Today’s secret spot is an office space available to you at no cost. Come enjoy a spacious environment luxuriously designed and with free wifi, giving you everything you need to work, study, or socialize.
So where is this free Garden of Eden? The last place you’d expect perhaps... Airbnb!
Welcome to Airbnb Headquarters
Airbnb has decided to make its headquarters available to the public. You can come work, study, or just socialize at their office lobby without any stress from security. The space is open to you on weekdays from 7am to 8pm, giving you plenty of time to swing by and do what you need to do.
Come enjoy this space!
I have yet had to interview the founder of Airbnb to discover what sparked this initiative, but it is a model other tech companies should follow! Although tech companies in the Bay Area provide local employment, most of them do very little for the community.
In fact, judging by their action, many tech companies seem anti-social. Genentech for example, provides a private shuttle for its employees, essentially shielding them from public transit. This shuttle then takes them to a campus where they are further isolated from the rest of the world.
Facebook, VMWare, Genentech, Tesla, Google, etc, are all very isolationist. They host employees on college-like campuses, keeping them in a fully serviced happy bubble. These campuses have gyms, cafeterias, laundry services, daycares, and many other domestic services. Although these amenities are well intentioned, it deprives the local economy of stimulation and keeps employees from outside contact for too long. The much more sinister element to this isolationist approach however is that it encourages employees to care and think more for the company than the general state of society they live in.
It seems that as soon as a start-up becomes successful, it promptly creates walls to isolate itself from the community. This reminds me of the newly bourgeoisie in Europe, where after reaching a certain status, they immediately seek methods to exclusivize themselves from the rest of society.
Genentech employees hopping on their private shuttle
Genentech is not all bad. Some of their buses are open to the public, providing free rides from SF to South Bay.
Airbnb is a rare exception. Not only is this is a company that values diversity and fair treatment, it has also opened itself to the community. This service rendered by Airbnb doesn't just help the public however - it also greatly benefits its employees.
Employees need daily contact with the public; without it, they become detached from the world and delusional, a common disease in tech. Constant contact with the public keep employees grounded and socially aware. This social awareness translates into the development of products that are more aligned with the needs of the public.
Next time you need a good place to study, think of the Airbnb Headquarters. While you're there, socialize with a few employees - you'll both gain something!
Let's hope more tech companies follow the leadership of Airbnb and provide resources directly to the community around them.
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