Brian Chesky, the 28-year-old co-founder and CEO of Airbnb (Air Bed-and-Breakfast) “wants you to sleep in a stranger’s bed tonight,” said Barney Jopson in the Financial Times. Chesky’s dot-com, recently valued at $1.3 billion, collects commissions for connecting budget-conscious travelers with hosts who want to rent out rooms or homes for a fee. Since its launch in 2008, Airbnb has grown to 100,000 listings in 188 countries and facilitated more than 2 million overnight stays. Not bad considering that Chesky—whose “short hair, dark outfits, and beefcake figure would also not look out of place in a boy band”—came upon the idea “by accident when struggling to cover his own rent.”
Despite the wild success, Chesky has recently been in apology mode, said Geoffrey Fowler in The Wall Street Journal. The story of a San Francisco host whose apartment was ransacked by Airbnb guests spread through the tech blogosphere like wildfire, fueled by accusations that Chesky and his company didn’t care. Only after weeks of growing scandal did Chesky apologize to users. “We have really screwed things up,” he said. “We should have responded faster, communicated more sensitively, and taken more decisive action.” The company will now offer a $50,000 guarantee to protect users against vandalism.