Airbnb and Me

Airbnb CEO: Regulatory Challenges Are Partly a ‘Design Problem’

Disrupt the DMV?
Home away from home.

Home away from home.

Airbnb greatly values design, and for good reason. Fugly old Craigslist’s primacy in New York apartment rentals notwithstanding, most people don’t want to rent a room using a website that looks like a social network for serial killers.

But could it be that CEO Brian Chesky perhaps overestimates the power of design just a tad

Bloomberg News reports that, speaking at a design conference in San Francisco earlier this week, the Rhode Island School of Design alum suggested that Airbnb’s design-focused sensibility will be invaluable overcoming one of the company’s biggest hurdles: the crazy quilt that is hotel regulations across the country.

Bloomberg News says that, according to Mr. Chesky, design-influenced thinking throughout the business “will help resolve Airbnb’s standoff with local governments, which have been trying to extract taxes from bookings made on its website.” He continued:

“We’re navigating a world of very uncertain and fragmented laws in many cities,” Chesky said. “We have to think broadly and very differently and holistically about government relations. It’s not just about meeting with government officials. It’s about solving a design problem — if we have problems in governments, that’s a design problem we need to solve.”

Call us cynics, but you’d probably be better off just hiring some really shark-like lobbyists.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com