Salesforce launched an incubator for startups. It is a similar proposition to the Socialtext Coworking space, but has a cost for the startup and is structured as a partnership program. A BusinessWeek article interviewed me about it:
The corporate wiki firm Socialtext, for instance, just took on more office space in Palo Alto, but isn't using it all yet. So it's offering some of it to software developers who will write open-source wiki software that supports Socialtext's and other companies' wiki software.
"Real estate is the leading cause of death for startups," notes Socialtext CEO Ross Mayfield. "This is sort of a commune for nerds." That's the vibe Salesforce will need to create if it wants to hatch its vision of a new software industry.
I think I said geek instead of nerd, but no matter. And I stand by my fear of real estate not being put to use effectively.
We started Socialtext virtually, and most of the company remains distributed. When we got our first office space over two years into the company, we had some extra room. So we hosted the first Barcamp and gave space for Podtech and Mozes to get started. Now we have some new room next door and the coworking practice (check out coworking spaces in a town near you) provides a more unstructured way of opening the door to others. A couple of folks stop by and cowork regularly now and the we just finished the noisy construction. If you are ever in downtown Palo Alto, just stop by.