The genesis of the modern-day share economy is best traced to San Francisco in 2008, where Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, recent Rhode Island School of Design graduates who had fled west, thought they could make some pocket cash by housing attendees at an industrial design conference on air beds in their apartment.
A Potential Business
Chesky and Gebbia put up a site, Airbedandbreakfast.com, to advertise their floor space. After three people bunked with them that week, they decided to max out their credit cards and build a bigger site with more listings. "We never considered the notion we were participating in a new economy," Chesky says. "We were just trying to solve our own problem. After we solved our own problem, we realized many other people want this."