It can be hard out there for budding young entrepreneurs. Between the lunches at coffee shop offices and the constantly upgrading MacBooks, expenses start to add up. That's why one cost-cutting potential Zuckerberg took to online Q&A repository Quora (think Yahoo Answers, but actually somewhat useful) to ask of his fellow geeks and hackers: "Would becoming homeless be a good strategy to cut costs?" And also: "Where do I store my MacBook Air when I sleep in the homeless shelter?"
The best answer to the would-be entrepreneur's question came from Kurt Varner, a "founder, designer and entrepreneur" who moved in to his 2004 Honda Civic for four months while he launched an app designed to get people out of bed and working at a desk. The car, which he bought for "less than a month's rent in the Bay Area," makes even those Hacker Hostels seem posh:
Sleeping is obviously super important if you expect to be in good mental standing everyday. I made it work by folding down the rear seats and laying a 3" foam mattress pad from the truck to the rear of the interior. I'm 6 feet tall and I could almost stretch out entirely while laying down. It's not as comfortable as a bed, but surprisingly, it's not as bad as you'd think.
As for other basic human needs like showering, eating and a place to actually do some work, Varner kept his costs down with a $39 membership to 24 Hour Fitness and cooked most meals in the microwave at the Hacker Dojo co-working space where he was paying $100 a month for the WiFi and communal fridge privileges. His total cost of living? $219 per month including groceries.
According to Varner, Palo Alto is technically the only city in the Bay Area where it is legal to live in a vehicle, so it has become something of a fad down in the Valley:
During my experience I saw many other people living from vehicles. It's strange that most people are oblivious to it. There are even several other entrepreneurs I know that are taking to the streets to cut costs here in the Valley.
For more advice on how to live in abject poverty in order to launch your next big idea, Varner has been blogging about the experience and it seems like his biggest success so far has been picking up some Valley cred with a profile piece in Inc. magazine.
Previously: Nerds' Newest Ventures: "Hacker Hostels"