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Airbnb has experienced a lot of growth over the years. Currently our design department consists of nearly a dozen functions and outcome teams. It became clear that we needed more systematic ways to guide and leverage our collective efforts. While we recognized these challenges within the company, I believe they are symptoms of larger software industry problems.
Documentation. This project required us to operate within a tight timeline, which caused us to overlook some of the documentation process. Lacking thorough documentation created some confusion that could have been avoided. Just like with coding, documenting systems as they are created is paramount to the process. It has to be done sooner or later, and documenting throughout the creation process allows for smoother decision-making.
A year after Airbnb launched, the company decided to migrate nearly all of its cloud computing functions to Amazon Web Services (AWS) because of service administration challenges experienced with its original provider. Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-founder & CTO of Airbnb says, “Initially, the appeal of AWS was the ease of managing and customizing the stack. It was great to be able to ramp up more servers without having to contact anyone and without having minimum usage commitments. As our company continued to grow, so did our reliance on the AWS cloud and now, we’ve adopted almost all of the features AWS provides. AWS is the easy answer for any Internet business that wants to scale to the next level.”
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One year later, there were 15 people working from Chesky and Gebbia's loft apartment on Rausch Street in San Francisco. To make room for employees, Brian Chesky gave up his bedroom and lived at lodging booked via the Airbnb service until the company moved into its first office space. In April 2009, the company received $600,000 in seed money from Sequoia Capital and, in November 2010, raised $7.2 million in financing from Greylock Partners and, again, from Sequoia Capital, in a Series A round, then announcing that out of 700,000 nights booked, 80% had occurred in the previous six months.