ART: Welcome everybody to another episode of Ganbei. I'm your host Art Dicker. And today we have the pleasure of being joined by three ex Airbnb employees who were with Airbnb in the relatively early days of Airbnb’s launch here in China Bryan Huang, founder of Annabai Technology. A stealth startup, which if we talk too much about it, I think Bryan's going to have to kill us. Bryan had previous stints in IT management at Lenovo, Google, Zynga, LinkedIn all before Airbnb. Welcome Bryan.
BRYAN: Thank you for having me.
ART: Yeah, it's great to have you. Rob Hao, co-founder and COO of HYPE Asia, a venture builder firm that among other things was key to helping GOAT, which is the sneaker trading platform launch here in China. And at Airbnb, Rob, was there for over five years, basically from inception in China and at the end Director of Business Operations and Strategy. Welcome Rob. ROB: Pleasure.
ART: And last but not least is Ziyang David Fan who is Head of Digital Trade at the World Economic Forum. He was prior to that Senior Legal Counsel at Airbnb and prior to that Assistant General Counsel at the U S Trade and Development Agency. And prior to that was in big law for a few years, working in Beijing. Welcome Ziyang. ZIYANG: Great to be here. ART: So Rob, how about, let's start with you on the early days of Airbnb and the team being built up and what factors went into building the team?
ROB: The Airbnb Asia and China stories started very early on. I joined them in two early 2012. And not a lot of people know this, but at that time, the first Asia office was in Hong Kong. In a very short amount of time, we left Hong Kong to go to Singapore with the progress of setting up Southeast Asia. So I was sent into China to, with one goal, which is to, in the dead of winter to speak with 100 existing hosts and and come back with a report and basically say, should we come into China? It was quite funny when you think about it, looking back The decision was made in end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 that we needed to be in China. The first office was obviously in our apartment but the second office was in a furniture store.
This is a famous furniture store, which actually ended up becoming a meeting room in all of the Chinese offices today. In the beginning, my role was primarily to bring the hosting culture that was existed in North America, into China. And on the back of that, it was to build what we call listings or hosts in China. So if I remember correctly in late 2012, early 2013, we may have only had a couple hundred hosts in China. By the end of my tenure there at 2017, we had close to over a hundred thousand listings. In the last couple of years, it was more business ops and strategy, one of the biggest kind of resource investments. So we gathered around the campfire in the last few years was helping Chinese travelers go overseas. And that was our primary goal instead of. For example, helping the Chinese domestic market get more domestic travelers for example, but that has changed over the years when we were there, that was the goal.
Art: And Bryan?
Bryan: Before joining Airbnb, I worked at LinkedIn, China. I was the LinkedIn China ad manager. My previous boss at LinkedIn joined Airbnb before me at their headquarters, I saw his update on LinkedIn. And I talked to him, hey, do you need an IT guy in China? At the beginning he was like maybe later we can keep in touch, but I after that two weeks later, he talked to me, hey, we need it now. And would you like to join? That's how I started. And I interviewed and I joined the team.
ART: Thanks Bryan, and Ziyang?
ZIYANG: I joined in 2015 as part of the early founding team with Bryan and Rob. I was the first lawyer and for almost a year, the only lawyer supporting the China team full-time initially setting up China operations, corporate structure, getting various type of licenses, which we can talk more later. What's interesting about Airbnb, is that not only we face some of the typical the regulatory challenges on tech side. Airbnb also has offline business, right? So Airbnb is online and offline. So we'll have real people staying at real homes. So there's also an aspect of that when it comes to the legal and regulatory issues.
ART: Speaking of regulatory, I would be remiss if I didn't remind the audience that the views of the participants here are their own and don't reflect the views of Airbnb, especially now that Airbnb is a publicly traded company, congratulations to Airbnb on quite a successful IPO and a great pop after the IPO. And so with that stated clearly I would like to get into some specific questions. The track record of Western technology companies coming to China has littered with a lot of failed attempts along the way. And I would be curious if you guys could talk a bit about what you looked at. In the early days of what not to do, because by that, even at that point, there were already examples of firms, which had not, which had struggled to make it here. And there were probably some examples that you could find, which were success stories, and you could draw from. So I would love to hear it. I'm sure the audience would too, about what you looked at as an example for how to launch a Western tech early stage company here in China, maybe Rob, you probably were at the earliest point at that. So let's start with you.
