Reid Hoffman posted some reflections on Greylock’s investment in Airbnb. Reid is a wonderful writer and his post is provides a wonderful narrative on how the investment came about. The part that caught me was this:
Part of the reason that Blitzscaling opens with the Airbnb story is that it demonstrates how when you win a winner-take-most market with strong network effects, it can be not just industry-transforming, but world-transforming. I believe Airbnb is going to be a different kind of company, with a different kind of product and service, that will become a different kind of platform for launching businesses that go well beyond replacing hotel rooms. The reason I got into tech investing is to back companies that could have that kind of massive impact.
If you poke around the internet you’ll see a myriad of articles written about Airbnb’s IPO that suggest a bet on Airbnb is a bet on the future of travel. But here Reid suggests that Airbnb will eventually be a much bigger platform with more offerings than just short-term rentals. Of course, Airbnb already offers experiences. When I was in Cuba a few years ago, I enjoyed a wonderful cooking class that I booked through Airbnb. And in 2020 Airbnb has found success in offering online experiences. An interesting one next week will be a virtual cooking class featuring techniques from the 19th century. Oh, and its being held at the Alamo. If you catch Reid’s vision, these are probably just the start for Airbnb just like books were just the start for Amazon.