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The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New…

by Brad Stone

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1924124,203 (3.66)6
A look deep inside the new Silicon Valley, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Everything Store. Ten years ago, the idea of getting into a stranger's car, or a walking into a stranger's home, would have seemed bizarre and dangerous, but today it's as common as ordering a book online. Uber and Airbnb have ushered in a new era: redefining neighborhoods, challenging the way governments regulate business, and changing the way we travel. In the spirit of iconic Silicon Valley renegades like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, another generation of entrepreneurs is using technology to upend convention and disrupt entire industries. These are the upstarts, idiosyncratic founders with limitless drive and an abundance of self-confidence. Led by such visionaries as Travis Kalanick of Uber and Brian Chesky of Airbnb, they are rewriting the rules of business and often sidestepping serious ethical and legal obstacles in the process. The Upstarts is the definitive story of two new titans of business and a dawning age of tenacity, conflict and wealth. In Brad Stone's riveting account of the most radical companies of the new Silicon Valley, we discover how it all happened and what it took to change the world.… (more)
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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
V fun read ( )
  profpenguin | May 3, 2022 |
Well-written book about the rise of Airbnb and Uber, with mentions of Lyft and a short detour to China and Didi towards the end. I found it easy to follow as an audio book. What was most surprising to me was how Stone is able to lay out how all of these companies basically used the same strategies when it came to dealing with local laws/existing companies: ignore, fight, lobby, essentially do anything to allow their service to operate and thrive. This is what you'd expect from a corporation, but it was enlightening to see that the services were near-indistinguishable in terms of tactics. And yet, only Uber was caught in significant / long-lasting bad press (remember #deleteuber?), primarily because of the interactions Kalanick had with regulators and the press. Good lessons here around how people perceive a whole company based solely on the temperament of its founders. In this case, actions didn't speak louder than words. ( )
  rsanek | Dec 26, 2020 |
A really excellent book that gives you a flavour of the difficulties and opportunities of the entrepreneurial challenge as well as the force of will required to build successful companies. It is also an enjoyable story as well. ( )
  muwaffaq | Mar 20, 2019 |
Not as good as 'The Everything Store'. After reading that Stone had a another book coming I knew I had to read it. I loved 'The Everything Store', which is about the rise and dominance of Amazon.com and the man behind it, Jeff Bezos. Over the years I had become increasingly uneasy about the stories about the company, particularly about the working conditions in the warehouses. That book detailed how that mentality and the rise of people wanting their stuff immediately (if not now) has created a culture that is reflective of both the warehouse and right up to the top of the chain. 
 
So I was very excited to see what Stone would do about two sharing economy giants: Uber and Airbnb. Even though I haven't actually used either (tried UberEats a couple of times) it seemed like it could be a great book that would round out my knowledge from newspaper articles and stories. 
 
Honestly, it's not. The book reads like too little material stretched out into a book. And unlike 'Everything', which had multiple interviews/conversations with people who had a range of views (but they mostly agreed on the brutality of the demand and why people burned out), this seemed a little too insider-y. It could be that both companies are still relatively young (Amazon is too, but Amazon probably benefited from the dot com boom of the 90's) and are going through some rather interesting growing pains/legitimate criticisms of how the companies are run, the treatment of their employees, the responses to customers, etc. 
 
I'm not saying the book should have been slanted negatively but it just seems a bit too glossy and shiny and it's hard to tell (for me) exactly what plays into that. At times it just felt a bit too "Look at us! Look at our success! Ignore the negative stuff!" Like others I also found the Uber parts more interesting than the Airbnb sections but I'm not sure if this was the best way to present these two companies. 
 
Maybe I just expected a bit too much after enjoying 'The Everything Store' a lot. It's not terrible and if you have an interest in either company it might be a good read. But TES was the better book. Library borrow. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brad Stoneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harms, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Temple, DeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vargas, BeriloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A look deep inside the new Silicon Valley, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Everything Store. Ten years ago, the idea of getting into a stranger's car, or a walking into a stranger's home, would have seemed bizarre and dangerous, but today it's as common as ordering a book online. Uber and Airbnb have ushered in a new era: redefining neighborhoods, challenging the way governments regulate business, and changing the way we travel. In the spirit of iconic Silicon Valley renegades like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, another generation of entrepreneurs is using technology to upend convention and disrupt entire industries. These are the upstarts, idiosyncratic founders with limitless drive and an abundance of self-confidence. Led by such visionaries as Travis Kalanick of Uber and Brian Chesky of Airbnb, they are rewriting the rules of business and often sidestepping serious ethical and legal obstacles in the process. The Upstarts is the definitive story of two new titans of business and a dawning age of tenacity, conflict and wealth. In Brad Stone's riveting account of the most radical companies of the new Silicon Valley, we discover how it all happened and what it took to change the world.

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