Skip to content
Opinion
Matt Levine

Stakeholders Get a Committee

Also indexers and short-sellers, CEO risk-taking, and bad tweets.

Airbnb is a platform that allows people with homes (“hosts,” in Airbnb’s terms) to rent those homes out to people who want to stay in them (“guests”). You could imagine, from first principles, a number of ways to structure that platform economically. It could collectively be owned by the hosts. That makes a lot of sense. The hosts are the ones contributing the most capital (houses, etc.). They could band together to advertise what they’re selling and book guests, charge the guests as much as they can, and keep the profits. That’s roughly how hotel chains work, for instance.

You could imagine it being collectively owned by the guests, though that’s much weirder. People who want to travel band together to seek offers from potential hosts, pay as little as they can, keep the surplus, etc., I don’t know. You could sort of think of a big company’s travel department as working this way, collectivizing the demand and then asking the suppliers to compete for it.