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SF’s Housing Crisis Explained

SF’s Housing Crisis Explained
The Santa Clara Valley was some of the most valuable agricultural land in the entire world, but it was paved over to create today’s Silicon Valley. This was simply the result of bad planning and layers of leadership failure — nobody thinks farms literally needed to be destroyed to create the technology industry’s success. Today, the tech industry is apparently on track to destroy one of the world’s most valuable cultural treasures, San Francisco, by pushing out the diverse people who have helped create it. At least that’s the story you’ve read in hundreds of articles lately. It doesn’t have to be this way. The alternative — inaction and self-absorption — very well could create the cynical elite paradise and middle-class dystopia that many fear. Here is a very long explainer. This is a complex problem, and I’m not going to distill it into young, rich tech douchebags-versus-helpless old ladies facing eviction. It does us all no justice. 1) First off, understand the math of the region. Why?

Here's Why Box's Aaron Levie Is A Genius Eight (No, Nine!) Problems With Big Data Photo BIG data is suddenly everywhere. Everyone seems to be collecting it, analyzing it, making money from it and celebrating (or fearing) its powers. Whether we’re talking about analyzing zillions of Google search queries to predict flu outbreaks, or zillions of phone records to detect signs of terrorist activity, or zillions of airline stats to find the best time to buy plane tickets, big data is on the case. Or so its champions allege. Is big data really all it’s cracked up to be? The first thing to note is that although big data is very good at detecting correlations, especially subtle correlations that an analysis of smaller data sets might miss, it never tells us which correlations are meaningful. Second, big data can work well as an adjunct to scientific inquiry but rarely succeeds as a wholesale replacement. Third, many tools that are based on big data can be easily gamed. A sixth worry is the risk of too many correlations. Wait, we almost forgot one last problem: the hype.

What happened to changing the world? | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Chris Klundt, StudyBlue “Change the world” used to be the three most-repeated words in Silicon Valley. People flocked to the Bay Area to build the next earth-shattering innovation and to “move fast and break things.” That ethos and the ecosystem it spawned is what compelled me to move my company from Wisconsin to San Francisco. A year, a few $10 billion valuations, and one $19 billion acquisition later, “change the world” has become, “What, no in-house barista?” Beyond the perks, many people now have outsized compensation expectations. Let’s Refocus It’s not that excess isn’t the “Midwestern way.” The more we prioritize scotch, yoga classes, and lots of cash, the easier it is to forget that we came here to make a difference in the world. Entrepreneurship shouldn’t be a get-rich-quick scheme. Passion When the chairman of our board talks about the impact we have on kids trying to learn, he tears up. That’s the level of passion and purpose you want every person at your company to feel. Ownership Balance

A Few Words about Process Analytics | BUILDING DATUM This post is part of the BIMForum Flash Blog! I recently gave a talk at BIMForum’s spring event in Boston, and I figured that is as good a reason as any to restart my efforts over here at buildingdatum. If you’re into seeing what I look like as I meander through a presentation, you can watch it here. And if you want to see me kicking it onstage with BIM legend Patrick MacLeamy, that’s right here. Otherwise… For those of you that follow me in other spaces, you’ll already know that I’m fond of describing the building lifecycle as a series of informational transactions. In reality, things are a bit murkier. The social, technological, and legal constraints under which our industry operates all contribute to this fog of war. But while every project may be superficially unique, they are nevertheless comprised of a series of highly-granular highly-repeatable processes – processes that can be measured, analyzed, and optimized across a wide range of projects. Like this: Like Loading...

Snapchat and that old no revenues debate Like many others in the field I was left scratching my head about Snapchat recently. Not because of the reported $4 billion offer but because of the explosion of age-old arguments about how scandalous it is for a company with no revenues to be valued that highly. I really thought we put that tedious debate to bed a while back, but I guess not. Grown-up warnings about how real businesses have real revenues were yet again littering my twitter feed in recent weeks. Here's a selection: "why do investors think a silly app with no clear revenue model is worth so much money?" Be a student of recent history Slamming zero revenue companies seems to happen every time a large, zero revenues company emerges. It was true at the time YouTube started out; Google was ridiculed for the price it paid. A few years down the road, YouTube is clearly a phenomenal acquisition. Zero revenues as sound business strategy You need scale for three reasons: Supporting yourself through the capital markets

Backops Outsources Your Startup’s Back Office Using The Best Enterprise Apps, Raises $1.5M Early-stage startups die if they don’t nail their core products quickly. But like all companies, they also need to process loads of paperwork required for basic operations, from crunching numbers in Quickbooks to churning out piles of human-resource forms for new hires. So, as any startup executive knows, the balance between product development and rote paperwork is a constant frustration — which is where Backops comes in. The company, which has just closed a $1.5 million seed round, combines 15 or so modern business productivity tools with crowdsourced labor from stay-at-home workers. If the exec wants more detail than the dashboard’s accounting summaries and human resource statuses provides, they can request custom reports or data dumps from Backops. So, sure, there are a few established office outsourcing businesses out there already, like TriNet for human resources, but a closer look at Backops plans shows why it’s such a smart new idea. The biggest issue could be defensibility.

Is Tech Money Good For San Francisco’s Middle Class? An Economist’s Perspective The liberal wonderland of the San Francisco Bay Area has one of the highest concentrations of wealth in the country. Twitter’s IPO, alone, created an estimated 1,600 millionaires. But, are the local residents catching any of the dollar bills being shaken from the post-IPO money trees? It’s been hard to decipher the broader impacts of technology on the average San Franciscan because heart string-tugging anecdotes have clouded the narrative. Critics of tech companies make headlines by protesting Google’s private buses and indirectly linking their existence with the surge in housing evictions. On the other hand, tech champions like to trot out small business owners who have benefited from re-locating tech HQ’s to blighted areas of the city’s historic Market district. One thing is clear: they believe that the money flowing into SF is a good thing and is bolstering the local economy. Local Multipliers Makin’ It Rain “There must be someone who brings in the wealth,” said Moretti.

