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Richard is barely out of the driveway before he stops the car and realizes what he's giving up. He puts his car in reverse and heads back. Richard mentions he has a new boss at Pied Piper, and how he enjoys having someone else deal with the parts of the business that used to drive him crazy.
The doctor mocks Richard for ceding control of his company, and suggests he perform a testicle check -- to make sure Richard still has them. Richard worries they can't afford the space, but Jack takes him aside and reminds him how Google's amenities attracted the best talent in the business. When Jared arrives at his condo he finds his tenant, Ludwig, is still there, claiming he can't afford to live in the area because people like Jared have raised the cost of living. Ludwig refuses to leave, so Jared begins the long, expensive process of eviction.
The execs, however, tell the remaining Nucleus team they must see the idea through, or else quit and abandon their severance packages. Richard questions whether they should build the platform first, but Jack says no, referencing his "conjoined triangles of success" business model. Jian-Yang doesn't take the news well and starts freaking out. Later, after Erlich unwittingly reveals why Jared is moving back into the garage, Jian-Yang decides to use California's tenant laws to his own advantage and also refuses to move out.
When Richard confronts Jack about yet another decision he made without consulting him, Jack reminds him they're in a bubble and don't have four years to wait before they turn a profit. He does promise that no matter what happens, he'll never compromise the product. They decide they'll take their new plan elsewhere since they were fired by Hooli. Richard loses it and seeks out Jack at his horse ranch in Sonoma, where he's actively breeding horses.
He reminds Jack of his promise not to compromise the product and demands he back him up. Instead, Jack explains Pied Piper's product isn't the platform -- it's the stock -- and they'll do whatever it takes to make its value go up. They reveal the plan to create a dull-looking black metal box that looks like a VCR. Richard is mortified to discover Pied Piper is no longer a platform, but physical hardware. The guys learn the new sales team promised hour-a-day, on-site maintenance -- meaning one of them would have to work in this massive basement tech hell for a year.
The engineer attempts to put a positive spin on the work environment: "There's really no difference between day and night down here, so it makes things easy. Richard relays this to Dinesh and Gilfoyle, who quits on the spot. Richard announces he's contacted Monica and arranged a meeting with Laurie behind Jack's back to discuss Jack's new "vision" for the platform. She plans to call Jack and tell him to pursue the platform development instead.
After blowing up at her, he immediately calls Richard in to see him. Jack tells Richard he's going forward with the box, despite Laurie's objections. He told her if she disagreed she could fire him, but Laurie refused. Despite Richard playing dumb about his involvement, Jack stops him on his way out of the office and warns, "If you're going to shoot the king, you've got to be goddamn sure you kill him.
Monica explains it would look bad for her to fire two CEOs within a month. The catch is Gilfoyle only gets the bottle if he sits down with them. At Twen-X, Gilfoyle is shocked to find he's meeting with the guys from Endframe. They show him they've figured out the Pied Piper predictive loop and thus have cracked middle-out compression themselves.
Richard realizes Erlich has a point; if all they build is the platform, Jack will be forced to embrace it and pretend it was his idea all along. He wouldn't want Laurie to think he has no control over his own company. Richard, Gilfoyle, Jared and Dinesh all get behind the idea and spend the night plotting out how to covertly develop the platform while simultaneously appearing to build the box.
They develop a plan, which they call "Skunkworks. A moment later, Jack emerges and demands the guys join him in his office. When he threatens to fire them, Richard points out that the deal expires unless Pied Piper produces a prototype for review within 10 weeks.
Because Richard and his team are among the few proficient enough to create the box, Richard gets Jack to compromise: They'll make a bare-bones prototype and then go on to develop the platform. Richard hastily draws a black box on a white board and tells Dang to make that. He reveals people are criticizing Gavin's leadership -- shuttering Nucleus only allowed his opponents to move forward unopposed.
Richard, Dinesh and Gilfoyle try to turn on their prototype box, but it won't start. Gilfoyle admits he made his uploader eight times faster than the minimum speed, so the modules aren't running at the same speed, because he can't stand to intentionally do subpar work. Gilfoyle's work inspires Richard and Dinesh to think up streamlining capabilities. Dang comes over to show the sample design: a black box. The guys are disappointed with how basic the product looks now that they have bigger plans for it, and tell him to make it flashier.
To ensure he has space for Jared, Erlich calls Fred, a potential new tenant, and learns he's already taken a room at another incubator house. Erlich demands the address and discovers Big Head has accidentally started a deluxe version of his own incubator business model. He proposes he and Big Head partner up. When Richard learns Dectosphere is able to hit 75 megabits per second, he tells Jack they've gotten the box to megs.
Richard requests a sit-down with Connor Greene at Maleant. However, Monica notices the new contract wording gives Maleant exclusive rights to the box's algorithm for three years -- meaning Richard could not use the algorithm for anything else, including the platform, for that long.
Laurie and Jack won't sacrifice the immense profits expected from the box for the promise of a platform that has no market value assigned to it, but Monica throws her support with Richard and Erlich and they successfully vote down the contract. Monica acknowledges this is a temporary solve; Laurie will no doubt replace her on the board and re-vote the next day.
Everyone is distraught at the news until Erlich points out Gavin just set the market price for their platform. It now has an enticing value they can present to Laurie and Jack. When the guys go in to stick this news to Jack, they find Laurie alone in his office.
She tells them she's fired Jack, and they can proceed with developing the platform. But until further notice, the CEO chair will remain empty. Jan assumed Richard had been fired by Laurie. Cantwell to set the record straight. Laurie insists Richard meet with her head of PR to work on his communication skills first. Erlich plays up his disbelief and tells Big Head they need to pave the road of their partnership with trust.
Upon hearing the news, Richard storms out for his PR meeting in a rage. Laurie is only pretending to review other candidates before reinstating Richard. The woman he's just vented to introduces herself as C. Cantwell, and heads off after saying she has everything she needs. Richard chases after her, but Cantwell says unless he has a better story, she's going to publish the following day.
Big Head says in passing he bets Richard wishes he could scrub the internet like Gavin Belson. Hearing this, Richard takes Big Head to tell the story to Cantwell; she agrees to spike the one about Richard. Jared introduces him to the engineers they've hired to develop the platform via video chat -- made affordable as they work remotely from around the world. Over margaritas, Richard reveals he got the number of a good-looking woman at the bar. Dinesh starts a separate chat afterwards with pretty engineer Elisabet but Gilfoyle is skeptical of the genuineness of her flirtation.
Gavin threatens to sue Cantwell unless she reveals her source; she alerts Big Head about Gavin's threat. Erlich promises to deal with the situation after Big Head tells him there's a chance he'll lose his settlement money for violating his non-disclosure agreement. The guys learn that Winnie, the woman Richard met at the restaurant, spent the night.
While Richard gets his keys to drive her home, Winnie makes small talk with Gilfoyle and Dinesh. When they find out she codes with spaces, not tabs, they warn her against revealing the information to Richard. Richard breaks up with her and leaves the apartment, only to fall down the stairs on his way out.
Erlich rushes to speak with Big Head, who's sitting with Arthur. Dinesh and Jared suggest they release a beta version to help uncover bugs and fix them at a faster rate, but Richard worries that doing so would only subject the company to more bad-mouthing.
Richard's resolve weakens when he discovers Gilfoyle gave the beta to his girlfriend, Tara, who thinks the platform is awesome. Gilfoyle says he doesn't trust anyone and gives his links to Jared and Dinesh. Dinesh secretly struggles to find anyone to share his with. They both suspect Arthur is to blame for the missing sum.
At Hooli, Gavin illegally scans through employee email and learns that Pied Piper released a beta. He tasks his head of security with getting him access. Unfortunately, he can't return it, as he's been funneling the money into his other clients' accounts whose money he's been losing for years.
Faced with Richard's delight at all the positive feedback, as well as his desire to move up the initial launch, Monica keeps her reservations to herself. She suggests Erlich sell his shares of Pied Piper, though he's reluctant to sell knowing they could someday be worth billions. The D. The guys launch a zip bomb on Gavin's personal laptop and phone, killing his access and destroying both devices. Making matters worse for Gavin, Eric and Naveen, Hooli's key engineers, quit when he demands they do a ground-up rebuild of their compression platform to match Pied Piper's.
All the same, she encourages him to proceed with the launch and sets up a meeting with Laurie to get things under way. After the meeting, Erlich approaches Laurie to discuss selling his shares of the company.
