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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told me in an interview for "Axios on HBO" that the biggest risk to Big Tech is that "the world is rooting against them."

Driving the news: "They don't think they have society's interest in their favor," said Chesky, whose unicorn startup is based in San Francisco.

We spoke about an hour outside the city in Marin County, at one of 3,000 treehouses you can rent on Airbnb, along with igloos, boats, castles — and, in Idaho, a potato.

In the wide-ranging interview, I asked Chesky about all the funding that big investors threw at Adam Neumann, the now-disgraced WeWork co-founder and former CEO.

  • "When I came to Silicon Valley," Chesky replied, "there was probably a lack of skepticism about the whole industry. And that can be helpful to a point — if you live in a world that's completely skeptical, it's hard for new ideas to be embraced."
  • "But a world of no skepticism can have some big downsides. I think that the lesson is that ... we have to be a little more skeptical of things, probably a little bit earlier. "

So how do so many rich people get duped by tech dreamers?

  • Chesky pointed to the fear of looking stupid: When his company — then called Airbed & Breakfast — was founded in 2007, "you gave us $150,000, you could have owned 10% of this company. And a number of people said no. In fact, almost everyone I met said no."
  • "So I think there's this perpetual culture where people ... completely swing for the fences. They have a fear of missing out. Maybe they were successful. They pattern-recognize. They're like: This person reminds me of something else that was successful. And that can get you in a little bit of trouble if you're not skeptical enough."

I asked Chesky about discrimination against Black travelers that had plagued the platform.

  • "Four or five years ago, there was this really concerning hashtag that was trending on Twitter ... #AirbnbWhileBlack," he recalled.

So Airbnb imposed a Community Commitment, requiring hosts and guests to promise to treat everyone in the Airbnb community "without judgment or bias," regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age.

  • "1.3 million people decided not to do that," Chesky said. "And we kicked them all off the site."

Disclosure: Kim Kingsley, an Airbnb executive, is a member of Axios' board.

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Go deeper

Airbnb: Hosting will be as big as the creator economy

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Airbnb global head of hosting Catherine Powell says the "hosting economy" will include as many people as the creator economy does.

The big picture: The creator economy — businesses built by independent content creators — is currently made up of more than 50 million people, according to SignalFire, a venture capital firm.

Biden: "Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been"

President Biden speaks during the 40th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S Capitolon Oct. 16. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday honored members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2021 and saluted those who are currently serving.

Driving the news: "We expect everything of you, and it's beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the total expectations. Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been," Biden said.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

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