as a New York Times article put it, “they are focused on transforming the economics of underwriting and the experience of consumer borrowing—and hope to make more loans available at lower cost for millions of Americans.”8 Together with the expansion of P2P (peer-to-peer) interactions and crowdfunding, these approaches offer the possibility of improving the provision of financial services (especially to badly served segments of the population), lowering barriers to entry, reducing old-style overheads, and broadening sources and uses of loanable funds.9 But it is also an area where regulation is lagging and modes of operation are yet to be properly tested in a general economic downturn; it is also an approach whose collective rigor has yet to be subjected to a full market cycle.


pages: 217 words: 63,287

The Participation Revolution: How to Ride the Waves of Change in a Terrifyingly Turbulent World by Neil Gibb

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, gig economy, iterative process, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kodak vs Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Network effects, new economy, performance metric, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, urban renewal

It is the mechanism that creates the dynamic energy of Uber, Tindr, and Airbnb. It is the source of the explosive growth of participatory activities like yoga and road cycling. Connected 1. Together “We used to take belonging for granted. Cities used to be villages. Everyone knew each other, and everyone knew they had a place to call home. But after the mechanisation and Industrial Revolution of the last century, those feelings of trust and belonging were displaced by mass-produced and impersonal travel experiences. We also stopped trusting each other. And in doing so, we lost something essential about what it means to be a community. After all, our relationships with people will always be the most meaningful part of our lives” Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb The first thing Rachel Reis does when she arrives at the Green Note club in London’s Camden Town is get everything out of the car.

In 2013, the high-tech investor Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” in an article in TechCrunch magazine, referring to a new breed of companies that rapidly grow to a billion-dollar valuation. It was a beautiful and brilliant metaphor, pointing to the seemingly magical nature of these companies. The magic, though, isn’t something mystical and esoteric. When TechCrunch published a list of the most valuable unicorns in early 2017, the top five were all participatory innovations. Uber (founded 2009, value $62.5 billion), Didi Chuxing (founded 2012, value $50 billion), and Airbnb (founded 2008, value $31 billion) are participatory platforms. Ant Financial (founded 2010, value $60 billion) is a participatory tool, enabling users to participate safely in China’s burgeoning e-commerce markets. Xiaomi (founded 2010, value $45 billion) is a participatory brand, crowd-sourcing users to participate in the design process as a means to make smartphones available at as near the cost of production as possible.

The café is the meeting place for a group that is on its way to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 130 miles east of Los Angeles. It’s a groovy little spot, roughly halfway between LA and the Southern Californian city of Indio, where the festival is held. The meet-up emerged out of an online discussion thread I joined about the festival. The experiment I am conducting is to see if I can do the whole trip using participatory tools on my iPhone. I found my accommodation using Airbnb. I booked my flight using a budget air travel app. I used Uber to get to the airport. I arranged a ride-share at the other end on the groups’ Facebook event page. I used Apple maps and WhatsApp to arrange a place to meet. In the half hour since we arrived at the café, I have posted three moody photos of palm trees to Instagram to prove to my friends what a groovy time I am having, responded to an important email from a client, and checked the weather.


pages: 190 words: 52,865

Full Stack Web Development With Backbone.js by Patrick Mulder

Airbnb, create, read, update, delete, Debian, Kickstarter, MVC pattern, node package manager, Ruby on Rails, side project, single page application, web application, WebSocket

What This Book Will Do for You The first goal of this book is to help you understand the different use cases of Back‐ bone.js. Since its first release in 2010, Backbone.js has built up a good reputation for improving the development of client-side web applications. There are a number of in‐ teresting projects and companies that use Backbone.js. For example, Walmart uses Backbone.js as the core library of its mobile shopping cart. Airbnb uses Backbone.js to let users and search engines browse available travel accomodations. DocumentCloud has built a document screening service with Backbone.js. There are many more exam‐ ples, and you can find an interesting overview in the Examples section of the Backbone.js documentation. Preface | ix Second, this book should help you climb the learning curve for getting things done on the client side.

An example stack for mobile web applications is given by Walmart’s mobile shopping cart, and we will discuss this stack based on RequireJS and Thorax in later chapters. If it is important that search engines can crawl your application, rendering of templates should be done on the server to provide links for search engine optimization and a fast first page load. Backbone.js integrates well with so-called isomorphic JavaScript appli‐ cations, where parts of an application can run on both the client and server. Airbnb’s Rendr.js library shows how client- and server-side rendering can be combined for this use case with Browserify and CommonJS modules. In other cases, a Backbone.js application is just part of a larger server-side web appli‐ cation. Some server-side approaches, such as Browserify and Express with Stitch, sup‐ port bundling JavaScript files with the CommonJS module format. Other server-side approaches support RequireJS-based workflows and JavaScript modules in the so-called AMD format.

Yet, as with many software development considerations, the right tool depends on your job. As the CommonJS format is the default server-side approach, you can have an option to run the same code on the server that runs in the browser, or vice versa. This can be interesting for certain kinds of applications, as we can share the same logic to render views or validate models on the server as in the browser. The Rendr library from Airbnb, for example, follows this approach. Also, because npm uses the CommonJS format by default, it can be nice to build quick prototypes and to experiment for learning purposes as we are doing here. We will discuss RequireJS in the second half of this book, when we are looking at static web pages, without backend integration. The general syntax to “require” Backbone as a CommonJS module looks like this: var Backbone = require('backbone'); How does this require work?


pages: 444 words: 127,259

Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, call centre, Chris Urmson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, family office, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, money market fund, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, off grid, peer-to-peer, pets.com, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, software as a service, software is eating the world, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Y Combinator

Chapter 1: X TO THE X 3 according to a letter: Kara Swisher and Johana Bhuiyan, “Uber CEO Kalanick Advised Employees on Sex Rules for a Company Celebration in 2013 ‘Miami Letter,’ ” Recode, June 8, 2017, https://www.recode.net/2017/6/8/15765514/2013-miami-letter-uber-ceo-kalanick-employees-sex-rules-company-celebration. 4 “fast-growing”, “pugnacious”, a “juggernaut”: Kara Swisher, “Man and Uber Man,” Vanity Fair, November 5, 2014, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2014/12/uber-travis-kalanick-controversy. 6 a noun coined in 2013: Aileen Lee, “Welcome to the Unicorn Club: Learning From Billion-Dollar Startups,” TechCrunch, October 31, 2013, https://techcrunch.com/2013/11/02/welcome-to-the-unicorn-club/. 6 under fire for emails: Sam Biddle, “ ‘Fuck Bitches Get Leid,’ the Sleazy Frat Emails of Snapchat’s CEO,” Valleywag, May 28, 2014, http://valleywag.gawker.com/fuck-bitches-get-leid-the-sleazy-frat-emails-of-snap-1582604137. 6 Dropbox and Airbnb: Jack Morse, “Bros Attempt to Kick Kids Off Mission Soccer Field,” Uptown Almanac, October 9, 2014, https://uptownalmanac.com/2014/10/bros-try-kick-kids-soccer-field. 11 “philosophy of work”: Brad Stone, The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World (New York: Little Brown, 2017). 11 Fourteen core leadership principles: “Leadership Priciples,” Amazon, https://www.amazon.jobs/principles. 13 employee explained the term: Alyson Shontell, “A Leaked Internal Uber Presentation Shows What the Company Really Values in Its Employees,” Business Insider, November 19, 2014, https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-employee-competencies-fierceness-and-super-pumpedness-2014-11.

note_id=476991565402. 58 “Uber CEO ‘Super Pumped’ ”: Michael Arrington, “Uber CEO ‘Super Pumped’ about Being Replaced by Founder,” TechCrunch, https://techcrunch.com/2010/12/22/uber-ceo-super-pumped-about-being-replaced-by-founder/. 59 posed for an Instagram snapshot: Uber HQ (@sweenzor), Instagram Photo, September 18, 2013, https://www.instagram.com/p/eatIa-juEa/?taken-by=sweenzor. 59 hailed UberCab’s model: Leena Rao, “UberCab Takes the Hassle Out of Booking a Car Service,” TechCrunch, https://techcrunch.com/2010/07/05/ubercab-takes-the-hassle-out-of-booking-a-car-service/. 59 one TechCrunch article by Arrington said: Michael Arrington, “What If UberCab Pulls an Airbnb? Taxi Business Could (Finally) Get Some Disruption,” TechCrunch, https://techcrunch.com/2010/08/31/what-if-ubercab-pulls-an-airbnb-taxi-business-could-finally-get-some-disruption/. Chapter 7: THE TALLEST MAN IN VENTURE CAPITAL 65 “It’s magic”: GigaOm, “Bill Gurley, Benchmark Capital (full version),” YouTube video, 32:48, December 14, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBaYsK_62EY. 65 fund returned $250 million: John Markoff, “Internet Analyst Joins Venture Capital Firm,” New York Times, July 14, 1997, https://www.nytimes.com/1997/07/14/business/internet-analyst-joins-venture-capital-firm.html. 66 worked at the Johnson Space Center: Marissa Barnett, “Former Resident Donates $1M to Dickinson,” Galveston County Daily News, September 6, 2017, http://www.galvnews.com/news/article_7c163944-63ee-5499-8964-fec7ef7e0540.html. 66 Lucia spent her spare time: Bill Gurley, “Thinking of Home: Dickinson, Texas,” Above the Crowd (blog), September 6, 2017, http://abovethecrowd.com/2017/09/06/thinking-of-home-dickinson-texas/. 66 one of the first relatively inexpensive: “Commodore VIC-20,” Steve’s Old Computer Museum, http://oldcomputers.net. 66 he mostly rode the bench: Eric Johnson, “Full Transcript: Benchmark General Partner Bill Gurley on Recode Decode,” Recode, September 28, 2016, https://www.recode.net/2016/9/28/13095682/bill-gurley-benchmark-bubble-uber-recode-decode-podcast-transcript. 66 He played for one minute: “Bill Gurley,” Sports Reference, College Basketball (CBB), https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/bill-gurley-1.html and “Bill Gurley Season Game Log,” Sports Reference, College Basketball (CBB), https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/bill-gurley-1/gamelog/1988/. 67 he was infatuated: Gabrielle Saveri, “Bill Gurley Venture Capitalist, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners,” Bloomberg, August 25, 1997, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/1997-08-24/bill-gurley-venture-capitalist-hummer-winblad-venture-partners. 70 “He’s kind of an animal”: Stross, Randall E., EBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work (Crown Publishers, 2000). 71 Gurley wrote: Bill Gurley, “Benchmark Capital: Open for Business,” Above the Crowd (blog), December 1, 2008, https://abovethecrowd.com/2008/12/01/benchmark-capital-open-for-business/.