When Chang refers to Pied Piper as the next unicorn, Erlich squirms at the mention of his stake in the company. Following the interview, Monica calls Erlich, who begrudgingly promises to tell Richard about selling his shares, after the Vanity Fair dinner. Jared walks in wearing a flamboyant Pied Piper letterman jacket, to which Gilfoyle remarks, "If my mother was naked and dead in the street, I would not cover her body with that jacket.
Belson is accused of losing his touch, and is informed that Hooli will be moving on without him at the helm. David notes, "insiders only dump stock like that when they know something is wrong," prompting denials from Richard and Jared. Still, Richard is convinced Monica is the one unloading stock. Gilfoyle denies knowing Dinesh, and the groupies tell him to get lost. When Monica says otherwise, Richard figures out who's really to blame.
Defeated, Erlich admits: "Erlich Bachman, the name that used to be synonymous with success, went broke and was forced to sell. Exchanging pleasantries, the two agree to play chess on their tablets from their respective jets. Richard pays Erlich rent for the hostel and makes it very clear that Erlich "will have nothing to do with this company whatsoever. Cantwell leaves Erlich a voicemail saying she heard about "ugly shit" going down at Pied Piper.
Dinesh, Erlich, and Gilfoyle enjoy the celebration, but Jared, who is aware of the numbers, nervously flits around. Richard, who can't stand the negative feedback, storms into the room to explain the intricacies of the platform. In full-on professor mode, Richard spends his afternoon with the participants until each person understands the function of the platform. When Dinesh suggests changing the platform, Richard replies, "If you build an airplane, and people are afraid of anything that flies, you can't just take the wings off of it, because at that point, all you're left with is a really slow, super-expensive, shitty bus.
Erlich attempts to rally the group to support Richard, even if his plan is a suicide mission. All of the newly hired employees quit. Gavin now has a shot at redeeming himself with the Hooli board. He pretends that he lied about wanting to create a platform, and that his efforts were a charade because he knew any compression platform was destined to fail.
The board is skeptical, but they give him another chance when he brings in Jack Barker, the new Head of Hooli-Endframe Product, to reveal what Belson has supposedly in fact been working toward: The Box. Richard returns to the ad agency, where he asks them to create something to clarify the platform for little money.
They show him "Pipey" an animated character that lives on the site and troubleshoots user issues. Richard accepts defeat, "Face it, Jared. Being too early is the same as being wrong. He leads the board out to the Hooli courtyard where they find an elephant, because an elephant "never forgets," and neither does Gavin.
As Richard prepares to dissolve the company, the guys learn that the number of daily active users have gone up. While they celebrate, Jared takes a call and orders more users from a click farm in Bangladesh. Patrice is having a tough time disposing of it, and Hoover suggests airlifting it into the bay.
When Patrice voices her concerns about Gavin's use of endangered animals, she is fired. Richard admits he already knows, and asks Jared to keep it between them until they run out of money. On the guard's computer screen, she sees CJ's blog soliciting tech dirt, and an idea strikes her. They ask him if he has seen Dinesh's "lost" flash drive that possesses a zombie script that randomizes user actions, so that VCs could not detect clickfarm behavior.
Dinesh tells Richard to "keep an eye out for it" as he pulls the drive from his pocket and places it on the ground. Jared is not convinced -- "Don't weaponize my faith in you against me," -- but Richard does not want to do the right thing. Richard prepares to sign the term sheet, but when it is in front of him, he panics, and pitches the video chat platform.
Coleman Blair ups the offer thinking Richard's hesitation is a negotiating ploy, so Richard reveals the uptick was fake. Erlich storms out. When he goes to fix it, he notices the server is overloaded. Erlich announces that he is going to India and he expects Richard "off the premises by end of the day. Big Head notices the chat is much better than Hooli Chat as he prepares to go back to Phoenix with his father.
Raviga, which has board majority, prepares to approve the sale, but Monica refuses and is fired. Laurie calls in a random employee to vote yes, but Evan refuses because he is in love with Monica. Richard votes yes to get the sale over with, and to everyone's surprise, Pied Piper is sold to Bachmanity LLC -- the product of a last-minute bid. The gang is back at it in the hostel for another game of "always blue" and they discuss redoing the company's apportionment of stock.
Season Four Premiere. In the wake of Pied Piper's clickfarm scandal, the guys struggle to find funding for their video-chat app to keep up with their rapidly-growing user base. Erlich faces resistance from Big Head's dad. Richard gets some sage advice from an unexpected source, leading him to a big idea that could change his future.
Richard asks Dinesh why he can't access the data from Piper Chat and Dinesh admits he intentionally revoked his access, despite their verbal agreement. Richard asks Jared to back him up on the squabble with Dinesh, but Jared, fiercely loyal to his new boss, refuses to discuss the issue. Big Head overhears and offers his login..
He tells Jared to survey the users. Desperate to return to Gavin's good graces, Denpok falsely accuses Barker of scheming against Gavin. Gavin buys it but Hoover demands proof. Fishing, Denpok tells Gavin that Barker must have been on Piper Chat, prompting Gavin to make plans to acquire the startup.
Gavin Belson calls and asks Dinesh to dinner. When they tell the team about Belson's interest, Jared is certain Gavin's legal team will discover the user issue and turn him in. Dinesh tries to warn Gavin who does not listen and Dinesh signs the paper. Back at the Hacker Hostel, Jian Yang resists the shift in vision until Erlich cites Richard as the type of crazy person who'd walk away from that kind of money. Noting that Richard has wandered into the pool fully clothed, Jian Yang relents.
Erlich tasks Gilfoyle and Dinesh with helping to develop a demo. Monica tries to console him, casually dropping that Peter Gregory had tried to crack the idea but eventually abandoned it. Richard jumps at the opportunity to look through Peter's journals for any relevant notes. During his farewell speech, Gavin invites his staff to take his departure as a final opportunity to give him honest feedback -- positive or negative. No one takes him up on the offer. The rep is unimpressed by Big Head's academic credentials five years of college before dropping out until she realizes he's the Nelson Bighetti of Bachmanity, recently featured on the cover of Wired magazine.
She offers Big Head what he thinks is a spot in the CS program but turns out to be a guest lectureship. But Jian Yang let's slip over celebratory drinks with Ed that they don't even have a demo. It turns out Mia is a badass female hacker, who believes Dinesh intentionally took down Gavin by ceding ownership of PiperChat.
The two go on a date, which gets off to a rocky start until they realize they share a mutual hatred of Gilfoyle. The guys get to work sifting through all the notes. Stumbling upon a page detailing Peter's plans for a decentralized internet, Richard realizes Peter thought it wasn't feasible unless compression surpassed the theoretical limit of a 2.
It turns out to be a patent number for the exact internet platform Richard wants to build. Jared discovers the patent was in fact created in Gavin Belson's name. Gavin took out the patent when he and Peter were partners, intending it to be a roadblock that would focus Peter's energies on creating the company they started together -- Hooli. After kicking a hole through a closet door at the Hacker Hostel to vent his frustration, Richard regroups and seeks Gavin out at his home.
The place is a mess, broken statues litter the floor. Richard presents Gavin with a license for his peer-to-peer communication pattern in exchange for his patent, but Gavin refuses to sign and tells Richard he's wasting his time. Determined to get him on board, Richard explains why his idea will work this time around.
When they scan a piece of pizza, it yields: Not Hot Dog. Jian-Yang admits he did not want to scrape the internet to have the app identify more food items, but Monica insists he fix it. Jared, Dinesh and Gilfoyle watch as Richard interviews engineers for his new company, and Erlich informs the crew he is building a palapa with the See Food funding. As Gilfoyle scans the recruiter's list of candidates, he notices Jian-Yang's name. Erlich yells at Jian-Yang and angrily takes a dick pic with the app, which identifies his penis as a hot dog.
He tells Erlich it's a "business expense" so the money will run out and he can stop working on the app. They sit down with Gavin to review Richard's interview notes, and Jared suggests hiring Gilfoyle who is crying for help by insulting the other candidates. The next class, the students admit they're boycotting the assignment because they founded their own "Shazam for food" and are taking Coleman Blair's funding. He trades in his 10 percent for the car and the palapa, and instructs Jian-Yang to tell Monica what happened.
Laurie credits Ed Chen for this major win. Dinesh describes his new job at Periscope to Gilfoyle -- looking at dick pics for Jian-Yang's acquired technology. The presentation is underway when Gavin's "transfusion associate," Bryce, arrives to hook himself up to Gavin, something he does to slow Gavin's aging process.
