Posts tagged with "Airbnb"

Airbnb’s Samara group to design and construct homes for communal living

December 3, 2018

Airbnb has already changed the way people travel. Now, the eight-year-old company is aiming to bring the peer-to-peer economy to housing, with the introduction of Backyard—described on a new website as “an initiative to protype new ways homes can be built and shared, guided by an ambition to realize more humanistic, future-oriented, and waste-conscious design.”

Airbnb’s design studio, Samara, announced the project on November 28, CNBC reports. The Backyard initiative will “investigate how building could utilize sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technologies, and vast insight from the Airbnb community to thoughtfully respond to changing owner or occupant needs over time.”

The goal: To test prototypes Backyard units as soon as the fall of 2019.

“We began with a simple question: What does a home that is designed and built for sharing actually look and feel like?” Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia—who alo serves as the leader of the design and innovation studio Samara—said in a statement about Backyard. “The answer is not simple at all.

“Other questions quickly emerged,” said Gebbia. “Can a home respond to the needs of many inhabitants over a long period of time? Can it support and reflect the tremendous diversity of human experience? Can it keep up with the rate at which the world changes? Can we accomplish this without filling landfills with needless waste?

“It’s a tall order.”

While there are no details about what the homes might look like or how much they will cost, Gebbia told Fast Company that Backyard isn’t just about a house, it’s an “initiative to rethink the home.”

“We helped people activate underutilized space—from a spare bedroom or treehouse to your apartment while you’re away—and built a community that connected people around the world,” Gebbia said. “With Backyard, we’re using the same lens through which Airbnb was envisioned—the potential of space—and applying it more broadly to architecture and construction.”

As The Washington Post points out, the project “could augment Airbnb’s home-rental marketplace, adding real estate development to its portfolio, as cities continue to limit the company’s short-term rentals.” Cities from New York to Washington, D.C., and Boston are passing regulations that have the effect of restricting Airbnb offerings.

Airbnb management started the initiative by surveying the construction industry for practical solutions—but quickly found that it would be “necessary to start from a blank slate.”

“If we’re truly going to reimagine the design of homes,” Gebbia remarked, “ we have to be holistic. We can’t approach Backyard solely from the point of view of design, architecture, urbanism, civic ordinance, sustainable materiality, or manufacturing. We have to grapple with the whole of it.”

He said, “For us, this goes beyond a business opportunity. It’s a social responsibility. The way buildings are made is outdated and generates a tremendous amount of waste. In order to meet the demands of the future, whether it be climate displacement or rural-urban migration, the home needs to evolve, to think forward.”

It’s a tall order—and, says CNBC, Airbnb is not the only company expanding into residential real estate and shared living space: In 2016, collaborative workspace startup WeWork launched WeLive— which currently has two apartment locations (one in New York City and the other in D.C.). Both have dorm-like living spaces and communal social spaces.

Research contact: @sarahelizberger

The social media site that job recruiters are raiding

May 9, 2018

A free website frequented by many college students has become a fertile hunting ground for job recruiters looking to hire computer and engineering professionals, based on a report posted by Bloomberg on May 7.

Silicon Valley-based Piazza Technologies. Is a private company that provides homework help for some 2.5 million students majoring in computers, engineering, math and science.

Largely unknown to the general public,.the site welcomes students to ask and answer one another’s questions — all under the supervision of their professors.

Seven years in, Piazza told Bloomberg that fully 98% of computer science students at the top 50 universities access its site; and students report using it on average for at least three hours a day. (Or, more likely, per night.)

Piazza fans abound in Palo Alto: “I have used Piazza extensively throughout my education,” Vickram Gidwani, a Stanford grad student in electrical engineering, wrote to Bloomberg in an email. “It provides a great forum for any topic in the course.”

Now, reports Bloomberg, the company is doing the obvious thing—monetizing all those eyeballs. Founder and Chief Executive Officer Pooja Nath Sankar says her site has become an ideal space for tech employers and students to meet.

In late 2016 the company launched Piazza Careers. Companies pay for access to students who opt in; they can see if a student was ranked a top participant in a class on the site—and they can narrow searches to, say, “Show me a Bio major who has taken an AI course.”

Their success rate is excellent. Piazza told Bloomberg that 90% of the messages companies send to students get opened. The career feature is particularly appealing to companies that need tech talent but aren’t necessarily on students’ radar. So far, 80 are on-board, including  WhirlpoolAirbnbNvidiaQuicken LoansBarclays, and Roche.

What’s next? Now that it’s ubiquitous among computer science majors at top colleges, Piazza is pitching itself to recruiters at less-sought-after companies as a way to find better candidates.

 Research contact: @petercoy