I love the 'design-thinking' story behind AirBnb, the fast growing yet controversial room letting service, and have enjoyed using their services.

Earlier this year I went down to Montevideo, Uruguay, to work with our time clock and document management developers. I knew I would be going out with them every night and would spend almost no time at what would have been a mediocre $250/night hotel room, so I reserved a room via AirBnb near swanky Pocitos from a young couple. Cost: $50/night.

[caption id="attachment_35240" align="alignnone" width="580"] With AirBnb you get more than a room. You get an experience.[/caption]

You'd think the idea behind AirBnb (people renting out their unused bedrooms) would appeal to darn near everyone, but anti-AirBnb movements are sprouting up. Opponents say AirBnb hosts are acting as hotels, hotels that are dodging taxes.

I'll admit there are some bugs in the AirBnb system. I'm not talking about the extreme cases of fraud or of malevolent guests trashing apartments. AirBnb is working that one out.

I'm talking simply the logistics of turning what is supposed to be a home into a rental facility and how the guests might not show the same respect for etiquette that home-owning neighbors might show each other.

Take me in Montevideo for example. I had been there an entire week without realizing that I was creating a minor nuisance with how I used the elevator which had two doors--one that swung open and closed and another (more of a gate) that acted as a safety device. I didn't realize that I had to close the gate after leaving the elevator which caused the maintenance guy (encargado) to have to climb the staircase to shut the gate on the floor where I exited.

Next time I'll do the elevator gate thing right. Meanwhile I agree with CivilSocTrustwhen it comes to attempts by liberal groups to shut down AirBnb. There are better ways to improve society:

If they want to actually solve the problem of "affordable housing" (isn't any free-market purchase by a buyer, by definition, affordable to them?) the Working Families Party needs to work on dismantling New York's byzantine rent-control laws. This is a known problem with a known solution, but the WFP and their economically illiterate sympathizers are willfully blind to it.



Tags: Business, AirBNB, Montevideo, CivilSocTrust, Working Families Party, WFP