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'Re/code Decode': Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Talks Paris Terror Attacks, San Francisco Politics

"We saw the worst in humanity through these senseless acts, but we also saw the very best in humanity."


Airbnb has recently found itself in the middle of two very different battles: In early November, it won a bruising political battle in San Francisco over how long its users could rent out their homes to others; then, less than two weeks later, 645 Airbnb employees were in the heart of Paris during the terror attacks that left 130 people dead.

CEO Brian Chesky talked about all of this and more with Kara Swisher in the latest episode of “Re/code Decode.” All 645 of those employees were kept safe, and the 200 who returned to San Francisco were greeted by supportive colleagues with cookies and water.

“We saw the worst in humanity through these senseless acts, but we also saw the very best in humanity,” Chesky said. “The amount of generosity that I saw was unbelievable.”


On the political front, he offered a mea culpa for a series of widely-criticized bus ads that seemed to belittle San Francisco’s public services.

“We were moving so fast, we didn’t see it,” Chesky said. “We were really embarrassed internally, and so that was a huge problem. It made us totally look like jerks, and we’re not jerks.”

Later in the show, on “Too Embarrassed to Ask,” The Verge’s Lauren Goode joined Kara to start her first (and last) day as Kara Swisher’s personal shopper, with a little help from The Verge’s 2015 holiday gift guide. You can tweet your tech-related questions with the hashtag #TETA at @KaraSwisher, @LaurenGoode or @Recode.

 Our newest weekly podcast host, Peter Kafka
Our newest weekly podcast host, Peter Kafka

As you might have noticed, “Re/code Decode” arrived early this week. That’s not a mistake!

Going forward, expect to hear new weekly interviews conducted by Kara every Monday, and a second in-depth interview conducted by Re/code’s senior media editor Peter Kafka every Thursday. This week, Peter will be talking with CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen.

And if you like what you hear on “Re/code Decode,” you should check out “Re/code Replay,” an archive of audio content from our events and interviews by Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg, Peter Kafka, Ina Fried and more.

Every episode for both shows is available in two places: On the Re/code Radio homepage and on Apple iTunes (here for “Re/code Decode” and here for “Re/code Replay”).

You can follow @Recode on Twitter for the latest on upcoming guests.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and, if you don’t, just strafe Kara on Twitter. You can also suggest guests for the show there and we’ll do our level best to nab them for a Red Chair interview.

This article originally appeared on

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