How Airbnb Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

When I was the CFO of a venture capital firm in San Francisco, one of the managing partners was a Rhodes Scholar. I remember him talking about the scholarship program and how the goal was for the potential “future world leaders” to go to school together. The idea was they would get to know each other from an early age, and the result would be that these relationships would lead to a more peaceful world. While I will never be a Rhodes Scholar, I have recently found another, and potentially faster, path to world peace—Airbnb. 🙂

 

Earlier this year, I became an Airbnb host. My goal was not a deeper understanding of the world or of the human condition. My goal was income. But the universe is a funny place, and your lessons come from unexpected sources…

 

As a result of my two rental apartments and my Airbnb “host” status, in under six months, I’ve met guests from literally dozens of countries. And despite the impression the media gives us that the world is a violent and horrible place, 100% of my guests, most of them complete strangers, have been wonderful.

 

They have come from Malaysia, Turkey, India, Singapore, Germany, France, the United States, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, the UK, Australia, Greece, Italy and Romania, to name a few. That means they are from Christian, Catholic, Budhhist, Muslim, Orthodox, Protestant and Hindu countries. They have been young and old, rich and poor. And they have been, without exception, lovely. They have been kind, polite, curious, enthusiastic and appreciative. They’ve left gifts, invited me to their home cities, discussed politics, joined me for yoga—two groups of them have even walked my dog. I’m an optimist, and even I’m surprised at how good they are. This isn’t just me—I’ve talked with lots of Airbnb hosts, and we all seem to be echoing the same thing—by and large, the people we are meeting are great. Which makes me think—if this is a sort of random sample of the world, maybe we aren’t in such bad shape…

 

It’s common wisdom that the way to break stereotypes is through actual personal experience, but I didn’t expect Airbnb to give me such a window into the world. And I’m sure at some point I will encounter the odd “bad” Airbnb guest.  But in the balance, being an Airbnb host has made me feel much better about the state of humanity. So for the summer, I think I’ll spend more time doing Airbnb check-ins and less time analyzing rage tweets and watching the news.

Thanks Airbnb. 🙂

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15583700

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/17186613