And since ride-hailing was such a new phenomenon, much of Portland’s existing rules didn’t address the practice—laws for Uber just hadn’t been written yet. Uber would have to wait. It wasn’t as if Novick and Hales were being inflexible. Hales had promised to overhaul transportation regulations upon entering office. Just a few weeks prior, Portland was one of the first cities in the country to draft rules that allowed Airbnb, the home-sharing startup, to operate legally within the city’s confines. And for more than a year, the hope was that such a forward-thinking city could do the same with ride-sharing. But Portland’s good intentions weren’t delivering on Kalanick’s time frame. Now, the two sides found themselves at an impasse. “Get your fucking company out of our city!” Novick yelled into the speaker phone. Plouffe, the charmer, was silent.


Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

A secret can be an idea that no one else has thought of, but it can also be an idea about how to achieve something that everyone else currently thinks is too risky. It is possible that an idea is not as risky as it seems, and by taking a first-principles approach you can come to a more correct risk assessment (see Chapter 1). Many investors actually passed on Airbnb because both sides of an Airbnb transaction seemed so risky that they thought there wouldn’t be a market for it. After all, an Airbnb transaction on one side calls for letting a stranger sleep in your home, and on the other side involves sleeping in a stranger’s home. Of course, the investors who passed were wrong; plenty of people were happy to bear those risks once Airbnb set up a marketplace to do so. The opposite can be true as well, in that people can substantially underestimate risks, such as in the 2007/2008 U.S. housing crisis, which led to a global financial crisis. The few people who correctly assessed this risk and bet on their secret knowledge made a lot of money, as depicted in the 2015 film The Big Short, based on a 2010 book of the same name by author Michael Lewis.

This has the same meaning as its colloquial use, just applied to innovation. As Thiel wrote in his 2014 book, Zero to One: Great companies can be built on open but unsuspected secrets about how the world works. Consider the Silicon Valley startups that have harnessed the spare capacity that is all around us but often ignored. Before Airbnb, travelers had little choice but to pay high prices for a hotel room, and property owners couldn’t easily and reliably rent out their unoccupied space. Airbnb saw untapped supply and unaddressed demand where others saw nothing at all. The same is true of private car services Lyft and Uber. Few people imagined that it was possible to build a billion-dollar business by simply connecting people who want to go places with people willing to drive them there. We already had state-licensed taxicabs and private limousines; only by believing in and looking for secrets could you see beyond the convention to an opportunity hidden in plain sight.

It was first introduced in 1895 in a military context by French general Hubert Lyautey as part of a strategy to counter the Black Flags rebellion along the Indochina–Chinese border. It is a recognition that making direct appeals to people’s hearts and minds through communication can effectively win them over. In relatively recent history, the U.S. has led hearts-and-minds campaigns that directly explain its perspective to the populations of foreign countries like Vietnam and Iraq. In a business context, the concept has been successful when upstarts like Airbnb have made direct appeals to citizens to contact their representatives and lobby against regulations that would negatively impact consumer (and business) interests. Establishing and communicating a shared vision, values, and cultural norms helps organizations win the hearts and minds of its members, and thus intrinsically motivates them to reach their full potential. Otherwise, motivation tends toward the extrinsic, such as compensation and title.


pages: 457 words: 125,329

Value of Everything: An Antidote to Chaos The by Mariana Mazzucato

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cleantech, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, European colonialism, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, G4S, George Akerlof, Google Hangouts, Growth in a Time of Debt, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interest rate derivative, Internet of things, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, money market fund, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, rent control, rent-seeking, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software patent, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

., ‘The price of Wall Street's power', Harvard Business Review, June 2014. Mun, T., England's Treasure by Forraign Trade (1664; London: Macmillan, 1865). Newcomer, E., ‘In video, Uber CEO argues with driver over falling fares', Bloomberg, 28 February 2017: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-28/in-video-uber- ceo-argues-with-driver-over-falling-fares Oltermann, P., ‘Berlin ban on Airbnb short-term rentals upheld by city court', the Guardian, 8 June 2016: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/08/berlin-ban- airbnb-short-term-rentals-upheld-city-court ONS (Office for National Statistics), Public Service Productivity Estimates: Total Public Services, 2012 (2015): http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_394117.pdf Osborne, G., Mansion House speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 10 June 2015: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/mansion-house-2015-speech-by-the-chancellor-of-the-exchequer Ostrom, E., Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge: University Press, 1990).

Or consider the way that entrepreneurs in the dot.com and IT industry lobby for advantageous tax treatment by governments in the name of ‘wealth creation'. With ‘innovation' as the new force in modern capitalism, Silicon Valley's do-gooders have successfully projected themselves as the entrepreneurs and garage tinkerers who unleash the ‘creative destruction' from which the jobs of the future come. These new actors, from Google to Uber to Airbnb, are often described as the ‘wealth creators'. Yet this seductive story of value creation leads to questionable broader tax policies by policymakers: for example, the ‘patent box' policy that reduces tax on any products whose inputs are patented, supposedly to incentivize innovation by rewarding the generation of intellectual property. It's a policy that makes little sense, as patents are already monopolies which should normally earn high returns.

Meanwhile, innovation is seen as the new force in modern capitalism, not just in Silicon Valley but globally. Phrases like the ‘new economy', ‘the innovation economy', ‘the information society' or ‘smart growth' encapsulate the idea that it is entrepreneurs, garage tinkerers and their patents that unleash the ‘creative destruction' from which the jobs of the future come. We are told to welcome the likes of Uber and Airbnb because they are the forces of renewal that sweep away the old incumbents, whether black cabs in London or ‘dinosaur' hotel chains like Hilton. The success of some of the companies has been extraordinary. Google's share of the global desktop search engine market is more than 80 per cent,1 while just five US companies (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and IBM) own most of the world's data, with China's Baidu being the only foreign company coming close.


pages: 391 words: 97,018

Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline . . . And the Rise of a New Economy by Daniel Gross

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset-backed security, Bakken shale, banking crisis, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demand response, Donald Trump, Frederick Winslow Taylor, high net worth, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, illegal immigration, index fund, intangible asset, intermodal, inventory management, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, LNG terminal, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, risk tolerance, risk/return, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, the High Line, transit-oriented development, Wall-E, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Only in America could entrepreneurs rapidly transform couch surfing into a high-tech business worth more than $1 billion in the space of thirty-six months. With more than 100,000 listings available in more than 16,000 cities and 186 countries, it’s a real business. It has booked over 5 million nights’ accommodation. In July 2011 Airbnb raised $112 million from venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, DST Global, and General Catalyst. But the value of Airbnb isn’t what it brings to investors. Rather it’s the cash it puts into the hands of homeowners. The company says the average booking generates $80. Five million times $80 per night is $400 million.8 Even taken together, companies like Zipcar, Chegg.com, Rent the Runway, and Airbnb won’t transform the U.S. economy. Many of today’s consumer inefficiencies are habits acquired over decades, and they won’t be broken easily. But these businesses all got off the ground and gained critical mass, customers, and, crucially, funding in the teeth of the downturn.

AAA “Your Driving Costs 2011” can be seen at http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/YourDrivingCosts2011.pdf. 6. Data on Zipcar’s membership growth, membership, and business development was taken from press releases at the company’s media site: http://zipcar.mediaroom.com. 7. Data on student debt come from The Project on Student Debt, http://project onstudentdebt.org. 8. Data on Airbnb’s growth, size, and fundraising was taken from press release at the company’s media site: http://www.airbnb.com/home/press. Chapter 13. Supersize Nation: Scale, Scope, and Systems 1. Data on the number of Apple, Google, and Facebook employees come from the companies’ SEC filings. See also Greg Linden, Jason Dedrick, and Kenneth L. Kraemer, “Innovation and Job Creation in a Global Economy: The Case of Apple’s iPod,” http://pcic.merage.uci.edu/papers/2011/Innovation JobCreationiPod.pdf.