Was Y Combinator Worth It? Editor’s note: Jarrett Streebin is a Y Combinator alumnus and founder and CEO of EasyPost, a San Francisco-based startup with a simple shipping API. Follow him on Twitter @jstreebin. Almost any time someone asks about the Y Combinator experience they ask, “Was it worth it?” While it’s difficult to quantify many of these benefits, one area we can quantify is fundraising. Midway through the fundraising process, we realized that the single most important indicator of success (getting a check in the bank) was whether or not the investor was introduced to us (inbound), or whether we solicited them originally (outbound). Also, since we were attempting to measure the value of Y Combinator, we broke the groups of investors into two segments: before we found out we were accepted into Y Combinator and after. This is excluding YC and YCVC ($20K notes from General Catalyst, Maverick, Sequoia, and Start Fund each). Pre Y Combinator Post Y Combinator What Is Y Combinator Worth?

Lessons From The Sharing Economy Editor’s note: Raj Kapoor is the co-founder and CEO of fitmob, previous managing director at Mayfield Fund and former co-founder and CEO of Snapfish. Companies everywhere are jumping on the sharing economy trend. From sharing skills to houses to cars, the sharing economy is transforming many industries. Technology has lowered the barriers so that anyone can provide services blurring the line between “personal” and “professional.” The consumer peer-to-peer rental market alone is worth $26 billion. But this model doesn’t work for every industry. No Pain … Sharing economy models work great when there is a high degree of consumer pain. There wasn’t a high enough pain point and frequency for the consumer to change their habit and adopt it – despite the convenience. For ridesharing and fitness, the consumer pain is more obvious. Curation Is King The quality and safety risks are high in a sharing economy model as the supplier is not a brand or a professional. You Can’t Ignore the Government

How The Internet Killed Profit Editor’s note: Tom Goodwin is the founder of Tomorrow Group, a marketing and advertising consultancy for the post-digital age. New eras in technology have always brought a fear of job losses and the devastation of legacy industries, but the Internet has taken us beyond “creative destruction.” It’s destroying the very foundations of business. Software is indeed eating the world, in Marc Andreessen’s words, and we’re presented with an abundance of value being generated for consumers, but what if it’s killing the profit margin? They’ve had a point: Whether it was the industrialization of agriculture or the long decline of the postal industry, we’ve seen job losses on a massive scale. The pace of this change is accelerating. This limitless optimism and unparalleled excitement fuels the hysteria in Silicon Valley. As consumers, we’ve never had it better: We can do more things than ever and do them more quickly, safely and easily than ever. Digitization Ad Funding Price Transparency New Products

Airbnb and Uber Face Some Harsh Realities Airbnb and Uber are maturing startups both facing some hard realities as they grow. While they have found a loyal and happy user base, they are facing tough resistance from not just the taxi and hotel industries they are disrupting, but also political and social resistance from quarters they probably never imagined when they started their businesses. In Europe and the US we are beginning to see a backlash against the sharing economy idea. For Uber, this means fighting the existing taxi industry and its government backers. Just last week for instance, San Francisco floated some changes to proposed rules surrounding Airbnb rentals and a group of housing activists who are tired of seeing apartments converted into long-term Airbnb rentals aren’t happy about it. Airbnb has also faced legal hurdles as some cities block them altogether as illegal hotels and others have at least looked at them dubiously as they try to take hold.

Handbook For A New Era Of Crowdfunding Editor’s note: Sandeep Sood is founder of Oakland, Calif.-based Monsoon+RainFactory, a product house that conceptualizes, designs, develops and markets mobile and web applications. Ever been to Indiegogo? Kickstarter? Spend any cash? What’d you leave with? Why Does Crowdfunding Work? There’s no amount of economic acrobatics or consumer rationalization that can explain it. Instead of going to the bank and putting up collateral to fund their crazy idea, entrepreneurs tap into a world that is seeking out connections and ideas everyday. People back these entrepreneurs knowing this. I’ve taken a long hard look at crowdfunding behaviors. First comes love. Next, backing a crowdfunding campaign is essentially a chance to shape the way things are. Build your campaign around love of the product and a chance to make a dent in the universe, and you’re a step ahead of the game. Ingredients for a Successful Campaign 1. Platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter were designed for storytelling. 2. 3. 4.

A Farewell To Jobs Few subjects elicit more skepticism than the so-called “sharing economy.” Kevin Roose argues: “The Sharing Economy Isn’t About Trust, It’s About Desperation.” Catherine Rampell warns: “there’s a dark side to these work arrangements … the shifting of risk off corporate balance sheets and onto the shoulders of individual Americans.” US courts are wrestling with whether Uber and Lyft drivers are contractors or should be considered employees. Major corporations are increasingly using subcontracting structures, like outsourcing jobs, hiring workers through staffing agencies, and franchising … Hundreds of thousands of people work days-long or hours-long “gigs” … PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated last summer that the sharing economy as a whole, valued at $15 billion in 2013, could reach $335 billion globally by 2025. …Or is it? I see her point: the gig economy tends to reduce workers to fungible, replaceable cogs. This isn’t restricted to Uber and Lyft drivers. And yet.

HN discussion: by iconix Apr 17