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Silicon Valley elite build a private club to make them feel special

Silicon Valley elite build a private club to make them feel special


Finally, the Menlo Park plutocracy will have a room of their own

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The Bay Area needs another place for techies to hang out like it needs another tweetstorm, but we're in for more of both. Early next year, Menlo Park will be home to the Cuckoo's Nest, an invite-only play pen that already counts billionaire Mark Cuban and billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper as members.

According to Draper, Silicon Valley could do a better job catering to founders, who can barely locate one another and have no other way to enjoy the company of like-minded individuals:

"The Valley does not have a place where entrepreneurs can find each other and hang out at," Draper says in a club e-mail soliciting new members, breathlessly titled, "CONFIDENTIAL." He went on to describe The Cuckoo’s Nest as the "perfect vision and perfect spot to make this happen."

The Cuckoo's Nest will be "minutes away" from the headquarters of Facebook, Google, and Tesla. Members will pay $2,500 a year for the privilege and membership will be capped at 1,200.

Fortune says the goal is "a techie version of the business clubs of yesteryear." But the people building the future may not prefer the social structures of the past. Two previous attempts to build private social clubs for founders—The Battery in San Francisco and 41 Ocean in Santa Monica—have fizzled out, and fairly recently.

Keep dreaming, cuckoos

You wouldn't know it from the Cuckoo's Nest website. In a bit of premature myth-making, the club has already penned its own "lore" that makes building a for-profit enterprise sound like a highway to the danger zone:


The inspiration for Ken Kesey's book — One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest — came in the early 1960s while working the night shift at the Menlo Park Veterans Hospital on Willow Road in Menlo Park. "The patients were not insane, they just did not fit the conventional idea of how people are supposed to act," he observed. Another local, Steve Jobs, took this observation a step further, "The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." In this spirit, the Cuckoo’s Nest is reserved for disruptive founders and CEOs, risk-taking venture investors, and other distinguished champions of the entrepreneur.

In its lengthy "values & benefits" manifesto, the Cuckoo's Nest also upgraded "change the world" to "dream about a better universe":

The Cuckoo’s Nest is the ultimate indoor/outdoor dining, drinking, and special events venue for disruptive entrepreneurs and artists. The Club offers its members a casual and creative environment to meet, collaborate, build businesses, and dream about a better universe.

The two other private clubs targeting the tech set launched in early 2013. When Business Insider stopped by The Battery in July, "the bar was surprisingly empty." The bar has been surprisingly empty every time they let me in the door as well. This June, Beachmint CEO Josh Berman told Recode not to stop by 41 Ocean because it was "already over." Berman should know, he cofounded the club.