ROB: I can chime in and just some thoughts here. I'm just going to speak about this from the dimension of listings and hosts. For a moment. In the early days when we enter China, a lot of our organic hosts were RBOs or rental by owners. And when I say rental by owners, I'm also bringing in also considering some leases. So people who are the primary renter, but then sub-leasing out. And these organic hosts. A lot of the times were previous travelers on Airbnb.
So they, they understood the DNA of hosting if you will. And they provide a very unique experiences to both domestic travelers, as well as international travelers coming into China. One thing we learned really early on was that when we looked at our competition in China, they were going after a lot of the low-hanging fruit and where they excel, that was like on the ground operations. And very similar to the Uber story and whatnot. And so if we went head to head with them to capture the quantity of hosts across different tiers of cities, we would have lost that game to be very honest. So we decided to try and. Continue to invest in those high quality.
Our two RBO hosts that provide and understand the DNA of hosting and can provide that unique experience to our travelers, both domestically and internationally, with the hopes that by providing these experiences later on that those guests can then go forward to become hosts themselves. And in other cities of China, and we actually saw that in a lot of the analytics. Now the lifeline for that to happen the runway for that to happen, it takes a little longer of a time. But I think, looking back in hindsight, that was one example of where we consciously made a decision to go in a different direction, the competition, because we couldn't play in their backyard, but, we did what we did well. We focused on the community. We would focus a lot on on. Providing that really true unique travel experience. Yeah.
ART: Related to that, so one, if I'm getting my dates right, and of course, Bryan, you were at LinkedIn before Airbnb. But LinkedIn is another success story. I think of course LinkedIn is not used to the same extent in China as it is, let's say in the U S but still relatively speaking for a Western tech company, I think you could definitely call it a success. And I'm wondering if coming from LinkedIn and seeing a little bit of that success already and moving over to Airbnb. What she brought with you as far as maybe you from the it perspective, the design of the product and what you thought could work based on your LinkedIn experience. For example,
BRYAN: I think for the Airbnb and LinkedIn, the business model is different, but if they are all with the online company, hink of others, business model is almost purely online, but of course, Airbnb, you have a heavy offline part, which is a host operation and host to serve to the guest. But overall thinking about the nature of the business and thinking about the technology the way the technology team working together, I think the first of all, you need to think about it, the team come to China and the work from China, how to solve their challenge, just like how the. A host, a welcome a guest from the foreign from the foreign countries, how you understand them and how you make sure that they, their travel experience is great thinking in the same way to to think about how the team comes to China.
And they work in the same process, like a single board team or other teams in Asia or in global is the most important thing. And on the very beginning we, we need we think about how to solve those problems such as the slower connectivity for their working tools and that their system and computers and all the technical infrastructure for it. How we make sure that it would really enable the team in China can work in mostly. And I think on the first two to three quarters, we really focus on both things. And I was positioned myself as a host for the ICU services in China to make sure they really enjoy the work here. They can work mostly without any problem.
ART: One of the challenges in designing the product was the integration with other social media. And of course, obviously by that point even that many years ago, there was some social media that wouldn't was not available here. Facebook, Google, et cetera, that was available in the US and probably Airbnb was used to integrating with in, in the rest of the world. So how did you guys have to design the product? To re-engineer and redesign and tweak the product here for the China market, low taking into account, the local kind of technology ecosystem, social media, et cetera. What were the, some of the big changes you had to work through?
ROB: Actually, if I can add a point about a previous question.
ART: Yeah, sure. Of course.
