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by Kevin Coupe

I love this idea.

The New York Times reports on how, in the San Francisco, area young technology-savvy people flock to the city, "aspiring tech entrepreneurs on the bottom rung of the Silicon Valley ladder."

They often have no job, or little money. But what they have is passion, and frequently a lot of interesting ideas.

And so, an entrepreneur of a different kind came up with an idea - "a minichain of three bunk-bed-stuffed residences under the same management, all places where young programmers, designers and scientists can work, eat and sleep." Called "hacker hostels," these residences offer not just cheap rent of about $40 a night, but also "camaraderie and idea-swapping," with potential tenants "screened to make sure they will contribute to the mix." Some people stay days, some much longer, as they look for work, funding, and a more permanent place to live.

The story notes that "hackers - the Mark Zuckerberg variety, not the identity thieves - have long crammed into odd or tiny spaces and worked together to solve problems. In the 1960s, researchers at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory slept in the attic and, while waiting for their turn on the shared mainframe computer, sweated in the basement sauna." But this may be the first effort to institutionalize the concept.

This just strikes me as so smart, and quite frankly, it is the kind of thing in which tech companies - in fact, any company with an IT component - ought to be investing. It seems to me that the one thing that the world cannot have enough of is smart young people with great ideas, enthusiasm, and a desire to mold the future. And I cannot help but think that these "hacker hostels" - while they might not be a place I'd want to sleep or live - are serving as a kind of hatchery for concepts and businesses that will change the way we live and work.

Which is kind of cool.
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