Software was eating the world — now landlords are eating everything

NEW: Looking for my latest San Francisco Voting Guide by Steven Buss? Check out the Tech Worker Voter Guide, which I helped create!

tl;dr: Landlords are taking $1 of every $8 in venture capital investments due to well-organized NIMBYism that has captured San Francisco housing regulations in their favor. YIMBY has moved public opinion. Tech must now get involved.

In 2011, when Marc Andreessen wrote “Software is eating the world,” the average seed round was about $500,0001, and the median rent was about $2,6002. As of EOY 2018, seed rounds were up to $2.1MM3 and median rent $3,6502.

Per employee, that’s an extra $1,050 ($1,521 pre-tax) per month sent directly to landlords. For a four-person startup, the yearly burn rate increased by roughly $73,000 (pre-tax) just in rent. If the seed round should last four years, that means an extra $292,000 in pre-tax expenses, with $201,600 of that being funneled directly to landlords instead of growing the company or other productive activity.

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2018 November General Election Voting Guide

This is my longest-ever voter guide. Not only do I justify my positions on propositions using my voting framework, I explain those choices in depth. Every ballot prop position is justified by some of my 10 voting principles, eg if you see (1, !2) that means the prop satisfies voting principle 1 and undermines principle 2. Here’s the tl;dr, scroll down for detailed explanations.

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The staggering inequity of the San Francisco Planning Commission

The San Francisco Planning Commission passes judgement on almost every single land use decision in the city, from redeveloping a laundromat into 75 apartments, to adding a few windows to your house, or even just replacing the trim around your exterior windows (good luck, they’re probably “historic”!). They hear your case and decide what you can do with your own home or business. There’s no accountability (they’re appointed, not elected), they don’t mirror the demographics of the city (they skew older and whiter, and are not renters), and they often take a reactionary conservative approach which opposes change.

Even when your project is 100% code compliant, and the planning department recommends approving a project, the Planning Commission will often object, citing “neighborhood character.” Maybe your roof is a foot taller than your neighbor, maybe they think your windows are too big, or maybe they have heartburn from lunch that day and they’re feeling particularly disagreeable.

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No on Kim

Why Jane Kim shouldn’t be our next mayor

I think that the only candidate that deserves your vote is London Breed. She is good on housing and is running a positive campaign based on uniting San Francisco. She is smart, capable, has good policy advisers, and is the only candidate who will work with YIMBYs to build more housing.

Tell your friends: Don’t vote for Jane Kim. I prefer London Breed, but Mark Leno would be a fine alternative. Here’s why Jane Kim will be a disaster for our city:

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2018 June Election Voting Guide

I have a general voting strategy for props which works most of the time time:

  1. Prefer to vote for new taxes, preferably without a set-aside
  2. Vote for groups that don’t have a strong lobby (youth, disabled, homeless, low-income people, the environment)
  3. Vote for social policy change in ways that agree with my values
  4. Vote for things that price externalities
  5. Vote against things which increase needless or unhelpful bureaucracy
  6. Vote against things which infringe upon rights of the people
  7. Vote against things which undermine good government
  8. Generally vote against budget set-asides, which limit the ability of representatives to budget effectively

Don’t just vote NO on every ballot initiative. Here’s a justification for my YES and NO votes that fit within a general voting strategy. Feel free to share and/or print this out for election day.

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2016 November General Election Voting Guide

I had previously only posted this on Facebook, but since I’m planning to do this for every election going forward I moved it here.

Don’t just vote NO on every ballot initiative. Here’s a justification for my YES votes that fit within a general voting strategy. Feel free to share and/or print this out for election day.

My voting strategy is:

(1) prefer to vote for new taxes, preferably without a set-aside,
(2) vote for groups that don’t have a strong lobby (youth, disabled, homeless, low-income people),
(3) vote for social policy change in ways that agree with my values,
(4) vote for things that price externalities.

And I try to vote no for everything that doesn’t meet those criteria and/or increases needless or unhelpful bureaucracy (5), or infringes upon rights (6).

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Gun Violence Research

I tried to educate myself about gun violence, so I spent a few hours researching the topic. All sources were as objective as I could find, with a strong bias in favor of governmental research agencies and mostly-objective national polling agencies.

Here’s everything I found. I am not going to speculate on this data, but rather present it here as a collection of my current state of knowledge on gun violence. The most interesting things I learned were:

  • The statistics on gun availability and suicides
  • The relatively small number of deaths from mass shootings
  • The lock-step increase (on average) in gun violence as gun availability increases
  • I found absolutely no data backing up my belief that altercations escalate to violence more easily and lethally when a firearm is available (due to lack of data)
  • I found no evidence that mass stabbings are less lethal than mass shootings (due to lack of data)

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