Skift Take

Skift since its own launch was the first media outlet to ask hard questions of Airbnb, and it has been amazing to document that journey of the company from start till its IPO day and beyond. My thoughts in an audio essay.

This morning, with Airbnb’s IPO, the first book about this now-iconic brand that Skift has followed since our own founding in 2012 is coming to an end.

It’s been an incredible journey to follow, as a skeptical journalist, as an entrepreneur, and as a personal fan and heavy-user of the service. Airbnb’s journey has informed/influenced our journey as well, in ways big and small, and I recorded a short audio essay on what this day means to us as a company and personally — this photo above is this “secret” Airbnb high up in the mountains of Puerto Rico that my family loves to stay in every time we go and where our five-year old son keeps asking about going back to all this pandemic year.

The first skeptical, asking-the-hard questions story about Airbnb was ours, by Skift co-founder Jason Clampet in 2013, its PR and founders cringed and avoided us for a few years every time we came around asking the hard questions that the fawning tech press wasn’t. We followed up with an even bigger data deep dive into Airbnb that led to New York City pursuing legal action against the company & even tried to subpoena us into the fight. We refused as neutral media company.

Airbnb has now established itself a defining company of our era, not just in travel, but in all of business. The way it did was to not give a shit about being known as a travel startup, the best thing it did for its business and brand. We’re keenly watching the follow up book being written from today onwards.

Skift will be there for the next part of Airbnb’s journey, still with all the hard questions.

My audio essay below:

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Tags: airbnb, short-term rentals

Photo credit: The Airbnb in Puerto Rico where Skift founder Rafat Ali stays with his family regularly. Rafat Ali / Skift

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