EXERCISE How Airbnb started The Airbnb founder story is such a persistent, plenty of determination, so fear and most of all, hustle. Let's go back to the start. It's late 2007 in San Francisco. Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia just moved from New York. Without employment, they were having trouble paying their rent and were looking for a way to earn some extra cash. They noticed that all hotel rooms in the city were so booked, as the local Industrial Design conference attracted a lot of visitors. The youngsters saw such an opportunity, and decided to do something. They bought a few airbeds and so quickly put up a site called “Air Bed and Breakfast.” The idea was to offer visitors such a place to sleep and breakfast in the morning. They charged $80 each a night. The idea succeeded and the first Airbnb guests were born: a 30-year-old Indian man, a 35-year-old woman from Boston and a 45-year-old father of four from Utah sleeping on their floor. Soon after, Harvard graduate and technical architect Nathan Blecharczyk joined the team as the third co-founder. They faced such a major problem: the site only had two users, one of them was Chesky. They initially launched at SXSW, and only received two bookings. After changing the website, the company launched again in August 2008, not long before the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Over 20,000 people were going to the convention, and all hotels were so booked out. The first comment on the launch publication on TechCrunch illustrates what people thought of the idea. However, Brian developed the basic idea for Airbnb in 2008, when he was living in an apartment and a local design conference was scheduled in the city. Due to the conference, all the hotels around his apartment as well as most of other parts of the city were so booked and participants were left frantically looking for accommodations. Since Chesky and his roommates were in such a tight situation after graduating from college, they decided to rent out their place for the guests of the conference. When they saw such a happiness on their guests’ faces while paying out the rent, they decided to move forward with the same idea. Ultimately, the need of making extra cash led to the development of Airbnb, which grew into an immense opportunity for the enhancement of experience of travelers as well as hosts. According to Chesky, he was always inspired by Walt Disney’s biography, especially the chapter that describes the Snow White’s production. He explained that Disney’s act of committing to the creation of characters, cared about by the audience, despite being a threaten couraged him to move forward with his idea. Moreover, he added the storyboard design in his project, depicting a perfect travel experience for both guests and hosts. Another factor that led Brian to success was his approach to the design of his project. He laid more focus on the type of service desired by the customers, rather than the ideas developed by the developers. “Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like”. -Brian Joseph Chesky For this, he invested a huge part of his time, along with his team, wandering across the streets and collecting feedback from people about what they would expect from such a service. Thus, all his efforts invested in collecting insights, suggestions and gripes from real customers shaped the highly popular site of today.