Fancy VISITING a breeding ground for UNICORNS? Visit CALIFORNIA – and take your START-UP to the NEXT level.
Collective Hub founder, Lisa Messenger, recently hit San Francisco and shares all her fave haunts and go-tos
As an entrepreneur, it’s extraordinary that, until recently, one of the places that I’d not yet visited in all of my globetrotting was San Francisco. And having recently returned, I can’t imagine for the life of me just why it took so long. In 2017, at a pivotal time for Collective Hub (see my Ed’s letter!) I flew to Silicon Valley to attend the Dreamforce conference, a global gathering of trailblazers held by Salesforce, on a working holiday (thanks Air New Zealand and Visit California!).
For the longest time people have asked me, ‘Would you move stateside?’ and my answer has always been no. But San Francisco had a different effect on my partner and I while we were there. On day three we looked at each other and said, “We could definitely live here…”
The energy was electric – probably heightened by the Dreamforce conference (guests like Michelle Obama and Ashton Kutcher will do that!). Everywhere we went there were conversations buzzing around innovation and disruption. But there’s far more to the surrounding area than Google’s shiny headquarters. Here were my fave haunts and top picks:
SEEK OUT SONOMA
A legacy in sustainable tourism, Sonoma wine country was one of the highlights of my trip (even as a non-drinker!). It has more than 425 wineries, miles of rugged coastline, and national parks. We stayed at the Farmhouse Inn, an incredible location created by siblings and fifth-generation locals Joe and Catherine Bartolomei.
In need of an inspiring place to work? I took my laptop to Shed in Healdsburg, a unique market, café and community gathering space on a farm, designed to bring us closer to the way we grow, prepare and share food.
Need bizspiration? In 2018, Gundlach Bundschu, California’s oldest familyowned and operated winery, celebrates its 160th year of business. During our visit, more than 7000 buildings in California had been affected by wildfires, but the locals’ hope and optimism was incredible. Visit sonomavalley.com for more info.
EXERCISE LIKE THE GREATS
There are stories of founders meeting their future investors in the changing rooms of SoulCycle. While I’m not able to guarantee a chance encounter, from my first class I was completely hooked on the unbelievable fitness fix. With nine locations around Northern California alone, including Palo Alto, everything about their studios is inspiring, from the décor to the instructors and participants.
Last year at SoulCycle in San Mateo, female Silicon Valley-based founders and workers took part in a special class to bring awareness to gender inequality and sexual harassment. Put together by venture capitalist Tim Draper, the women wore superhero costumes as they spun.
Want personal coaching? According to local chatter, San Francisco’s hottest fitness gurus are Polish couple Jerzy and Aniela Gregorek – world-record-holding weightlifters whose clients include angel investor Naval Ravikant, Adobe executive Taylor Barada, and author Tim Ferriss (disclaimer: they’re not easy to bag an appointment with).