Richard is frustrated when Bryce interjects to suggest they pursue a big launch rather than his preferred "stealth roll out" but Gavin favors Bryce's plan. Erlich warns Monica that she needs to "bro down" or she'll be cut out of the new regime. He finds the place filled with shopping bags from Geary Street Organics. Bryce isn't interested in hearing an apology. He tells Richard off for assuming that someone with a pretty face can't have good ideas. He decides to confess he's not the "badass" she imagines him to be.
Instead of getting angry learning he didn't intentionally take down Gavin, Mia finds Dinesh's honesty an even bigger draw. In a final attempt to get out of the relationship, Dinesh reports Mia to the FBI and has her arrested at her sister's wedding.
Free from the relationship, he quits Periscope and return to his role at Pied Piper. Erlich realizes Ed hasn't secured all the votes needed to oust Laurie and warns Monica she may have backed the wrong horse. When Monica informs Laurie of Ed's plans to take over Raviga, she is shocked to discover Laurie is pregnant with her fourth child, and that she is well aware of the coup. Laurie explains she plans to start a new VC firm. Touched by Monica's show of loyalty, Laurie invites her to jump ship as well.
Richard realizes "blood boy" Bryce isn't the pinnacle of health Gavin expects of a transfusion associate. Richard goes to reveal his findings but discovers Gavin has once again trashed his home: Bryce is writing a tell-all and plans to air Gavin's dirty laundry to the world. Richard tries to comfort Gavin, but the ex-CEO is demoralized by the many recent upheavals in his life. Touched by Richard's move, but realizing he'd never do the same were their positions reversed, Gavin decides to go away on a journey of soul searching.
He signs over the patent needed to create a decentralized internet and sends the massive portrait of himself to Richard as a parting gift. When Richard asks him for funding, Russ pees in Erlich's Corvette in response.
After being rejected by the last person with money in the Valley, Richard decides to pivot and focus on securing a customer before their product is built. Erlich and Richard miraculously get Melcher to consider their proposal and Richard works through the details with Liz because Erlich can't be trusted around Dan's fiance.
Defeated, Erlich goes to a coffee shop where he accidentally sits down with a group of VCs meeting with Keenan Feldspar: a tech guru who developed a new VR headset. Erlich impresses Feldspar with his bravado, and returns to BreamHall with the tech star to prove his worth to Laurie. Jared confiscates the devices before they can do too much digging. Panicking, Richard confides to Jared, who asks if he's in love.
Jared notes it might be difficult to extricate Richard from the situation because Liz might be in love with him: "Richard, this is no time for false humility. You're a catch, just deal with it. Shocked that Richard had sex, the doctor informs him that he's shrinking. His "unhealthy lifestyle" has led to a loss of mineral bone density and Richard is an inch shorter than he was the year before. The success catches the attention of Stuart Burke, who issues a note stating Pied Piper's technology infringes on his patent.
Presuming Stuart is a fellow coder, Richard tries to reason with him face-to-face. It turns out Stuart is a "patent troll" who makes his living acquiring patents and suing people for copyright infringement. He used to run in music licensing but decided to branch out into the booming technology market. Ed Chen invites his new colleague to join him and "some of the boys" on the floor of Oracle Arena for what Erlich assumes will be a Warriors basketball game.
Realizing the VCs play a pickup game on the court each week, Erlich breaks his leg installing a hoop on the Hacker Hostel garage door. He gracefully bows out of playing -- instead manning the scoreboard. He manufactures a fake supervisor to connect reps with. Doing his best Ed Chen impersonation, he takes on the persona of "Ed Chambers" and bros out via phone. Ed Chambers gets immediate results negotiating Cloud Storage rates and seltzers for the house at an "amazeballs" price.
Gilfoyle takes an immediate dislike to the talking fridge. When he discovers the voice-response settings are password protected, he decides to wage war. He's able to successfully use energy from his server, Anton, to hack into the fridge, leaving a personal message: "Suck it, Jin-Yang! Ron advises paying off Stuart, which would be cheaper than going to court. Unwilling to let Stuart get away with his scheme, Richard tries to form a coalition with other CEOs on Hooli's app list.
The plan backfires when the eight CEOs Richard approachs preemptively agree to settle with Stuart and license his patent. He then goes to Stuart and convinces him that one of the songs he owns was previously licensed to someone else. Successfully trolling the copyright troll and threatening to air this revelation in court, Richard secures a perpetual royalty free license for Stuart's patent.
Erlich tells the guys his news and Jared informs them of a financial hiccup with Melcher: The company has already reached its monthly data limit. Richard calls Melcher who explains the insurance business booms when it gets cold outside. Because Pied Piper is responsible for the overages, Richard proposes finding another customer to pay Melcher's fees and asks Erlich for Feldspar's business.
Keenan agrees to the data storage deal after Richard tries the VR, and Dinesh and Gilfoyle decide to stay and hang out at Keenan's. Barker analyzes videos of Gavin at previous conventions and begs for a miracle. They show Richard a new and improved VR experience in which Dinesh and Gilfoyle integrated Richard's compression algorithm. Keenan presents Richard with an offer to acquire Pied Piper.
In order for Keenan to accept Raviga's offer, Erlich quit his job. The Pied Piper crew and Keenan celebrate at the palapa. The next morning, still sitting in the charred palapa, Erlich stares off into the distance. They watch a Hooli Con commercial and Richard proposes attending to acquire more customers. He realizes attendees will download the app to access free Wi-Fi, allowing PiedPiper to store data across their devices.
Gilfoyle and Dinesh are on board to carry out the hack, and Dinesh heads to visit Mia in prison to pose a "hypothetical" hacking challenge: How would she hack into the Hooli app servers through a Wi-Fi connection? Jared resists taking part in the scheme and warns Richard the move is dangerously close to Gavin-like behavior. But Richard justifies it as a means to an end for the "greater good" -- they're trying to give free internet to the world. Jian-Yang is quick to provide a one-way premium economy ticket and assistance getting a visa from his "corrupt uncle"; he personally drives the Aviato founder to the airport.
Sending Jared off on various tasks, Richard mans the table while Gilfoyle and Dinesh hook up Pineapples. Hooli head of security, Hoover, immediately homes in on their suspicious behavior, but is brushed off when he reports it to Jack Barker, who is busy preparing for his big moment. He's the founder of an app called PeaceFare, which lets users send virtual coins to virtual homeless people and grow virtual corn for virtual starving villages.
Unable to resist, Richard hacks into Joel's computer and changes his PeaceFare screen saver. The team quickly detects the Pineapples and the guys are taken to security. Awaiting Hoover, Jared snaps when he learns all their hard work will come to nothing and PiedPiper is on the precipice of a true crisis because Richard couldn't resist changing "PeaceFare" to "PoopFare.
He pretends the PiedPiper guys are working on a covert penetration test of the Wi-Fi security and returns their equipment. With Hoover's blessing, the guys head back to the conference floor and complete their mission. Richard tries to console him by promising he won't behave badly during the next crisis. Season Four Finale. In a final attempt to save Pied Piper from ruin, Richard finds himself caught up in a web of lies. Concerned about Richard's future, Jared plans his exit; Jack bets big in an attempt to change the narrative.
Gavin plots his comeback. In their eyes, it's a panic attack waiting to happen that lacks the space for the new employees Richard is trying to hire. Due to their high standards, they've only hired three coders, a group they've affectionately named "The Stallions. Richard pretends to be crestfallen at this news, but then must deal with a blow to his hiring prospects: Gavin hired all the coders in consideration for positions at Pied Piper.
Kira realizes she has a bargaining chip and lays down her terms: Richard hires her full team of 30 employees, instead of just the 12 he needs. The coders who hoped to work on a decentralized internet like the one Pied Piper is developing, are less than thrilled. Attempting to hide his bruised ego, Gavin sends them all away.
Despite the archaic nature of The Box, he's doubling down on the launch due to the enormous dividends it promises. The lawyer inadvertently reveals that Erlich owns 10 percent of Pied Piper, launching Jian-Yang's quest to prove Bachman is dead so he can transfer ownership to himself. He nervously beelines it to his office and vomits — while everyone watches through the glass walls. Rather than inspire faith in his leadership, he panics and rushes to vomit.
