'Hacker hostels' let tech hopefuls snooze -- and schmooze

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From the outside, it looks like a typical California suburban home: garage, driveway, tidy yard. But walk down the path leading to the front door and you'll find your first clue that a traditional family of four does not live inside. On the front porch are dozens and dozens of pairs of men's shoes, all removed before entering in order to keep the house as tidy as possible.

When we knocked, Carlos De La Lama Noriega, the manager of the house, greeted us and welcomed us inside for a tour. The main living space was clean and airy with good natural light. But instead of a typical living room with a sofa, coffee table, and rug, it was furnished with long folding tables, rolling chairs, and roughly eight computer stations with busy tech entrepreneurs typing away. Welcome to Startup Embassy.