ROB: That, there are a lot of a lot of challenges when it comes to Western foreign tech companies enter China. However, there are. Success stories of, let's just say non-tech companies succeeding in China, right? So Starbucks, Adidas, pizza hut, right? Just to name a few. And there are, so which means we can learn. And when we did learn from how other companies succeeded in China I think localization is the key. I think the strategy, this is the strategy. Everyone knows about it. Either we can go in China, you got to go local, but to really how to operationalize it, that's the challenge, right? The headquarters from top to bottom need to have understanding and really to implement it. Our founding team, I will say we actually, if you look at the folks on the team, quite a few folks not from, did not come from the tech sector. It's not the form of Google was in and Facebook people joined the Airbnb. Chinese we'll have folks come from, P&G we'll have folks coming from Adidas. So I think they all had really good experience working at those MNCs. Succeeding in China. And they brought some of that, a lot of that to, to China's to Airbnb China's operations as well, the
ART: And I think that you hit on something important there, which is whether you're Airbnb was probably still considered a startup at that point, but whether you're a startup or a big multinational company, you're coming to China. The yeah, localization is key, but I think from the headquarters senior management perspective, it's always hard to let go of the the steering wheel or let go of the give the local team the autonomy that it needs to make the product work here in China. And it sounds like you guys had a champion from the beginning in Nate, so that was critical. I don't know, Rob, if you want to talk a bit, you mentioned it
ROB: Earlier many years ago, let's say half a decade ago this concept of HQ must steer the ship and always be in the driver's seat and not provide autonomy to the local operations team was super apparent and abundant across all tech firms. But I personally believe that's changed a lot, really a lot. We, these founders and the board of directors of these types of companies, now they do a lot of research and they've talked to people who have succeeded and failed in China. And the number one point always is, we're not providing enough autonomy to the total local operations. So if you take Uber and Airbnb, as an example, the common denominator that I see there is they both had executive champions at the very top. And those are, those champions really unlocked everything for them, parting the red seas. And I think that was so critical, a lot of people say that Uber failed in China and maybe ultimately they may have. But when you were here and you were looking at how they were competing with their competitors here, it didn't feel like that.
ART: No, I don't think there's a failure at all. Yeah. That was a great exit that they had actually, yeah.
ROB: Financially it was a great exit and more important. I think also operationally, they did phenomenally well compared to other tech firms, so yeah I would say that the mindset has changed quite a bit. People still look to China and they want to unlock China. They want to play by the rules of China. And at the same time, they want to, bring their special sauce from Silicon Valley into China. And I think that a lot of Chinese consumers can can value that as well. It's not so binary anymore.
ART: From the way that the team that the management and the operations, how did you bring the culture over here from headquarters? Was there was with someone like Nate coming over a lot, or how did you build up the same family and culture and experience here.
ROB: I think everybody knows you remember core values. The there's this concept we had the core values we had originally we had six and then we lowered it to four over the years. But the three founders really trusted him, invested heavily into these core values, both by identifying them, defining them, and then circulating them and. Making sure that everybody's aligned with that. And in fact, one of the, one of the fun facts is that every new person who joins the company, regardless if you're a C level or even if you're a contractor, for example, you would have to pass two core value interviews. And each region or each country we, every year we would elect new core value interviewers and you have to go through core value interviewing training.
And in in America at HQ, we had a core values council. I know it sounds it sounds very high in the air kind of thing, but. It did have a lot of benefit in the early days. I think we really try to make sure that we stayed true to our principles and define those principles very clearly. And that's one of the reasons I would say we were able to translate the culture to China. And I also, like you said, I think the product, a lot of the time speaks for itself. It's quite interesting and coincidental that when people from different cultures, somebody from Japan, somebody from America, somebody from Brazil, when they traveled on Airbnb and they came home a lot of their experiences and how they felt about their experience. Resonated with one another. It's really interesting. And I'm not exactly sure how that happened. But it could be as simple as, if I buy a Dyson vacuum and you use a Dyson vacuum, our experiences the same perhaps.
ART: So Airbnb, and I know you can't get into all the details, but Airbnb has an ICP license in China, which is puts it in rare company as a foreign invested company in China. And so I'm just curious first congratulations on getting that license. And second. To the extent you can talk about it. What can you talk about and tell us about how that application went and yeah, like Rob said, and having to explain what what Airbnb was to the regulators and what the experience was like and what kind of risks that might've been flagged on both as, Oh I don't know if that's going to work here or not, whatever you can tell us about that I think the audience would probably pretty interesting.
