Airbnb and Startups

Today we heard Mr. Stephen Dillion speak. He began his entrepreneurship journey with a single blog post asking business owners how to run a successful startup. That blog post transformed into a website, Startups.ie, that advises small companies on business practices. From that website stemmed the Irish Startup Awards which Mr. Dillion has held for almost seven years now; the Bank of Ireland is even one of their main sponsors!

One aspect of Mr. Dillion’s talk that I really enjoyed was his interest in the beverage industry. He asked us, “What makes someone buy a bottle of wine that costs $10, and another by a bottle that costs $1000?”. This really got me thinking about consumerism and what value means to different people. Mr. Dillion spoke to us about his vast knowledge of spirits and getting started in a industry where some sectors are flooded, while opportunity is greatly available in another. It was so cool to learn that he also creates and sells his own products!

After our guest lecturer we went to Airbnb for a site visit. It was unreal. Aside from the culture of the office being welcoming and relaxed, the work Airbnb does is amazing too. We heard from three employees on how the company fosters employee relationships, enhancing security measures in its sites, and implements giraffing. It was so cool! Unlike Google, where they are creating constantly without much structure, Airbnb serves its clients with a clear purpose while still thriving in a relaxed atmosphere. I really would love to work there someday!

Tomorrow we have our final presentations and a trip to Microsoft to conclude our time in Ireland. I am equally excited and sad that this trip is coming to a close, but I am beyond grateful the the memories I’ve made when I reflect on the past two weeks here!