Today's story comes from Jacob Sayles, Office Nomads co-founder and partner with Susan Evans. Jacob is a software developer in Seattle, and telecommutes from his own coworking space. How cool is that!!!
I had been fantasizing about something like this for years and it took many forms. In its earlierst stages, it mostly resembled a coffee shop for coders. I wanted to offer reliable wifi, a conference room, white boards, printing, code repositories and file shares. The idea floated around in my head and I went about my regular life writing software.
It was late 2006 and I had put four years into my fourth startup and had hit that familiar place where we had outgrown my interest. Around 50 emplolyees, I had grown weary and we kept growing and were at 80 some. I took some time off and traveled around India over the holidays with my sister. While I was there I got clear that I needed something more challenging. When I returned to work I immediately started looking for a new job.
I found an exciting job on Craigslist and left my company in mid February 2007. The job was VP/Director of Technology for a small five-person company trying a new spin on the restaurant web space. I had been in the industry for 10 years but this was my first push into upper management. The real benefit to this job was that it gave me the opportunity to explain why I was leaving my current job in such a way no one could argue. I don't like burning bridges.
March was an interesting time. I quickly realized I didn't really want to further my software career. The new job was proving to be everything I didn't want in a job. Working out of a laptop bag was challenging and living with a parrot and 3 children meant working from home wasn't an option. Some friends of mine were bootstrapping a startup and asked me to join them. I didn't want to live on beans and rice again. Then they asked if I would help manage the warehouse they were in. I'd talked often of my dream and maybe this was a good opportunity. I ran some quick numbers and couldn't make it add up in any reasonable way so I declined.
Another opportunity came up when I talked to an old friend at a networking event. He had some space on the ground floor of a massage space he rented out and like my coffee shop idea. This really stressed the fact that I knew nothing about running a cafe. I decided to pass again, but recognized the fact that this idea kept falling back into my lap.