Airbnb Engineering with Surabhi Gupta

Airbnb began in 2008 as a monolithic Rails application serving the simple purpose of listing homes for rental. Over time, the number of listings increased dramatically, as did the number of people who were renting.

With that scale, the Rails app had to be broken into different services, and entire teams were built out to focus on challenges such as pricing, application infrastructure, and search. Surabhi Gupta joined in 2013 to work on the search team, and has worked on different teams at Airbnb over time.

Today she is a director of engineering leading the Homes business for Airbnb, which includes Growth, Search, Hosts, Pricing, and Business Travel. Surabhi has helped scale Airbnb through a hypergrowth period, and joins the show to share those experiences. One distinct area that we spent time on was Airbnb’s search engine. Surabhi formerly worked at Google, and she described how the engineering problem of a search engine for homes differs from a general purpose search engine like Google.

Transcript

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