The Airbnb Pitch to Wall Street

This is the last big deal of 2020 and it’s going to command a lot of attention among investors, technologists and the media.

I found this pitch from the company’s S-1 filing to be an interesting way to think about the company that’s now selling itself to Wall Street, via Ben Thompson’s blog Stratechery:

Travel is one of the world’s largest industries, and its approach has become commoditized. The travel industry has scaled by offering standardized accommodations in crowded hotel districts and frequently-visited landmarks and attractions. This one-size-fits-all approach has limited how much of the world a person can access, and as a result, guests are often left feeling like outsiders in the places they visit.

Airbnb has enabled home sharing at a global scale and created a new category of travel. Instead of traveling like tourists and feeling like outsiders, guests on Airbnb can stay in neighborhoods where people live, have authentic experiences, live like locals, and spend time with locals in approximately 100,000 cities around the world. In our early days, we described this new type of travel with the tagline “Travel like a human.” Today, people simply refer to it with a single word: “Airbnb.”

Josh here. I get it. But I would also never invest in this thing. Mostly because I would never use the product. If some strange family or person stayed in my house, I would rather give the house away than go back to sleep there. I don’t want anyone touching my stuff. I don’t want to touch anyone else’s stuff.

Now, usually when I get through that rant, people are like, “Okay, so you’ll lay in a hotel bed that 5,000 people have stayed in rather than a house that like ten people have?” And I’m like “yeah.”

Because I’m old school like that. I don’t have any good logical comeback for it. Oh, but I hope the IPO is a success and everyone makes money. I just won’t be a part of it. That’s fine.

Read Ben’s thing, it’s pretty good:


Playing on Hard Mode (Stratechery)