But the culture is changing. Consider how quickly consumers’ attitude to housing has changed. At the height of the boom, people believed their home generated cash by serving as a source of home equity credit or by returning a profit when it was sold. Both of those dynamics have faded. But thanks to another postrecession business, efficient homeowners have come to realize that their home can still generate cash. Airbnb, founded in August 2008, is dedicated to the premise that lots of people are willing to earn money by renting out a room in their house and that lots of other people are willing to save money by crashing at a stranger’s place rather than a motel or hotel. As the company describes its mission, “We connect people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. Guests can build real connections with their hosts [and] gain access to distinctive spaces.”


pages: 349 words: 102,827

The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-Hackers Is Building the Next Internet With Ethereum by Camila Russo

4chan, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, altcoin, always be closing, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asian financial crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, diversification, Donald Trump, East Village, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hacker house, Internet of things, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, mobile money, new economy, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, QR code, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, Turing complete, Uber for X

The big ones were rent and legal fees. Anthony estimated that, between the two of them, they had lent Ethereum about $800,000, though Joe said it was less than $500,000, without providing a more accurate estimate. The rest of the team also contributed as much as they could, working with no salary, depleting their savings, and using their credit cards to pay for daily expenses. They hopped from Airbnb to Airbnb in the small towns near Switzerland’s capital during February 2014. One of the places they stayed at the longest was a two-bedroom apartment in Meierskappel, thirty minutes by car south of Zurich. During the day, they piled around a small table by the kitchen, laptops covering almost every corner of it. They used every available chair in the house, including a small bench they brought over from the living room, and huddled there, elbows touching.

Christoph Jentzsch, a German theoretical physicist, had been working on testing and checking the compatibility among the different Ethereum clients. Christoph was known for being very good at his job, obsessive and meticulous, so when he jumped into a new venture, people paid attention. “With Uber, Airbnb, and others leading the way, we have to ask ourselves, ‘Is this how we want to build the sharing economy?’ Monopolistic companies that take extraordinary fees and have full control of the market?” said one of Slock.it’s blog posts.1 Slock.it cofounders, including Jentzsch’s brother, wanted to make it possible for people to rent, sell, and share their property without having to use intermediaries. Instead of going to platforms like Uber and Airbnb to get matched up and pay, the whole process would be done through a lock placed on each item. The lock would be connected to the Ethereum blockchain and all transactions would be automated with smart contracts.

With that in mind, Mihai started to build Egora, an online marketplace meant to be a decentralized eBay, where buyers and sellers wouldn’t have to rely on the platform itself. Instead, funds would be sent into an escrow account stored in a decentralized ledger. The money would be released only when the buyer and seller unlocked the account. After two years of working together for the magazine, Vitalik and Mihai finally met in person at an Airbnb in Barcelona. They weren’t there for too long when Amir Taaki, a prominent Bitcoin developer, convinced them to come join him in Calafou, an anarchist community near Barcelona. They decided to go both because it was cheap and because they hoped to meet interesting people with aligned values of minimal government and corporate control. A ninety-minute train ride takes you from Barcelona to the tiny and ancient village of Vallbona d’Anoia, the station closest to Calafou.


pages: 288 words: 83,690

How to Kill a City: The Real Story of Gentrification by Peter Moskowitz

affirmative action, Airbnb, Bay Area Rapid Transit, British Empire, clean water, collective bargaining, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, drive until you qualify, East Village, Edward Glaeser, Golden Gate Park, housing crisis, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, late capitalism, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent control, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Silicon Valley, starchitect, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional

Because of California’s unique ballot initiative system, San Francisco is the only one of the four cities profiled in this book where residents can relatively easily get a housing-related ballot initiative voted on in a citywide election. In 2015, one ballot initiative attempted to limit Airbnb rentals, and another tried to place a moratorium on development in the Mission. This is a great concept, but like nearly all elections in this country today, money wins: both ballot measures in San Francisco were defeated after multimillion-dollar ad campaigns by Airbnb and other corporations. As far as I know, there is no perfect or even relatively good system for local, democratic planning decisions in the United States, but that does not mean they are an impossibility. Community boards in New York were created after activists, including Jane Jacobs, pressured the city to involve the community in decisions.

She, like a growing number of twenty- and thirtysomethings, rents an apartment as opposed to owning one. She doesn’t have the money to afford a down payment on one, especially now that real estate values are skyrocketing in her city. Over cigarettes and draft beers at a bar in the Irish Channel, just a few blocks from where Ashana Bigard lives, Leslie and her friends told me about everything wrong with New Orleans today—the movie industry coming in and taking up space and houses and jobs; Airbnb, which allows people to rent their houses for short periods of time and has been shown to cause rent inflation; the increased touristification and Disneyfication of every neighborhood near the French Quarter; and the lack of community that comes with all those things. “I’ve worked at this bar for ten years,” Leslie told me through a cloud of Marlboro Lights smoke. “There are nights I know nobody here.”

This is in many ways exactly what the city asked for. The tech industry here is for the most part greeted with open arms. People recognize the problem of gentrification, but this is a company town, and anything perceived as anti-tech gets blasted by well-funded industry groups, by the mayor and most of the city council, and usually by many of the city’s residents. A ballot measure that would have limited Airbnb rentals in an attempt to preserve housing for people who actually live in the city failed to garner enough votes in 2015. So did one that would have put a temporary moratorium on development in the Mission. A proposed 1.5 percent tax on tech companies that would have raised millions for affordable housing was killed even before it made it out of the Board of Supervisors’ finance committee. San Francisco has decided not to bite the hand that feeds it, even if that hand is also signing its eviction papers.


pages: 190 words: 50,133

Lonely Planet's 2016 Best in Travel by Lonely Planet

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, British Empire, David Attenborough, haute cuisine, Maui Hawaii, sharing economy, South China Sea, Stanford marshmallow experiment, sustainable-tourism, urban planning, walkable city

Elqui Domos (elquidomos.cl) charges around US$155-190 for a double per night, and there are more geodesic options with Airbnb. 8 Boot Bed & Breakfast, Tasman, New Zealand Has a boot-shaped hotel not been on your to-do list? Amend that and step into a living fairy tale in the epically beautiful area of Tasman in New Zealand. Looking like something out of a children’s book, the boot sleeps two, with a cosy Hobbit-meets-Beatrix Potter-meets-twee feel. There’s a sofa and open fire downstairs, where you can kick back in the toe area. Is this the ultimate boot-ique hotel? The Boot is in the grounds of Jester House (jesterhouse.co.nz), and costs NZ$300 for two. It may also be booked through Airbnb. 9 Iglu-Dorf, Zermatt, Switzerland Building starts on Iglu-Dorf (‘igloo village’) every November. It’s made up of real snow igloos, near the smart Swiss resort of Zermatt, with incredible views over the Matterhorn.

But visit Transylvania today and you’re just as likely to sashay through a wickedly inventive art gallery, spy on bears, or ski the Carpathian Mountains. Transylvania is experiencing a renaissance. Cluj-Napoca was dubbed an art city of the future by Phaidon, and Brașov is attracting as many nightlife lovers as vampire hunters. Horses and carts still rattle through the countryside, but they’ll soon share the roads with Uber cabs, as the app-based transport network sets up a new office in Bucharest. Meanwhile Transylvanian Airbnb listings are slowly amassing, excellent news for fans of social accommodation. Beyond the towns, all eyes are on Transylvania’s real fang-toothed predators: wolves, lynx and the majority of Romania’s 6000-strong bear population. With the recent reintroduction of bison to the Carpathian Mountains, opportunities for wildlife watching are sure to become even richer. Controversially the government still issues hunting permits for animals perceived as a threat, and there’s been criticism of building sites encroaching on natural spaces.

Dog Bark Park Inn is the brainchild of two artistic dog lovers, and is an enormous structure – rather like a Trojan horse, but a dog, if you see what we mean. Things inside are dog-themed too, with dog-decorated cushions and dog-shaped biscuits. The owners specialise in ‘chainsaw art’, which isn’t as terrifying as it sounds – they produce wooden sculptures of various breeds, available in the shop on site. ‘Responsible pets, with well-behaved owners’ are permitted. Dog Bark Park is bookable via Airbnb or the owners’ website (dogbarkparkinn.com), and costs US$98 per night for two people. 2 Dino Snores at the Natural History Museum, London, UK London’s Natural History Museum offers the chance to stay the night with the museum’s famous bony dinosaurs. The children’s sleepover includes a torch-lit trail of the Dinosaurs gallery and a live science show, while the grown-up version includes a three-course dinner, science shows, live music, bars, edible insect-tasting, and all-night monster movie marathon.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Since this is the new model of how to be powerful, it is natural that when you ask people what feels fair in paying for a benefit over a network, an ordinary person will imagine themselves to be in the new kind of seat of power, running the server—and from that perspective it feels right and proper not to have to pay for the risk side of the equation. Risk Never Really Goes Away Consider the startup Airbnb.com, which has grown very rapidly and is by all appearances the sort of quick candy investors love the most. It smells like one of those Silicon Valley stories that instantly attract gigantic fortunes. Ah, but there’s a catch. Airbnb’s business plan is to pretend risk does not exist. The idea is that many people travel, so while they are away there might be a spare bedroom going to waste. The full capacity of the world’s housing isn’t always used to maximum capacity! So, Airbnb applies the standard playbook to use the power of network technology to optimize the world. It connects people looking for a place to stay with people who have a spare bed in the right place at the right time.

