How An Airbnb Founder Sold Me His Travel Start-Up In 2008 [Video]

A visit to SF’s start-up scene uncovered Joe Gebbia who was just beginning his game-changing journey.

On a trip to San Francisco a few years ago, I invited a number of entrepreneurs to come and visit the rental I was staying in to talk about their new projects. I wanted to listen to the voices in the growing start-up scene to try to understand the themes that were developing and the start-ups to watch. I learned a lot from the discussions and met some people who went on to build some really interesting businesses (including Fluther which was acquired by Twitter).

One of the entrepreneurs I spoke to was Joe Gebbia who had started the site AirBnb which, five years later, is now considered a $1billion business. In this video, he speaks about his new project, how it works and his ideas on growing his audience:

When you watch the video below from 2008, you’ll see Joe talk with passion about the site (which was called the longer AirBed&Breakfast.com at the time). My 3 key take-aways from looking back at the interview are:

1. How the idea driving the airbnb.com service hasn’t changed significantly

2. Considering that it was a fledgling service, it’s amazing to see how ‘on-point’ Joe was

3. The ability to see big opportunities to make significant leaps in the growth of his business. In the video, he talks about the political conventions that were happening that year and how the lack of rooms for delegates presented a huge business and awareness opportunity for his company.

From that first meeting, I developed a great relationship with Joe and I invited him to come and speak at our conferences. If you’d like to hear what happened next I suggest you watch this video from PSFK CONFERENCE NYC 2011

Joe Gebbia: The Airbnb Story from Piers Fawkes on Vimeo.

…. and if you want to hear about how he and his team built a brand, the watch this talk from PSFK CONFERENCE SF 2012

Joe Gebbia: The Power of Story from Piers Fawkes on Vimeo.

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