The NEW New App for Finding Your Friends at Dolores Park

Dolo app

Dolo's map

Does this ever happen to you: You're supposed to meet your friends at Dolores Park, but once you get there the place is so crowded you have to walk all over the place to find them?  Of course it does.  I mean, you are reading Uptown Almanac.

Now you could simply text your friend, or use one of the many “find my friends” apps that already exist.  You could even use Dolo, the web app that helps you locate your friends in Dolores Park. Yeah, you could go any of those routes.  But let's not be stupid — what you really need is an iPhone app that's not only new, but features adorable cat graphics.

Thanks to Y-Combinator funding, Garfield bought a luxury condo on Valencia.

Thankfully, as of today we have a solution: TechCrunch brings word of a new iOS app named Dolo.  Like the unrelated web app of the same name, Dolo lets you “check in” to an arbitrary location within Dolores Park, placing a marker at your location that your Facebook friends can see.  The app is brought to you for free by a team of locally-sourced software artisans who frequent Dolores Park.

Perhaps the existence of Dolo is yet another sign that Dolores Park has become a victim of its own success.  Although if you were at Dolores Park last weekend, you didn't need an app to tell you that.

Self-Loathing Twitter Employee Chronicles the Doom and Decadence of San Francisco's Most Tax-Exempt Startup

Meet Twitter Entitled, an unfortunate and pitifully hilarious collection of overheards within the headquarters of Mid-Market's golden goose.  It's blood-boiling, really—like watching Veruca Salt tantrum her way through Wonka's Chocolate Factory.  But who can resist laughing at bad eggs?

Another self-loathing Twitter employee, who claims to know the person responsible for the account, assures us these quotes are genuine rumblings of alleged human beings—a claim we have no way of substantiating, but we don't particularly doubt either. [UPDATE: at some point this afternoon, the maintainer added “#satire” to the description. Read into that however you want.] [UPDATE II: jwz reports that Twitter's “comms team was crying a river over this today,” suggesting this isn't satire.]  So enjoy a few of our favorite gems, and thank your lucky stars that This Is Ron Conway's Town Now:

The Google Centipede

Because I'm not a poet, I'm not completely sure I get reference.  That pre-IPO employees feed their butt chum to post-IPO employees who pass it on to Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson?

Anyway, that very confusion might help explain the second stencil just steps away:

Top 5 Petty Complaints About the Engineers Across the Hall

So for background, there's some tech company that has their office across the hall from mine and a couple of months ago they doubled their staff of engineers. I've been noticing some disturbing trends, mostly related to the only places I interact with them—the hallways and bathroom. I'll note that we did not have any of these issues until this company scaled up their engineering team.

  1. The barefoot dude who is barefoot in the bathroom all the time. 
    Now I understand the urge to relax and take your shoes off at work, I really do.  I would never do it because I'm not disgusting, but I do understand the urge.  However, bathrooms are gross.  People pee and poop in there—not hygienic. This guy (all of these incidents are perpetrated by dudes, obv) literally comes into the bathroom, going about his business, in his bare feet.  What. The. Fuck.  I have to wonder, is this something he is open about and has a philosophical stance on like “Humans weren't meant to wear shoes!  Monkeys don't wear shoes and I'm no better than that, so I don't wear shoes either!”  Or is it his shameful secret that he only indulges in at work because all of his co-workers are also super grody and won't bat an eye?  Does his doctor keep getting conflicting excuses as to why he keeps coming in with cases of hookworm?

    So many questions, so few answers.
  2. The “I'm too busy to wash my hands” guy.
    This fucking guy.  Never washes his hands, and is super blatant about how gross he is. He just walks in, drops the kids off at the pool, and then wanders out without a care in the world.  We've started putting signs up saying “employees must wash hands.” The signs aren't working.
  3. The crumbs in the hallway.
    How can there be this many damn crumbs in the hallway?  It looks like a construction site or a wood-working shop… but with like… crumbs instead of sawdust?  Are there ducks in the office you are trying to feed?  Because I haven't seen any ducks around here.  I think you are just walking around with your sandwiches being super gross eaters.  The ducks down at the park may approve of this behavior but I am not a duck, and I hate you.
  4. The toothbrush incident.
    You're a grown-ass man working at a fancy tech company. You probably have a bathroom at home with a mirror and everything. You're really bringing your toothbrush and toothpaste to work like it's some kind of middle school campout? No. No no no. It's gross, and you are gross. You are gross every day, because I see you doing this every day.
  5. The toilet situation.
    The state of our toilets is shameful.  I should have known what was coming because a month after all these gross nerds moved in, there were signs on every toilet stall stating clearly that “Due to popular demand, the toilets will be replaced with high capacity versions.”  Let me break that down for you:

    a) “Due to popular demand” - many people have asked for this thing to happen.
    b) “High capacity” - mega gross nerd shits.

