FastForward Visits Airbnb

Image of the Airbnb campus

ON LOCATION - December, 2017

FastForward Visits Airbnb

Airbnb began in 2008 when struggling college grads Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia turned their San Francisco loft into a bed and breakfast by buying a few air mattresses and advertising the place online. They called their mini-hotel AirBed and Breakfast. Although the idea at first was just to “make a few bucks,” they snagged three international customers right away as the Industrial Design Conference came to town and hotel rooms were at a premium. With another partner, Nathan Blecharczyk, the team created a website offering short-term rentals, and with that the Airbnb concept was born. Next, they raised money for their new venture by developing two special-edition breakfast cereals, Obama O’s and Cap’n McCains, to cash in on the presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain. This brainstorm alone netted the company over $30,000, and before long the Y Combinator startup-support firm was offering the fledgling company training and funding ideas. By 2009 Airbnb was listing homes, boats, tipis, private islands, and more for short-term rental, and today Airbnb is a $25 billion company with properties in 65,000 cities and 191 countries.

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High-Octane Fun at Simraceway

FastForward Visits Simraceway

By Ben Auerbach, Ethan Herron, Kent Middle; Christian Hee, Mark Day School; Oscar Labovich, San Rafael High; Jane Merkle, Marin Waldorf; Rachel Richman, Marin Academy; Zoe Shulman, Alaina Wehrly, Urban; Kylie Sebastian, Mark Day School; Jack Nieker, Tam High; Jack Watson, Hall Middle; and Regan Widergren, Saint Isabella

A loud cacophony of popping, whirling engines greeted us as we approached the famous Simraceway Performance Karting Center, nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of Sonoma County, California. A part of the larger Sonoma Raceway, which hosts a variety of heart-pounding races each year, the Performance Center is focused around the sport of Go-Karting, a in which racers driving small karts accelerate and drift around the various curves of the track in a form of racing that’s exhilarating to watch, but even more so to do for a living. On a scorching summer day, we were given a chance not only to learn about the joys of this sport, but to also take the karts for a spin ourselves. Eager to get in the driver’s seat, we arrived in the parking lot and made our way to the visitor’s center, where our interview soon began.

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FastForward Visits Whiskytree

IMAGINARY WORLDS ~ The Ingenuity of Whiskytree Creators

WRITERS/REPORTERS: Ben Auerbach, Rachel Butts, Charlie Brooks, Lauren Cheung, Kai Creedman-Ho, Christian Hee, Ethan Herron, Oscar Labovich, Jane Merkle, Lux Sparks-Pescovitz, Edna Maguire, Rachel Richman, Zoe Shulman, Kylie Sebastian, Jack Nieker, Maybell Murphy-Sylla, Jacob Taichman-Bernstein, Jack Watson, Regan Widergren, and Alaina Wehrly; from Kent Middle, Dixie School, SF Friends School, Mill Valley Middle, Mark Day, Kent Middle, San Rafael High, Marin Waldorf, Marin Academy, Urban, Mark Day, Tam High, Tam Valley, Hall Middle, and Saint Isabella Schools

In a non-descript building in downtown San Rafael, just two blocks from Fourth Street, a small company uses close collaboration and ingenuity to create vivid, imaginary worlds on a daily basis. Equipped with an arsenal of high-powered computers and cutting edge software, this company’s hardworking  staff has built structures, cities, landscapes, and majestic skylines for some of  Hollywood’s biggest motion pictures. Formed by a team of seasoned visual effects veterans in 2007, the whimsically named “Whiskytree” has carved a place for itself in the constantly evolving realm of digital animation and production. In a behind the scenes look at one of Marin’s best kept secrets, learning a thing or two about how much time and hard work go into the movie magic that millions around the world enjoy each day.

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