ZIYANG: I still get a PTSD from the hearing about ICP years later, it was very Interesting and rewarding experience. So ICP you already mentioned that the, what the battlefield is littered with the failed attempts of the tech companies, trying to enter China. Many times we can breach the wall, and put on call the ICP is like the golden key that opens the gate and allows you to anxiety. ICP stands for internet content provider. I saw the ICP licenses, the internet content provider license. It's a government issue licensed in this case by MIT that would allow a China based website to legally operate in China. So in a way and especially if you sell advertisements, there's commercial activity involved. So that's what it does.
ART: So that's the key and maybe the audit, maybe I'll just cause the audience, meaning I went through that too fast for sure. Then maybe the audience doesn't get the, won't get that point. But the key difference, like you just said is the commercial part there's ICP permit for just hosting an informational website, which everyone gets it's that little line at the bottom of folks website, but to host a website in China in mainland China, which obviously speeds up your server and we can talk about that. Bryan and a bit, but it speeds. It speeds up your entire user experience, I imagine.
And, but you cannot conduct commercial kind of transactional. E-commerce is maybe just a better way to say it. In China, which is key and really a differentiator, I imagine. So that's just the background for people. ZIYANG: Those are two different kinds of ICP permits. Then that second kind of course would it was very difficult to get. Yeah, that's what it is. ICP BN and the ICP agenda, that license. Yeah. So all Sites, host out in China must apply for and receive these license before the site goes live. So when he is here previously and how a tech company, Western land gets shut down or kicked out operationalize is actually the, their ICP license. If they handle that was revoked. So the ICP does is as critical to both opening and maintaining the operation say in China.
Maybe just quickly you have to the process is, can take many months you need to register Chinese domain find a local hosting preparedness summit, the license Yeah, the approval and et cetera, et cetera. And also we need to maintain that. So it's a continuous process. So maybe just to answer your question ship at a high level, some quick takeaways from ICP license process one, find a good local partners you work with in particular, for example law firms. Find good law firms to understand your needs and also can be creative give a shout out to to Phil achieve. Great lawyers wants to do the same also web hosting partner, right? So it could be, a local one, it could be a joint venture, right? It could be could be AWS. They are a critical. Part of obtaining ICP license, because technically they actually submit the license on your behalf. So finding a right web hosting company is important to allocate dedicated resources on this license application.
This is not just any business license that you can do within, 21 days. This takes our teams with the S effort. So each team it operations Business product is really our team effort. So this needs to go to the top of your agenda. And three, it doesn't just start there after you obtained the license, you still need to maintain it. There's still other requirements that you need to do. So I think the realization and to the prioritization of this license is really the key. And both the Bryan and Robin, their teams provide a lot of support in us getting that license.
ART: Absolutely. It sounds like it's a kind of a Herculean task. I remember visiting UC young in Beijing and it would seem that just like the most stressful thing in the world for you to be dealing with. I re I remember those days vividly. And and so couldn't have been easy and have the support of the team I'm sure. And Bryan, what did it do for the product? How did, as, obviously before that you were hosting outside of China, which of course we all know slows down the experience from within China. And so how critical was it to get that license for the user experience?
BRYAN: Yeah, I think overall the internet speed is related with the latency. The latency also related with a physical distance. Think about, the host that is a far away and for your user experience is really hard to get really fast. And the, what do we want to do is for at the Airbnb users access a product fast and instantly when they use it, which is a very important element. I think you have two perspectives. From the technical perspective with design to set up, just see, I mentioned the partner with the web hosting and Your whole infrastructure have several different components for Airbnb. You search the listing and you proceed with the lack of data in the calendar. And you're proceeded with a payment that's each component is already big. You need to break them down and consider that each part and find out a workforce solution for make sure the local customer can get a great experience. All the works. Have a lot of engineering and a product resource working behind the scenes to make it a really works. I think from a product perspective, I think the most of requirement is growing by nature.
We, you know more about the local market, know more about the local user. And what they need and based on that, you can may call it a plan for how to really enable your product and what the need to do on the tech side would need to do on the legal and the public policy side. I would say we really working in our group, have the policy, people in their operation, people in their product, people in their technical people, in their everybody has their own perspective, but working together as a team, we need to communicate a lot and we may call it a plan that women prepare for. The when we prepare for launching the product and the, to achieve the milestones well when make sure the team working together so that we have we can have a three 60 degree for the company success.