It connects people looking for a place to stay with people who have a spare bed in the right place at the right time. The efficiency of the Internet ought to be able to disrupt the hotel industry just like Napster et al. disrupted the recorded music business! The number of available beds in the Airbnb system can quickly outstrip the entire hotel industry, and at almost no cost. This is classic Silicon Valley thinking. And it works! To a point . . . After millions of happy engagements, some horror stories started to appear. A woman in San Francisco lent her home to Airbnb visitors who trashed it and stole everything from her, including information to steal her identity. One of the Airbnb founders wrote on the company blog that the good experiences of millions of transactions shouldn’t be discounted because of a few bad ones. People are basically good, he decried. I agree that people are mostly good, and yet, in a functioning economy, it is necessary that those millions of good transactions account for the effects of fools, creeps, and just plain randomness.* *This is a universal quality of Siren Servers.

I agree that people are mostly good, and yet, in a functioning economy, it is necessary that those millions of good transactions account for the effects of fools, creeps, and just plain randomness.* *This is a universal quality of Siren Servers. I selected Airbnb, but I could just as easily have selected any of the other sites in which people coordinate their affairs efficiently so that some faraway entrepreneur enjoys their money without sharing their risks. Skout, a social network for meeting people, turned out to be the medium for a scattering of rapes of underage users. See http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/dispatches/post/2011/07/plot-thickens-airbnb-renter-horror-story/179250/1, and http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/after-rapes-involving-children-skout-a-flirting-app-faces-crisis/. This is how money has to work if it’s to be about the future at all.


pages: 334 words: 104,382

Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang

23andMe, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, affirmative action, Airbnb, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, California gold rush, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, gender pay gap, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, high net worth, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microservices, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, post-work, pull request, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, subscription business, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, women in the workforce

Toth contacted Joelle Emerson, a former lawyer who had started a new business called Paradigm to help tech companies build their diversity and inclusion policies. I first met Emerson in March 2016, at the airy San Francisco headquarters of Airbnb, another company her team was advising. She speaks incredibly fast and with conviction. Right off the bat she said, “None of these companies are winning, and all of them are struggling” when it comes to the representation of women. By September 2017, Emerson was mildly more optimistic: “We’ve seen a handful of companies (like Pinterest, Intel, and Airbnb, for example) demonstrate progress in some areas, while stalling in others. Sustained progress takes time . . . That companies shouldn’t be congratulating themselves doesn’t mean there isn’t progress; it means we have a long way to go.”

The big things were often embarrassing and scary, and people found it hard to come forward when there was little promise of a positive resolution at the end. UNWANTED ADVANCES, 24/7 When I asked if anyone in the room wanted to share a “Susan Fowler” type of experience, Laura Holmes, senior product manager at Google, was the first to speak up. She hesitated as she started to tell the story, as if gathering courage, then continued in a steady tone. It was the summer of 2008, just as a new wave of tech companies, including Uber and Airbnb, was about to take off. Holmes, then a computer science student at Stanford, got an internship at a hot new photo-app start-up in San Francisco named Cooliris. One evening, she and her co-workers went out for drinks at the Ruby Skye nightclub. Around 2:00 a.m., Holmes informed one of the male engineers that she was about to go home. Apparently, he had had too much to drink. “He was about six foot three, and he told me I was not going to leave,” Holmes recalled.

As such, they closed deals with investors and entrepreneurs, spoke at industry conferences, and had the greatest sway over internal hiring and operations. After it became clear that Google was going to be huge, Moritz and Doerr took different approaches to finding the unicorns of the next decade. Sequoia stayed small and lean, making early investments in some of tech’s biggest hits, such as YouTube, Airbnb, and WhatsApp. Most founders dream of getting a check signed by Sequoia and the contacts and bragging rights that come with it. Kleiner, on the other hand, changed its approach, scaling up in staff size and widening its investment focus to include new energy and clean tech—changes made largely at the behest of Doerr. Among the slew of new partners hired were big names such as former vice president Al Gore, the famed former Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker, and the esteemed doctor Beth Seidenberg; the new junior partners included a number of promising women.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, digital map, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, G4S, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, mass immigration, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-work, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

The site, Airbedand-breakfast.com, allowed people to offer rooms in their homes to visitors; it grew out of an experience that Gebbia and Chesky had offering space in their apartment to attendees of a 2007 design conference in San Francisco, where affordable hotel rooms were scarce. The service they built, which was renamed Airbnb.com in 2009, quickly became popular. On New Year’s Eve of 2012, for example, over 140,000 people around the world stayed in places booked via Airbnb; this is 50 percent more than could be accommodated in all the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.29 TaskRabbit also grew quickly; by January 2013 the company was reporting “month-over-month transactional growth in the double digits.”30 TaskRabbit allows people to offer their labor to the crowd while Airbnb lets them offer an asset. The peer economy now includes many examples of both types of company. Crowdsourced labor markets exist in specific domains like programming, design, and cleaning, as well as for general task execution.

Brabham, “Crowdsourcing as a Model for Problem Solving An Introduction and Cases,” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 14, no. 1 (2008): 75–90, doi:10.1177/1354856507084420. 28. Alyson Shontell, “Founder Q&A: Make a Boatload of Money Doing Your Neighbor’s Chores on TaskRabbit,” Business Insider, October 27, 2011, http://www.businessinsider.com/taskrabbit-interview-2011-10 (accessed August 12, 2013). 29. Tomio Geron, “Airbnb and the Unstoppable Rise of the Share Economy,” Forbes, January 23, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/01/23/airbnb-and-the-unstoppable-rise-of-the-share-economy/ (accessed August 12, 2013). 30. Johnny B., “TaskRabbit Names Google Veteran Stacy Brown-Philpot as Chief Operating Officer,” TaskRabbit Blog, January 14, 2013, https://www.taskrabbit.com/blog/taskrabbit-news/taskrabbit-names-google-veteran-stacy-brown-philpot-as-chief-operating-officer/ (accessed August 12, 2013). 31.

As the story of Lyft highlights, there are many legal and regulatory issues that will need to be resolved as the peer economy grows. While we certainly acknowledge the need to ensure public safety, we hope that regulation in this new area will not be stifling and that the peer economy will continue to grow. We like the efficiency gains and price declines that crowdsourcing brings, but we also like the work that it brings. Participation in services like TaskRabbit and Airbnb gives people previously unavailable economic opportunities, and it also gives them something to do. It therefore has the potential to address all three of Voltaire’s “great evils,” and so should be encouraged by policy, regulation, incentives like the ETIC, and other available levers. The peer economy is still new and still small, both relative to GDP and in absolute terms. In April 2013, for example, TaskRabbit was adding one thousand new people each month to its network of approved task completers.31 This is encouraging, but that same month there were nearly 4.5 million Americans who had been out of work for at least twenty-seven weeks.32 Comparisons like this strongly suggest that crowdsourcing does not yet play a significant role in reducing unemployment and bringing work to the economy as a whole.


pages: 389 words: 87,758

No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, business cycle, business intelligence, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, demographic dividend, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, job automation, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Great Moderation, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population, Zipcar

Expedia, which launched in 1996, grew to become the largest travel company in the world, reaching $4.8 billion in revenues in 2013.23 By aggregating prices, data, reviews, and payment options, the web-based start-up constituted an important new platform that changed the basis of competition in the industry. But Expedia and its peers now face disruption from a new type of business model represented by Airbnb, the peer-to-peer hospitality site. Airbnb’s millions of customers can research, reserve, pay for, and review lodging at hundreds of thousands of locations without needing to interact with Expedia’s platform. Technology giants such as Facebook and Google must also be aware of new entrants. Snapchat, a photo-messaging app that enables senders to set a time limit for how long receivers can view their “snaps” (pictures), was started in 2011.

Most job growth in mature economies involves complex interactions. not routine production or transaction work SOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics; McKinsey Global Institute analysis Powerful platforms, driven by technology and innovative business models, are changing the very definition of jobs for many people. Just as online platforms like Amazon and eBay have connected purchasers of consumer goods with manufacturers of consumer goods, new platforms, apps, and websites are connecting purchasers of services to service providers—in entirely new and disruptive ways. Lyft, a rival to Uber, allows people to transform themselves into professional drivers at their own convenience using their own vehicles. Airbnb, the wildly popular service that matches travelers with people who have spare rooms for rent in their homes, has allowed tens of thousands of people to work part-time as very small-scale innkeepers and hoteliers—on top of an existing job, or instead of it. Startups like oDesk, TaskRabbit, and Elance have established online marketplaces for a range of services from software development to basic cleaning and running errands.

The average company’s tenure on the S&P 500 fell to about eighteen years in 2012, down from sixty-one years five decades earlier.13 It’s no longer sufficient to regard large firms as potential competitors; start-ups with access to digital platforms can be born global, scale up in the blink of an eye, and disrupt long-standing rules of competition in markets ranging from taxi services to hotels and retail. Many of these micro-multinationals are upending competition by bringing about a new “sharing economy” in hospitality (Airbnb), transportation (Lyft), and even home Wi-Fi rentals (Spain’s Fon). Technology has leveled the playing field between large and small players and increased companies’ willingness to enter new markets and expand into new sectors. Microsoft took fifteen years to reach $1 billion in sales.14 Amazon reached that mark in fewer than five years.15 Netflix is no longer merely disrupting content distribution, but is also becoming a formidable force in original content production.


pages: 302 words: 95,965

How to Be the Startup Hero: A Guide and Textbook for Entrepreneurs and Aspiring Entrepreneurs by Tim Draper

3D printing, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, business climate, carried interest, connected car, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fiat currency, frictionless, frictionless market, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, school choice, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

I do understand that if people have not been trained to invest, they may inadvertently lose money, and that the government is just trying to protect them, but by keeping them from failing, the government is keeping them from learning about investing. Maybe the government will think “educate” rather than “regulate.” Even though these failures were tragic in my mind, the failures that really hurt are the failures to act. In the venture capital business, when I have made an investment in a company that failed, it was never that big a loss since we make so many investments. But when I missed investing in Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Airbnb, Uber and others, those were my true failures. Here are some other failures I have experienced in my career. The Activision Story and The Netflix Story I tend to jump to the answer. I take great leaps and make assumptions about the future that may or may not come true, but once I am convinced, I assume that everyone else will easily jump to the same conclusion. This failing has not just kept me from getting my visions accomplished, it has given me extraordinary frustration over the years.