    Even with our new super-shitters, the nerds next door keep breaking them with their uber-turds, and leaving celebratory piles of TP, bowl protectors, paper hand towels, and napkins (????) strewn about.  Fucking awesome.

I hope we've all learned an important lesson from this: nerds are horrible and gross, and all stereotypes are 100% correct.

Startup Looks to Replace Shitty-Ass Muni With Bougie-Ass Shuttle Bus

Because the last startup with a dog avatar crushed it.

Look, we get it: Muni is pretty much a giant hollowed out piece of dogshit on wheels.  Its schedule is random, at best.  NextBus, a horror show.  It's crowded, smelly, sketchy, slow, socialist, impossible, insufferable, expensive, and people clip their toenails on it.  Being drunk is pretty much a prerequisite for boarding.  Also, it doesn't have wifi and leather seats.

No one seems to know how to fix it.  It takes San Francisco 16 years to construct a single high-speed line, while Mexico City reinvents their entire bus system in three.  Willie “Da Mayor” Brown can do little more than joke about his fantastic ineptitude in fixing Muni.  And Scott Wiener still hasn't responded to my pleas to criminalize pedicures on the 14 Mission.

What can be done?

Meet Leap, the latest coddle libertarian startup that knows Muni's issues stems from our secret jealously of Google Buses:

Leap is a shuttle service for San Francisco commuters.

Leap is the best way to get to work. Our shuttles will take you downtown in the morning, and back home in the evening. Our first route, the Chestnut Express, services the Marina. We'll be adding more routes soon.

Promising “A Seat For Everyone,” a ride on Nu Muni will cost you $6 each way—assuming you own an iPhone and live on a profitable route.  Numi also only runs weekdays from “7:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM,” because those are the times everyone needs to ride the bus. (Sorry granny on a fixed income.)

We reached out to Greg Dewar of the N-Judah Chronciles for some initial thoughts on this stunning disruption of public transit:

This is going to blow up for a few reasons:

1. Just because it's not a Muni bus doesn't mean it can't get stuck in the same traffic Muni does.

2. If this amplifies the already existing problem of private buses at Muni stops, you can better believe MTA will crack down on them.

3. Their base cost is very high if they aren't using public power (like Muni does and is the only one that can). [Ed: never mind increased pollution from not being electric.]

4. It can't replace Muni. It only makes sense for them to run on lines that produce the most riders. They're not going to have these things in West Portal. It'll be a downtown thing to a few neighborhoods at best and even then there are insurance issues and rights of way issues.

5. It'll get a shitload of free press, it'll start up, and it will fail because they can't serve the entire city AND beat Muni. At best I see this as a snooty bus “system” that will leave most people still stranded.

We love it.  Ayn Rand's libertarian fantasy world is finally taking root in San Francisco.  Paul Ryan for mayor anyone?


[h/t Connie Hwong]

The Bold Italic Takes a Quick Break From Stereotyping Everyone to Ask Others to Stop Stereotyping Techies

The Bold Italic has built an empire lost their parent company Gannett Company, Inc. millions of dollars by pushing borderline racist listicles and backstories exploring our city's most tired stereotypes.  Now, their completely oblivious editor “producer” Jennifer Maerz has had it up to here with commonfolk stereotyping poor techies, goshdarnit!

According to Maerz, techies The Bold Italic's primary customers aren't making assault weapons (true!, kinda) and not every techie is a yuppie satan-spawn that would have been a Manhattanite financier if born a generation ago (true!, obviously), so let's cut them some slack and save our stereotypin' energy for Chinese people and everyone else in the city, okay?