ART: Yeah and it sounds like it was critical really. Especially looking back and Rob, I'm curious if in your conversations with headquarters and maybe setting people's expectations and headquarters about growth. This must have been a big variable out there. Look, we, the user experience will be so much better if we have this, then if we don't and it could directly impact kind of the growth that we're expecting in the market and how vulnerable we are to competition and so forth. I can imagine this was a conversation. You also had quite a lot. With headquarters as well.
ROB: Yeah, we were, we were looking at that department in the sense that I think HQ a lot of it because we had executive championship, but even if without it we had people engineers across numerous departments, analytics, risk payments front end and backend. We had an international team as well as a Chinese team who volunteered to say, put me on the China product, and we would put together a growth team or a SWAT team to just focus on sprints related to China product. That was really amazing. I think that a lot of other companies actually ended up doing that too. And going back to live at touching a little bit about the. The ICP kind of decision, I think was there's, that is like a threshold for companies, right? Because if you cross that threshold, then what, you're, what you're signaling to Chinese netizens as well as Chinese consumers is that we are committed, we are committed to offering you a best user experience and the best product that we can provide.
And internally, it's also another decision that says in order to cross that threshold, we're willing to do things a little bit differently internally than other geographies, perhaps. And I thought that was a very unique process because we took that very seriously. I remember it's the young end and our regional director and our yeah they would, we would host meetings and we would talk about this debating this internally. For hours and hours, and I think we took it very seriously and it was a very conscious decision. To do that and I think it was the right move. I think a lot of Chinese consumers today look back and say, Hey, you know what? That was that, that was an instance of a foreign company stepping up and offering something more to me. Then, for example, today China foreign companies might, the most they would do is open a T-Mobile global.
ART: And of course you have to really localize your product in some ways too, to get that license. And so there may be some for some companies I can imagine it's look, this is just too much of a headache and hassle, but you have to decide. We're going to do it right. And then once you decide that dedicate the resources to it. I mentioned competition and I'm wondering obviously for people familiar with the Airbnb story, they know, or in the early days there was a rocket internet launched, and the name is escaping because they think the company is basically dead. Now launched a clone of Airbnb rocket internet being infamous for doing that around the world. Cloning, successful startups.
And there, I, as I know the story, Bryan Chesky flew to Europe and took the reigns and fought hand and fist guerrilla warfare kind of style to win. And I'm wondering what you guys in the beginning we're looking at here, if any kind of competition did you worry about companies coming and replicating your business model outmaneuvering you guys Was there anything really, even close to you guys when you first came here? And how did you look at competition here? Or where do you, where you guys really having some unique advantages that that you were worried less about competition as other brands might be.
ROB: Certainly there was competition here. It didn't really solidify until we went public about not say not IPO. When we went about our entrance into China around 2015. And that's when you saw the big companies to Josh shell too. And maybe even like at that time, tuner was doing a short term rental platform as well, and they were getting funded, left right. And center and It was difficult for us because as I said earlier we to, we had to, we were at crossroads, we knew what they were doing. They were going mass. They were going to the local classic tourist destinations like Feinstein. And they would take all the little apartments near, near the, these classic destinations, which we weren't, which we were not present in. And then they would get those tier four or five city travelers to use their properties.
And then as those travelers and mature in their travel let's say progression and they move up to bigger cities like Shanghai, Beijing, since then. They would, the top of mine is either hotels or to a job or shop tool. And then the idea was that if this continued to progress, then at 1.2, Jack could go to our backyard, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and also get listings and say, Hey, now that you've matured significantly and you're ready to go to Japan. You should use us too, cause you've been using us for the last four years anyways. But we really stuck to our guns. We said, no, we can't go deep yet. We need to stay here with the assumption that when they reach that threshold of maturity, they would jump. They would say, okay, I'm going to use Airbnb to go to Japan. I'm ready to use everything to go to Japan, and we're still there. Honestly. I think we're still there at the pump at this particular moment. That's my opinion.
