AirBnB Story Book from Leigh Gallagher – My Top 5 Learnings
Rating, Summary, Author & a lot more
Top 5 Keylearnings from AirBnB Story
The book The AirBnB Story is not only the story of how AirBnB came about, but also contains instructive tips for young founders. Here are my top 5 keylearnings:
1. Don’t go public too early. It has long been speculated when AirBnB would go public. But in December 2020 the time had finally come. The platform went public with great success. There was a reason for waiting so long. The founders feared that an IPO would lose their spirit. Only in the future will it be seen whether this is really the case.
2. Talk to your customers. Right from the start, the founders sought close contact with their customers. Especially to their hosts. They almost only stayed in AirBnB’s. Through this exchange, they were able to see and fix the problems immediately.
3. Your CTO has to be a genius. The two founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky were very lucky when they were able to inspire the IT genius Nathan Blecharczyk with their idea. Without its capabilities, AirBnB wouldn’t be where it is today. Find the best developer you can find. Don’t settle for less.
4. Kickstart with growth hacks. The term growth hacks actually got really popular with AirBnB. Back then, they listed all of their offers on Craigslist, directing visitors to their website. This enabled them to get their website traffic up and running in no time. Growth hacks are awesome, but unfortunately you can’t just transfer them to your company.
5. Use the network effect. AirBnB was only able to spread so rapidly because they use the network effect. The more hosts, the more attractive the platform for travelers. The more travelers, the more attractive for hosts. A platform is one of the most lucrative business models out there, but also one of the most difficult because you have to convince buyers and sellers.
Who is Leigh Gallagher?
Leigh Gallagher was a journalist for Forbes magazine for 6 years. From April 2007 to January 2019 she worked for Fortune Magazine. Most recently she held the position of management there. While at Fortune Magazine, she wrote the first major article about AirBnB founder Brian Chesky. The book The AirBnB Story has emerged from this collaboration over time. In addition to this book, she published the book The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving in 2013.
Leigh Gallagher joined Google in February 2019 as Director External Affairs.
Applicability of what has been learned from the AirBnB story
The AirBnB Story is not a classic non-fiction book, but the history of the AirBnB company. But the book also gives valuable insights that you can use for your work. It shows how the founders had their first big breakthrough with the help of growth hacks. How they dealt with a shit storm or had to deal with authorities and hotel associations.
In addition, Leigh Gallagher repeatedly uses terms from the startup world, which are well explained.
Comprehensibility of the content from the AirBnB story
The reading is divided into 8 large chapters. The book reproduces the first years of the AirBnB company. It’s written very simply. The author shows the story from the perspective of the three founders.
Die AirBnB Story explained in 500 words
From a retrospective perspective, most of the development stories of companies look like a fate. So also with AirBnB. Two young students can no longer afford the rent for their apartment. Because of this necessity, they sublet their apartment and can thus afford their rent.
In 2007 the two design students Joe Gebbie and Brian Chesky came up with the idea for the company. After successfully renting out their own apartment to three guests, they wanted to turn it into a business. After 6 months of searching, they found their third founder – Nathan Blecharczyk. He was an IT genius and built the first website in no time.
It was through media attention that they got their first big hype and after a short time they had 800 hosts on their website. But a short time later the traffic on the website was gone again. Since they needed money, they sold self-branded cereal. You were an Airbed & Breakfast. The trick was that they did that in the campaign year and named the cereals Obama O’s and Capn McCain. They made $ 30,000 from selling the cereal and caught the attention of a major tech investor from Silicon Valley. She shifted her to the Y Combinator for 3 months. A kind of training for start-up founders.
After that time, they knew they had to talk to their customers and find out how to help them. So they organized meetups with their hosts, edited their pictures for their apartments, showed people how to make money, etc.
Over time, sales continued to grow and more and more hosts and visitors came to the platform. Despite the growing size, the company was able to remain true to its mission and values.
Over time there were always minor and major problems that the company had to deal with. Like theft and devastation from guests. In 2011, a Harvard student researched the platform and found that colored hosts were getting a lot less bookings and money for their apartments. Colored guests were also turned down much more often. The study was published in 2016 and caused a shit storm.
But here, too, the founders reacted and were able to solve the problem by changing their terms and conditions and changes in the profile area of the website.
With its growing size and global hosts, authorities and hotel associations also came up against the young company as a further hurdle. But they were able to get that under control and reached an agreement with many communities.
The book was published in 2017, at the time the company was not yet listed, but there was speculation about it at the end of the book. At the end of 2020, AirBnB actually went public and it was a great success. Now it remains exciting to see how the company will survive the Corona crisis and how it will develop in the future.
Why you should read the AirBnB Story when doing the Power MBA:
The story of AirBnB is unique and a good example of how startups can disrupt entire industries. AirBnB has managed to become a brand and a collective term for private accommodation worldwide.
Former Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Jonathan Mildenhall is one of the mentors in the Power MBA. He teaches the Business & Marketing Strategies lessons. There he shows you how to build a large and globally recognized brand.
As the ideal preparation for the Power MBA, I recommend to you the book AirBnB Story*