How Peer Services Are Changing The Way We Live [Future Of Home Living]

How Peer Services Are Changing The Way We Live [Future Of Home Living]

Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of of Airbnb, discusses the importance of P2P business.

  • 4 august 2013

As part of our Future of Home Living Series, PSFK Labs reached out to experts to get their take on the changes we’ve identified that are driving the evolution of the home. We recently caught up with Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of of Airbnb. Read our chat with Joe below to hear more about how P2P communities are becoming more prevalent.

How has the rise of peer to peer sharing services changed the way we live?

Sharing economy services are accommodating a shift that’s already been happening in society. I think what we see is this shift toward ‘access being more powerful than ownership’. We notice that shift everyday with people sharing their homes. People are discovering a lifestyle where the things in their life, like their home or extra bedroom, can bring significant income. One of our hosts in L.A. is an entrepreneur who was able to fund her startup and hire her first employee through Airbnb. The service changed the way she lives, and now, what she gets to work on.

You no longer need to own a second home like a beach house. With services like Airbnb you have access to 100,000 beach houses. Flexible access to several houses is more powerful than owning an individual house.

And it’s not just happening with homes, it’s happening with cars, parking spots, co-working spaces, even dogs!

What are key considerations for successfully building these communities?

As a founder it is important to be the first member of your own community. If you come from the world that you want to redesign then you will have a better sense of the needs and desires of the people who make up that community.  Whether it’s an interest in dogs, or cars, or parking spots, or co-working spaces.

There is a common ingredient that makes each of these communities work: trust. If trust is present then people can share. There are a few ways to create trust—first find people who already have something in common. Airbnb started with three guests and two hosts who were all designers going to the same conference. We had that shared interest and goal.

To build a community is to find the thing that links people together. People come to realize, wow the other people in this place are just like me. I can trust them. And because I can trust them, I can share with them.

Given that Airbnb is all about the sharing of space, curious to know if you’re seeing any shifts in the way people are living, particularly in cities?

I’m living on Airbnb right now. I rented my apartment out on the site, and am experiencing San Francisco neighborhoods one at a time. I’m getting an inside look at how people live in these different neighborhoods.  With the breathtaking bay views of Telegraph Hill and the sounds of lawnmowers of the Mission because I’m near Dolores park. The smell of fresh cut grass in the morning when I come to work. The amount of runners—in that neighborhood is pretty astounding.

With this kind of lifestyle, I have actively been editing my life. Getting rid of stuff.

Realizing that I don’t need a lot of stuff.  There are actually only a few things that I need to really get by. I’ve been editing out the unnecessary so that I can be more mobile and move more freely. To be wherever I want, when I want to be there.

It does take some adjustment. I think the 20th century was about stuff.  The 21st century will be about sharing that stuff.

As a designer, I wanted to get your thoughts on the idea of adaptability as it applies to urban lifestyles. How can reconfigurable and flat pack design be used to accommodate a wider range of living styles?

There is a trend toward products becoming services—an idea that in the future you won’t buy stuff. You’ll buy access to stuff. As you change and your lifestyle evolves, that access or service will evolve with you.

What are the key challenges/considerations?

You have to take the time to understand the journey of the customers using your service.  It is important to have a really good understanding of how your audience or customers change over time so that your service can adapt with them. You get there by achieving empathy. Our entire team is encouraged to travel on Airbnb, and ⅓ of our employees actively host on the site. By using our own service, we live in the shoes of our customers and gather first hand insights to make the service better.

What do you see as the next big trend(s) urban living and why is this important?

Urban cities have such diverse neighborhoods, with different character, flavors – why be stuck in one? What if you had the flexibility to try a new neighborhood each month? New York City and Brooklyn, Paris, London, there’s so much to explore, and now there is an easy way for you to test drive those neighborhoods.

The last century was about suburbanizing. If you look at trends it’s now the opposite of that, cities are becoming more densely populated. People are moving from the suburbs into the city.  In the future it will be really important for cities to make better use of resources.

In Seoul, South Korea, Mayor Park has recognized this problem. His city has over 10 million people and continues to grow. He needs to figure out better ways to make use of Seoul’s resources. He also needs to create a sense of community in neighborhoods.  In places like Seoul, the sharing economy can have economic, environmental, and community benefits for the city’s population.

Amsterdam recently realized the economic impact of the sharing economy through tourism. They discovered how sharing economy companies like Airbnb can make Amsterdam more accessible to more travelers and more people. They are thrilled to bring more international visitors to Amsterdam to help people share their space.

What are three things that you would put in your perfect home or apartment?

1. A good scent, something that greets you when you enter the space and becomes part of the experience without overwhelming your senses.

2. Natural light. No lamp can replace the sunlight that streams through a skylight or bay window.

3. I always leave a welcome package for my Airbnb guests. This includes a guest book, city guide that highlights my favorite neighborhoods, a BART pass, and locally made San Francisco chocolates.

Thanks Joe!


PSFK has announced the latest in a series of trend reports. Following studies into retailsocial mediagamingwork and mobile, the PSFK Labs consulting team have generated the Future of Home Living report. That report manifests as a free summary presentation, an in-depth downloadable PDF and an exhibition in New York City that runs to August 16.

RSVP below to take a tour of the exhibition at 101W15th.



How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Creative Agency Founder: Using VR As A Race Relationship Tool

Maurice Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Giant Step, explores the value in transforming headsets from high-tech entertainment tools into empathy machines

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Advertising september 23, 2016

These Trucks Drove Around In Circles For 24 Hours To Keep Time

The giant ticking clock was created by 14 Scania vehicles in a deserted airfield

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

Asia september 23, 2016

Co-Working Space Brings The Calming Atmosphere Of Nature Indoors

An architectural firm in China has designed a new type of shared office that prioritizes the natural environment

No search results found.