Question-   Airbnb CTO Nathan Blecharczyk on 100 Million Strangers Sleeping In Other People's Homes



The video titled “Airbnb CTO Nathan Blecharczyk on 100 Million Strangers Sleeping In Other People’s Homes” by NewCo covers the history of Airbnb – one of the most successful startups of the 21st century.

The CTO of the company Nathan Blecharczyk points out the main way to start an efficient business is to find a solution to a problem instead of trying to create something brand new. The idea of Airbnb appeared in 2008 when Nathan and two his friends (Joe and Brian) could afford to pay rent for their apartment so they came up with the idea of renting their free room to designers visiting San Francisco’s designers conference. After earning a fortune during the conference, they realized that this can turn into a prospective business. However, as many other startups Airbnb wasn’t making money during the first year of its existence.

In the beginning of the company’s growth its cofounders understood that in the sphere of hospitality it is essential to concentrate on building close relations with hosts to get our target audience.

Moreover, Nathan mentions that to grow up a successful business it is important to make clear to all members of the team the vision of the company, its mission and the context. When Airbnb got to a certain scale Nathan, Joe and Brian started to delegate responsibilities but still they keep their involvement in aspects like future vision of the company and combine it with hiring experienced executives to help run different aspects of the business.

One more important issue when running a business is cooperation with local governments and authorities. For Airbnb it became essential to clarify regulatory frameworks regarding taxation of such type of income of hosts. In such sphere it was also important to take into account national and local specific aspects. But when the company grows to a large scale and becomes an important player on the market it becomes easier to conduct dialogue with the authorities. Today Airbnb tries to facilitate regulations in hospitality sector.  It also stimulates renting industry to come out of gray area. By promoting favorable taxation terms and other regulatory frameworks Airbnb tries to legitimize business and also eager to pay taxes on behalf of its hosts. 

One of the reasons why Airbnb has so many hosts integrated is because it makes housing more affordable for the hosts. Renting extra rooms helps people to cover their expenses. Moreover, the hosts often receive money and invest it in their houses by upgrading their plumbing or fixing the steps that are crumbling. This is the case of Cuba where people with low incomes are now able to renovate their houses. So, while using Airbnb benefit both hosts and tourists.  

On Cuba one of the specific characteristics for hospitality business is the lack of hotel chains who position themselves as Airbnb’s competitors. However, Nathan specifies that these two types of accommodation provide completely different services. Airbnb is intended to help a tourist to get acknowledged to the culture, traditions and local population while hotels are devoted to other goals. So, Airbnb ang hotels don’t have to compete for their customers and can cooperate. 

Today Airbnb is popular all over the world. But it is essential to understand that mainly the users of Airbnb site are millennials. Airbnb is a company of its time and the older generation would support the idea of sharing their home with strangers. Airbnb encourages trust and openness between people from all over the world by creating conditions for mutually beneficial cooperation.

To sum up, the CTO of Airbnb Nathan stipulates that Airbnb is still a young company that has a lot of opportunities for the future development. They still have plenty of journey connected services and they try to think for a long term prospective to stimulate further growth of the company.



Exercise 44

Airbnb and VkusVill are two very different companies. However, both of them have something in common – they provided a solution to an already existing problem. Airbnb allowed hosts to earn money on their extra rooms and tourists to get cheaper accommodation. VkusVill helped people to get healthy and genuine food from local producers instead of searching for it on markets and fairs. Both companies were not successful in the beginning of their history but it took time to develop them into multi-billion business. One of the key points for both companies is to cooperate closely with their customers to understand their needs and adapt to the necessities. And also, advertising helped both companies to attract potential customers. However, for VkusVill one of the main factors for success became sanctions introduced in 2014 as they caused higher prices for the goods in other supermarkets. VkusVill reduces its costs by smaller spaces rented for a shop and have lower administration costs. Moreover, it has discounts system and sets low prices for the majority of products. For Airbnb the key success factor became their ability to provide benefits for both hosts and visitors and to create trustworthy atmosphere. Surprisingly, the Airbnb project anticipated the developing trend of the sharing economy, becoming one of the flagships of the Share economy. Of course, such a service would never have been possible in the world without the widespread penetration of the Internet and the popularity of mobile applications. So, one of the important factors of Airbnb's success is its timely appearance.








 Exercise 45

My idea of a startup is creating an app for smartphones with recipes. It would contain full video recipes of high cuisine which everybody can cook even having limited budget. All recipes would be structured in different categories and also it would be possible to search a recipe by the products you already have in your fridge.

There would be various difficulties. First of all, it is necessary to create a base of such recipes and tape videos that would take time. Moreover, to be presented in AppStore or Google Store all authors have to pay fee. And there’re already hundreds of app with recipes and even more Instagram accounts, YouTube accounts and websites. One more important issue is author rights. It would be essential to control and prevent copying of the recipes and stealing the ideas.

The advantage of the App would that it would be for free for users but there would be advertising interrupting videos and users would be able to buy premium accounts without advertisements. When the App would start creating profit it would be possible to invite famous chefs to present their specific recipes with detailed tutorial.

Today even more people are interested in cooking delicious dishes at home. It became easier to get specific products in supermarkets. There’s already a variety of sources of recipes in the internet but a systemized catalogue of wide range of dishes can attract attention and simplify the search process. Moreover, social isolation and studying or working remotely provides more free time for cooking so such an App has prospects to gain popularity and achieve success.

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