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[Photo: Reinhard Hunger for Fast Company]

Airbnb OpenAir Summit 2014

Airbnb is hosting the OpenAir summit at its headquarters on Thursday, April 24 at 2 p.m. PT. The agenda includes panels on pricing, scaling, and marketplace matchmaking--as well as conversations with venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Paul Graham. Join Fast Company's Alice Truong for live updates from the event.


As one of the driving forces of the sharing economy, Airbnb has flipped the hotel industry on its head. With low overhead and rapid growth, the San Francisco startup is reportedly worth $10 billion after a fresh round of fundraising closed last week.

Airbnb has encountered its share of obstacles as it transforms the hospitality industry. New York City considers the service illegal because of restrictions on short-term rentals. Occasionally, rented apartments host orgies or get ransacked. Some cities are also demanding Airbnb hosts pay hotel taxes.

Bringing together different players in the sharing economy, including Uber and Homejoy, Airbnb is hosting the OpenAir summit at its headquarters on Thursday at 2 p.m. PT. The agenda includes panels on pricing, scaling, and marketplace matchmaking--as well as conversations with venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Paul Graham. Join Fast Company's Alice Truong for live updates.


  • Hello everyone. The OpenAir summit is about to start shortly. I hear it's going to be a full house, with an audience of about 250 RSVPed (plus a waiting list!). To start you off, here's an image of the whimsical Airbnb office.

    Airbnb's lobby 

  • Airbnb's vice president of engineering Mike Curtis, left, and Ben Horowitz, general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz
     

    The OpenAir summit begins with a wide-ranging conversation about technology between Airbnb's vice president of engineering Mike Curtis and Ben Horowitz, general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

    Curtis's first question: What is your favorite language? Back in the day, "there really wasn't a choice," Horowitz said, so by default it was C. However, he's become a proponent of Javascript, a language he remembers former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich creating in 10 days while they were worked at Netscape. (Horowitz hasn't been shy about dating himself. Before email, he remembers interoffice memos. Companies would have entire mailrooms dedicated to moving messages around from one employee to another, he said.)

    Though he admitted some companies are wary of technical founder CEOs, he talked about their usefulness (this is an event for engineers, after all). "When you're a technical founder, you don't know how to run a company, you don't have the CEO skill set, you don't know a bunch of high-power execs, you don't know people in the press," he says. However, replacing a technical founder with someone who has more CEO polish could potentially diminish innovation. "The ability to make the next innovation and react is just not there." He posed to the audience: Where would Facebook be without Zuckerberg?

    Horowitz likened startups to babies that eventually develop into teenagers as they scale (examples: Facebook, Airbnb, Github). "Everybody loves a baby. You never run into someone who goes, 'I fucking hate babies.'" But as they become teenagers, they draw their share of ire, reference Github's recent sexual harassment spat: "They probably need HR," he says of the "teenager."
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