Amid the throngs at the January 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama, two groups of entrepreneurs were there not just to witness history but to make it. Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk were in the national mall that day, promoting a website called Airbed&Breakfast.com. Meanwhile Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp sat with friends in seats above the inaugural platform, discussing an idea for a startup that the world would soon know well: Uber.
It was the beginning of a technology revolution that would unfold over the next eight years, connecting strangers via smartphones, changing the way people travel inside and between cities and challenging how governments think about regulating business. Controversy, conflict and enormous wealth would follow these upstarts in their unrelenting expansion around the globe.
In the same spirit as his best-selling THE EVERYTHING STORE, Brad Stone uses unprecedented inside access at Uber and Airbnb to chronicle the giants of momentous new business age, as well as the charismatic and contrarian CEOs that are behind it.
“Brad Stone’s The Upstarts reads like a detective story: A page turning who-did-it on the creation of billion dollar fortunes and the ruthless murder of traditional businesses.
No single book will tell you more about what life feels like inside companies like Airbnb and Uber as they grow from mere ideas into merciless machines for innovation, riches and unease. The sweat. The stress. The power highs of new instant fortunes. It’s all here. You won’t be able to put The Upstarts down. And when you finally do, you’ll look at your own company and career in a totally fresh way.”—Ken Auletta, author of Googled