Brian Chesky - Changing Travel with Airbnb

February 24, 2016 - Brian Chesky 02/24/2016 Views: 651

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky reveals the meaning behind the company's name and discusses its impact on the travel industry. (5:25)

Watch Full Episode

My, uh, guest tonight isthe founder and CEO of Airbnb.

Please welcome Brian Chesky.

(cheering and applause)

The people love you, Brian.

-Thank you. Yes.-The people love you.

Uh, first question, um...

where are you stayingwhile you're in New York?

I'm actually staying at anAirbnb in SoHo on Broadway.

-Yeah.-Is that for real, for real?

-Yeah, for real, for real.-That's not, like, a PR thing?

-Just...-No, it's not a PR thing.

I actually like staying homeswhen I travel, so, yeah.

Oh, okay, okay, so you're usingthe product. This is cool.

I'm using the product.

You are, I guess,one of the faces

-of a revolutionthat's taking over. -Right.

And that is, uh,people not owning anything.

-But a lot of people knowAirbnb. -Right.

We don't knowhow you got into it.

-How did you startall of this up? -Yeah.

So, I was living in L.A., andI went to college with a friend,

um, at Rhode IslandSchool of Design-- Joe--

and we always talked one dayabout starting a company.

Well, Joe was livingin San Francisco.

-He convinced meto move to San Francisco. -Yeah.

I decide one day to quit my job,and I go to San Francisco.

I had only $1,000 in the bank.

And I packed everything inthe back of an old Honda Civic.

I get to San Francisco,

and Joe tells methe rent is just $1,150.

-So, and I have $1,000.-Yeah.

So, I can't pay rent.

Well, turns out this weekendthat I'm there,

this internationaldesign conference

is coming to San Francisco.

All of the hotels are sold out,and we had this idea.

We said, "What if we justturned our house

into a bed and breakfastfor the design conference?"

Unfortunately,I didn't have any beds,

but Joe had just gone camping,and he had three air beds.

So we literally pulledthe air beds out of the closet,

we inflated the air beds,

and we called it"The Air Bed and Breakfast."

And that's wherethe name comes from.

-"Air Bed and Breakfastdot com." -Ah. Air B&B.

-Yeah.-I see.

-Oh, that's a romantic story.-(applause and cheering)

-Yes. -That's a romanticorigin story.

Yeah, I... Yeah.

And you guys were just, like,

"We should get strangersliving in our house."

-We should just, uh...-Yeah. Well, these designers

who were coming to thisconference-- they couldn't...

They didn't have a placeto stay, and we're, like,

-"It would be really coolto meet other designers." -Yeah.

We felt like it would just beinsane for them not

to be able to come, we've gotextra space, and we ended up...

You know, I mean,I really did this

-to be ableto make some extra money. -Yes.

And I thought the idea

of people seeing people's homesis more about making money.

But, you know, years later,

I asked the first guestat our Airbnb,

what does he think about.

I asked,"What word comes to mind

when you thinkof that first story?"

And he said,"The word that I think of

when I think of thatfirst weekend was friendship."

What makes you believe thatpeople are going to be willing

to let strangers comeand live in their house,

-with them or without them?-Yeah.

Like, how do you even... how doyou even go about this?

Is there, like...?

Do you plan for peoplegoing crazy on each other?

-'Cause you read these stories.-Yeah, yeah.

Like, for instance, there wasthe guy who had the orgy.

-Yeah. Yeah.-That was the famous Airbnb.

Everyone was, like, "I don'twant people having orgies

-in my house... without me."Uh... -Yeah. Yeah.


Is that... is that stilla concern of yours?

-The orgies? No. Um, um...-(laughter)

It's their home.

-Um, no, the idea was, we hada very simple belief. -Yeah.

I think we believed people werefundamentally good.

And you can readon the headlines

all these crazy thingsin the world.

But justto give you one example.

Over New Year's Eve,we had a record night.

We had 1.1 million peopleliving together.

And these people came from191 countries around the world.

We believed this would work

because there would beno strangers.

The notion is,when I stay with you,

you would have a reputation.

-I'd be ableto read your reviews. -Yes.

You'd be ableto read my reviews.

And I think this wholenew economy is being built

around the idea that we can bothhave reputations.

But now,speaking of the economy,

what do you sayto someone who says

you are destroying an industrythat is regulated

-and regulated for a reason...-Right.

...and you're undercutting themand their safety? -Yeah.

Well, we-we wantto be regulated,

-'cause to be regulatedis to be recognized. -Yeah.

And for us to win,I do not believe

anyone, including hotels,have to lose.

In fact, most people stayin hotels for two nights.

Our average stay ismuch longer than that.

So in many ways, I thinkwe're a category creator.

And many of the global CEOs ofhotel chains have actually said

it's not a concern.

Now, of course, peoplein New York are concerned.

But I think we found a wayto make it work.

And hotels in New York haverecord occupancy right now.

Do you think we're going away

-from owning thingsin the world? -Absolutely.

Because I feel like

that's what these appsare pushing us towards.

-You don't need a car anymore.-Right.

You don't need a home,and you don't need a hotel.

-Right. -You don't needa plane, you don't...

You can just app everything.

-(laughter)-I think in the future. Yes.

I thinkthere used to be a lot of...

You don't even needa girlfriend.

-You just app.-You just app it. Yes.

-(laughter) -This is true.You can app everything.

Tinder, yeah. Um, the...

I think that we used to have

-a lot of romanticismaround ownership. -Yes.

I think, in the future,

you will you own whateveryou want responsibility for.

And you're just goingto share the rest.

So I think that access isbecoming the new ownership.

And so, the idea is that,

like, our bling isn't our houseand our cars.

It's the feed of Instagram

and, like, the experienceswe're having in the world.

So I think we're living

in a much moreexperiential-based economy.

-If you were to give adviceto a young entrepreneur... -Yes.

Someone who's going, "I wantto get into this." -Yeah.

"I want to design an app that'sgonna change the world,"

-Right. -...what's the adviceyou would give them?

The advise is...There's this whole mythology.

-Hold on. Let me write thisdown. (grunts) -(laughter)

-Yeah. -There's this mythologythat you have to be,

like, a technical geniusto start companies.

My parents are social workers,

and my mom, growing up, said,"I..." -(applause and cheering)

I think she's outin the audience.

And she said, "Make sure

"you get a job that hashealth insurance one day."

That was her grand ambition.

And the idea is that,

I actually thinkthat anyone can start a company.

And the differencebetween the people

that I think start companiesthat are successful and not,

a lot of the difference is,maybe I didn't know any better.

I didn't knowthat I couldn't do it.

I believedanything was possible.

And I thinkthat if anyone believes

starting a company is possible,

I hopethat I'm an example for them.

-Thank you very much.-Thank you very much, Trevor.

-Thank you very much for time.-(applause and cheering)

Airbnb founder and CEOBrian Chesky, everybody.

-We'll be right back.-(applause and cheering)