She explains why you should get with the brogram:

I don't blame an entire industry (and every single person who works within it) for a city growing expensive, and I'm getting tired of hearing complaints from friends and strangers who make mass generalizations about people they likely have never met or worked with. I know we've done our own stereotyping on TBI of tech folks too, but our writers have approached the topic as parodies. It's hard watching the very serious hatred for people who have tech jobs grow stronger in posts and forums. It's not like these folks are making assault weapons for a living. Most of my friends who work in startups are helping build information systems that benefit universities, organize and label your iTunes music collections, and help get the bands you want to see to your city. You can't lump all tech work, or people using the medium to push out new ideas, as evil.

We completely agree.  Wholesale dismissal of people based on what employee badge they carry is a real poor idea.  And we know plenty of people who ride the shuttles and are perfectly bearable humans.  But the idea that the industry's occasional nobleness and lack of complete sameness makes it somehow off-limits to criticize its rampant racism, gender inequality and sexism, insularity and cronyism—never mind the widening inequality and and Republican tax policies it promotes—is completely baffling.

(Besides, should we not criticize bankers despite the fact their industry is by and large corrupt?)

Anyway, if the brogrammer apologists at The Bold Italic really want to stop techie stereotyping, maybe they should start with themselves?

Philz Coffee Raises $15-25m, Becomes a "Startup"

Whenever I read about local coffeeshop news in TechCrunch, I generally expect the news to not be good.  But in Philz' case, it might not actually be so bad.

According to TechCrunch, Philz raised over 3.75 million cups of Tesora worth of money to expand the 13-shop operation outside the Bay Area:

Today, Philz Coffee is adding some growth capital of its own. Although the company isn’t ready to disclose the exact amount, [Phil] Jaber says that the company has raised an eight-figure round that’s on the lower end of the spectrum. From what we can gather from sources, it appears to be in the $15 to $25 million range. The lead investor in the round is Summit Partners, and as a result of the firm’s investment, Summit Managing Director Greg Goldfarb will be taking a seat on the startup’s board of directors.

It's been a helluva story for Phil and his emerging startup.  Founded 25 years ago as a modest corner store at 24th and Folsom, he spent decades perfecting his secret coffee blends. Then in 2003, after decades of limited growth in the corner store market, Phil pivoted the company launched Philz Coffee in the same location.  Philz soon brought on rockstar Silicon Valley CEO “his son”, opened over a dozen more stores, and cemented partnerships with Virgin America and Facebook, giving the small neighborhood coffee house the totally reasonable $40-70 million dollar valuation they have today.

Of course, one of the best features of Philz was never the coffee itself, but rather his shop felt like the kind of welcoming, worn-in den that only an old artist would open.  How they'll be able to replicate that freewheeling culture which they've become know for across hundreds of stores remains to be seen.

[Photo by Ed Schipul]

Live in a Van Down By Mission Street

Because the San Francisco rental market is the fucking worst, one would-be mobile slumlord is hawking her sleeper van on Airbnb.

That's right, for just $520 a month (or $92 a night, if that's your sort of thing), you can call this cozy, street-level, rockin' one bedroom/personal Google shuttle your home.  Of course, there is no kitchen, closet, on-site parking, or place to crap (at least, legally)—and we're sure utilities will run a pretty penny—but it is only a third the cost of the city's immobile parking space-sized apartments.  So, you know, there's that.

Page describes her Stab City by the Bay home as such:

I have a 1990 Chevy Conversion van with only 45,000 miles. She runs great and has a cozy queen size van bed in the back and three captain's chairs, including the driver's. It has a clean record and gets pretty good gas mileage for a van.

The photos are verified by, so you know the joke isn't on them, only us.

[Airbnb, via Reddit]

Smashing The Google Bus

After much hype from the neighborhood's anti-capitalist sect, I expected the so-called anti-gentrification block party to be somewhat of a show.  Instead, all that could be found around 2:30 in the afternoon were roughly 30-40 people surrounding an open-mic, a dozen or so taking advantage of the free food situation, about a million cops stationed around the neighborhood, and no visible smashings of the Google Bus piñata.  The scent of sage was strong, but the revolution was falling short.

Eventually, the victims did string up the piñata to a makeshift fishing pole and beat it mercilessly.  But all that fell out was anticlimax, as soon after SFPD rolled in and busted up the party.

Anyway, I was really hoping someone would Vine this, but this twit pic will have to do.

[Photo by Pink Edge]