STARTUP BOOK REVIEW
The Airbnb Story Book
Airbnb Book Review
This is a very brief review of ‘Leigh Gallagher’s - the airbnb story’. The point of the review is provide you with a brief insight to the books content and its relevance to a busy entrepreneur like yourself.
Again it’s a story about young men forming a company based on an idea they had resulting directly from their circumstances and turning it into a worldwide phenomenon worth billions of dollars.
The three founders: Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and the other bloke who’s name I forget because it’s unpronounceable. It’s also irrelevant unless you enjoy a good pub quiz.
The idea came about because the guys needed to pay their rent and didn’t have the money. Fortunately there was an event in San Fransisco which brought in loads of guest to the city all looking for somewhere to lay their heads for the night. So Chesky and the crew advertised air bed and breakfast and the rest as they say is history.
They expanded on the idea using the nameless bloke to develop the code, for that was his skill. Brian and Joe were product designers.
So why read this book? You should read this book as it’s an interesting story detailing how the three founders went about building a multi billion dollar company and the obstacles that they overcame. By reading the book you will inevitably see yourself, specifically in the story of the early days.
The key to success is to start. Spending ages pondering, discussing and waiting for a sequence of events to fall into place just doesn’t cut it. The sooner you start, the sooner you can start to learn.
In the never ending learning phase of life, we all make mistakes. One time, Chesky and his buddies turned up to pitch an investor. They decided to demonstrate the site rather than rely on their pitch deck which they left at home. Guess what? When they got to the pitch their site was down. So they spent an awkward hour with the investor who didn’t invest. This is a mistake that any of us could and would make. The trick is to make sure that when you fall you always fall forward and learn what you can from the experience.
Reading a candid story about business founders who make mistakes but ultimately succeed is inspiring. Hearing how they lived on dry breakfast cereal because they couldn’t afford milk shows how ordinary and potentially similar to you these guys are.
The key is to start. If your idea is tech related you should start by building a minimum viable product (MVP). There’s no better way to show potential investors how your concept works and how it will address the market. If you don’t have the tech skills, don’t worry as you can outsource the job to a reliable software development company. Explain your idea to them and they’ll be only too glad to work with you. To ensure that your ideas are kept confidential you can get them to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with you.
I’ve reviewed a few books now such as SnapChat and Netflix and the thing that stands out is that investment is key to future success. In the case of the guys at Airbnb, they started in the Y-Combinator incubator. Y-Combinator invested in them but more importantly they opened the door to bigger investors who literally poured money into the company. Investment brings expertise and stellar employees who have the skills to take the company to the stars.
Airbnb grew exponentially and uncovered problems relating to the legalities of short term letting in places such as New York, San Fransisco, Berlin and Barcelona. For most of us we would think - oh well that’s that, but not Airbnb. They employed lobbyists to change the law and employed people who could. That’s what mega investment brings. It brings the capability and desire to succeed and overcome obstacles with quality know how.
If you want to read more you can buy the book on amazon here. It’s a great read which will keep you entertained. Hopefully it will also inspire you to start.