The Future of Business – Uber ‘n’ Airbnb’s Digital Disruption

10 April 2018


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the future of business the upstarts
the future of business the upstarts

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The Future of Business – Uber ‘n’ Airbnb’s Digital Disruption

The future of business has always been a topic people have talked about. Right now it’s as hot a topic as it has ever been before with the types of technology you can get your hands on and how fast they develop.


Many industries are changing, such as the transportation and hospitality industry among hundreds of others. In fact, there are many products and services for existing industries that haven’t even been invented yet. Some people say this is for the good and other say for it’s for the bad. I guess it depends on whether you’re the one making the disruption or being disrupted by it.


About this article/review


“It’s about a crucial era during which old regimes fell, new leaders emerged, new social contracts were forged between strangers, the topography of cities changed, and the upstarts roamed the earth.” 


I recently finished the audiobook version of ‘The Upstarts’ by Brad Stone which takes a close look at the behind the scenes of the CEOs of both Uber and Airbnb.


The Upstarts – The Future of Business

The is the first book I’ve ever listened to on audiobook (besides a Star Trek book way back when I was a child). I’ve never really been a fan of audiobooks. I’ve tried them before but just couldn’t get into them, but as I get further into developing myself, I realized that listening to a few books here and there is not a completely bad thing and in fact will exercise your ability to retain information. I can always go back and buy the physical book in the future to mark it up.


Related Post: Reading Books is Not Enough – Alternatives to Reading Books


After listing to this book it changed my opinion of audiobooks since the story is quite compelling for any entrepreneur or business person.


The book focuses on both of the companies, Uber and Airbnb, mostly from the point of view of the founders of Uber, Travis Kalanick, and Garrett Camp, and the founders of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk.


Before these two companies became well-known they both had a vision for the future of business which actually became a reality. Most investors laughed when they heard either Uber or especially Airbnb’s ideas for their business.


But as these small startups started gaining momentum investors jumped on the opportunity to invest in both of these disruptive apps.


The Future of Business – Other points in the book


“Wow, you guys are like cockroaches,” Graham finally said. “You just won’t die.”


Brad Stone, the author, does a very good job of making the book seem like a drama with tons of quotes like the one above. I personally was more interested in listening to Kalanick’s Uber story as he is quite rough around the edges and very straightforward in speaking his mind.


He’s definitely got a mind for business.


Although the book is written in a prose format like a biography of the two companies, there are many takeaways you can apply to your own business, especially about the type of attitude and perseverance you must have in order to succeed.


Nobody Knows the Troubles I’ve Seen – The Future of Business

Both companies had to jump through many legal hurdles in order to achieve billion-dollar stardom. Uber and Airbnb had the most trouble in New York. Uber has been and still is accused of being an illegal taxi. Airbnb has been and still is accused of violating hotel tax laws among other dangerous issues such as guests robbing hosts. The list goes on.


You can find more about Uber’s violations here, and more about Airbnb’s here.


At one point in the book, I kind of felt bad for the companies, but both Kalanick and Chesky persevered through some of the toughest times.


The Future of Business For Uber and Airbnb


“If you want to build a truly great company you have got to ride a really big wave. And you’ve got to be able to look at market waves and technology waves in a different way than other folks and see it happening sooner, know how to position yourself out there, prepare yourself, pick the right surfboard—in other words, bring the right management team in, build the right platform underneath you. Only then can you ride a truly great wave.” 


Overall The Upstarts was informative and entertaining most of the time. I personally love stories about unique inventions in technology and disruption. The future of these companies is really unknown though. Uber already has self-driving cars  (which are currently suspended since March 18th, 2018 due to a fatal pedestrian death caused by the automated car and ‘safety driver’ as Uber calls them.) and Airbnb has developed an experience and places feature.

The Future of Business – Setbacks for Uber in Indonesia and the rest of Asia

Both companies seem to have a lot of room to grow despite some setback in expansion taking, for example, Uber in Indonesia and the rest of Asia, was acquired by Grab, a company originating in Singapore. Although this is not a complete loss since Uber still gets a 27.5% stake after the acquisition.


The Future of Business – Setbacks for Airbnb because of racism

Sadly racism is ever alive in the US right now ever since Trump came into office. It’s always been there but because of Trump’s racist remarks during his campaign and after the election, racism has gone rampant. The only control Airbnb has over hosts when they make racist remarks is to ban them from ever using the app again. There is already a protocol in action.


Nonetheless, there have been a few incidents where the Airbnb host refused to give service to their guest just because of their race. This video actually made me cry and feel disgusted at the way people treat each other.


What is next for the future of business?

The future of business as we know it now is no doubt going to be almost unrecognizable 5-10 years from now and beyond. So many industries are changing rapidly and becoming so advanced it’s mindblowing and exciting at the same time.


For you employees out there you’ve got to keep a close eye on the industry you’re in. Even if you’re not planning on building your own disruptive company you still have to be aware of the potential loss of your job due to disruption of the place you work at.


For us entrepreneurs out there you must be resilient in the ever-changing and cutthroat environment of the business world just like Kalanick and Chesky were throughout the whole life of their companies so far. In order to innovate, you must think about some sort of problem which needs to be solved, gather an awesome team, build an awesome business model and get your technology working to help the billions of people out there that need your help.


The future of humanity depends on the brilliant minds of entrepreneurs and scientists to create a future we will never be able to imagine until it’s here. You are the future of business.


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