Thursday, January 26, 2017

The $99 Billion Idea: How Uber and Airbnb Won (Bloomberg Businessweek)

From the latest Businessweek cover story, based on an extensive excerpt from Brad Stone's new book, The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World

"Both startups offered age-old ideas (share a vehicle, rent your home) with new twists and fostered a remarkable degree of openness among strangers. And both companies have been generating nearly nonstop controversy in every urban market they enter. They’ve come to represent, at least to some, the hubris of the techno-elite. Critics blame them for destroying the basic rules of employment, exacerbating traffic, ruining neighborhoods, worsening housing shortages, and generally bringing unrestrained capitalism into liberal cities. Airbnb and Uber didn’t anticipate this degree of pushback, which might have undone less zealous, more circumspect entrepreneurs.

So how did it all happen? How did each company maneuver past entrenched, politically savvy incumbents to succeed where others had failed? How much of their success was luck?

There are two little-known chapters in the histories of Uber and Airbnb, two pivotal moments when each discovered the secret weapon that would drive its rise. Both stories are at odds with the creation tales the founders like to tell, and both are crucial to understanding how these two companies defied odds, mayors, and city councils, and became widely admired, bitterly resented, and valued into the stratosphere."
The $99 Billion Idea: How Uber and Airbnb Won

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