He is a 33-year-old genius, drives a fast-growing global business worth billions of dollars, I met him in Aspen and I think his ideas are worth sharing. He is Brian Chesky, the founder of Airbnb.
What impressed me the most about Brian is the sheer talent and his vision on the concept of the shared economy. He is leading real change, a change he thinks is as seismic as the first internet revolution in the mid-90s, when it became mainstream.
Today, millions of people have the potential to share things with one another, be it a spare bedroom or – as Brian predicts – the opportunity to cook and serve food to total strangers in their living room. It’s an economic concept based on trust, and a promising one, judging from the rapid success of Airbnb, a company now reportedly valued at around $10 billion.
Think about it: more than 650,000 people travelled to Brazil this summer for the World Cup. Do you know that 5% of them are staying at accommodations rented via Airbnb? Not bad for a guy who launched the company six years ago, after he rented an inflatable bed in his shared flat in San Francisco, where demand for hotel rooms was soaring because of a big event in the city.
As Brian pointed out in Aspen, Airbnb did not invent a new concept: bed & breakfasts have been around for centuries. He just gave it scale, matching demand and offer in an incredibly powerful manner on a big platform.
On a smaller scale, the Foundation’s TrustLaw service, which has successfully amplified the potential of pro bono in the last four years by connecting lawyers offering free legal help with NGOs and social enterprises in deep need of that support, is not far from that model – except that we don’t make any profit from the connections.
Brian Chesky doesn’t want to recognise that his model is a big disruption for the industry: “when is the last time you were happy for being disrupted?” He calls it innovation. (more…)