As I have weaved all over San Francisco on my bicycle this year, I have had the chance to meet some awesome people and see their inspiring workplaces.
Since this is the time of the year we think back on the year that was, I thought I would take the opportunity to show you the best of the San Francisco startup scene from my lens.
I hope you enjoy the list, and let us know if you work in a cool office space in San Francisco that you want to mention.
While I spent time looking out at several views of downtown, the Bay Bridge, and AT&T Park there was one view that was better than all of them. The rooftop deck at StarMaker Studios was my definite favorite. You just cannot beat a rooftop like this in the Mission District on a nice day in my opinion. President Nathan Sedlander does a nice job of featuring this as a benefit to working for their company. If you know where the Slow Club is, you might be able to find this place.
I had to separate the best view category from the best deck category as I felt I needed both. Sometimes the best view doesn’t always come with a deck. That said, my favorite view this year was from ReTargeter’s new space at 33 New Montgomery. Their view from the 11th floor really captures the essence of working in downtown San Francisco.
My favorite collaborative office for this year was at Rally.org. Interestingly enough they do embrace Pair Programming as well. I had been to the Osha across the way on 2nd Street countless times. I never really paid attention to the building directly across the street, but got the chance to visit them in November. A really awesome group of people with a very collaborative space.
Bonus points for Rally…they have my favorite kitchen so far too. Perhaps that will be a category in itself for 2012:)
This one was close, and I had to end it in a tie. The two most comfortable spaces on our list have a common thread: you could literally live in both of them.
From the moment I stepped into their office on 10th Street, I felt at ease. MemSQL has done a tremendous job of creating a space where their team can feel at home while they work. CEO Eric Frenkiel has paid attention to all of the details in crafting their space.
The other space that felt the most comfortable to me was the home of ZeroCater. When I visited their office, I quickly learned that they were based in a house on Waller Street in San Francisco. The telling factor that it was their office was the orange Y-Combinator sign in the window. When I entered you could see the comfort as CTO Bill Moorier worked away with his feet up (seen in the photo below too!).
This one was a no-brainer for me. While many people would likely not agree, my pick is the Storek Building. I made it to two Ruby Meetups there this summer, and loved the open warehouse feel. I returned this past week to see a complete remodel fn the lower level. It is complete with new offices, foosball, ping-pong, and a gourmet kitchen. My favorite part of the entire space is the open, mezzanine level where companies like Iron.io get the chance to work.
And another view of the classic Storek Building from the exterior.
Best Co-Working Space
I had the opportunity to visit co-working spaces such as Dogpatch Labs (Pier 38), RocketSpace, Sandbox Suites, SOMAcentral, and The Summit. I likely woud have voted for Pier 38 as the best space, but the untimely demise at the hands of the city of San Francisco has ruled them out. My winner for this category is pariSoma. It’s not because it is a fancy place to work. It’s because there is a “get it done” attitude in the building, and some awesome bootstrapped entrepreneurs rolling up their sleeves there. It doesn’t hurt that they organize lots of events, including classes on brewing beer.
Flat Out Awesomeness
I had to supply at least one photo of Klout’s office at 77 Stillman. Not only is CTO Binh Tran one of the most hospitable people I have met, they have also created one of my absolute favorite spaces in San Francisco. You can check it out too as they open their doors frequently for hackers to come by on beer nights.
San Francisco Rocks
Okay, so I am a little partial because I live and work in San Francisco. Not to mention, I love it in the city. That said, I have also lived in other cities across the United States. I just don’t believe anyone captures the vibrance and creativity of entrepreneurship like San Francisco does.
And I would be remiss if I did not show at least one photo of our very own HQ for Ongig. We are a team of 3 working away in the Mission District. How can it not be one of my favorites?
We would love to hear from you about which office spaces are your favorites in the city and why. Make a comment or drop us a line.
Here’s to an awesome 2011, and to the future in 2012!