Business Lessons from Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb co-founder
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Everyone likes to go on a holiday and explore a different location each time. The catch is that hotel rooms have become so identical in order to maintain the standards that people believe that if one wants to live in a hotel, then why to take the trouble to travel. The same kinds of amenities are available in the hotel of one’s own city as well. If you really want to enjoy a city in its full element, then you must live in it like you want to belong there. This is the ideology by Airbnb and is agreed upon by a majority of people from across the globe. Airbnb is an online hospitality service which has gained immense popularity in the matter of a few years. One can rent rooms or even the entire property in any part of the world through this online marketplace. This gives the client the liberty to pick which part of the city he wants to live in and the kind of accommodation he prefers. No need to shuffle between the hotels near the airport and the heart of the city thanks to the facilities provided by Airbnb.

Be it a solo trip or an annual family holiday or even business-related, Airbnb has struck a chord with all kinds of travelers. The popularity of this brand is mainly based on three factors; affordability, convenience, and service. The travelers get a wide array of places to choose from, according to their budget as well as location preferences. As Airbnb is such a wide-spread organization, people tend to trust it more. In fact, if you have hired an Airbnb in the U.S. and had a pleasant experience over there, you are bound to do the same even when you need an accommodation in Sri Lanka. A brand name always works to win the trust of people and this is what Airbnb has succeeded in doing. Not only this, but the organization is a godsend for people who lease out their spaces. People who work overseas, have real estate property to spare, or even plan to travel themselves can put the property on rent. This is a great way to earn a few extra bucks for a place that was going to lie vacant anyway.

One might wonder who would have come up with the idea of creating an international network of renting out spaces. One of the masterminds behind Airbnb is Nathan Blecharczyk. Blecharczyk got together with Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky and co-founded this room rental network in the year of 2008. Nathan Blecharczyk earned fame as a co-founder of this company but there is more to his professional profile than the success of Airbnb.

Nathan Blecharczyk: the natural entrepreneur

Surprisingly, Airbnb isn’t his first successful business stunt. In fact, he tasted success at a quite young age. This is why he has been termed as not only one of the richest but also the youngest entrepreneurs in the U.S. A technical architect by profession, he completed his specialized Bachelors from Harvard University in the field of Computer Science. This gave him an idea that he wanted to do something big in the field, not just a nine to five job. It seems that right from the start, Blecharczyk aimed to go the unconventional way of life. And fortunately, it worked out for him.

Like every success story, this always begins with the young gun working in a company as an ordinary employee. Way before this, Blecharczyk had already proved his entrepreneurial skills at a tender age. In high school, Blecharczyk was twelve when he came up with his own independent venture. He was a master at coding at such a young age which inspired him to focus on the same in Harvard. This was the time when his startup as a teenager offered coding services to clients from over twenty countries. It seems that he took this success streak forward and implemented the same in Airbnb as well.

Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb co-founder, Airbnb

Airbnb presently operates in almost 200 countries across the globe.

After graduating from school and completing his Bachelors, Blecharczyk worked as an engineer for OPNET Technologies in the year of 20005. This was followed by his service as a lead developed at Batiq during 2007. Later on, Blecharczyk met the other two founders of Airbnb which resulted in one of the most successful ventures of the decade.

The birth of Airbnb

A number of business experts have stated that the three founders of Airbnb strike a weird combination, two designers, and a technical engineer. But Nathan Blecharczyk proudly claims that this combination is one of the major factors behind their success. This is because all three of them amalgamated their expertise and made the most out of it.

Before the birth of Airbnb, Chesky and Gebbia were studying together at the Rhode Island School of Design. They had abundant ideas but not the right expert to implement them. This is when they came in contact with Nathan Blecharczyk. They took him on board in their new venture to manage its technical side. The idea came up with Chesky and Gebbia set up a temporary bed and breakfast accommodation in order to fill their pockets as they were absolutely broke. This is when they realized that they could take this business online with the help of a technical expert. This is the part where Blecharczyk enters the story as a knight in shining armor for Airbnb.

When the venture was initially launched, it was known as SXSW. Apparently, the name didn’t work out for them as it received only two bookings. The trio then decided to change the website as well as the name. Thus in August 2008, Airbnb was originally born. The first big project of the company was to provide accommodation through its online portal to the participants of the Democratic National Convention held in Denver. They hosted around 600 people, but unfortunately, it didn’t bring in a lot of success for the company.

How did Blecharczyk take Airbnb forward?

Initially, nobody believed in the idea of Airbnb. They thought that people would not trust an online portal to take care of their accommodation. None of the investors were ready to put in money for the same. This means that the three founders were putting in their own personal savings in the company and were under severe credit card debt. Still, this wasn’t enough. The founders had to literally sell cereals to raise funds. They created special edition breakfast cereals and raised around $30,000 which was sufficient to kick-start the venture. This was followed by an investment by Y Combinator worth $20,000.

Nathan Blecharczyk

Image Caption: Nathan Blecharczyk

All the three founders segregated their jobs. Nathan Blecharczyk holds the position of the CTO (Chief Technical Officer). In 2009, the website moved forward to providing apartments and holiday homes apart from shared spaces and hostels. As the traffic started pouring in and Airbnb became a popular name by 2012 with 12 million bookings, Blecharczyk decided to upgrade the face of the company. He changed the company logo as well as revised the site design to make it more appealing in 2014. The same was applicable to the company’s mobile app as well.

Blecharczyk’s initial role in the company was to carry out the complete coding of the website. Now his role as a CTO has evolved over the years. After this, he only focused on hiring the team and reviewing how to build the project. As the company grew bigger and bigger, his direct technical responsibilities reduced. Now Blecharczyk has a number of technical teams working under him according to his instructions, the managers of which have to coordinate with him. He concentrated on the business aspects of the company to help it grow even more and intervenes when a complex technical problem takes place.

Currently, Airbnb functions in more than 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company has around 3 million host listings from across the globe and has rented out to more than 200 million guests. The number keeps increasing at a rapid pace on an everyday basis.

It can be said that Nathan Blecharczyk plays a major role in the success of Airbnb. This is because the company carries out interactions solely through the medium of their website and Blecharczyk is the one who brought in technical knowhow to the venture. With the market value of over $3.3 billion, he definitely deserves to be one of the richest entrepreneurs of America.

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