To keep it manageable, we kept class size to a total of 30 so the 10 students could easily be focused on. The students included a wide mix of exceptional talent including former Miss USA Erin Brady and her then husband Tony Capasso, Instagram star Ana Marte, social entrepreneur Sharon Winter, and medical marijuana delivery king David Kram. Lectures were given by the founders of Lyft, SolarCity, Airbnb, and several other household names. Among the speakers were Michelle Kwan, Jane Buckingham, and the Valley Girl herself, Jesse Draper. The students came up with a wide range of interesting companies to pitch. I agreed to invest in the top three in hopes that the show would help them get off the ground. The team did an outstanding job and the show was terrific. When the show aired, we had great expectations because we knew we had created something special.

Bitcoin has been constantly under attack by banks (JP Morgan’s CEO said it was a fraud), by various governments (China made Bitcoin illegal), and by the media (alleging that Bitcoin was only being used for nefarious purposes), but Bitcoin has proved to be resilient. It helps that the inventor is anonymous, so there is no individual to attack, and that the Bitcoin true believers are so dedicated to the success of the currency. Napster and StreamCast were attacked by the music industry, and although these companies died, the technology lives on in iTunes and Spotify. Uber has been attacked by the cab companies, Airbnb by the hotels, and Amazon by the book stores. The battle between innovation and the status quo continues. The status quo knows how to squelch innovation. The simple recipe the entrenched oligopolies use is as follows: First, ignore it and hope it will go away. Next, align with other oligopolistic players to gang up against the upstart and manipulate the press to spread fear into the minds of the startup's customers.


pages: 169 words: 52,744

Big Capital: Who Is London For? by Anna Minton

Airbnb, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, land value tax, market design, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, payday loans, quantitative easing, rent control, Right to Buy, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban renewal, working poor

There is even unhappiness at the very highest echelons of the market: the wife of Bank of England governor Mark Carney sparked opprobrium when she tweeted that she couldn’t find anywhere affordable to live in London, despite his £5,000 a week housing allowance. The phenomenal growth of Airbnb is another factor putting pressure on rents as it removes properties from the rental market while keeping prices high. Airbnb is becoming the focus of housing activists across Europe and in the US, particularly in cities which attract large numbers of tourists, such as New York, Barcelona, Berlin – and London. In Barcelona and Berlin the city government has banned renting out whole properties through Airbnb, and at the time of writing the company was embroiled in a battle in New York over the same issue. But while regulation is being introduced, it is a notoriously hard business to regulate and raises contentious issues in a city such as Barcelona where it has become an important source of income for people on modest salaries.

But while regulation is being introduced, it is a notoriously hard business to regulate and raises contentious issues in a city such as Barcelona where it has become an important source of income for people on modest salaries. The success of the model fits perfectly into Thomas Piketty’s thesis that income from rent now far exceeds economic growth, let alone wages. As such, it is likely to remain a key feature of the contemporary property market. The bedroom tax presents a mirror image of Airbnb. In a society where the ideal of public housing has collapsed, a financial penalty is imposed on people in social housing with a spare room, while those who are lucky enough to own a house with one find themselves with an additional source of revenue. Another feature of the new economy in private renting is property guardianship, where developers offer lower rents to people prepared to live in properties due to be redeveloped.

Berlin, where 90 per cent of the population rent, was the first city to introduce the changes and since then other German states, including Hamburg and Bavaria, have followed suit.13 Imagine that happening in London, where Sadiq Khan’s main intervention with regards to gentrification is to commission a research report. In Berlin thirty-three districts have been designated ‘urban conservation areas’ where expensive redevelopments are banned, and in 2016, the city government successfully used an obscure legal tool known as a ‘pre-emptive right of purchase’ to prevent the sale of an apartment block in trendy Kreuzberg to an offshore company. As well as taking on Airbnb the city government is looking at a number of tax measures to cool foreign investment; it is considering imposing a tax on second homes which remain empty and it is monitoring closely the impact of Vancouver’s new 15 per cent tax on foreign investors buying properties.14 London, on the other hand, has one of the most generous tax regimes in the world for foreign investors. One of the conclusions Bennie brought home was that the more equitable policies and practices she witnessed in Europe were not just a question of governance and politics but human interaction.


pages: 348 words: 97,277

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Blythe Masters, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, cashless society, cloud computing, computer age, computerized trading, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cyber-physical system, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, linked data, litecoin, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market clearing, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, off grid, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, ransomware, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, social web, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, the market place, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, universal basic income, web of trust, zero-sum game

at one stage nearly burning through all its: Pete Rizzo, “Ethereum: Bitcoin Price Decline Created $9 Million Funding Shortfall,” CoinDesk, September 28, 2015, https://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-bitcoin-decline-9-million-funding-shortfall/. When Stephan Tual, the founder of Slock.it: Paul Vigna, “Chiefless Company Rakes in More Than $100 Million,” The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2016, https://www.wsj.com/articles/chiefless-company-rakes-in-more-than-100-million-1463399393. in November 2016, when a site called Golem: Roger Aitken, “Fintech Golem’s ‘Airbnb’ For Computing Crowdsale Scores $8.6M in Minutes,” Forbes, November 12, 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogeraitken/2016/11/12/fintech-golems-airbnb-for-computing-crowdsale-scores-8-6m-in-minutes/#324579c73583. An initial high-water mark came: Alyssa Hertig, “ICO Insanity? $300 Million Gnosis Valuation Sparks Market Reaction,” CoinDesk, April 25, 2017, https://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-ico-irrationality-300-million-gnosis-valuation-sparks-market-concerns/. Santori later told us that he: Phone interview with Paul Vigna, June 29, 2017.

Silicon Valley’s anti-establishment coders hadn’t reckoned with the challenge of trust and how society traditionally turns to centralized institutions to deal with that. That failure was clear in the subsequent Internet 2.0 phase, which unlocked the power of social networks but also allowed first-mover companies to turn network effects into entrenched monopoly power. These included social media giants like Facebook and Twitter and e-marketplace success stories of the “sharing economy” such as Uber and Airbnb. Blockchain technologies, as well as other ideas contained in this Internet 3.0 phase, aim to do away with these intermediaries altogether, letting people forge their own bonds of trust to build social networks and business arrangements on their own terms. The promise lies not just in disrupting the behemoths of the Internet, however. Lots of large, twentieth-century, for-profit companies believe this technology can help them unlock value and pursue new money-making ventures, too.

This positive feedback loop in turn inspired other Ethereum-based developers to come up with their own new token-based Dapps and go to market with an ICO, which further spurred demand for ether and accelerated the carousel of surging prices. The sense that something extraordinary had been unleashed was cemented in November 2016, when a site called Golem, which offered a platform for trading idle computer power (it billed itself as the “Airbnb for computers”), raised $8.6 million in half an hour. After that, money seemed to open up for anyone with a white paper and a token to sell. An initial high-water mark came in April 2017 when Gnosis, whose platform allows users to create prediction markets for betting on just about anything, sold 5 percent of the tokens created by the company to raise $12.5 million in twelve minutes. With the other 95 percent controlled by the founders, those prices meant that the implied valuation of the entire enterprise stood at $300 million—a figure that soon rose above $1 billion as the Gnosis token promptly quadrupled in price in the secondary market.


pages: 359 words: 96,019

How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story by Billy Gallagher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Nelson Mandela, Oculus Rift, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, QR code, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, social graph, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, Y Combinator, young professional

It had become a verb: Snapchat me that; Snap me. Users had grown from 3 million in the fall to 10 million in the spring, while photos shared per day shot up from 50 million in December 2012 to 150 million in April 2013 and again to 200 million in June 2013. Most social networks track users by daily actives—that is, how many people visit the website or use the app on a given day. Other businesses with less frequency of use—like Amazon or Airbnb—focus more on monthly active users. In Snapchat’s case, teenagers were so addicted to the app—opening it and sending and receiving snaps dozens of times per day—that the company started focusing on hourly active users. Poke’s failure had provided convincing proof that Snapchat had built an app that was defensible—a bigger company couldn’t just copy it and wipe them out, which made it extremely attractive to venture capitalists.

