With the next big vote for regulating Airbnb is less than a week away, Airbnb product executives gathered for dinner. Here’s what they talked about.
Columbus St. in San Francisco and the exterior of The Cookhouse, where the Airbnb dinner took place.
Via Flickr: mobili
On Wednesday night, less than a week before a citywide election will determine the fate of Airbnb in San Francisco, a small group of journalists met with an even smaller group of the company's executives over dinner. The event, proposed a few weeks back, was hosted by Airbnb in a rented event space called the Cookhouse.
The Cookhouse has whitewashed brick walls and airy windows and french doors that look out over the heavy foot traffic and flashing neon lights of Columbus Street, in San Francisco's version of Little Italy; the space is, in other words, a rental that feels like the home of a well-kempt and nice-smelling rich person, which made it the perfect place to contemplate the future of Airbnb, a company that has made its money out of helping people rent out their own well-kempt and (hopefully!) nice-smelling homes. Even if the company's future — which is particularly muddled at the moment — is not what any of the Airbnb employees wanted to talk about.
In fairness, it's been a hard couple of weeks for them. Last week, the company became the subject of a social media (and, ultimately, regular media) outcry after pictures of an ill-conceived ad campaign went viral. The ads, which were less-than-gentle suggestions by Airbnb for where the city could spend its taxes dollars, were seen by many as a sign of the entitled disconnection of the city's tech elite, and roundly lambasted.