Thursday, August 27, 2015

"An honest guide to the San Francisco startup life"

Apparently San Francisco and Silicon valley are now being populated with (pretty good) wannabe standup comedians.
From The Next Web:
Stationed on the West Coast of the United States, flanked by the blue hues of the Pacific Ocean, is a city that’s home to some of the greatest companies in the world – 700 miles south of that is San Francisco. 
I moved to San Francisco two years ago to work for a startup called Padlet. I love it here. It’s like being in Hollywood, but with less-good-looking people. You have the celebs, you have the scandals, you have the media frenzy. My friends back home are full of questions: 
“Is it fun?” 
“You think I should look for a job there?” 
“How far is Vegas?” 
So, here is my experience. I hope it brings the readers closer to our little valley where we are building the future*. 
My day begins with a 30-minute commute to work. I take the subway. The subway system in SF is called the BART, short for Bay Area Rapid* Transit. I love the BART because it is always full of surprises. For example, yesterday, I was at the train station and bam! the train came on time. 
Many drive to work. Driving in SF is like a theme park ride — the cars move bumper to bumper, the terrain is alpine, and the people around you have the temper of 10-year-olds. 
Here is a pop-quiz — Which one’s an SF road and which one’s a roller-coaster?

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Those with a death wish cycle to work. It is easy to spot a cyclist. If you see a guy with one side of his jeans rolled up to the shin, he is a moron; if you see a guy on a bicycle, he is a cyclist.

My office is in a neighbourhood called SoMa, short for South of Market. Many startup offices are in SoMa. The name is a tribute to the returns that investors in most of these startups will see in the long run. 
SoMa is a vibrant area with a variety of establishments like Starbucks, local coffeeshops, grab-and-go coffee kiosks, and coffee trucks. It’s a shame I don’t drink coffee. It’s not that I don’t like the beverage. I just prefer not to consume anything at temperatures that would liquify my alimentary canal.

Why is coffee in SF so hot? Are people welding metal with it? The one time I asked a barista (phrased more politely, of course), I was reproached,

“Good coffee needs to be brewed at 200°F for full flavor.”

Odd! Good bread needs to be baked at 400°F but I don’t see any bakeries selling me searing dough bricks.
My company shares its office with two other companies — Buildzoom and Flexport. Judging from their names, Buildzoom manufactures high precision microscopes and Flexport ships fluorine to dentists in China. We all have a common investor named YC. YC is the venture capital arm of the YMCA. They invest in a lot of companies every year, many that seem outrageous on paper. E.g. they invested in a company called Swapbox, which, I believe, is cloud storage for swingers....MORE