(He devoted the rest of his time to product and attending meetings and events, 40 percent and 20 percent, respectively.) He hotly pursued other executives, trying to land former White House press secretary Jay Carney, who ultimately joined Amazon. Snapchat cheekily tried to poach San Francisco startup employees by adding Snapchat geofilters to their offices. At Uber’s headquarters, a geofilter read, “THIS PLACE DRIVING YOU MAD?” along with Ghostface Chillah sadly driving a cab. At Airbnb’s office, the ghost lay scared in bed, underneath the caption “NOT SLEEPING WELL?” At Twitter, the shtick was a ghost with a halo and angel wings to the tune, “FLY HIGHER!” And finally, at Pinterest, a ghost lay next to falling bowling pins, asking, “FEELING PINNED DOWN?” All of the filters featured an address for Snapchat’s jobs page. It wasn’t always easy to convince talent to leave Silicon Valley for Los Angeles.

They started out in neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles, as well as unique spots like SoulCycle and Disneyland, but eventually covered locations around the world. The geofilter for Venice, where Snapchat’s headquarters is located, was one of the earliest created. Soon after introducing geofilters, Snapchat designed one of its mascot, Ghostface Chillah, pointing and laughing at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Snapchat would later post specific geofilters at Uber, Airbnb, and Pinterest’s locations, urging their employees to come work at Snapchat. In December 2015, a shooter killed fourteen people and injured seventeen more in San Bernadino, California. As the tragedy unfolded, Snapchat created a live story, bringing viewers photos and videos from the scene as well as narrative developments and statements from authorities. This potent format, aggregating the best clips from citizen journalists and adding professional narration, led some to believe that Snapchat could be the next big platform for journalists.


pages: 185 words: 43,609

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Andy Kessler, Berlin Wall, cleantech, cloud computing, crony capitalism, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, life extension, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Ted Kaczynski, Tesla Model S, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor

But we will never learn any of these secrets unless we demand to know them and force ourselves to look. The same is true of business. Great companies can be built on open but unsuspected secrets about how the world works. Consider the Silicon Valley startups that have harnessed the spare capacity that is all around us but often ignored. Before Airbnb, travelers had little choice but to pay high prices for a hotel room, and property owners couldn’t easily and reliably rent out their unoccupied space. Airbnb saw untapped supply and unaddressed demand where others saw nothing at all. The same is true of private car services Lyft and Uber. Few people imagined that it was possible to build a billion-dollar business by simply connecting people who want to go places with people willing to drive them there. We already had state-licensed taxicabs and private limousines; only by believing in and looking for secrets could you see beyond the convention to an opportunity hidden in plain sight.

Grossman and David Gahr/Getty Images 14.5: Jim Morrison, Elektra Records and CBS via Getty Images 14.5: Kurt Cobain, Frank Micelotta/Stringer/Getty Images 14.5: Amy Winehouse, flickr user teakwood, used under CC BY-SA 14.6: Howard Hughes, Bettmann/CORBIS 14.6: magazine cover, TIME, a division of Time Inc. 14.7: Bill Gates, Doug Wilson/CORBIS 14.7: magazine cover, Newsweek 14.8: Steve Jobs, 1984, Norman Seeff 14.8: Steve Jobs, 2004, Contour by Getty Images Index Page numbers in italics refer to illustrations. Abound Solar Accenture advertising, 3.1, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3 Afghanistan Airbnb airline industry Allen, Paul Amazon, 2.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 12.1 Amundsen, Roald Andreessen, Horowitz Andreessen, Marc Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) antitrust Apollo Program Apple, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 14.1 branding of monopoly profits of Aristotle Army Corps of Engineers AT&T Aztecs Baby Boomers Bacon, Francis Bangladesh Barnes & Noble Beijing Bell Labs Berlin Wall Better Place Bezos, Jeff, 5.1, 6.1 big data Bill of Rights, U.S.

The same year he launched Palantir Technologies, a software company that harnesses computers to empower human analysts in fields like national security and global finance. He has provided early funding for LinkedIn, Yelp, and dozens of successful technology startups, many run by former colleagues who have been dubbed the “PayPal Mafia.” He is a partner at Founders Fund, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has funded companies like SpaceX and Airbnb. He started the Thiel Fellowship, which ignited a national debate by encouraging young people to put learning before schooling, and he leads the Thiel Foundation, which works to advance technological progress and long-term thinking about the future. Blake Masters was a student at Stanford Law School in 2012 when his detailed notes on Peter’s class “Computer Science 183: Startup” became an internet sensation.


pages: 179 words: 43,441

The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, collaborative consumption, commoditize, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, digital twin, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, global value chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, life extension, Lyft, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Narrative Science, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, personalized medicine, precariat, precision agriculture, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, reshoring, RFID, rising living standards, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Second, the world lacks a consistent, positive and common narrative that outlines the opportunities and challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, a narrative that is essential if we are to empower a diverse set of individuals and communities and avoid a popular backlash against the fundamental changes underway. 1.2 Profound and Systemic Change The premise of this book is that technology and digitization will revolutionize everything, making the overused and often ill-used adage “this time is different” apt. Simply put, major technological innovations are on the brink of fuelling momentous change throughout the world – inevitably so. The scale and scope of change explain why disruption and innovation feel so acute today. The speed of innovation in terms of both its development and diffusion is faster than ever. Today’s disruptors – Airbnb, Uber, Alibaba and the like – now household names - were relatively unknown just a few years ago. The ubiquitous iPhone was first launched in 2007. Yet there were as many as 2 billion smart phones at the end of 2015. In 2010 Google announced its first fully autonomous car. Such vehicles could soon become a widespread reality on the road. One could go on. But it is not only speed; returns to scale are equally staggering.

This enables the effective use of under-utilized assets – namely those belonging to people who had previously never thought of themselves as suppliers (i.e. of a seat in their car, a spare bedroom in their home, a commercial link between a retailer and manufacturer, or the time and skill to provide a service like delivery, home repair or administrative tasks). The on-demand economy raises the fundamental question: What is worth owning – the platform or the underlying asset? As media strategist Tom Goodwin wrote in a TechCrunch article in March 2015: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.”9 Digital platforms have dramatically reduced the transaction and friction costs incurred when individuals or organizations share the use of an asset or provide a service. Each transaction can now be divided into very fine increments, with economic gains for all parties involved. In addition, when using digital platforms, the marginal cost of producing each additional product, good or service tends towards zero.

This is the new on-demand economy, where providers of labour are no longer employees in the traditional sense but rather independent workers who perform specific tasks. As Arun Sundararajan, professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University (NYU), put it in a New York Times column by journalist Farhad Manjoo: “We may end up with a future in which a fraction of the workforce will do a portfolio of things to generate an income – you could be an Uber driver, an Instacart shopper, an Airbnb host and a Taskrabbit”.27 The advantages for companies and particularly fast-growing start-ups in the digital economy are clear. As human cloud platforms classify workers as self-employed, they are – for the moment – free of the requirement to pay minimum wages, employer taxes and social benefits. As explained by Daniel Callaghan, chief executive of MBA & Company in the UK, in a Financial Times article: “You can now get whoever you want, whenever you want, exactly how you want it.


pages: 232 words: 63,846

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares

Airbnb, Firefox, if you build it, they will come, jimmy wales, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, side project, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, the payments system, Uber for X, web application, working poor, Y Combinator

First, figure out where your potential customers hang out online. Then create a strategy to target potential customers on these existing platforms. Sites like Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Tumblr, GitHub, and Behance have all helped startups build traction. Airbnb saw much of its early growth come through Craigslist. Customers who used Craigslist found that Airbnb was a much simpler and safer solution. With this knowledge, the company’s engineers developed a “Post to Craigslist” feature that would allow you to list your bed on Craigslist. Though this feature eventually was shut down, it drove tens of thousands of Craigslist users back to Airbnb to book a room. PayPal, the leading online payments platform, used a similar strategy when it targeted eBay users as its first customers. In the beginning, PayPal itself purchased goods from eBay and required that the sellers accept payment through PayPal.

As a result, every message sent spreads the word about the product. Many software products do this with their free customers. MailChimp, Weebly, UserVoice, and Desk.com all add branding to free customers’ emails and Web sites by default, which can be removed by becoming a paying user. Products can also incentivize their customers to move through their viral loops and tell others about the product. Dropbox gives you more space if you get friends to sign up. Airbnb, Uber, PayPal, and Gilt give you account credits for referring the product to friends. Companies like reddit and YouTube have grown virally by using embedded buttons and widgets. On each video page, YouTube provides the code snippet necessary to embed a video on any Web site. You’ve probably also noticed such buttons for Facebook and Twitter on many Web pages: each button encourages sharing, which exposes the product to more and more people.

