Interview with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky


Talk to me about going forward and connecting people and the focus. You're putting on experiences but also on the lives you can create for your host. Who in part. I think are taking equity and becoming quite important for the brand. We've just heard in london here this week. That uber has said its drivers will become workers with benefits and minimum wage. So they're getting brought into the companies. So how do you sort of to advance the experience of your host but also the people that are using the platform to rent yet to great questions. Maybe i'll start with the second question host. And then i'll go to the first one the different like let's just take us versus uber. One difference in us an uber is the founders of uber created uber because they wanted to be writers another words they said it would be awesome if i could summon a black car so they started on the buyer side. We were totally opposite. My roommate and i weren't desiring to have a service like airbnb to travel because we were too broke to even want such a service. I mean we would have loved it but we were so broke. We just wanted to way to make money so we really started as host. So in that sense. I think this is a company of hosts by host for host and even if we have veered from that in the past. We're back there. And so i'm very proud of the fact that number one host have made one hundred and ten billion dollars on our platform since we started. That's pretty cool. The next thing. I'm saying i think it's cooler. Fifty five percent of that income has gone to women most ecommerce platforms. The vast majority economics. They're not evenly distributed on airbnb. The vast majority of income is outside the united states and more than half of it goes to women. it's a pretty diverse audience. We have four million host on airbnb. Ninety percent of our hosts are individual people so there is a question. How many of these are professionals. The answer is ten percent ninety percent of individuals. The most common careers are healthcare workers schoolteachers. In students these are the three most common professions that we've seen so these are truly everyday people like my parents. My parents are social workers. And it would make sense that people who need supplemental income would be everyday people for the most part one of the things we did before it went public. Is i got a piece of advice from somebody. They said. institutionalize your intentions. So that even as a public company you can minimize conflicts. Your vision and what they really meant was wants to go public. The cement of your company gets a little harden. What do you want to bake into the company before you go public. And i said one of the things i want to bake in is to create a host endowment. I want to set aside equity for host and so one of the things we did is we took nine point. Two million shares of airbnb equity and we put it into is essentially a airbnb host endowment kind of like a college endowment where it would grow every year but then some of the appreciation would get distributed into the host each year. So that was the idea that endowment is nearly two billion dollars today and growing. I hope it's one day. Larger than most college endowments and we created a host advisory board of seventeen host from fourteen countries to advise us on how to spend that money and reinvest it back to the host community. We also allowed host to invest in our ipo. And we had. I think it was fifteen thousand host. If i'm not mistaken who invested. They bought stock at sixty eight dollars. A share as you know the stock prices at the time of this recording around triple so those hosts have done really well and if i could allowed winning more host to invest in the whatever but we had some sec regulations that limited us and so these are just some of the many things we tried to do. But i just want to say like our commitment to host just beginning. Because i've committed to putting more than one hundred million dollars in my own equity into the host endowment and we're gonna continue to invest in our host because we are nothing without our host and in the end the day everybody's more of a community anything else i mean. Yeah we are a technology company in a sense but with people are buying isn't technology and they're not buying real estate we're not like zillow wh- senator of our company our host and our people and so that leads to the second question. What is airbnb about in. Where's it going when we started airbnb. Our first tagline was travel like a human. The idea was that you were like kind of treated for who you are. And you're seen for who you are valued for who you are and that was kind of the idea. I mean it was idealistic. But i can tell you. We definitely believed it in the early days and we realized that i had these two crazy ideas when we start airbnb. These crazy beliefs and people thought i was absurd. The first idea was we thought people were fundamentally good. That sounds kind of crazy because if you open any newspaper you wouldn't think they're good. People are good wise every headline about the worst of humanity. I think there was a famous quote by a former chief justice. The united states. You said i don't read the front page of the newspaper. I read the sports section. The front pages filled the man's failures. The sports pages. Filled man successes. I kind of feel like despite what we read in the news. People are funny. Good and i can tell you that we have the data to prove it. We probably more than anyone to prove what happens. When a hundred million people live together. Mostly good things sometimes bad things but statistically people are good and the second thing is true is that people are ninety nine point nine percent the same and you would never think that today given that we are so divided and yeah we spent a lot of time energy celebrating that point one percent. That makes us different. We call that culture in other things but let's not forget that we're mostly the same deep down and if you think people are good and their most the same then you'd believe that it's better to bring them together than divide them in separate them. That was the idea behind airbnb and so real estate and housing is just the beginning. We launched a few years ago. Airbnb experiences air experiences are essentially just three hour activities where you can have a host host. One other passions. You can go to tuscany. And make pasta with grandma grandma. Non an arena. Who's like an eighty plus year old grandmother who grew up during world war. Two and tells you about living in italy during the rise of fascism and then kind of what happened after and she tells you about her famous recipe and you make pasta in her house with and then you eat around the table this alternative to going to restaurants a pretty cool alternative so we have these like really interesting experiences and i think experiences is going to be a really really big product. I thought last year was going to break out year. But of course social distancing met we put on pause but we're looking at many new ways to try just connect people again. I think this is one of the loneliest times in human history right now. I think most people listening would probably say they felt some type of loneliness in the last year. We've been so separated. And i think in life we sometimes appreciate things when they're taken away from us and human connection and travels been taken away from us and i hope that makes us value at more than ever before and i'm pretty concerned about the amount of isolation happening and i don't think that social media and digital connections are fully nourishing. We actually do need real connection with real people. And i actually think it's good. Connect people are different than you. If you wanna like bridge the divide in any country. The best answer. I've heard is to just walk in other people's shoes don't argue over the internet. No one's ever changed. Someone's mind on a youtube comment section to my knowledge. But how could you not change your mind when you walk in someone. Just home live in their home walk. In their shoes do their activities. You may not agree with them but you will find that. Most of them are good and they're mostly just like you deep

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