In his delirium, he runs face first into the glass wall of his office — leaving him with a bloody nose and a bruised ego. Jared explains these activities will unite the teams and promote productive working relations, thus saving time in the long run. His main concern: It doesn't feature his actual signature. It turns out Hooli's market researchers found his signature did not perform well with consumers, and his penmanship indicates sociopathic tendencies. He decides to crowdsource the design of his signature to Hooli employees — the winning design has a phallic flourish.
The dog concession quickly backfires: The next day, a chaotic pack of dogs swarms the office. Dinesh argues, not only is the car good for the environment, it affords him access to a prime parking spot at work. It's a benefit Gilfoyle quickly thwarts when he buys an electric bike off Craigslist and begins scooping Dinesh's preferred spot in the lot. He proposes they should all be inspired to build a new internet.
If they aren't motivated by this mission, he tells the coders, they should leave. His speech backfires when the entire team exits, except for Dinesh and Gilfoyle. Richard completed work that would've taken the whole team four days. Instead of merely running into the glass wall, he falls and breaks through it completely.
Jian-Yang opens the door to inform them he now runs Erlich's incubator and the guys are officially evicted. After a stilted introduction, Dana awkwardly invites both Richard and Jared to a house party. Jeff the Hooli mole sees an opportunity to get access to insider information about Pied Piper, and agrees to let Dinesh live with him.
The two later meet for lunch, and discover they share many common interests. When Dana suddenly shows up at the restaurant, Ben makes a speedy getaway. Fueled by vodka, Dinesh lets slip that Gilfoyle secretly hacked Seppen smart fridges and stored Pied Piper data on the appliances.
Armed with this new information, Gavin approaches the Seppen leadership with a deal: Discounts on data server fees in exchange for suing Pied Piper. Richard schedules another meeting with Ben to get advice on the lawsuit — and to his surprise, he's met by a fuming Dana. It turns out Ben has revealed their illicit meeting and blamed Richard for his betrayal. Confirming there's zero trace, he also discovers the fridge has the ability to record and store all conversations on the Cloud without customers' knowledge.
Meeting with reps from the smart fridge company, Gilfoyle quickly cuts to the chase and accuses them of illegally wiretapping their customers. To the guys surprise, Seppen shows its hand, revealing Gavin put them up to the lawsuit. Jared offers them a deal: Pied Piper will fix their security issue and update their system to lower server costs in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. He instead offers the position to Jared, nearly bringing his faithful employee to tears.
Having sifted through thousands of employee emails — and discovering many an office flirtation — he's identified Jeff is the Hooli mole. As Dinesh grapples with his roommate's betrayal, Gilfoyle takes a nail gun to the mole's laptop. Richard explains to Jeff that he signed a nondisclosure agreement and they have the right to fire and sue him.
But to keep a competitive edge on Gavin, Richard tells Jeff he's going to stay quiet and keep Gavin in the dark. Desperately looking for ways to improve the presentation, they eventually realize he was merely referencing a sticky, bear-shaped honey container. Richard repeatedly turns him down. To troll the guys, Jian-Yang leaves his Corvette parked across several spaces. Richard desperately tries to smooth things over with Deedee, and is surprised to learn Deedee has made a deal with a previously unknown competitor: Jian-Yang's Chinese version of Pied Piper.
Jared meets with Big Head who remembers he never legally dissolved the general partnership with Erlich — leaving Big Head as Erlich's next of kin, not Jian-Yang. A note from Jian-Yang informs them he's moved back to China to work on the "new, new internet. And they enter your brain like a spike between the eyes. Sproule, Rue Morgue Magazine. At her best, she combines an intense, internalized narrative perspective with moments of jaw-dropping horror, perversion, or sexiness, and frequently all three in the one image or scene.
It could awaken realms within. At times you may sit stunned, wondering at the richness of writing, reconnecting to the reasons you have always loved to read. But Files offers a fourth alternative: meaningful survival, accepting responsibility for those around you, getting on with your chosen work. You might think of it as optimistic nihilism. This renewed sense of what horror fiction can do will resonate deeply for readers who find themselves overwhelmed by the increasingly prominent and disturbing images of the real world.
Narratives edging on the periphery through fissures of existence. Conjuring, communicating and translating the unfixed, the cosmic, and the terrifying, vivid interjections at intersections and further on. Gemma Files a very capable conductor of the uncanny and a cacophony of things, executing with intimate and ominous poetic prose, transmuting the myriad via a trajectory with a phantasmagoric experience.
All the right details no words wasted precision storytelling. You are wondering which books or stories may evoke in a better way, this is you ticket to existential terror In that endlessness, be our end story collection. The Stories reviewed briefly with notable excerpts:. This Is How It Goes. Fight or flight whole new overload with murder on the forefront of the mind, an adrenaline ride steering you into topsy turvy situation in Toronto.
Is the man crazy on a radio show on the call? There is a problem with the bulb where he is calling. He is off the grid, with anonymity, an alias, and burner phone. He had his reasons. Read this tale to find out. Reading is the only entertainment I have.
Because the grid is a web, a network of energies. Of ghosts. And things live in it, waiting for food. Like spiders. Maybe that thing was as ass-dumb as a chicken itself. And in that endlessness will be our end, an ouroboros knot, forever tied and untying—no heaven, no hell. Just the circuit, eternally casting off energy, the sparks that move this awful world.
The Puppet Motel. Seen the strings and heard the beckoning. Have you? Loren, The teller of all in this narrative has. Screams too, collecting and cataloging, so you are not alone. Book a night at the Puppet Motel where Loren worked as cleaner and keeper of keys. Uncanny enthralling visceral enquiry on porous dark places, and The Puppet Motel. The universal sign for come closer, my darling, come closer.
Rising and falling like the breath behind words you can almost make out, if we only try. That out flung hand, beckoning us on; that unseen mouth, smiling. All the while telling us, without words, its voice the merest whisper in our singing blood: come here, love—my sweet one, my other, come.
Come here to me, to my call. Come Closer. A dream diary one keeps. Not me. Insomnia one battles. She is an intern and telling the reader about a familiar weird house. Ominous and unnerving tale with intimate prose on close things to be told. Smaller and more silent.
You turn or try to. Fight your way from a room into a corridor, a nook, a cranny. Open the last knob onto what seems like barely a closet, then pivot to find the door has nothing inside it at all—that there is no door, no frame or hinges, barely a seam. The plaster simply sealed over behind you, around you, like a fold of scar, a cocoon. Cut Frame. One Dr. Tadeusz Jankiewicz of Toronto, a dentist, is being interviewed about his investment in a movie The Torc.
He is a fan of Tamar Dusk and as the transcript goes on he talks about his working with Tamar and the director and being involved with the movie. No Dusk curse. But Mr Dentist begs to differ. There was the Exorcist curse and Poltergeist curse. Many do not like moths, the description of one here might just possibly plague quieter minutes. Beware, nightmares may be injected with whole new ingredient. Actress with relation to cults, folklore and mythology contained.
Show me an altar then I will envision the flock. Evidences presented point to disturbing goings on possibly passed. Sleep Hygiene. Sleep problems and ways of fixing them with help of tablets and a map but there is something insidious intercepting her dreams down down down to something. The main character tells of her time in existential terror. So off to Gracie I was sent, for lessons in what her employers at the Sleep Habits Clinic apparently called sleep hygiene. No one had ever been there, I realized later, back in the waking world.
I was— —almost sure. Yet hearing them nonetheless, if only in some highly primitive way—tasting, smelling their most basic meaning, borne on a burnt-skin stink-wave. Always after three. Now this. Always a hand just waiting to take yours whenever you reach out in darkness, to grab on fast and hold on tight, never letting go.
To yank you headlong out of your comfort zone and strand you somewhere else entirely, forever. Thin Cold Hands. She tells of a memory distance but true and vivid when she was young involving a crawlspace and a coffin with bones. Bones of a deadly creation that have once traversed the skies. Reader is grateful they do not exist in our but may plague ones nightmares.
Terrible beauty of a short. It feels like being swallowed, always, still alive. Swallowed but never digested. Four people, writers and a blank page, and with drawing of closed door they draw they write what is behind it. What a great exercise.
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An error messages tells me to 'Please publish a check-in guide to submit this item for review. There isn't a 'publish' of anything. There is a text field for this information. And, guess what again? In fact, I had to call customer support during this initial fix process to resolve this. In any case, it had already been submitted and accepted as resolved.
