The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World

Brad Stone. Little, Brown, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-38839-9
Stone (The Everything Store) turns his attention to the sharing economy in this dual portrait of two of the fastest growing startups in the “post-Google, post-Facebook era of innovation” in Silicon Valley. At both Uber, the ride-sharing app, and Airbnb, the homestay rental platform, Stone finds commonality among the CEOs, who lead their respective companies with an idealistic vision and aggressive business practices. Uber’s Travis Kalanick comes off as the more pugnacious of the two, while Brian Chesky of Airbnb operates with a softer touch. Beginning in 2009 with President Obama’s inauguration, the book follows the companies and their founders from the early days to their current status as leaders in the global market place, upending their respective industries and local economies around the world. Both Uber and Airbnb are currently valued in billions, but as Stone shows, the road to success over the past 8 years has not been an easy one. Both companies persevered through financial woes caused by investor rejections, struggles with local governments, scuffles with rivals, and publicity disasters. The writing is solid and the sheer magnitude of the book’s subjects demands attention for this book. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 01/31/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 544 pages - 978-0-316-39681-3
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