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Airbnb and the Unintended Consequences of 'Disruption'

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Airbnb and the Unintended Consequences of 'Disruption'

The Atlantic,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Or do they? Airbnb’s success has led to some unexpected consequences.

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Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Disruptor or dud – that’s the question when a new tech start-up arrives on the scene. Those who claim disruptor make broad predictions about the industries that will become obsolete and how life will change. Those who claim dud say the more things change, the more they stay the same, although they all seem to produce unintended consequences. Airbnb, valued at $31 billion, is no exception. getAbstract recommends Derek Thompson’s article for The Atlantic because his thoughts about “disruption” are relevant to more companies than just Airbnb.


Twenty years ago, there were few options for accommodations when taking a trip. If traveling for pleasure, you’d usually wind up enjoying local attractions from a hotel room in a resort town, or perhaps, if you booked through a local agent, you could stay in someone else’s vacation home. You probably weren’t living as the locals did; and weren’t discovering local haunts. Airbnb has changed that. A majority of Airbnb’s customers are affluent people under age 35 who travel for pleasure and want an authentic experience. Airbnb has created a way for locals to make more money and for tourists to live like locals...

About the Author

Derek Thompson writes about economics, labor markets and the media for The Atlantic. He also wrote the book Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction.

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