I had the pleasure of video-conferencing into Kellogg‘s MBA class in Social Media at Northwestern University yesterday. Brayden King kindly invited me to talk about how Airbnb thinks about Trust and the challenges facing sharing economies.
We spoke about the role of Data Science at the company and how it has changed over the years. As the volume of data has grown, we have more often than not moved away from explanatory predictive models to Machine Learning algorithms.
One thing that stood out to me as top of mind for the students in the MBA class was the process of Trust development for first time users. How does a first time guest get accepted by a host on Airbnb? How does a first time host get selected by a guest?
At Airbnb we have a team of highly skilled Data Scientists and Engineers working on matching algorithms designed to help first time guests and hosts. And even more than this, the community are their own best resource. Experienced hosts help new hosts manage their listing and new guests book their first experience.
At the heart of everything data-related we work on at Airbnb is the community and enabling them to make more connections amongst themselves and new users.