Ten years ago, the idea of getting into a stranger's car, or a walking into a stranger's home, would have seemed bizarre and dangerous, but today it's as common as ordering a book online. Uber and Airbnb have ushered in a new era: redefining neighborhoods, challenging the way governments regulate business, and changing the way we travel.
In the spirit of iconic Silicon Valley renegades like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, another generation of entrepreneurs is using technology to upend convention and disrupt entire industries. These are the upstarts, idiosyncratic founders with limitless drive and an abundance of self-confidence. Led by such visionaries as Travis Kalanick of Uber and Brian Chesky of Airbnb, they are rewriting the rules of business and often sidestepping serious ethical and legal obstacles in the process.
The Upstarts is the definitive story of two new titans of business and a dawning age of tenacity, conflict and wealth. In Brad Stone's riveting account of the most radical companies of the new Silicon Valley, we discover how it all happened and what it took to change the world.
An Amazon Best Book of February 2017: Brad Stone has a gift for unwrapping the mythology around a company's origins and making its actual origins—and growth and flubs and pivot points—far more fascinating than the mythology ever could be. In The Upstarts, Stone tackles the genesis of Airbnb and Uber, two companies that have woven themselves into the daily lives of people around the globe in less than ten years. Too many books spotlight a company's wise decisions and business victories, making success seem almost inevitable. In contrast, Stone gives Uber's and Airbnb's mistakes as much room on the page as its scrappy triumphs, allowing a far more complex story to build. Interwoven among the highlights and lowlights are innovation incubators, dirty tricks, desperation among VC investors to not miss the Next Big Thing, competitors' bright ideas, and the strikingly different personalities of the two companies' young leaders. But this is a book without an ending, because Airbnb and Uber are still evolving, making their long-term effect on their industries hard to predict. Timely, clear-eyed, and crisply written, The Upstarts is a must for readers seeking insight into how ideas and eventually businesses can succeed or fail in a technology-rich landscape. —Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review
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"In The Upstarts, Brad Stone has vividly captured the cultural and economic upheaval brought about by the latest generation of Internet superpowers. His book is a magnificent expose of how companies like Uber and Airbnb came to be, the people that profited and lost out along the way and the ramifications that this technology will have on the world for decades to come. Stone remains the preeminent chronicler of the Internet Age and a master story teller."
Ashlee Vance, author of Elon Musk
"With precision, wit, and insight, Brad Stone tells the tale of two very different CEOs whose skills, innovations and willingness to pursue a totally crazy idea toppled two very different industries. No one in business today can afford to miss this compelling tale of trust, technology, and very big piles of loot."
Steven Levy, author of In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives