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How to build a billion dollar business (almost) overnight

A book that leads you through the killer companies of Silicon Valley
How to build a billion dollar business (almost) overnight
  • In 2017 Brad Stone published The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley are Changing the World
  • It tells the stories of the companies rewriting the traditional rules of business and our day-to-day lives

The name Brad Stone might sound familiar. In 2013 he released the bestselling The Everything Store and followed it up with Amazon Unbound which tells the next chapter of Amazon’s growth. In The Upstarts, Stone applies a similar structure to the stories of Travis Kalanick and Brian Chesky and their respective businesses, Uber (US:UBER) and Airbnb (US:ABNB). As with many books about companies, the book offers a little too much depth (the amount that only mothers and polite aunties of the author will genuinely plough through). Nevertheless, the gist is fascinating and leaves you wondering where the next start-up success will come from. 

Uber and Airbnb were born during the biggest tectonic shift in computing history since the invention of the web browser. While the companies did not generate this technological wave themselves, Stone explores how they rode it and profited from it more than any other companies. Their San Francisco headquarters are just a mile apart, which is either coincidence or providence considering they are among the fastest growing startups in history in terms of their sales, overall market value and number of employees. The companies offered old ideas with new twists. Both foster a remarkable degree of openness among people who had never previously met, which is lovely. What is even lovelier, is that the companies hold very few physical assets. They own no actual hotels or vehicles (bar a small experimental fleet of self-driving cars), which makes for some seriously attractive balance sheets.

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