It has caused me A LOT of grief and frustration. I placed another call to customer support today only again to be told all they can do is send an email to the Airbnb Plus team. As I outlined before, that's a useless black hole. Francesco, did you leave plus or did you stay? I have had the same issues for months and can't get someone out to update my photos.
They didn't picture half of my home and I have nowhere to add photos of the best spaces like the rooftop deck and other areas. Jeff Just came across your post - I wonder why it failed to get any comments initially I am hearing such reports again and again and again. At this point, I'd love to hear from 'Plus' hosts who think well of the program and are glad they joined. So far, I only heard from one such host, and that was months and months ago and she had only recently been accepted, and this was when it was first rolling out and Airbnb appeared to be taking it more seriously and acting like the program and the hosts and their listings mattered.
Now that I am a fully approved member, aside from a nicer listing page it's difficult to determine what the benefits are. I did see an uptick of bookings but I suspect that was because I hadn't bumped up my nightly rates after my Plus page was shown. However, after adjusting the prices up being able to charge more is part of the Plus sales pitch the number of bookings has tapered off.
I know I could use the Airbnb automated pricing system but I have no idea if it takes into consideration Plus listings or just all listings in my area; I don't want my rates to be low-balled to compete with non-Plus listings.
Perhaps Airbnb could improve reporting for Plus members So Jeff your post is from 2 months ago Did you get Plus status? Yes, I was approved. Please see my other post to read my comments of what I have observed since then. I too have had issues with inspection and the responses from airbnb have been trite and useless Appalling short sighted idiotic. Rant over but it has really ruined my experience with airbnb which til this day has been amazing.
So sorry to hear about your experience and wish you well. Some one can help me? How did you manage to remove any photo? Airbnb plus big brother won't let you manage your own site. You think THIS is bad? Wait until you start getting guests who think they are "plus" guests LOL I cringed when I heard about the airbnb plus thing.
No way, no how! I let her know that she should remove me from candidature for AirBnB plus because it has been a continuing nightmare. I haven't had a booking since I replied to the questions above on I did, however, LOSE a booking. All forum topics Previous Topic Next Topic. Airbnb Plus Program Nightmare. Jeff in Scottsdale, AZ. Level 3. Is it just me or are others absolutely stunned at how poorly managed the Airbnb Plus program is?
Re: Airbnb Plus Program Nightmare. Francesco in Naples, Italy. Level I hope that Brian and his co-founder understand the potential severity of this situation and do everything they can to help EJ restore her world and utilize the proper due diligence to prevent this from happening again to the absolute best of their abilities To EJ: I wish you the very best in getting your world back together as quickly and painlessly as possible. I am sure you have learned alot of stuff you never wanted to know from this experience.
Firstly, I believe the story. Secondly everyone should understand the statistics here - just because it happened in this instance doesn't mean it will happen to you - it serves as a healthy reminder that we should always be quite careful when letting out our homes - ask for numbers, emails, physical mailing addresses, references et cetera.
Thirdly this isn't EJ's fault, at least not in any direct way - no one should lay criticism to her trusting nature, it's like handing your car keys to a kid you think is the valet because his shirt says so, then he jacks your car. EJ placed a certain amount of trust in a reputable company and expected that all would go well Lastly this isn't AirBNB's fault, again not directly anyway.
It seems AirBNB was riding on a streak of luck, and perhaps they took it for granted. This would greatly reduce the chances of something like this happening again. As far as any lies they may be telling to make EJ feel better apprehended criminals and such , they should know better, and that will come back to bite them if they are in fact lying.
EJ - I'm a freelancer as well and there's no way I could be financially prepared for something like this, so I feel for you there. I also know what it's like to have your private life violated in such a berserk manner, it's terrifying, you feel like you have no control I hope this doesn't discourage you from traveling, I hope you don't let them take anything away away from who you are, away from your SELF.
You seem like a great person, you'll power through this. Also, after reading some of your other blogs I've decided to follow you, some really great entries! Best to you! Tanner Campbell. What a great blog post: telling the truth, telling your story, while amazingly remaining above blame and vitriol. Thanks for sharing, and God bless! BTW, Airbnb Essentially, you hoped it would go away. If you wanted a good ending or PR story, you should have put her up in the Four Seasons indefinitely and assigned an admin exec to help her get her life back together.
Then you might have had some good press out of it! I wasn't planning on using AirBnB, and I'm certainly not going to now. They are clearly not remotely concerned about their users and obviously far more interested in their next round of funding.
Good luck to you, I hope you get the justice you deserve. As to the supporters of AirBnB, you should realize that they are liars. EJ is only trying to set the record straight, not destroy them. I'm shocked at how poorly AirBnb has handled this. The humane thing to have done would have been to set you up with nearby accomodations while you seek another place, replace what you lost, and help you with your identity theft issues, not to mention paying for counseling.
I'll still use AirBnb, for now, but I'm very disappointed in their apparent lack of care beyond their own interests. EJ, thank you. I really appreciate the emotional effort that it took you to write this and your previous entry out.
Thank you for putting your proverbial balls on the chopping block and honestly detailing what's going on. I hope you can find a new place where you are not creeped out entering and walking the neighborhood. I am praying to Jesus for your recovery and for justice. I am sorry for the horror you are forced to live through. I can only hope that you will be made whole, emotionally, mentally and financially, at the end of this ordeal.
Along with many others, I too will never use AirBnB, not only to avoid similar experiences but also due to their lack of common moral decency. For their founders to not recognize that this is not matter of profit but of the well being of another human being is atrocious and speaks to their lack of a fundamental moral compass.
BTW, you are a very eloquent writer and I've enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for that. Get over it. You act like your entire family was murdered. Comparing yourself to a rape victim? So what, you were robbed. Move if you have to, and get over it.
I feel for you EJ. It's true that whatever happened can't really be undone, but I really, really hope that you figure your way to handle this. Best of luck to you. So, the primary argument against EJ at this point seems to be "you were an idiot for trusting AirBnB! I'm pretty sure EJ already feels like she made a bad call by renting her place out this way, don't you think? It seems like the point of her blog post is to warn others that the risks here are real, and not to do what she did and trust AirBnB.
In short, you seem to be making her point for her in a really hostile way. Would love to interview you and correct the record. Email me at ajeffries care of observer. Dear "EJ", this may be an insensitive thing to say in this situation but you sound like a girl I'd love to meet in real life, sight unseen and all. Relax, I'm not an internet creepo ok, par for the course Just here to say that you have a wonderful "voice". I'm sure I'm not the first nor the last one to notice.
Perhaps you will remember this ordeal one day as the break that got the world to notice you. You are obviously intelligent and articulate and you write wonderfully -- and now people like me know that you exist.
I hope you will get published when you are ready. Surely you've heard the old Chinese story about the man whose horse ran away -- I know it's trite, but it seems quite fitting here. I just "subscribed" or "followed" your blog and will read more of it in bed on my new iPad. Your writing makes me want to write again. Thank you. Group think hits society at large. I am deeply saddened by your story and hope that you can put your life back together soon.
That said, Airbnb's Terms of Service clearly state that they do not perform background checks. It's not in "tiny print" it''s just there. Airbnb is not a property management firm, it's a place to find cheap accommodations and a great way to meet new people. FWIW, I was a victim of a home burglary 20 years ago. The burglar took a shot at me with a 38, which, thankfully, missed. I had nightmares for a long time still do on very rare occasions.
I'm just writing to extend my sympathies and tell you that, though it might take a while, it will get better. Hang in there. I've actually read the airbnb guys are were? But once millions come into play, investors start talking about 10s of millions, words are bandied about IPOs someday and hundreds of millions, well most people lose their sense of what's really important.
They're spending their days focused on growth and building a user base, and all sorts of words like that. I agree the issue here is the fuck them they can read our terms of service approach to making a buck. This is as abobe anon points out not specifically unique to this company or even YC companies or internet startups. To the nice guy founders of Air;n;: 'when salt loses its.
I am so sorry this happened to you. And I am appalled at some of the uncompassionate responses on this page. But I want to object vigorously to your closing comment. You should let the Net catch you, if I may pun on your tagline. There's no shame in it at all. I can sympathize with your feelings of frustration, fear, and anger as I too was robbed, my apartment broken into and thoroughly cleaned out. The healing process is long but you will heal.
Good luck with everything and keep your head up. I think it is very well and nice that people are willing to trust one another, but I could NEVER trust someone I never met and just rent out my house in exchange for theirs. Way too much potential dangers of criminal activity. If you think that your case is bad, what if the "renter" decided to make a copy of your house door and later come in to do something much WORSE? I think it's in everyone's interest to think about all the possible consequences before doing such a thing.
