Alex Iskold’s tips for startups

36 Startup Tips: From Software Engineering to PR and More – ReadWriteWeb

This is a collection of startup tips covering software engineering, infrastructure, PR, conferences, legal and finance. They describe best practices for an early-stage startup. We hope that you will find these tips useful, but also please remember that they are based on subjective experiences and not all of them will be applicable to your company.

These tips are great for web startups. They are pretty useful for non-web startups as well. I’ve been through the startup mill myself a couple times and I still got some good pointers.

Adios Crocodile, I’ll miss you…

The Crocodile Cafe in Seattle unexpectedly shut down over the weekend.

Word is filtering out quietly. Even the Croc website doesn’t have any info. It seems like they ran out of cash now that Peter Buck isn’t helping to pay the bills. This is truly a sad day for Seattle Music. The Croc was a great place to play and a great place to see live music. It was one of the last of the old generation clubs still around. As Belltown has yuppified around it, it was still a beacon of the live music that put this city on the map before Starbucks and Microsoft. While there are other venues in town, there are fewer and fewer places where bands can turn their amps to 11 and their audience can be close enough to them to see the expressions on their faces.


[Update: 12/18/07]
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an article on  the Croc’s closing today.

Paying for others’ home loan mistakes

Paying for others’ home loan mistakes – Bill Virgin, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

YOU WERE the careful, responsible sort of home buyer. You took out a plain-vanilla, fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage, shunning exotic loans with low teaser rates, coupled it with a substantial down payment, bought only as much house as you could afford with monthly payments that were within your income. Maybe you’re even paying a little extra each month or have converted to a biweekly schedule to get the loan paid off in advance.

Silly you.

Or perhaps you were the careful, responsible sort of banker, one who got nervous over loans in which borrowers put nothing down, or paid so little that the principal owed grew every month, or signed up for loans whose payments they could never afford once the low teaser rates reset. Maybe you even shied away from making such loans, much less buying paper backed by them.

Silly you, too.

Because you, Ms. Prudent Home Buyer, and you, too, Mr. Cautious Banker, sure missed out on the party. While you were playing the role of the ant, everyone else was enjoying the life of the grasshopper.

And now you, directly or indirectly, will get to help pay to rescue those who had the fun — without getting any break as a reward for your frugalness.

Now, I’m not a libertarian, I’m more of a social democrat. So you’d think I’d be all for the nanny state coming to the rescue of those oppressed by the mortgage industry fat-cats. Except, I’m not. Why? Because I think there is a matter of personal responsibility. I think that some people were suckered by unscrupulous and lying mortgage brokers, but I don’t think that was the general rule. I think most people didn’t bother to read or try to comprehend the documents they were signing. And I think those people are idiots who fed the housing bubble and forced others who wanted to buy a house into risky loans too. I think that these people should deal with the pain they caused themselves and others. For those who were cheated, I think the government should step in and prosecute the companies and make things right (my social democracy roots showing through), but for those who couldn’t be bothered to try and understand this crap or the developers and flippers who were playing calculated games of chance with other people’s money… yeah, let them clean up their own mess and save my tax dollars for universal health care.

[via Seattle Bubble]

Condo owners lose their view… duh.

Condo owners struggle for views as Seattle rises – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Benjamin Shanfelder signed up to buy a condominium on the west side of downtown Seattles Cosmopolitan building in 2005 because it was one of the first new downtown high-rises and was convenient to amenities like the downtown bus tunnel and South Lake Union streetcar.

But before choosing a condo on the west side of Cosmopolitans 21st floor, he looked into plans for the adjacent lot and found the city had approved a 13-story office building there.

“I bought with that assumption,” he said last week.

Shanfelder knew other nearby projects would block some of his view. But it was a nasty surprise when developers of the neighboring building, which would be 18 feet away, revised their planned height to 34 stories — one story higher than Cosmopolitan.

“I would lose most of my remaining view and pretty much all of my sunlight and privacy,” he said.

Personally, I find this hilarious. Not in a schedenfreude way, in a way that anyone buying a condo downtown would think that they would have much of a view for very long. I’ve watched the Belltown towers rise over the years first on 5th street, than 4th, 3rd, 2nd and now 1st. Expensive view condos now have views into the expensive view condos that moved in between then and their views.

The property developers prey upon the stupidity of people, who either don’t think to do their homework or don’t bother to really think much about it. The evilness is that the developers get away with it.