Airbnb’s last round of funding totaled $200 million, bringing its total funding to $326 million. The company also has a new office that includes a replica of the war room from the film Dr. Strangelove.
A profile of its digs in Modern Luxury’s SanFrancisco magazine documented the room, essentially an aggrandized meeting space, along with the new office’s glut of themed rooms, including “a Milanese one-bedroom that features lavender toile wallpaper, a flat-screen TV, and a dining table seating eight.” Sure.
It’s no secret that there is ample cash slopping around the San Francisco-area technology industry. One excess leads to another, and so while Airbnb is certainly a serious service (I used it this weekend to rent a cabin for a wedding I’m going to, kicking $55 to the company in fees as part of the process), it also managed to build the replica.
TechCrunch’s own Matt Burns thinks that the war room is “rad.”
Is Airbnb alone in its pursuit of whimsical office space? Of course not. Google’s Googleplex has been around for ages, a visit to Yahoo will likely include your sitting in a ridiculous oversized purple chair, and Snapchat’s first office was Jim Morrison’s old house. In this regard Microsoft stands out as a square, which probably isn’t much of a surprise.
Of course nothing is new, especially this sort of risible extravagance. TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis reported in 2010 that Xobni was spending to have a large mural (with a “Seuss-ian feel”!) painted in its office. Xobni raised $41.8 million before selling to Yahoo for a paltry $48 million in cash. So the mural didn’t help it become a real business.
Keeping your employees happy is a good thing. The bacon at Dropbox is great, for example. Instacart’s themed new office party the other week was a good time. I think I took my shirt off on the roof at some point while getting my friend to bring more bourbon up to the outdoor deck. But at what point are companies just throwing money around for fun and calling it Culture?
Twitter’s office deer were all right, I guess.
Author’s note: Originally, this post indicated that Airbnb’s most recent round of funding was in fact a bit more recent than it actually was. This is has been corrected.