Your company is actually enabling the criminals to target responsible people! This woman rented her place blindly, knowing full well that she could not have "contact until very late". You rent out your place to a complete stranger, let alone one you have not even met personally, then you MUST realize this could happen.
When it does, no one is to blame but yourself. Dear, All the best to you and yours in your efforts to return to normalcy. I can't imagine how horrific it is to have your home wantonly vandalized. God speed. I read your story on TechCrunch and was amazed. I did a bit of hunting to find your blog because I thought there just had to be another side. Politics is a bitch and you can see why bnb is trying to cover their asses but frankly I think they are being insensitive and ridiculous.
It would be wonderful if every one was good at the heart but some people just suck. So I think a solid F you should be tossed to these people who did this. Hopefully when they make it to jail the men in cornering cells are bigger and show them whose boss :. You are making more damage to the AriBnB employees and their families than the raiders did to you. I hope one day an unsatisfied costumer completely fuck ups a company you work in.
News to you, if this is how they treat their customers, don't fool yourself and think they won't treat you with the same lack of regard. Please give me a call at or email us at assignmentdesk kron. If airBNB screws up customer and then gets a bad reputation, then goes down the drain; guess what, your business model was fundamentally flawed.
For you to victimize the victim again by harassing her is NOT the way to get customer back to your site. Otherwise we will take it that airBNB as a company is trying to intimidate her! Why no pictures? Easy enough in today's world of instant communication First of all airbnb should step in and help in every way possible without any tradeoff from you. Because they can.
Because its just a nice thing to do and they are in a position to do so. I own 20 rental properties in the city. My tenants do not write blog posts. Each and everyone has had to stay right at that house the very same night after. Some of these were scary home invasions. The culprit here is 1 a sadistic horrible person who took advantage of the creativity of a company like airbnb and the trusting of you. But isn't it time to step up and deal with this.
Its a house, not your life. It can be rebuilt. I feel terrible for you but in the end you made a decision knowing its a terrible world out their. Just watch the news. I have rented my house for over 30 weeks on VRBO. I love it. However, I get to fully vet the renter which I do. My assumption is that anyone that can pay 5k upfront, provide me pay stubs, allow me to do a background check etc is not going to trash my place. Airbnb on the other hand has a problem I love VRBO, not in a million years would I leave my house or even stay home with a airbnb tenant, too much risk, too little money That is just me personally.
Over the years, I have rented vacation homes through various agencies. I had to provide my Drivers License and credit card numbers. I also met with many of the agents to get the keys etc. Sorry to here of your bad situation. Looking back you should have place valuables in a safe.
And maybe alerted neighbors to call cops if they saw or heard anything strange. Too bad you did not have a nanny cam I have not used Airbnb, but others above have said they had no verification of their identity. You just sign up for an account, and you're done. If that is true, it blows my mind! You can't even rent a car without giving a credit card and photo id.
How can Airbnb not have this info on every user of the service? I don't trash hotel rooms because I'm a nice guy, but if I wanted to, the knowledge that they have my credit card and all my info on file would stop me.
Then the victim could file criminal charges as well as a civil suit against them personally. The fact that this has not happened says Airbnb can't or won't provide the info. I hope the various outlets who first reported your story also share your follow-up. Airbnb should be ashamed for further victimizing you by pressuring you for silence. Unlike many other commenters here I don't blame you for wanting to trust people. Cynicism and assuming the worst of everyone has only made this world a darker place, and people like you help brighten it up a little.
Of course sometimes you get burned by people you trust, but those really are the small minority of people, and letting a few bad actors ruin your trusting nature seems to be adding tragedy to misfortune. I've also experienced having my home burglarized so I completely understand how you feel right now. I remember the sense of deep, deep violation--home was not home anymore, and if I couldn't feel safe there where could I?
Losing material items--even cherished ones--is one thing, but losing your privacy and losing control over who is allowed into your home is something that takes a lot longer to get over. But the truth is, you do heal. Time and perspective helps you realize that this is not likely to happen to you again, and that you do in fact control your own safety and your home, despite the occasional destructive actions of others. You might have to move--if that's what it takes to feel safe again, then do it.
It's just an apartment and it sounds like you have a talent for making any house feel like a home. One last thing: you can think of the "leap" you took as using Airbnb, but instead I think the leap you're taking is being vulnerable and asking for help in one the darkest times of your life. Your net is still there, in the form of your friends, your family, and supportive random strangers. My heart goes out to you and the violation and devastation you must feel.
My wife and I were displaced 3 months ago last year. The problem I have with AirBnB is that they seem to have a naive view of the world. In their world, people are nice and good and you don't need to worry much about vandalism and thieves. However, as AirBnB expands, it also expands into a broader population, some of which are just looking for a cheap place to party with friends and do drugs.
But it's devastating for the owner of the place. In fact, I would keep tally of not just expenses but also inconvenience charges, ie. Brian Chesky Stop posturing. You know how to contact her if you need to, because you were in contact before. Posting it here in a way that "doesn't scale", like so much of what you did early on, since you won't be able to salve over every person this could happen to just sounds like more bad, baaad PR, of the type that issued forth from you yesterday.
How to actually fix this situation? Well, Airbnb is the Ebay of spaces, right? Hey EJ, I am sorry for your misfortunes. Your story and words will help others. Services like Air BNB while nice, have high risks. Until they figure out more secured ways to screen guests and protect people like you, I would definitely stay away. Hang in ther buddy! EJ, part of me has been hoping that Ashton Kutcher is going to pop up and say you've been punk'd. So very sorry for your experience.
Sounds like you have some great friends to help you through this. I was horrified when I heard about your story. Brian Chesky's response on TechCrunch suggests that AirBnb has been assisting you so I'm glad that you have provided an update clarifying what has actually happened especially since June 30th. My heart goes out to you and I wish you peace and safety. I hope the perpetrators are swiftly brough to justice. It digusts me that there are so many "blame the victim" comments out there.
Nobody deserves to be treated this way. EJ, keep writing; it's your calling after all. Write more about what happened the day you came home, your interactions with city officials, the landscape of your emotions and outlook, AirBnB's faltering response, your detective work.
Write something every day. Talk to the press just enough to maximize your impact. If the press keeps calling the SFPD for developments, they'll work harder. Also, your neighbors saw multiple suspects -- clearly enough for composite sketches? If so, get sketches made somehow.
Internet-enabled crime is a big story these days. You have, sadly, a big scoop on that story. Work it. What to say? Good luck? The faith in the net -- I hope that endures. We all need that. You blatantly lied in your response to the situation that you blasted out to the media. Thank you EJ for your courage in posting and sharing your story. Do not be afraid to share the truth. To Anonymous p: Beautifully written. EJ - Things happen sometimes when you live life instead of being afraid of the experiences it might bring.
Generally those experiences are grand, but sometimes, they suck. Because of that, you now know how to protect yourself -- a valuable lesson that I sincerely hope doesn't sour your trusting nature or outlook on life. EJ, take care and hope they catch those guys soonest! Jeez, are you a British ex-pat, coz you've got the whinging thing down! I feel extremely bad for you but I can't comprehend why you would rent out your primary residence with all your belongings.
If it was a vacation or second home I would understand if you want to generate some extra income but renting out your home is absurd!!!!!! To me, my privacy is worth more than the realized income generated. AirBnb is a good idea with its flaws which you have exposed but I think your reasoning to rent out your home to a complete stranger is no ones fault but your own.
Maybe it's me but I not sure why people are so trusting. Unfortunately, AirBnB does not seem to understand that they have set up a system that makes it very easy for criminals to access the homes of people who are on vacation. There are many criminals in this world who spend time trying to find ways to take advantage of such services.
I am very sorry you have had to endure this. You are not at fault. I hope you are able to get back on your feet and move forward. In fact, I know you will. EJ, I feel terrible for you and hope it all works out in the end. Its very disappointing how airbnb is handling the entire situation.
Brian I am definitely staying away from airbnb, both as a host and renter. You guys blatantly lied in your response and I have zero trust in the way you guys do business. Your comment here was also completely useless. You have her contact info, get a hold of her and be proactive in solving her problems. Don't wait for her to come to you. Hey, I just wanted to say that I'm impressed by how you're handling this situation. Despite the horrifying trauma you've experienced, you're writing with a level of grace and poise that we should all aspire to in the best of times.
