An Airbed is a horrible rubber thing that you sleep on at a friend's house that deflates in the night leaving you lying on the floor surrounded by sagginess. Therefore an Airbed-n-breakfast must be a place where you can expect to get that sort of experience, but for a price.
That mental picture kept me from even bothering to check out the website the first dozen or so times they made the front page here. I'd wager it's costing them a lot of money from people who simply refuse to check them out because they don't want to sleep on an airbed.
Notice that none of the listings on airbnb show anything like a trashed studio apartment where you'll be expected to sleep on an old couch with dead pizza boxes under it, but ask anybody on the street to describe an "airbed and breakfast" and that's what you'll get. But if you don't force yourself to ignore the terrible name and give them a shot, you'll never find out.
For my money I'd rather be called something nosensical than something off-putting.
I once heard of Airbnb on HN.
<fast-forward a few weeks>
I once spent half a day looking for that site with a terrible name that let you rent good apts for short periods of time.
So, from my experience, Airbnb has a terrible name. I also had no idea that bnb in Airbnb actually stood for something... Looks like you just saved me half a day sometime in the future, thanks.
Build a good product users want, treat those users well, and you'll be fine.
"The attention of consumers can shift instantly and make the most profound investments obsolete in just a few years, soon to be sped up even further. We will see economic empires crash within hours, and new ones arise just as quickly.
The task of the economic manager now is to try to hold monopolies in place just long enough for economic transactions to occur."
I first read this while still in high school and it left a huge impression on me. (Big enough that I still remembered it just now, over 15 years later... wtf?!)
I'm not trying to be flippant, really wondering what is new about AirBnB (other than a much better interface)
The designs are very, very similar. Blatantly so, imho. Even the logos are in the same style.
That's just what I can glean from the article.
I think you might have answered a decent chunk of the question in your parentheses, there.
"It's worth trying very, very hard to make technology easy to use. Hackers are so used to computers that they have no idea how horrifying software seems to normal people. Stephen Hawking's editor told him that every equation he included in his book would cut sales in half. When you work on making technology easier to use, you're riding that curve up instead of down. A 10% improvement in ease of use doesn't just increase your sales 10%. It's more likely to double your sales."
I could give a myriad of better uses for that $90 million:
- Keep the SETI initiative going (and along with a few arrays)
- Any tpe of medical (cancer, genetics, etc) research
- Next generation wireless infrastructure networks
- Any viable cleantech startup
And the list goes on and on and on and on..
So maybe my usage of the term "pushing humanity forward" may be a lil bit grandiose but i certainly didn't mean giant leaps straight off. For example, i consider Google/Wikipedia to be an invention that "pushed humanity forward" because it raised the collective IQ of the human race (with access to it of course) by a few notches. Both companies certainly didn't need $90m worth of capital initially to start off but benefitted from a few angel investments.
What i probably should have said is that the $90m could have better been allocated to things that are more worthwhile to humanity and not investing in just another "clone" of something.
But I guess kristofferR is right. At the end of the day, the only thing most investors care about is making money and since it is their money, it is fully in their right to choose what they want to invest in.