Moving to Vallejo | #Vallejo4Treps


Note: this piece is part of a Media in Education  project.  Taking a deeper look into why Ray’s company moved from co-working in San Francisco to becoming a part of and radically changing the landscape creating a co-working and co-living hub for artists in Vallejo and Walnut Creek. You can see and read more about our mission at also check out the facebook page Vallejo4Treps

Let me attempt to indulge in the feeling that is San Francisco; like opening your eyes and shaking off a Vanilla Sky kinda dream, I was now leaving behind a foggy and increasingly over priced city for bootstrapin’ treps’ and  the emerging clarity and light that was the Vallejo Ferry Building and the City of Vallejo.



San Francisco is known for the incredibly expansive Golden Gate through its skyline, but in the last 11 months I’ve gotten to know another expanding presence in the city by the bay.  I moved my company to a co-working space in San Francisco because I wanted to build a tech company, and San Francisco is Rome in the Roman Age.  San Francisco is  home to amazing sights, incredible dining; but I came because I wanted to be surrounded by people who were trying to build companies like I was. I wanted to be around peers and like minded people.  Regularity was becoming a must as I tried to be comfortable in being a trep’ in SF.  Despite having run my own business for nearly 10 years;  I was selling my franchises to start my  new venture and was nervous.  Franchises are like security blankets for wanna be treps’.   To recover from this I took the safest route and went to the city that makes entrepreneurs welcome.

When I arrived, there were meetups I rsvp’d to, lunches scheduled, and was happily located in one of many co-working spaces which are on every street corner filled with wanna be .com Millionaires. I spent my days working on my startup and talking to other people about theirs, I spent my nights at office buildings and hotels with coffee and cookies.  I was one of many in a crowd saying they want to be different however then our actions being conventional. I dreamt of building a notable company providing services to thousand and then millions.

it made me zen like, almost.

Lots of Kool aid sippin’ goin on;  There were a lot of other techies feverishly building what they perceive to be a game changer.  I was fortunate to have received tons of support and mentorship in the past and was now ready to take this knowledge out on my own.  Finally things were coming together.

leading to an unconventional path

vallejo 2

But this was all a part of that Vanilla Sky Dream that I spoke of , it became like a mental fog (not just the city fog) that covered my day to day routine. Everything started to become obvious. I was spending all of my time with people who were working away at companies that had no chance of revenues anytime in the near future. Every event, every conversation drew me further into the kool aid drinking crowd and the limbo of startup failure. I was embarrassed to tell people what I did for a living, I started reading books about how to be successful, again, and, worst of all, I felt all I really needed to do was put my head down and get to work.

I don’t want to be comfortable

People including my self  seemed very caught up in what others were doing.  So… it kinda seems like bullshit to crowd together and fantasize about being successful entrepreneurs when by a general standard, entrepreneurs are not a part of herds.  “Everything is different and I need to act different.”   I said this to myself everyday as I wake up.  Trying to compare successes, running to join the heard, this was all more of the same, and this needed to stop. I had to identify new opportunities and “hack the game” in a new way because the old loopholes have already been monopolized.

So I took my company and left San Francisco and moved to Vallejo.

It took us time to figure it out and it made me nervous, at first. I gave up access to a lot of things which people insist really matter but I concluded don’t really matter. Now I sit  perched outside of the echo chamber. Without all of the noise; with a nice walk around the bay I find it easier to imagine the next disruption.

Vallejo is diverse in all the ways that the San Francisco tech scene has become indistinguishable. People outside of the city started challenging me on why my idea mattered to the world and why it was worth anyone’s time; not quizzing me about what VCs I was talking to or what valuation I was going for. It’s made it easier to think about and independently, instead of trying to force it into the boxes of other startups’ successes. We’re still shipping product and signing up customers faster than ever, but we’ve dropped the cookie cutter approach. #Vallejo4treps

moving made me uncomfortable – and it felt so good

The community in Vallejo is young, it’s fresh, it’s small, and incredibly diverse. There are still a lot of  events, the conversations are so much more interesting, and the company so much more diverse.vallejo to sf I couldn’t have articulated the problem while I was in San Francisco, but I could feel it seeping into my everyday decisions about the company, and I knew that I needed some air. On the Vallejo side I’ve started breathing and the clarity is astounding.

We left the fog of San Francisco behind, but we also left the cloud of comfort and bullshit.

I’ve moved to Vallejo.

If you like this, follow me @RayRenk and check out the other posts in this project at

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