Category Archive 'Start Ups'

19 Oct 2022

Every Bay Area House Party

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Scott Alexander describes Every Bay Area House Party.

You walk in. The wall decorations vaguely suggest psychedelia. The music is pounding, head-splitting, amelodious. Everyone is struggling to speak over it. Everyone assumes everyone else likes it.

You flee to the room furthest from the music source. Three or four guys are sitting in a circle, talking. Two girls are standing by a weird lamp, drinks in hand. You see Bob.

“Hi, Bob!”

“Hey, good to see you again!”

“What’s new?”

“Man, it’s been a crazy few months. You hear I quit my job at Google and founded a fintech startup?”

“No! What do you do?”

“War insurance!”

“War insurance?”

“Yeah. We pay out if there’s a war.”

“Isn’t that massively correlated risk?”

“Yeah. The idea is, we sell war insurance to companies who do badly if there’s a war – tourist attractions and the like. Then we sell the same amount of peace insurance to military contractors. As long as we get the probabilities and costs right, we make the same profit either way.”

“Neat idea, how’s it going?”

“Great! Ayatollah Khameini just bought a ten billion dollar policy.”

“Of the war version or the peace version?”

“Can’t say, confidentiality agreement.” Read the rest of this entry »

06 Aug 2010

Silicon Alley, Ha!

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Antonio, with a Bay area native’s perspective, lists all the reasons why New York City will never be a tech center in a very amusing rant.

Thinking the New York tech scene will ever equal Silicon Valley is as foolish as thinking San Francisco’s puny theater district will one day take on Broadway. Both Silicon Valley and Broadway are unique products of the cities that spawned them, and every attempt to create a Silicon Alley/Silicon Sentier/Skolkovo/whatever in various parts of the world have failed. So far, no one’s managed to do it, and New York sure as hell won’t either. …

$2495 for a 500 sq. ft. one bedroom apartment.

There, that’s how much my first apartment in New York cost (in 2005).

Living in New York, you hemorrhage money, and don’t see much in return. My career salary high-water mark is still working as a quant on Goldman’s credit desk, and I lived worse, from a quality-of-life perspective, than I did as a Berkeley graduate student. ‘Ramen’ money in New York is enough to support three families, and then some, elsewhere. If YCombinator existed in New York, they’d have to dish 5x more than their already slim initial funding to keep new startups in Cheetos for three months.

Basically, startups flourish in the Bay Area the same reason the homeless do: decent weather, relatively cheap living, and no stigma attached to your lifestyle.

Read the whole thing.

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