Code.Coffee.Cows: Out of the Office and Into the Pasture

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This is the first post in my new weekly column for North Bay Startup. So why the name: Code.Coffee.Cows? Everyone has been asking me that question, and the answer is simple.

I was trying to think of the best way to describe what it feels like to be working as an entrepreneur in the online technology sector here in Sonoma County. The first idea that came to mind was wine — after all, this is the “Wine Country” now famous the world over. But honestly, I don’t drink wine often and if I do, it’s off-hours. The next idea that came to mind was coffee. I work at coffeehouses and drink lattes all the time. Then I thought, OK, what am I surrounded by in this area if not grape vines (which certainly are everywhere)?

Suddenly it hit me: cows! Yes, we have a lot of cows in Sonoma County. And everyone in this area is familiar with the laugh-out-loud ad billboards by Clover dairy farms. If you’re lucky, you can even smell the manure out in the fields.

So there you go. Code.Coffee.Cows: living as a high-tech entrepreneur in the coastal farmlands of Sonoma County. My new column.

OK, now what will I be talking about in my column? Today it’s all about something I think affects a lot of us North Bay techies. We got a bad case of inferior-itis. All the world’s attention is just 60 miles or so south of us. I just recently heard Santa Rosa called in a national newspaper a “cheese” town. Yeah, maybe it said wine too, but all I saw was cheese. Cheese? I think there’s just a little bit more going on around here than Sonoma Jack. Not that there’s anything wrong with Sonoma Jack. Or cheddar.

But seriously, we’re trying our best. We’re reading TechCrunch every day. We’re up on the latest HTML5/jQuery/CSS3/mobile/tablet/cloud lingo. We’re skyping and texting and tweeting with people all over the world. We’re inventing products, honing services, and building companies. We’re getting work done, contributing to our flatlined economy, making the planet a better home, and taking time to pet kittens and smell flowers along the way. We’re cool too! Why do you have to have an address that starts with Palo and ends with Alto to get some respect around here?!?!

All right, I admit maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the one with an inferiority complex. So why don’t I find the way to San Jose and ditch this wine’n'cheese town?

Because I like the people, the weather, the easy-going pace, the scenery, the 15 minute drive to the Russian River, the quiet neighborhoods, the lack of outrageous traffic — er, well, it’s still not as bad as down there — and the wine and the cheese, dangit! I don’t want to move down to Silicon Valley and get trapped in the rat race. I like my friends here who are the most generous and sincere people you would ever want to meet. And I want to raise a family in a place where there’s still some organic dirt to sink your toes into just a short walk away.

So, Silicon Valley, you may have Mark Zuckerberg and Marc Andreesen and Om Mailk in your midst, but I’ll settle for my Robert Mondavi and Guy Ferarri, enjoy some garlic fries and a bottle of Zin tonight, and get back to coding tomorrow. And coffee. And cows.

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Comments 1

  1. In a recent Y Combinator interview with Zuck, he expressed that he now wouldn’t move to Silicon Valley because it’s such a “short term” mindset… and it has people starting companies without really knowing what they’re passionate about.

    All that’s to say, I think your spot on in sticking with SoCo!!

    Joshua R. Simmons on October 30, 2011 as 11:49 am