Kurt Siegfried home

Chez JJ

16 May 2012 - Mountain View, CA

Hacker House

I spent last night at an AirBnB property over in Mountain View, CA. It seemed somehow appropriate to use one of my favorite Y Combinator sites to look for a place to stay while visiting Y Combinator. Previously, I had used AirBnB to find accomodations on an impromptu trip to Port Aransas, Texas, with good success, so I was happy to try it again.

As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by the House Captain who showed me around, and introduced me to the other residents. Residents, at first, seemed like an improper label, but as someone only staying for a single night, I was in a minority. There seemed to be at least three different startups operating out of Chez JJ, and the living room looked more like a co-working space than a bed and breakfast. MVP demos happened frequently, and design reviews were par for the course.

Overall, it was an awesome introduction to startup culture. Everyone there seeemed to be genuinely interested in hearing about new ideas, and meeting new people. It's a bit difficult to describe, but it seemed like everyone was working towards a common entreprenurial goal. The group seemed like some combination of support group, beta testers, sounding board, and roommates; quirky, but thoroughly enjoyable. If you're in the area, I highly recommend checking out Chez JJ.

Work at a Startup - Postscript

Aside from a terrible moment when I thought that somehow I'd misread my invitation, and that I had not really been invited (my nametag had been misplaced) Work at a Startup was a great experience. The Carwoo team was great to talk to, they are in a market that is just begging for disruption, and seem like they could be the group to do it. Chatting with other founders, and people working for startups, I was amazed by the accessibility of everyone at the event.

As a totally unrelated side note, the caterers were serving a very California appropriate beer. The beer was Anchor Steam Beer, and the style of beer dates back to the time of the California Gold Rush. Prospectors brought their Lager recipes, and Lager style yeast out with them in their migration to California. However, with a somewhat understandable lack of cooling and refrigeration equipment, lagering beers was quite difficult. Lagering typically requires keeping the beer between 40-50 F for a period of several weeks. In order to work around the higher fermentation temperatures, a hybrid strain of yeast was developed that could handle the higher fermentation temperatures, and still produce flavors similar to the traditional lager. This new style of not-quite lager was given the name: Steam Beer.