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As COVID-19 reinvents the vacation, Airbnb is bouncing back

June 30, 2020, 10:04 AM UTC

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Good morning.

It’s been a roller coaster of a year for all of us. But for Airbnb, the peaks, dips and spins have been especially stomach churning. The company started 2020 as the markets’ darling—top of everyone’s list for IPO of the year. By the end of March, “I was reading stories questioning: would Airbnb even exist?” says CEO Brian Chesky. “It took me 12 years—me and my partners—to build this business, and we lost most of it in four or five weeks.”

And now? Chesky spoke with Ellen McGirt and me on this week’s episode of Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast, and had a kind of ‘pinch me’ tone describing the current state of his business:  

“We were expecting this storm to go on for years. And something remarkable started happening. At the end of May and early June, we did more business in the United States than at this time last year… [People] don’t want to get on planes, they don’t want to cross borders, they don’t want to travel on business, they don’t really want to go to cities…What they want to do is get in a car and travel up to 300 miles…People want to get out of the house, they do want to travel…That’s what we started Airbnb for.”

Throughout the crisis, Chesky continued to hone the thoughtful, almost studious approach to leadership that led Fortune to first profile him back in 2015. In the podcast, he gives his well-articulated advice for leading through crisis, and it is worth the 30 minutes it takes to listen. For CEO Daily readers, I’ll leave you with this:

“I think what ends up happening with companies is they usually just serve one stakeholder—shareholders; they look at only certain types of metrics—financial metrics; they look at them over a short period of time—quarterly; and so human beings get reduced to numbers on a spreadsheet. What business needs a little more of now is a little more love and a little more humanity.  Why are board meetings dominated only with financials when CEOs need to be thinking about a lot more than financials?”

More news below.

Alan Murray


National security law

Beijing on Tuesday unanimously passed a National Security law that will be imposed on Hong Kong, despite widespread protests. China's central government has moved incredibly quickly to impose the law, doing so in a little over a month, but its initial introduction came as a surprise to the city—Hong Kong is supposed to create and pass national security laws itself. The financial hub's future is now in question. Fortune 

Reddit bans r/The_Donald

The platform has banned the subreddit group after updating its content policies addressing hate speech, saying the group has repeatedly violated its new standards. It's one of 2,000 groups to be banned. Separately, YouTube has banned six channels known to promote white supremacist content, including the channel of David Duke, the former head of the Ku Klux Klan. Fortune

$22 billion write-down  

Royal Dutch Shell is writing down the value of its assets by a hefty $22 billion, as the pandemic has eaten away at energy demand. The move follows a similar one by BP earlier this month. But it's not just the pandemic: both companies have committed to drastically cutting their emissions in the coming decades, which means re-evaluating the value of traditional fossil fuel assets. WSJ

Johnson channels FDR 

British prime minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a GBP 5 billion ($6.1 billion) infrastructure project on Tuesday, in a bid to "rebuild" the U.K.'s coronavirus-battered economy (Brexit also hasn't helped)—"New Deal" style. Lest you think Johnson has committed to building the Hoover Dam, the infrastructure goals are a little more modest: priorities including repairing a bridge in the West Midlands. FT


Wall Street fees

While the last six months have been rough for sectors from hospitality to energy—not to mention government finances—one group has done surprisingly well. Investment banking fees soared to a record of $57 billion, largely through emergency financing deals from some of America's biggest companies. The rise in debt fees easily outdid the decline in other forms of bank income, as M&As and advising slowed. FT

India bans TikTok

India announced Monday that it was banning TikTok, WeChat, and a slate of other Chinese-owned apps, in what appears to be retaliation over a clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers on the Himalayan border earlier this month, during which at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed. China has not announced any casualties. But the move is largely symbolic—Fortune's Jeremy Kahn writes that Modi's government doesn't want to risk a war with China, especially during a pandemic. Fortune

Facebook ad boycott 

The move to boycott Facebook over its handling of hate speech is still gaining steam—but the platform's largest advertisers have been tellingly silent, writes Fortune's Danielle Abril. Those include Disney, P&G, the U.S. Census Bureau, Walmart, Domino's Pizza, and Sprint, among others—none of which have joined the campaign. Fortune

New York job losses 

As shutdowns restart in some American states, the scale of the lives lost, and the lob losses, is still becoming clear: in New York state alone, more jobs were lost in the hospitality and leisure sectors alone than there are in the entire state of Wyoming. Fortune's data editor Lance Lambert breaks down the latest numbers. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Katherine Dunn.