The Airbnb Story Book Summary - The Airbnb Story Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro
00:00

The Airbnb Story summary

Leigh Gallagher

How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions . . . and Created Plenty of Controversy

4.3 (58 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

'The Airbnb Story' by Leigh Gallagher recounts the founding and growth of the now global platform, exploring the innovative and disruptive approach of its founders and the impact of their idea on the travel industry.

Table of Contents

    The Airbnb Story
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    Airbnb began as a way for two broke designers to cover their rent.

    In October of 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, both graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, were trying to establish themselves in San Francisco. Despite their design degrees, the two young men were struggling to pay their monthly rent of $1,150, and were faced with a simple choice: make more money or go back to their hometowns.

    While studying, the pair had learned that any problem can be overcome through creative thinking and, after some brainstorming, resolved to focus their energy on the upcoming conference of the Industrial Designers Society of America in San Francisco.

    They knew there would be a shortage of hotel rooms during the event and decided to rent out some space in their apartment where people could sleep on one of their three air mattresses for $80 a night.

    They called the venture AirBed & Breakfast and promoted it on design blogs with ads that focused on their apartment’s features, like its “design library.”

    In just a few days, three customers had made bookings. From there, after receiving positive feedback, they started thinking about how to act as middlemen, using other people’s apartments to make money. Their first venues for this project were the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas and the 2008 Democratic National Convention, or DNC, in Denver, Colorado.

    For both events, the designers wanted to bring in an engineer who would add a user-friendly interface to the operation, as well as the skills of a groundbreaking coder. For this role, the choice was Nathan Blecharczyk, with whom Gebbia had already worked.

    But despite their crack squad, the trio had trouble getting people to open their homes up to strangers. They needed an in and, in the case of the DNC, decided to take out ads on small local blogs.

    Amazingly, this move resulted in the quirky little service attracting press attention, with great results. In fact, after the New York Times ran an article on it, some 800 people signed up as hosts, resulting in 80 successful bookings.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Airbnb Story?

    Key ideas in The Airbnb Story

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Airbnb Story about?

    The Airbnb Story (2017) tells the extraordinary tale behind the rise of Airbnb. These blinks describe how, within about a decade, three recent college graduates went from being behind on their rent to developing the most popular vacation accommodation platform in history.

    The Airbnb Story Review

    The Airbnb Story (2017) is a captivating account of how Airbnb revolutionized the travel industry. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a close-up look at the journey of Airbnb, from its humble beginnings as an air mattress on the floor to a global hospitality giant.
    • With behind-the-scenes stories and interviews, it reveals the challenges and triumphs that shaped Airbnb's growth and success.
    • The book explores the impact of Airbnb on cities and communities worldwide, shedding light on the broader implications of the sharing economy.

    Best quote from The Airbnb Story

    The moment Sequoia funded us, the rocket ship took off, says Chesky.

    —Leigh Gallagher
    example alt text

    Who should read The Airbnb Story?

    • Tech whizzes with a breakthrough business idea  
    • Investors interested in the start-up world
    • Avid travelers

    About the Author

    Leigh Gallagher is the assistant managing editor at Fortune. She is the host of Fortune Live and a regular guest on Marketplace, CBS This Morning, CNBC and other programs.

    Categories with The Airbnb Story

    Book summaries like The Airbnb Story

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    30 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Airbnb Story FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Airbnb Story?

    The main message of The Airbnb Story is the power of disruption and thinking outside the box to create a global community through hospitality.

    How long does it take to read The Airbnb Story?

    The reading time for The Airbnb Story varies, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Airbnb Story a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Airbnb Story is a fascinating read that showcases the journey of a company that transformed the travel industry. It's definitely worth reading!

    Who is the author of The Airbnb Story?

    The author of The Airbnb Story is Leigh Gallagher.

    What to read after The Airbnb Story?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Airbnb Story, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The First Rule of Mastery by Michael Gervais
    • Discipline Is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do by Amy Morin
    • 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
    • The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill
    • Visual Thinking by Temple Grandin
    • Poor Things by Alasdair Gray
    • American Prometheus by Kai Bird & Martin J Sherwin
    • Understanding Artificial Intelligence by Nicolas Sabouret
    • Outlive by Peter Attia