Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Airbnb Hires Facebook’s Mike Curtis as Head of Engineering

Airbnb has hired Mike Curtis to fill a new role as its VP of engineering, the peer-to-peer travel company said today.

Mike-3Curtis, who started at Airbnb a week ago, was previously a director of engineering at Facebook, where he had worked on the company’s growth team since 2011.

Airbnb now has 50 engineers on a team of more than 500, up from 18 engineers at the beginning of 2012. CTO Nate Blecharczyk said the company expects to hire another 50 engineers before the end of the year.

That’s for continued work on projects like search, fraud, scaling and dynamic pricing — as well as new products around “creating more meaningful trips,” as Blecharczyk described it.

Curtis had previously been at Yahoo for nearly eight years, where he worked on products such as Yahoo Mail. He described the appeal of joining Airbnb as a compelling opportunity to have impact on a small, fast-growing team.

Airbnb is not necessarily an engineering-driven company, but that’s key to its charm, contended Blecharczyk.

“We’re enabling offline experiences through online products,” he said. “Changing people’s behavior is science and art, and it’s rare that there’s such a rich intersection.”

San Francisco-based Airbnb booked three million guests in 2012, with 300,000 listings.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus