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Sharing some thoughts about the recent c

Sharing some thoughts about the recent challenges facing Airbnb-

Airbnb Shouldn’t Be Surprised.

With some guilt, I have to admit watching the Airbnb bad news bandwagon move up the media food chain has been a little bit entertaining.   However, my experiences have included moments of inspiration.   I have been graciously hosted by folks who have suffered terrible tragedies, and are avoiding foreclosure through Airbnb. Sharing a pizza, I have looked into the eyes of children, able to rely on the stability and  security of remaining in their home, following the sudden loss of a parent because of Airbnb. I have been gracefully hosted by some bouncing back from divorce by earning some additional income from Airbnb.  Show me one hotel that can share those claims.   

ImageThe rush to judgement only required about 2 weeks before the first headline in a financial blog raised the question, “……is this the beginning of the end?” (Yahoo Finance) Airbnb’s recent challenges should not be a surprise to anyone. As soon as the news began circulating of Airbnb’s $10B pre-IPO valuation, exceeding the market cap of Hyatt,  the time for serious attacks had arrived. Lesson 1: When an aspiring darling of silicon valley out-performs an established and influential business model in the business equivalent to lightspeed, prepare thyself.  

At only four years old, Airbnb reservations in New York city were already exceeding the leading hotel properties some of which have a 220 year history in that city.  What city has proven to be the most challenging?  Ahhhh yes- that would be New York.  If Airbnb deserves criticism, and they probably do, then start with the very real possibility that the executive team may have missed being prepared for this day.  Lesson 2: Managing risk may not be sexy to VC’s, certainly not the media- but it is necessary. Protecting, strengthening, the delicate nature of TRUST among consumers is precisely why we formed get2kno!  

Does anyone really believe these unsavory stories about misuse of properties, surfacing in a nice neat sequence, is coincidental? Sure, some of the damages incurred are genuine, and those are violations to be fully prosecuted.  At the same time, after spending 25 years in the insurance industry, please rest assured- if consumers knew the loss patterns in hotels, the tourism industry would go broke. Consider the following search results from Google News:


NOT very scientific to be sure.  However, one cannot deny a certain consistency to the results.  If 1,000 reservations have resulted in damage, out of 4,500,000 reservations- Airbnb members are about as likely to incur a loss during a reservation as they are to be hit by lightening. Regarding Prostitution? What is that cliche’ about media? Oh yes- sex sells.  Let’s boycott any hotel chain which ever had a room used to shoot porn or to transact illegal activity.  Really?

In closing, check out, then ask yourself- who would bother setting up such a site? One can only speculate.  Maybe a tourism union? How about a class action law firm tallying up potential clients for after the IPO? What about a hotel chain? Does Airbnb have some real problems to solve? Absolutely- Lesson 3: customer (member) service needs to be more about the members and less about the bottom line.  While some traditional rules of business may not apply to the latest explosive new model being fueled by Silicon Valley, one must always respect the laws of nature- certainly human nature.  Lesson 4: Without exception, any company may one day face a Johnson & Johnson “Tylenol Moment”.  Again, be prepared- don’t rule anything out when serving the masses- understand that asking the hard “what if…” questions behind closed doors is safe & prudent.  But…if that day comes- focusing on any issue above the safety & security of your customers is like engaging the Warp Drive towards a “Kodak Moment”.  By the way, my experiences as a member do include 2 that were entirely negative.  The assistance from member services was stellar and immediate.  I’m just sayin….. 


Guy Fraker CEO-get2kno,Inc

Really? Another story of insurance impeding progress?

Shared mobility is nearly 2 decades old- the excuses for not embracing the commercial opportunities are thin at this point.  We need more stories like that posted in GIGAOM by Lauren Hockenson to create a race to market among insurers with courage and adaptability.  Playing the “we need more data” card is legit to a point.  However, when I see stories about the Chicago Police using data to  to warn people against  the crime they are thinking about committing before it happens, or knowing what we are doing with “Big Data” for risk mitigation at get2kno, this business case becomes a fairly transparent excuse.  What if the Shared Mobility sector banded together and lobbied to have shared mobility insurance regulated under a single entity- like the FOI?  Yes, we’d see an industry uprising, but isn’t 20 years enough time to embrace?  I’m also sharing this with some folks focusing on autonomous capabilities- as a way of stepping back for a moment and asking, “If we think nearly zero progress in shared mobility insurance is the exception- just wait until we are faced with the “driver in the box”.” Shared mobility and urbanization are contributors to declining driver license rates and vehicle ownership- which ultimately forms a long tail impact on insurance.  However, as connected vehicle technologies and autonomous capabilities proliferate and converge with shared mobility- the experiences of Kodak become even more deserving among those who want to protect an insurance industry status quo.  The time to begin facing reality is now when expecting the existing insurance industry leaders to embrace new transportation models and technologies that ultimately result in a significant decline in their 100 year old, $190B, revenue stream.  Yes, new entrants, and some from the 10 to 20 companies under the top 5 will embrace- but actions can be taken to significantly reduce the friction, the cost, for those insurers who choose to lead.  

As far as shared mobility providers hoping insurance will convert into a secret strategic advantage, isn’t collaboration and cohesiveness a faster path to growth?  No single shared mobility provider is large enough to be a silver bullet for an insurer. Whomever does embrace shared mobility will want to own the entire sector.  Being more direct, such companies deserve as much for stepping up and breaking ranks.  Embrace the entities who are in your corner.  Let’s present a united front.   Competitively priced insurance, with the coverages and billing cycles you need, is a mountain too high to climb solo.  Additionally, resolving the shared mobility insurance issues represents an essential step towards solutions in autonomous vehicles.  At some point, all of us must look inward and decide- how long are we going to let a remarkably wealthy and powerful industry constrain progress?  Has the time arrived to rally the entire shared mobility user/member community?  What if every member were invited to participate in a summit, a webinar, or constructively reach out to state and federal legislators?  Imagine a single 5 hour period designated for those associated with shared mobility to call a legislator in each state, or in D.C.  These are not the questions of a critic, but in support from a team who are putting it all on the line in support of this new era of mobility.  

Guy & the entire get2kno team

A big “Thank you!” to @Metavera for th

A big “Thank you!” to @Metavera for the great, surprise, review of the #CSA presentation re the #future of mobility!

GREAT news out of New York for AirBnB (m

GREAT news out of New York for AirBnB (more for us who love to be members and love New York!) Congrats to the member and to AirBnB for the support!

GREAT news out of New York for AirBnB (m

GREAT news out of New York for AirBnB (more for us who love to be members and love New York!) Congrats to the member and to AirBnB for the support!

Had a great time with the growing member

Had a great time with the growing membership @carsharing. Here’s my presentation re the #future meeting of #carsharing2013 and #self_driving cars


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