Act II: The conflict

The co-founders are running short on cash. All seems lost.

AirBnB cofounder Chesky: “I would wake up in a panic. Everyone thought it was crazy. No one supported us. We had no money. It was the best weight-loss program ever. I lost 20 pounds.

I didn’t have any money for food. I would wake up in the morning with my heart pounding. During the course of the day I would convince myself that everything would work out. I went to bed at night really confident. “Like a reset button, I would be jolted out of bed with my heart pounding.

Chesky reminds audiences that many people were skeptical of the service in its early years.

And they regret it. According to Chesky, “Twenty investors had been introduced to Airbnb. Any one of them could have owned 20 percent of the company for $100,000. Fifteen of them didn’t even reply to my e-mail. I met with one investor at a cafe. In the middle of drinking his smoothie, he got up, left, and I’ve never seen him again.”

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