ART: Yeah. Airbnb was already I know Airbnb has gone through probably many facelifts. Of the design and the layout and the, and how the product works internally and so forth. You can tell quickly here, I'm not an I, it fluent a person per se, but how did Did you look at Bryan at the competition at all and see what they were doing from like a user interface perspective? Obviously we know in China, it's more apparent now that like various kinds of whatever vertical you're in various e-commerce apps, they look, the interface is exactly the same and they do that on purpose. They copy each other. So that maybe it's the feel it's the same. I know where to find things and so forth. And it's actually everyone goes to one kind of standard. Interface. How did you handle that? For Airbnb in China. Did you have to look at what the U S was or outside of China and say no, that's not maybe that part's not going to work here in China. What did you have to do on that part of the product experience.
BRYAN: For Airbnb, I think are, were really strong on brand. And we want to keep the same experience for no matter the traveler or the host of, from. The Asia, Europe or China, we want to keep the same experience for them. So I think from the product interaction with the with the user, we want to keep the experience as much as possible in line with global one. And I think for the user side, they they're wiling to accept the same experience as well. And by doing that, we actually have a lot of we need a lot of investment on the product and tech that a lot of engineers and product manager working on that to make sure that's 40 localized and to be like by the China users. So this is something. The Airbnb keep that.
But I think also a very important side is about the brand. And your name really brings to your user, like Bryan Chesky, our co-founder and our CEO for Airbnb. He he introduced a book to at Airbnb called at the art of travel. It's hard to your name. But I think we really want to make sure the Airbnb can give that the people different experience during the travel they do, because that's, what's required for user, when they wanted to travel, they want to experience something differently, deep in their heart. I think that's the most important thing for Airbnb doing that. And we want to bring that to our customers, to travel through product through their online and offline experience. We keep that principle and it's all on the product. And on the experience, I think that's really important.
And the back to Rob's topic. I I like travel and back to 2011 and 12 I know the the founder of hydro zoo in China, they had some attempt during that time but quickly failed. That's I think one problem, the sharing economy is that popular in China during that time that it was three years earlier than Airbnb entering China. And I also know some smaller competitors. No, their founders like focus on both the big fish. That's another hop on travel platform in China. And they really Airbnb as well. And that they learn a lot from Airbnb. I think is from this they all failed or acquired by other company, but I think that's important. Another important thing is about the timing that people already have a sense for what it is, and they start to think about it to start to use it. And the timing you enter these up all the right time. That's how. The business can grow and your product is more popular in the market.
Rob: Art, going back to that, to the product discussion. I remember sitting in a meeting and doing a lot of user research participating in it. At least I think this is a really interesting part, was the Mo all the reason user research we got back on the search bar, just take, for example, the search bar was a click to search, right? You need to know you, you get the top 50 destinations and you click that's what's common here. And our product manager here and over there were like, okay, this is what. Feedback, we're getting, we have to do clip to search. Nobody is a, nobody is typing in destinations. And I don't remember exactly who made the decision, but we decided not to do that and just continue with the search bar.
But as a hybrid approach, what we would do is complete your search sentence, right? So if it's a Chinese destination or a Japanese that any destination, we would complete the. The destination name for you that increased conversion significant. But when I reflect upon it today, I found that I think it's a really interesting discussion and a really interesting problem set because yes, it's true at that time. And perhaps even today, people are accustomed to click the search, but that kind of went against what we stood for. We stood for adventure and exploration, right? So we wanted people to to type and to explore both mentally and physically tactically. And if you click to search that changes the experience to something that we're following other players and doing, but also gives the wrong impression. I think perhaps a different impression of travel
ZIYANG: To follow up on what Rob said, too, as you said that it would definitely face a lot of competition what's also and now the perspective is that the competition's also can move faster. And have more freedom than we did, because, we were us companies in a foreign company know that which required so major in a headship to Rob and his team to come up with very creative ways. To deal with the to keep up and also outpace the competition. I think as Rob just said, everything goes back to ready, the value. I think there's always the, the temptation I, to to take the other routes. But what. Buying the company and all of us is still the value as to remember the, so I was based in Singapore and I'll come to the Beijing office every, almost every month, which means I stayed at a lot of Airbnbs in Beijing.
