Summary of The Upstarts

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7 Overall

7 Innovation

7 Style


Silicon Valley journalist Brad Stone charts the story of two history-making start-ups, Airbnb and Uber. He traces their path starting with Airbnb’s first guests and the moment at the LeWeb conference in Paris when Uber’s founders decided to start an on-demand, iPhone-based ride service to take on the taxi industry. Stone continues through these companies’ first efforts to attract serious investors. His entertaining narrative’s two most compelling aspects are his description of how these small San Francisco start-ups expanded to become major international businesses, and how they dealt with resistance from local industries and regulators whose models they disrupted. Stone recounts their problems, failures and triumphs. While the wealth of the founders and their investors seems to impress Stone a bit too easily, getAbstract recommends his lively book to entrepreneurs, start-up investors and anyone interested in how digital technologies have transformed cities worldwide.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How entrepreneurs who believed tech could transform lives created empires worth billions,
  • How Uber and Airbnb embraced a new business ethic that disrupted government regulation of business, and
  • How they became new tech juggernauts as they entered corporate adulthood.   

About the Author

Brad Stone, senior executive editor at Bloomberg News, has covered Silicon Valley for more than 15 years. He also wrote The Everything Store, about Jeff Bezos and Amazon.



Upstarts Start

In January 2009, close to two million people came to Washington, DC, to see the first presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. As it turned out, those crowds included San Francisco entrepreneurs Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, founders of Airbnb, as well as Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, founders of Uber.

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