What I've been surprised by is not how different people are, but how similar they are. There are certain types of Airbnb people, and they are in every city in the world - it's just that in some cultures, there is more of a generational divide.
When I look at founders and CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and Brian Chesky at Airbnb and Sebastian Thrun at Udacity, these are companies that are creating extraordinary social good and extraordinary economic and educational empowerment, all within with context of a for-profit model.
Most of the big breakthrough technologies/companies seem crazy at first: PCs, the internet, Bitcoin, Airbnb, Uber, 140 characters.. It has to be a radical product. It has to be something where, when people look at it, at first they say, ‘I don’t get it, I don’t understand it. I think it’s too weird, I think it’s too unusual.’
When you think about Uber and Airbnb and the other companies that are turning things upside down, Uber isn't big 'cause they ran a lot of ads. They're big because someone took out their iPhone and said to their friend, watch this, and pressed a button and a car pulled up.
Breakthrough ideas look crazy, nuts. It’s hard to think this way — I see it in other people’s body language, and I can feel it in my own, where I sometimes feel like I don’t even care if it’s going to work, I can’t take more change. O.K., Google, O.K., Twitter—but Airbnb? People staying in each other’s houses without there being a lot of axe murders?
I'm not saying the whole world will work this way, but with Airbnb, people are sleeping in other people's homes and other people's beds. So there's a level of trust necessary to participate that's different from an eBay or Facebook.