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.
In 2011, due to a downturn in the airline industry, American Airlines' parent company AMR Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection. In 2013, American Airlines merged with US Airways but kept the American Airlines name, as it was the better recognized brand internationally; the combination of the two airlines resulted in the creation of the largest airline in the United States, and ultimately the world.
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.
What the World’s Longest Flight Feels Like: Did anyone else have FOMO over the weekend? That stands for Fear of Missing Out, for those not familiar with millennial acronyms. Many reporters — but not me! — flew on the new longest flight in the world, Singapore Airlines’ nonstop service between Newark and Singapore. Bloomberg’s Sarah Wells was on board and filed a full report. By hour 14, she said, the Airbus A350 “was starting to feel like a luxurious prison.”
Another unique thing about software is that, while it can be considered a product, it doesn’t really wear out and get replaced like traditional consumer products. Code and designs created years ago still exist in many places, even after the landscape of a company and its product have shifted significantly. This requires constant maintenance and upgrading.
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.”
Guests can search for lodging using filters such as lodging type, dates, location, and price. Before booking, users must provide personal and payment information. Some hosts also require a scan of a government-issued identification before accepting a reservation. The company also provides travel guides, entitled "Neighborhoods", which provide details about staying in specific neighborhoods in various major cities.