A/B testing, 29, 33–34 email marketing, 116, 117 search engine marketing, 70–71 viral marketing, 123–24, 127, 128 activation rates, 111–12 Adaptly, 4, 76–77 Adbeat, 75, 76 Adblade, 75 Adblock Plus, 169 Adknowledge, 165 AdMob, 169 ad quality scores, 71, 73 AdRoll, 72 Advertising.com, 75 AdWords, 28, 65, 67–72, 165–66 Affiliate.com, 162, 164 affiliate networks, 162, 164–65, 166 affiliate programs, 6, 159–66, 212 strategy, 160–62 tactics, 162–65 targets, 166 aggregators, 161, 210 Airbnb, 171 Airbrake, 78 Alexa, 76, 96, 130 Amazon, 159, 160, 163, 171 analytics tools, 32–33, 95–96 Andreessen, Marc, 8–9 Andreessen Horowitz, 8 Android, 167, 172–73 angel investing, xii AngelList, 1, 15 Apple, 89, 120, 138 App Store, 6, 168–69, 171–74 application program interfaces (APIs), 144–45 Appointment Reminder, 4, 96–97 app stores, 167–70, 171–74 AppSumo, 42, 45 Archives.com, 4, 66–68 Asana, 115 attendees, at trade shows, 177, 179 Atwood, Jeff, 7, 199–201 audience prospectus (ad kits), 82–83 automated emails, 111–12, 116–17 automated long-tail content, 98 Baptiste, Jason, 51–52 Barsh, Steve, 150–51, 192 biases, 20, 38–40, 41 billboards, 59, 82–83, 87–88 BillGuard, 113 Bing Ads, 68, 210 Bingo Card Creator, 96–97, 132 Bitly, 170–71 black-hat tactics, 99, 101 Blendtec, 59, 62 blockages, 156 blogs.


pages: 309 words: 79,414

Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists by Julia Ebner

23andMe, 4chan, Airbnb, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, feminist movement, game design, glass ceiling, Google Earth, job satisfaction, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, off grid, pattern recognition, pre–internet, QAnon, RAND corporation, ransomware, rising living standards, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Transnistria, WikiLeaks, zero day

Rebel Media is a Canadian far-right media outlet best known for its provocative anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim features. To hide my shock, I quickly say goodbye, head towards the wrong Underground line and stop to take a deep breath once he is out of sight. The next day, I get an idea of what redpilling looks like. Generation Identity is very 2010s. When they hold a secret strategy meeting, they rent an Airbnb in south London. To be precise, in Brixton, one of London’s most multicultural areas, known for its riots against police racism in the 1980s. I am the last person to arrive at the Airbnb on Sunday morning. The Austrian leader of Generation Identity, Martin Sellner, stands outside next to his new girlfriend, the prominent American alt-right YouTuber Brittany Pettibone. To my relief, Martin has left his glasses in the taxi. He might have recognised me otherwise, even with my blonde wig, as we had featured together in a BBC Newsnight report in late 2016.

Available at https://archive.org/stream/TheCallForAGlobalIslamicResistance-EnglishTranslationOfSomeKeyPartsAbuMusabAsSuri/TheCallForAGlobalIslamicResistanceSomeKeyParts_djvu.txt. 2Alex Hern, ‘New AI fake text generator may be too dangerous to release, say creators’, Guardian, 14 February 2019. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/14/elon-musk-backed-ai-writes-convincing-news-fiction. 3Paige Leskin, ‘The AI tech behind scare real celebrity “deepfakes” is being used to create completely fictitious faces, cats, and Airbnb listings’, Business Insider, 21 February 2019. Available at https://www.businessinsider.de/deepfake-tech-create-fictitious-faces-cats-airbnb-listings-2019-2?r=US&IR=T. 4Lizzie Plaugic, ‘Watch a man manipulate George Bush’s face in real time’, Verge, 21 March 2016. Available at https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/21/11275462/facial-transfer-donald-trump-george-bush-video. 5Hern, ‘New AI fake text generator may be too dangerous to release, say creators’. 6Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Mineola; New York: Dover Publications, unabridged edn, 1997). 7Amy Chua, Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations (London: Bloomsbury, 2018). 8Ibid., p. 164. 9David Goodhart, The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics (London: Hurst, 2017). 10Hamza Shaban, ‘Google for the first time outspent every other company to influence Washington in 2017’, Washington Post, 23 January 2018.

I have watched extremist movements coordinate terrorist attacks, launch disinformation operations and plot intimidation campaigns. I was in the channels where the alt-right planned the lethal Charlottesville rally, ISIS plotted cyberattacks on American infrastructure, German trolls coordinated online attacks on politicians and Italian neo-fascists carried out information operations to influence the 2018 election. From participating in a secret strategy meeting hosted by white nationalists in an Airbnb in south London to joining a militant neo-Nazi rock festival on the German–Polish border and receiving hacking instructions from ISIS jihadists, my time inside these movements not only taught me about extremists’ strategies and tactics, it also exposed me to their human dimensions as well as to my own vulnerabilities. The extent of the abhorrent content I came across during this project was sobering, and the number of young people involved saddening.


Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World by Jeffrey Tucker

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, altcoin, bank run, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Google Hangouts, informal economy, invisible hand, Kickstarter, litecoin, Lyft, obamacare, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, TaskRabbit, the payments system, uber lyft

Right now, we can experience a form of commercial relationship that was unknown just a decade ago. If you need a ride in a major city, you can pull up the smartphone app for Uber or Lyft and have a car arrive in minutes. It’s amazing to users because they get their first taste of what consumer service in taxis really feels like. It’s luxury at a reasonable price. If your sink is leaking, you can click TaskRabbit. If you need a place to stay, you can count on Airbnb. In Manhattan, you can depend on WunWun to deliver just about anything to your door, from toothpaste to a new desktop computer. If you have a skill and need a job, or need to hire someone, you can go to oDesk or Elance and post a job you can do or a job you need done. If you grow food or make great local dishes, you can post at a place like credibles.co and find a prepaid customer base. If you get a parking ticket that you find unjust, there is an app for that: GetFixed.me.

The LA Weekly speculates that this drop is because of these ride-sharing services, which are used often late at night in locations with bars and clubs. All my conversations with Uber drivers seem to confirm this hunch. The taxi monopolies might have provided such efficient services, but without competition, the motivation for progress evaporates. Similarly, we might expect the hotel industry, which is forced to pay high taxes and to comply with vast regulations, to grumble about room-sharing services such as Airbnb, which bear no 11 such costs. Individuals with an extra room in their house or apartment can charge less, often far less, than established players in the industry. So too might bankers be annoyed by peer-to-peer lending services. Central banks are agitated by the rise of bitcoin. This reaction is pure economic interest at work against innovations that threaten their competitive advantage of the status quo.

So what does this publication say about the sharing economy? “Uber is part of a new wave of corporations that make up what’s called the ‘sharing economy,’” writes Avi Asher-Schapiro in the strangely titled article “Against Sharing.” “The premise is seductive in its simplicity: people have skills, and customers want services. Silicon Valley plays matchmaker, churning out apps that pair workers with work. Now, anyone can rent out an apartment with Airbnb, become a cabbie through Uber, or clean houses using Homejoy.” So far, so good. But then the writer dives deep into the ideological thicket: “under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations.” Hold on there. By “worker protections,” the writer probably means mandates on corporations to provide various benefits to workers, including healthcare.


pages: 533

Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech by Jamie Susskind

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, Andrew Keen, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, British Empire, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, continuation of politics by other means, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google bus, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, lifelogging, Metcalfe’s law, mittelstand, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Oculus Rift, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, payday loans, price discrimination, price mechanism, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selection bias, self-driving car, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technological singularity, the built environment, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, universal basic income, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

Take a different set of examples that are likely to grow in importance as time goes on: the ‘reputation systems’ that help to determine people’s access to social goods like housing or jobs on the basis of how other people have rated them. Airbnb and Uber, leading lights of the ‘sharing economy’, rely on reputation systems of this kind. There are also ways of rating professors, hotels, tenants, restaurants, books, TV shows, songs, and just about anything else OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 28/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS 290 FUTURE POLITICS capable of quantification. The point of reputation systems is that they allow us to assess strangers on the basis of what other people have said about them. As Tom Slee puts it, ‘reputation is the social distillation of other people’s opinion.’15 You would tend to trust an Airbnb host with a five-star rating more than an alternative with only two stars. Reputation systems are relatively young and are likely to become more common in the digital lifeworld.

A ‘smart contract’, for instance, is a piece of blockchain software that executes itself automatically under pre-agreed circumstances— like a purchase agreement which automatically transfers the ownership title of a car to a customer once all loan payments have been made.27 There are early ‘Decentralised Autonomous Organisations’ (DAOs) that seek to solve problems of collective action without a centralized power structure.28 Imagine services like Uber or Airbnb, but without any formal organization at the centre pulling the strings.29 The developers of the Ethereum blockchain, among ­others, have said they want to use DAOs to replace the state altogether. Blockchain still presents serious challenges of scale, governance, and even security, which are yet to be overcome.30 Yet for a youthful technology it is already delivering some interesting results. The governments of Honduras, Georgia, and Sweden are trialling the use of blockchain to handle land titles,31 and the government of Estonia is using it to record more than 1 million patient health records.32 In the UK, the Department for Work and Pensions is piloting a blockchain solution for the payment of welfare benefits.33 In the US, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking into using blockchain technology to protect its military networks and communications.34 Increasingly connective technology is not just about people connecting with other people.

Social network proprietors are slowly taking steps to regulate their discussion spaces. Software engineers like those at loomio.org are trying to create ideal deliberation platforms using code.The Taiwanese vTaiwan platform has enabled consensus to be reached on several matters of public policy, including online alcohol sales policy, ridesharing regulations, and laws concerning the sharing economy and Airbnb.21 Digital fact-checking and troll-spotting are rising in prominence22 and the process of automating this work has begun, albeit imperfectly.23 These endeavours are important. The survival of deliberation in the digital lifeworld will depend in large part on whether they succeed. What’s clear is that a marketplace of ideas, attractive though the idea sounds, may not be what’s best. If c­ ontent OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 26/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS DEMOCRACY IN THE FUTURE 235 is framed and prioritized according to how many clicks it receives (and how much advertising revenue flows as a result) then truth will often be the casualty.


pages: 198 words: 53,264

Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, buy low sell high, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, financial innovation, fixed income, hindsight bias, index fund, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, Paul Samuelson, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, stocks for the long run, transcontinental railway, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

Sacca couldn't see Snap's potential and passed.14 Now, Snapchat functions like a full social media or messaging app, and it has a huge user base, especially among Generation Z. Snap went public in 2017 at a $24 billion valuation.15 Ouch. When Simmons asked, “Is that your biggest misfire?” Sacca responded, “I misfire all the time. I told the Airbnb guys what they're doing is unsafe and somebody was gonna get raped and murdered in a shared house.”16 Airbnb is currently worth more than $30 billion.17 Sacca is able to speak openly and candidly about his misses because he's had so many winners. He understands that swinging and missing, or in these cases watching the pitch and not swinging is part of the game. For us mere mortals however, passing on the next Amazon, or selling it too early can have disastrous and long‐lasting effects, because for us, these opportunities don't come around too often.

