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Hacker Hostels: New age of the commune

Mix together a hippie love-in commune lifestyle, mid-to late-20-year-old techies-on-the-brink and lots of IKEA furniture and you’ve got “Hacker Hostels.

Sounds like the set of a low-budget Comedy Central sitcom, but it’s actually the newest means of living for aspiring techie greats.

A step up from couch-surfing, Bay Area hacker hostel Chez JJ provides a roof, bunk bed, and laptop power outlet for those “on the bottom rung of the Silicon Valley ladder.” Filtering aspiring entrepreneurs through popular room-rental hub AirBnB, tenants can stay at either their San Francisco, Mountain View and Menlo Park locations for as low as $40/night.

Created by fellow young nerds Dr. Jade Wang and Jocelyn Berl, Chez JJ allows tech-happy tenants to not just live on the cheap while they try to make their ramen-fueled dreams become reality, but the close quarters also gives them an engaged community to bounce high-level ideas off of their fellow housemates.

It’s like that scene in “Revenge of the Nerds” where they have to live in the gym. Except these guys are college graduates and trying to make it in the real world as opposed to getting pledged into a fraternity.

These hostels are growing enough in popularity that they’ve grabbed the attention of the New York Times. But readers of the publication who read about the cheap rent and want to pack their bags for the Bay Area should be forewarned: those without a technology or science background or have attitude problems need not apply.

Each hostel has a female “captain” who meticulously screen the applicants and occasionally cook community meals. In exchange, they get their own private room as opposed to being smooshed into the 10-person bunk situation. The Mountain View location aggregates the start-up hopefuls, while the Menlo Park location tends to house more science-focused hotshots.

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