I remember there was one in one Airbnb, the lady, it was her first time I was an old lady like I'm T, which is not. No, the typical profile. And she heard it, she used it overseas, and it was also her first guest. And she prepared when I enter, though, there were fresh fruits there. The fridge was 40 stock with milk and snacks. And also that just happened at night. I think she forgot to pay the electric bill or something like electricity went out. So it wasn't like middle of July was a sporting hot. And I ended up calling the the company and 50 quiet electric Bay or something, so the AC can wrong. So next morning, she came back to her boss who was super poetic when I told her it's all fixed. So she was still moving and she, I think she shared some tears. So I think it's this. Two way street, right? That the host caring for guests, and then also the guests taking care of the host that is that kind of experience that makes the Airbnb very special and very hard for other competitors to replicate.
ART: Wow. That is a great story. Pay somebody's utility bill, and then they thank you for it. And, It's amazing. I can't imagine it. Now I can. Okay. So you guys all, cause I'm friends with you all and we chat shared some happiest pictures of you guys dialed into kind of the IPO virtual party, I think. And with the founders on and everything. And there was a time there. Of course it took a long time for Airbnb to finally go public. And many people were wondering when it was ever going to happen. But and of course the last thing is there was a time earlier this year where they had to get that loan kind of emergency funding from silver Lake. And it was looking kind of dire straits for a while there. Like the whole business model was going to be flipped, turned upside down and the future was murky. IPO. What was the feeling like watching it go public and together on that call and and especially for you, Rob, because you put over five years of your life into the company and you're still pretty young guys, so that's a pretty big percentage of your life. I think. So what was it like? What was the feeling like when it went IPO?
ROB: I'll start. I it was a joyous feeling. Also, I didn't get a chance to meet up with what this whole year we didn't meet up with any more ex colleagues really. And meeting everybody over zoom again and over this type of occasion was amazing. Personally, I think that it's been a long time coming, but yes, it was a joyous occasion. What about you guys? ART: What was it like to watch it go public?
BRYAN: I think, I think for me feel really great. My wife told me that And she wasn't asleep yet. When I watched the live show and gathering together with premier conics she was like, you are really happy. I never seen you as you are so happy for our well, so I think it pretty in dreadful to meet with the old friends and to have a club a cup of wine and watch the. Bell ring moment, actually, this is the second time. I experienced this this session, the IPO session. The first one was at Zynga 2011. It was about the same time December before the America Christmas. And this is the second time, but this is really different to me. And because more friends and a very success IPO. And but I think I, in the meantime I can feel that this is just a start, is not a finish.
Just what I really like, what I recall the founder and CEO of tomb set is just like a graduation of high school. And you have a long way to go. You can keep bringing the value to the customer bring the different experience, unique experience of travel. That's you know, how Airbnb continues success because he would change the way people people travel and that's the most important thing. And IPO is just like how you graduate. And that's a start to a new chapter. And the day after IPO, some friends send the grating email greeting, which has to me saying, how do you like that? I also I think that I thought that twice, I was like, okay, that's a brand Chesky ran the pale last night. I hope someday later it will brand form. Ring the bell. That's how I feel about that.
ART: With your with your stealth startup, that's going to be the next one, but no I'm quite confident that's going to happen.
ZIYANG: One of the, if not the biggest takeaway of my time at Airbnb and just watching the virtual bell ring and just be surrounded by this close friends, we spend so many hours and time together and just faced. What was it was a crazy bit of fun, right? That those such a special experience. I think this scene, that initial founding team that is the best part of working there, I felt that from the Airbnb China experience, there is you heard the PayPal mafia, or the folks, went off and. Oh, did their thing and crazy successful. I have no doubt that the folks here are going to do and they're already doing the same, they're just starting their own companies. They're running different businesses. I really have no question is that, was this. Talented group who are really leading the charge with Airbnb and all they experienced all the ups and downs. They went through this really. It's like going through the fire riser to force them to be the shiny
ART: Something clearly was working there with you guys in the culture, because I can't imagine many companies where the fellow coworkers feel this kind of bond with each other and and friendship. So I think it comes across even on our podcast here. Awesome guys. This was a great episode. I'm really feel lucky that we were able to get all of you to come on. And and I think our audience is going to feel lucky to listen to this one and watch it. So thank you for your time and sharing really incredible experience with us and we're just thrilled and I'm going to try and get it up for our audiences as quickly as we can. Thanks guys.