Neha Dimri, “GoPro's IPO Priced at $24 per Share: Underwriter,” Reuters, June 25, 2014. 13. Interview with Tim Ferriss. 14. Chris Sacca, interview with Bill Simmons, “Episode 95: Billionaire Investor Chris Sacca,” The Bill Simmons Podcast, April 28, 2016. 15. Portia Crowe, “Snap Is Going Public at a $24 Billion Valuation,” Business Insider, March 1, 2017. 16. Interview with Bill Simmons. 17. Lauren Thomas, “Airbnb Just Closed a $1 Billion Round and Became Profitable in 2016,” CNBC.com, March 9, 2017. 18. SEI, “Behavioral Finance: Loss and Regret Aversion,” September 2014. CHAPTER 16 Michael Batnick Looking in the Mirror You will do a great disservice to yourselves, to your clients, and to your businesses, if you view behavioral finance mainly as a window onto the world. In truth, it is also a mirror that you must hold up to yourselves.

As a member of the investment committee, he is responsible for the construction of client portfolios. Michael became a CFA charterholder in 2015. In his spare time he enjoys reading and spending time with his wife Robyn, son Koby, and dog Bianca. Index 13D registration, 90 101 Years on Wall Street (Brown), 50 Abbot Labs, 91 ABX Index, 134 Ackman, Bill, 3, 85, 88 CNN interview, 92 confidence, 88–89 persistence, 89 Adams, Evelyn, 131 Airbnb, 151 Alcoa, trading, 157 Alfond, Harold, 81 Amazon, 139–140 earnings, 7 Animal spirits, 126 “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias” (Kahneman/Knetsch/Thaler), 75 AOL/Time Warner, merger, 49 Apple earnings, certainty (example), 120 shareholder wealth, 109 Arthur Lipper, tracking, 70 Art of Contrary Thinking, The, (Neill), 67 Assets under management (AUM), reduction, 61 Automatic, Sacca investment, 149 Bacon, Louis, 103 Balanced fund, transformation, 50 Bank of England, currency defense, 103 Bank of Taiwan, investments, 40 Baruch, Bernard, 7 Batnick, Michael, 155 Behavior gap, 99 Bell, Alexander Graham, 29 Benchmarks, 77 Benjamin Graham Joint Account, 7 Berkowitz, David, 88 Berkshire Hathaway Buffett control, 76 drawdowns, 143 market cap, 79 recovery, 114 shares, decline, 142 stock, Buffett purchase, 76 value loss, 57 Bernstein, Peter, 121, 164 Bernstein, William, 37 Betting on Zero (Silvan), 94 Betty Crocker, comparison, 91 Black Monday, 102 Black‐Scholes option pricing model, 39–40 Blood money, 91 Blue Chip Stamps, 141–142 Bogle, Jack, 45, 159 firing (Wellington Management), 51 impact, 47 performance, problems, 51 Boston Security Analysis Society, Samuelson remarks, 51 Brokerage house, offer, 20 Brokers, long‐term relationship, 61 Brooks, John, 68 Brown, John Dennis, 50 Brown, Josh, 162–163 Bucket shops closure, 18 usage, 16 Buffalo Evening News (purchase), 142 Buffett, Warren, 4, 10, 73, 140 annual forecasts, 77 circle of competence, 80 comparison, 100 gross returns, 76 investment philosophy, 76–77 limited partnership, closure, 111 Oracle of Omaha, 76, 78 Pearson, contrast, 114 Bull market, margin for error, 67 Cabot, Walter, 50 Capital, usage, 17 Carr, Fred, 69 Cayne, James, 40 Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor (Griffin), 81 Charmin, comparison, 91 Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam, 158–159 Chasing the Last Laugh (Zacks), 27 Chesapeake & Atlantic, 20–21 Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, 16 Chicago Herald (problems), 30 Church and Dwight, value, 91 Churchill, Winston, 91 Circle of competence (Buffett), 80 Cisco, gains, 57 Citron Research, 113–114 Clemens, Samuel.


pages: 123 words: 32,382

Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web by Paul Adams

Airbnb, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, information retrieval, invention of the telegraph, planetary scale, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, sentiment analysis, social web, statistical model, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, white flight

* * * Quick Tips When we’re planning marketing campaigns, we should concentrate on content that is likely to spread among friends, and friends of friends, but we shouldn’t expect it to spread to people more than three degrees away from the people who first encountered the message. This is why it’s important to seed the content with many small groups. Using existing connections is a powerful way to build new connections. It highlights the shortest paths between people, which can be useful for sharing information to more relevant groups, or connecting with new people. Airbnb is a service that allows people to rent out their homes to strangers. As these people don’t know each other, which makes it hard to know who to trust, Airbnb used Facebook connections to make it possible to see whether you are connected to the other people through friends of friends. It’s now easy to ask the mutual friend about whether we’re likely to get on well with the host, or whether we’re likely to like their place. * * * Summary Our social network is made up of all the people we’re connected to (which we can largely control) and all the people they’re connected to (which we can’t control).

• The readers of my blog, thinkoutsidein.com, whose commentary always gives me new perspectives and helps me shape many early thoughts. New groups Thanks to you, for reading. I hope we’ll chat together face to face in a future group. Index A adoption thresholds 74–75, 76, 81 advertising historical increase in 132 new forms of 135, 142 reach approach to 133 targeted 80, 138, 139 See also marketing Airbnb service 46 Allen, Christopher 48 American Eagle Outfitters 41 American Express 120 anchoring 126 Apple products 122 Ariely, Dan 98, 128, 131, 144 associates 52 B Bahrami, Bahador 92 Barabási, Albert-László 31, 48 basic friendship pattern 55 behavior changing 123–124, 149 consistency of 118–119 consumer 12, 104, 106, 148 influence of 86–87, 109, 148 social proof and 86–87 technology and 9–10 understanding 150 beliefs 120, 149 Berger, Jonah 19, 27, 28 Bernoff, Josh 28, 69, 99 biases confirmation bias 127 environmental cues and 125–126 habits related to 123–124 influenced by others 118–119 perception of value and 120–122 BMW ads 19, 26 Bok, Derek 27 boyd, danah 32, 48 brain conscious 103, 107–109 decision making and 103–104, 107, 109–110, 148 memory and 111–113 nonconscious 103–104, 107–111, 148 patterns detected by 105, 110 brands, conversations about 20–21 broad friendship pattern 58 Broadbent, Stefana 14, 68 Brooks, David 48 C Call of Duty games 2, 3 cascades of ideas 73, 80, 81 choices, number of 120–121, 122 Christakis, Nicholas 48, 68, 94, 97 Cialdini, Robert 98 classic sales funnel 104, 106, 113 Cohen, Jonathan 128 comforters 53 communal laughter 16 comparison 126 confidants 53 confirmation bias 127 Connected (Christakis and Fowler) 48, 68, 97 connections degrees of separation between 43–45 independent groups and network 39 influence not correlated with 73 marketing campaigns for making 18 social network patterns of 33–35, 47 surfacing of common 45 conscious brain 103, 107–109 decision making by 103, 110 processing capacity of 107, 108 consumer behavior 12, 104, 106, 148 contacts, useful 52 conversations brands mentioned in 20–21 feelings shared in 19 information communicated in 24–26 reasons for having 16–17 topics of 18–22 who we engage in 23–26 credibility 139–142 Crossing the Chasm (Moore) 79, 83 cues, environmental 20, 21 culture, influence of 87–88 customer testimonials 137 Cyworld network 80 D De Vries, Marieke 128 decision making bias and 118–119, 125–126 comparison used in 126 getting help with 90 groups used for 92 nonconscious brain and 103–104, 107, 109–110, 148 presentation and 125–126 Dijksterhuis, Ap 114, 115 Dove ad campaign 46, 49 Dunbar, Robin 10, 18, 27, 34, 48 E early adoption 78–79 Eastern cultures 88 Emergence (Johnson) 114 emotional brain.


pages: 176 words: 55,819

The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha

Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, David Brooks, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, late fees, lateral thinking, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs

Entrepreneurs, forever operating with constraints, are the kings and queens of hustle, and the best examples of hustle in action. Be Resourceful: If You Don’t Have a Bed to Sleep On, Make Your Own It was January 2008. Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharczyk had a problem: they were broke. They started “Air Bed and Breakfast” thinking that anyone with an air mattress, extra couch, or bed should be able to make money renting out that space on a temporary basis. It wasn’t a bad idea. For example, during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Barack Obama spoke at a packed NFL stadium with eighty thousand seats in a city with a total of twenty-seven thousand quickly-sold-out hotel rooms. Thousands of Democratic supporters were scrambling to find a place to stay. Using