Rely on the people who know and love you, and rest assured that even those of us who may never know you in person can still respect the way you're handling yourself. Did you provide enough personal information for them to investigate YOU? Do you even have any concept of the level of information it takes to actually do a thorough background check, not to mention the cost?
And for that matter, what makes you think YOU can effectively investigate someone with nothing more than a purported name and possibly untraceable phone number and possibly temporary email address? On FaceBook? What, you think nobody ever created a dummy profile on FaceBook?
Did you even read the terms of service? They make it abundantly clear they're not doing any kind of background check on their users. They are providing a communications conduit, and a funds transfer environment.
Nothing more. Unfortunately, much worse things that this can happen. Apparently none of you read the news, or watch horror films, read crime novels, or have much of an imagination. Good luck to all of you who leap and have faith in the net. I'll stick to my faith in my good sense in avoiding totally unnecessary risks. Brian "We are standing by"? What a wonderfully arrogant response. Anonymous , I used my real name and a credit card number to book via the site.
That's all that Priceline asks for when I book through them, too. That Airbnb chooses not to at least verify names and credit card numbers Pattrson isn't even a real name is on them, not the hosts. Matt "Unfortunately, AirBnB does not seem to understand that they have set up a system that makes it very easy for criminals to access the homes of people who are on vacation.
It's just that those naive, sheepish and gullible enough to use the service are also less likely to make a fuss in case things go wrong. To all those accusing people of cynism: you're probably part of these retarded sheep. It's common sense you're taking too big a risk renting your house with valuable stuff in it for so short a period, so little money and no previous payment as guarantee.
The CEO could have called, but posted a comment that someone else would instead? As previous commenters have said, so the hotel is to blame when someone destroys a hotel room? Ignorant logic. Prayers that EJ can get back to living a life without this mess soon. Well said. And I appreciate you calling out AirBnB's doublespeak - they should really drop the PR and valuation concerns and really focus on making you whole in this matter.
I hope it's over soon. Don't let them chill you! It's their own damned fault this happened, what with their lack of checks. And the not knowing the name thing is ludicrous. This reminds me of of the earlier days with eBay until they start adding security measures to help the buyer. Unfortunately, it had to take an incident like this for them to do so. The way I look at is that AirBnb is a broker. They should provider an option for the rentee to pay an addition fee to do a background check like a landlord does and provides both parties the option to buy renter insurance.
I put some of the blame on EJ for being so trusting. Seriously, there could not have been a bigger red flag when the renter misspells their last name. I'm assuming this isn't the first time you've done this. I know times are tough and people a naive but I feel so sorry for what happened to you, and I hope that over time you faith in others will be restored.
But I do think you should allow people to show you that there is goodness in strangers too, and let them donate what they can to help you out. Give us that chance. I've been robbed before and it is a shaky, unstable feeling, which takes a long time to recover from. My huge condolences to you. It will take time heal and it feels like the universe is unfair when these things happen to you.
However, I'm both a traveler and user of services like Couchsurfing and I just used airbnb, which incidentally saved me from being homeless for 2 days. I think there are some misconceptions being thrown around and this is only my opinion, so of course not solid truth. I only speak from my own experiences using these kinds of services. If in fact airbnb pressured you to alter or delete these blog posts about your experiences, that is unfortunate.
Free speech, remember? If they also offered to compensate you for this trauma, and haven't as of yet maybe they still will? I suggest they revise their PR strategy. As a stand alone service, airbnb and sites like couchsurfing are user generated. Last year I wrote an article about couchsurfing and how safe it really is for female travelers, this is after a major rape case between a host and surfer.
As a result of that case, couchsurfing staff have strengthened their reference and checks, and I'm sure airbnb will consider the same now. My point is, those checks are essentially the user's responsibility to vet and ensure they are comfortable with the transaction.
It's not airbnb or couchsurfing's responsibility. There is only so much they CAN do. I agree with credit checks or what CS does is verify your existence by sending a postcard and you have to send it back. You mention in your previous blog post that the culprit's email and phone number wasn't released until you accepted the reservation.
But what is not accurate is it's implied there are NO checks for the user at all. I used airbnb last month, so my experience is very recent: You can read reviews of someone who wants a reservation, even see their picture if it's real. You CAN email the person before accepting the reservation, as my hosts did with me before accepting my request.
It would be the same type of interaction even if you had their email address. What's the diff then? The email exchange is through the airbnb site same as CS. We emailed several times before they said "yes" to me. Whatever you do, always, always read reviews of the host or the requster, blindly accepting a request and not feeling it out is user responsibility.
If the requester has NO reviews, I wouldn't let them near my apartment. It's to everyone's benefit to pay attention to them. It's clear you were in a rush for your business trip and may have had no time to do these steps, which I'm sure you are regretful of. The fact is, these steps do exist and I think it's unfair to paint it like they aren't there. Nor am I saying that the robbery wouldn't have happened if you had done these things, but to omit that these "checks" exist?
Again, perhaps not the full story on how airbnb works? I'm not attempting to make light of your horrific episode, my god, how traumatizing, but putting out alarmist ideas about these sites makes them seem dangerous and not an option for travelers. They are conceivable options, but they also must be used with full knowledge and using your gut instinct. The spirit of these sites for airbnb, maybe make a little dough , is to bring travelers and travel lovers together.
They meet, interact, etc. Absolutely not. In fact, these sites are microcosms of the world. You will meet untrustworthy people, great, amazing people.. People you like, hate, feel neutral on. I'm not excusing airbnb's conduct, or stating it's right, if anything, what they should be doing is figuring out how to make it clearer how to use their service to everyone's benefit.
I truly hope your life begins to normalize! If I was less than miles away, I'd be over there helping you clear the joint up. I've used Airbnb and from my point of view, it worked rather well, but I could just have easily done what these people did to your place. There's no protection against it at all. It really sucks and it's making me consider using Airbnb again.
I'm sorry mate - wish I could help. EJ, First and foremost, I'd like to say I'm so sorry for what you've been through. As a single woman living on my own in a seemingly safe and special space, I understand your feelings of extreme violation and vulnerability and feel sorry for the people that can't comprehend it, or allow you to express your feelings without condemning you. I'm also an airbnb and couchsurfing host and guest, and at the very least you've helped me learn valuable lessons if I'm going to continue trusting anyone with my space, which I have albeit while I'm there.
I think the days of letting someone have the code to my door are over though. I believe couchsurfing's system of security is superior to airbnb's. I'd like airbnb to implement a similar system - and they certainly can do that, they just choose to make it easier for themselves by not doing it.
Couchsurfing survives on donations and volunteers. Airbnb has income and employees. When I was researching how to stay safe before approving my first guest, I found only one Airbnb FAQ topic that said "Will someone steal my grand piano? Grand pianos weigh thousands of pounds and will not fit through doors. On their brand new "Safety" page likely constructed in response to your unfortunate incident , it says "Look to Your Network - In your research, if you find that a traveler has ties to universities, clubs or organizations, it adds color and credibility to their back story and helps to put them in a broader context.
Anyone can join any of airbnb's groups, and the facebook connection is a joke. It simply shows minute thumbnails of facebook friends who also have airbnb accounts Unless they write a recommendation for you, which you have to request that they do. These and the reviews are helpful to me as a host, as well as a full profile. There is some sensible advice on the Safety page, however most of it appears to be feel-good lip service packaged in a lovely, slick gui wrapper.
I hope you find some strength from those of us who want you to continue fighting. I hope you eventually heal with only minor scars from this battle. I hope the police catch the bastards, whoever did it. Thank you for posting this. I'll be reading to keep up with your journey. I think it is terrible that people are being mean to you. I'm sure when you decided to become a part of Airbnb that you did not have this in mind.
You were burglarized and Airbnb made a profit; meaning they collected a portion of whatever monies the thieves paid. I'm so sorry this happened to you. Airbnb needs to step up and stop acting like they were not involved, because they were.
EJ I'm so sorry you're going through this, and having to deal with so much crass criticism in a time of total vulnerability on top of struggling to get your life back togerther. Seems to me that some Airbnb employees have been commenting here to drum up support for themselves.
Only the most insensitive person would assume having one's house irreparably vandalized is the perfect time to criticize them for having trusted a company that pretends to take care of them. I'm from Europe, too. We have plenty of similar home swapping companies here, so I really don't know why people are attacking you for being "American. Ignore the jerks. Wishing you well and wishing you swift justice from Germany.
