The iPhone App Backstory

By Andrew Vilcsak

We recently released our iPhone app. We are happy to report that not only has the feedback been very positive, but the app has been featured by Apple and was one of the top 5 apps within the travel category of the App Store.

One of the principles that I believe helped us gain such exposure was the idea that we weren’t going to ship until we could truly impress people. It is one thing to impress your existing (passionate) users, but it is an even higher bar to convince new visitors to join based only on the experience that is offered within the app. There’s a lot of noise in the App Store, so we had to be sure that we stood out. We showed the app to a lot of people and iterated many times before we were convinced that we had achieved this.

Some people have asked what went into building the app. It actually started out as my summer internship project, an idea that was born from the fact that I had been building apps since the SDK was launched. By the end of the summer, the team was extremely excited by the amount that I had accomplished, and I decided that I should postpone returning to school to see the app through to completion. It took an additional two months of serious effort and help from visual designer Steph Tekano and Joe Gebbia, who helped work through the user interaction, to make the app into what you see today.

We are excited to see how people use the app to book and manage their travels.

Check out all of our open source projects over at and follow us on Twitter: @AirbnbEng + @AirbnbData

Originally published at on November 26, 2010.

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