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In Portland You Can Visit With Former Mayor Vera Katz On The Esplanade.

In Portland You Can Visit With Former Mayor Vera Katz On The Esplanade.

Attend any gathering of baby boomers and you’ll hear about the empty nest.

They’re happy, they’re sad. They’re moving forward, or staying put.

Like others in a time of transition, boomers seem headed everywhere at the same time.

But one thing they all have in common? Available space.

Time to learn about AirBnB.

From their About page:

Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone.

Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

Sounds easy enough so far?

Like, Airbnb started in San Francisco. Could there be a better name recognition city for a start-up?

Why San Francisco? From wiki:

As of July 2011, the company had raised $119.8 million in venture funding from Y Combinator, Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, DST Global Solutions, General Catalyst Partners[4] and undisclosed amounts from Youniversity Ventures’ partners, Jawed Karim, Keith Rabois, and Kevin Hartz,[5] and from A Grade Investments’ partners, Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary.

In April 2014, the company closed on an investment of $450 million by TPG Capital at a valuation of approximately $10 billion.[6]

Money people will recognize the names above. Call it a dream team of venture funding.

Here’s a name travelers in the sharing economy are more familiar with, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky. He, along with CTO & Co-Founder Blecharczyk, and CPO & Co-Founder Joe Gebbia, keep everyone on schedule.

Brian is the co-founder and CEO at Airbnb. He drives the company’s vision, strategy and growth as it provides interesting and unique ways for people to travel and changes the lives of its community. Under Brian’s leadership, Airbnb stands at the forefront of the sharing economy, and has expanded to over 600,000 listings in 190 countries. Brian met co-founder Joe Gebbia at the Rhode Island School of Design where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in industrial design.

If the numbers feel staggering, it’s because they are staggering. 600,000 listings in 190 countries?

Add Portland, Oregon to the list as North American ‘Operational Headquarters.’ Not Seattle or Vancouver, but sweet little Portland.

How do you spell cool in the sharing economy? P-O-R-T-L-A-N-D.

If you’re a fan of adventure travel, a fan of Rick Steves, or one of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants travelers, Airbnb has answers to the universal question, “Are we there yet?”

My wife, a seasoned traveler with a special point of view, organized a six week journey through southern England, and a few years later a four week odyssey through southern Spain. We stayed in a few bed and breakfasts, a few apartments, and with relatives a few times.

As a one-time reluctant traveler in motels I’ve experienced the usual sort of events, from a television that fried itself when I turned it on, to a bug swarm around bathroom lights.

The only things I noticed in B&Bs and apartments were the unusual electric outlets and plumbing, neither of which was unusual for Europe.

What can travelers expect when they visit Portland? Let’s return to the first link. The top listing shows, “A Loft with a Beautiful City View.” Portlanders know it’s a city view by the bell tower of the Presbyterian Church in the window.

Customers begin with check-in time, the sort of space they want to rent, and the price. What I find amazing are the wide array of fields on the page. This explains the amount of job listings for software engineers on the Airbnb hiring page.

These guys are software sharks.

Click on the picture and go to a description of the loft, followed by eight pages of reviews. On the right slider you’ll find similar rentals close to this one. Any question you might have is answered. Is that intuitive design or just good business practice.

If you chose good business practice, it doesn’t stop there. Airbnb explains how to host, along with a promise of $1,000,000 in liability in eligible countries. Most important are the FAQs.

The exciting aspects of Airbnb are the chance of seeing new neighborhoods up close, to feel part of it. Anyone can visit a tourist trap and come away less for the experience, but showing up and fitting into new surroundings begins with a sense of place.

Airbnb knows that place. Now you do, too.

Fill up that empty nest, boomer.

In Portland You Might Even Meet Current Mayor Charlie Hales at the Rose Festival Parade.

In Portland You Might Even Meet Current Mayor Charlie Hales at the Rose Festival Parade.

About David Gillaspie
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