“The world is rooting against them”

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told me in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that the biggest risk for Big Techs is that “the world is rooting against them”.

Driving the news: “They don’t think they have the company’s interest in their favor,” said Chesky, whose San Francisco-based startup Licorne is based.

Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.

We talked about an hour outside the city of Marin County, in one of the 3,000 treehouses you can rent on Airbnb, complete with igloos, boats, castles – and, in Idaho, a potato.

In the wide-ranging interview, I asked Chesky about all the funding the big investors threw at Adam Neumann, the now dishonored Co-founder and former CEO of WeWork.

  • “When I arrived in Silicon Valley”, Chesky replied, “There was probably a lack of skepticism about the whole industry. And that can be helpful to a point – if you live in a completely skeptical world, it’s hard to adopt new ideas. “

  • “But a world without skepticism can have big drawbacks. I think the lesson is … we have to be a little more skeptical about things, probably a little earlier. “

So how do so many rich people to be fooled by technological dreamers?

  • Chesky pointed for fear of sounding stupid: when his business – then called Airbed & Breakfast – was based in 2007, “you gave us $ 150,000, you could have owned 10% of this business. And several people said no. In fact, almost everyone I have met has said no.

  • “So I think there is this perpetual culture where people … are completely swinging for the fences. They are afraid to miss it. Maybe they succeeded. They recognize the patterns. They’re like: this person reminds me of something else that was successful. And that can get you in some trouble if you’re not skeptical enough. “

I asked Chesky about the discrimination against black travelers that had plagued the platform.

  • “Four or five years ago, there was this really disturbing hashtag that was all the rage on Twitter… #AirbnbWhileBlack, ”he recalls.

So Airbnb won a Community engagement, requiring hosts and guests to promise to treat all members of the Airbnb community “without judgment or bias”, regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or age.

Disclosure: Kim Kingsley, an Airbnb executive, is a member of the Axios board of directors.

Like this article ? Get more Axios and subscribe for free to Axios Markets.

Comments are closed.