This weekend, the New York Times dropped its latest hate-read in the section that has slowly but surely supplanted Styles as the paper’s go-to dumping ground for trend pieces that make the 0.1% feel less alone and the 99.9% rage-sob over their student loan bills: Real Estate. Just in case knowing that “millennial communes” exist isn’t bad enough, we’ve unearthed* an early email from the co-founder of just such a business — before all the venture funding got to his head. Fascinating stuff.
Remember the other night, when we were wondering what to do with our lives after B-school? I had another one of my gym shower epiphanies this morning — shower thoughts have nothing on gym shower thoughts — and I think I’ve got it. Andreessen Horowitz won’t know what hit ’em.
What if I told you there’s a way to take the part of city apartment living that is objectively the absolute worst and make people pay extra for it? That people’s sense of value is so whacked out in the age of teen apartment buyers and fitness-cult IPOs that all it takes is a little startup jargon and a lot of overinflated salaries to ~*disrupt the urban lifestyle space*~? (See what I mean about the jargon?)
I’m talking, of course, about roommates. “But wait,” you say, “isn’t it a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man — or woman — in possession of a good fortune must be in want of an apartment all to themselves?” That’s so old economy of you, dude. Sure, some people would probably pay top dollar to never send a passive-aggressive text about dishes again, but those people are probably, like, baby boomers.
Every snake person needs a den, and everyone knows millennials travel in packs. So it shouldn’t be too hard to convince a bunch of them to pay a few thousand dollars extra to live with people who’re young and rich like them. We won’t put it that way on the website, of course; we’ll just use a euphemism. “Like-minded individuals” has a nice ring to it, right? I think my parents’ country club has the same phrase in its mission statement!
Basically, we’ll make living with six to 12 strangers sound less like nightmare memoir fodder and more like a service. We’ll need a better name for the business than “a pricey apartment,” so I was thinking we could sell it as something like “a dorm, but for non-college students” or “a commune, but a for-profit business.” That might eliminate anyone who’s ever been inside a college dorm and/or knows what a commune is, but those aren’t our target demos anyway.
We’ll throw on the usual amenities, like ping-pong table and yoga classes. If that can make people at Google forget they’re at work, it’ll definitely make our customers (sorry, “community members”) forget that they have no lease and therefore no housing security! In fact, we can even sell it as a benefit. You say “tomato,” I say “the ability to move out whenever you want is worth $4,000 a month!”
It sounds insane, but the last ten years have proven that New Yorkers with money to burn will do pretty much anything short of, well, literally burning it. They’ll buy multiple apartments within miles of each other. They’ll decorate their living room like this. For Christ’s sake, they’ll decide the Upper East Side is cool again! There’s clearly money to be made here.
Let me know if you want in. Anyway, I sure hope you are, because I already sent a press release to the NYT.
* Read: dreamed up.