I'm guessing the folks who are blaming EJ are Calvinists. If you don't know what that means it's an offshoot of Protestantism where in, unlike what Jesus might say, anything that goes wrong in your life is because you did something wrong. Out of a job? It's because you're a sinner. Same thing. Same thing here, it sounds like. Can I jump on in the congo train of drama too?!! This whole "tragedy" is making Airbnb a mint. Dont be a moron and blame a company for being dumb. Who in there right mind would allow a stranger in there home and leave all their most prized and personal possessions in there.
I cant stand when people just blame others for their mistakes, you should of been smarter You are very strong indeed to share all of this with us, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing so. And to those who have not a shred of compassion about them, those who criticize you and blame you, I say shame on them. My best wishes are with you for a fast resolution.
What you have gone through is horrible, and nobody should ever be put through that again. She's not trying to destroy Airbnb. She is simply stating the facts, given all the other noise out there. Facts are good. First, I hope you get your stuff back and I hope the criminals go to prison. I am sorry you have to go through this. Second, I think you're plain nuts for even allowing the situation to happen in the first place.
I truly hope you have a learned a lesson here. If you give so much trust to strangers and it happens again I have no sympathy for you. Good luck. Thanks for your transparency, sorry for your troubles. I'll spare you a grand rant against AirBnB. The short form: 1] Sue them. Not for money, but for precedence.
As they get closer to an IPO, this should not be allowed to happen. They gain more from you folding or being bought out than you or any else do. Sue them, too. AirBnB is irresponsible, and needs to go down. Thank for continuing to post about your experiences despite any pressure to stay quiet. EJ - it's hard to believe the negative comments or the ones that appear to spin in ways that relieve the company of any negligence. I'd love to see the ip's of the posters to see if any were left by users on the companies network.
If they did a real background check wouldn't the persons warrant on "unrelated charges" have shown and I'm guessing this wasn't their first arrest and that they have a history. Good luck getting your life back to normal and please keep up the transparency because you're saving others from the same fate as you. I just recently discovered AirBNB and was excited about the company. I'm glad that you have been brave enough to post these blogs as it could help save others in the future.
Good luck to you. Airbnb's response and handling of this is laughable at best. I'm impressed by the eloquence you've shown in your two blog posts. It's very sad that you have fallen victim to a psychopath. That said, my first reaction when I saw AirBnB and their business model was: "now, that sounds creepy, renting out your place to complete strangers.
You've been careless, and it has been cruelly punished. Wow, just read the original post as well. Truly horrible story, depressing how AirBnB have not treated you. I hope you get things straightened out, get your life back together and catch the folks that did this to you. Dear EJ, That is truly a horrific story. I do sincerely hope that you can get back to where you were as I'm sure you'll come back to realize that most people are indeed good.
This is just one thing that looked like it might be worth pursuing. And while I haven't read through all the comments, I'm sure that others have suggested engaging with an attorney. I am not one, but if I were in your shoes, I would certainly be looking closely at the Terms of Service and deciding what various forms of recourse you have against the criminals. Again, I do honestly believe that you can come out of this "whole," in the "spirit" sense.
It will take time, but I'm certain it's possible. Wishing you the best. I think the haters are believers in the just-world theory. I'm sorry this happened to you and wish the best for your future. Ej, I'm so sorry to hear about everything that has happened to you and your home. I hope you can find some peace in the world after what you have been through. Continue to stay strong. As someone who has been robbed twice in the same apartment, I want to tell you that the feeling of being violated does dissipate.
I know it seems like it never will, but it does. My robber was eventually caught after I found my own clothes in a 2nd hand store. It was 5 months later, so don't give up. My only other advice is, get a dog? I myself bought a gun and sold it a few moths later , but it did give me an uneasy peace until I felt I didn't need it anymore. That and I set up a web cam in my apartment so I could check when I felt the need.
I wish there was something more I could say, but words fail. What an awful experience! I'm equally shocked and appalled not only at the initial invasion of your privacy but the treatment you have endured since. I hope everything works out for you. Best wishes C. It astounds me to think of how they've blown this situation time and time again At least there will be an important case study to teach moving forward As a tech entrepreneur who has started or helped start several companies and raised hundreds of millions of venture money, this story amazes me.
First, Airbnb is trying to cover up a massive hole in its business model. Second, their CEO should lose his job over this textbook case of awful crisis management including the pathetic "we are standing by" message. Leaders are tested when they are called on to put the interests of others ahead of their own.
AirBnB failed -- and leaders have paid with their jobs for much less. I met them in a nice, fully furnished house with a huge flat screen TV and a well-stocked kitchen in the Mission. They indicated that they had rented it via AirBNB. I asked "what's to keep you from trashing the place?
Answer "um, nothing. But we won't" and like most humans, they didn't. But my question remained: what in the system keeps a visitor from trashing the house or keeps a crook from systematically seeking out homes to trash?
AirBnB has a problem that no insurance policy can fix because the adverse selection problems are huge and systemic. Crooks now know that they can flock to AirBnB -- as do insurance scammers looking to unload their stuff. Any policy will have a huge deductible and impose frictional registration requirements that will slow AirBnB way down.
THAT is why their CEO is cranky -- the real risks of his business have been exposed, fewer people will list homes, and his cost of equity capital just went up. Personally, I hate it when that happens. But that does not justify treating EJ as part of the problem. A rationally selfish CEO would have been on the scene in an hour, spending money like there was no tomorrow. A month of temporary housing, legal help, staff to handle all the hassles, and full replacement cost of all the stolen stuff would be step one.
A full apology would be step two. By now, they should be on step 15, not at zero. You are a smart cookie, anonymous. Being a small start-up ish company, it appears that they didn't have a plan in place to deal with these types of situations. I highly doubt they have a PR anything in their company. Anything that is done at this point will be seen as hush money, but the damage has already been done to their rep and to highlighting the huge hole in their business.
Wonder what the VC community is thinking about them right now? First, sorry for what you experienced. I rented a place in Santa Cruz through airbnb, trip still to come. I had many questions about using the site since it was new to me, but ultimately, there were enough recs written by clearly real humans about the property owner that I felt comfortable proceeding.
Plus the owner lives on next to the rental property. Ironically, it doesn't even matter if your story is true I'm not questioning veracity because you've done a service to the community of potential customers of airbnb and similar services by surfacing very real holes in their business model that they must fix.
We were thinking of renting out our place in SF, too, but we will take many more precautions and do much more research before attempting. So thank you for taking a risk with your posts on this topic. You've helped many people you will never meet and, if they can look at themselves clearly, you've helped airbnb, too.
EJ, your story has broken my heart. There is nothing I can say that will help undo the depth of damage that's been done to your life. I can only hope that your intelligence, fortitude, and grace — which are so very apparent in your writing — will bear you through this.
Your business model is innovative and promising, but unless you can prove that the people behind that business are human beings who care about their customers, you can kiss that billion-dollar valuation goodbye. I had booked an Airbnb reservation for a trip next month. I've cancelled it. It sounds like you have learned a very valuable lesson. The net does not always appear. Keep the post up, and update as things develop. It is the only pressure you have on them, and frankly, VC-backed startups can get desperate, and make things personal.
This will help guard against that but will not guarantee it. This is a very odd business model. Something for the Facebook generation who thinks avatars are real people. So, your house was stolen and vandalised.
The police has been informed, now quit the drama. AirBNB or not, this story is getting out of proportion. This happens to hundreds of people around the world, and I bet they mostly survive and get back up. Given that, they should place much greater effort on safeguards to ensure a truly trusted user community. Otherwise, they offer few advantages over free Craigslist. Not that this makes things any better, but my suspicion is that the radio silence with Airbnb folks probably began after someone consulted their law firm, which likely gave the usual ultra-conservative advice about not saying anything that could be used against the company in litigation.
If I'm right, this is a poorly conceived, missing-the-forest-for-the-trees approach. I speak from experience having headed the legal team at eHarmony for three years. For the first few years at eHarmony, the President himself would occasionally call customers who had unpleasant experiences, expressing condolences while not admitting liability, of course.
Airbnb could really stand to learn from the grizzled veterans who've dealt with nearly identical trust and safety issues at eBay, MySpace, Match. EJ: I can only wish you well and tell you to keep up the good fight. You will recover, it will take time. I am similar to you in that I go through things trusting all will be well.
I encourage you to keep believing so, and doing all you can to make it so. NaySayers: I don't understand how you can be unsupportive of someone in this situation.
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