Here’s a Craigslist ad for a “hub for entrepreneurs” where you can be barracked in one of dozens of bunk-beds ranked in rows for a mere $999/month. But you also get access to plenty of whiteboards and brainstorm areas, and will no longer have to endure the misery of “hop[ping] from coffee shop to coffee shop” as you seek to launch your tech business.
When I moved to San Francisco in the late nineties, I lived in half an illegal sublet for about $2K/month, and that was a deal by the standards of the day. But I had it better than the guy paying $800/month for the Sears shed in the back-yard — I got a toilet!
There is a reboot of the legendary San Francisco story Tales of the City running in the S.F. Chron right now, featuring a fictionalized life in one of these digital sweatshops. Doctorow’s rental costs don’t square with my own experience, though: In the late 1990s I was living in a three-bedroom floor-though Victorian flat on Russian Hill for $800 a month.