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A Founder’s Journey
Letter sent on Jun 6, 2016

Day 25: Thinking about moving to LA

After a great week in LA last week, I started thinking about moving to LA. I’ve always been a huge fan of California and have been wanting to move there for some time now. My wife is from San Diego and went to college in the Bay Area (she prefers northern CA). We always thought we’d end up in the Bay Area given the tech track I found myself on. But the timing has never really worked out and we’ve stayed in NYC for the last 14 years (10 years of which we’ve been together for).

Now that I’m starting a company and my wife is freelancing, there is nothing really keeping us in NYC. Add the fact that we’ll been manufacturing and fulfilling our jeans from LA and the decision seems like a no-brainer. But the decision isn’t as easy as that. My co-founder is tied to NYC and my wife still loves living in Brooklyn and her whole work network is here. So I’ve spent the last two days flip flopping in my mind about what to do. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Purely from a lifestyle and experiencing a new environment standpoint I’m all in for moving. I love the weather, the vibe, and the culture of Cali. We’ll have easier access to Hawaii, Asia, and other places I want to travel to. I’ll be able to get a car and go on road trips to national parks and other random places. And we’ll just get to experience a new environment, people and places — something we love to do.

On the business side the question is less about whether it’s better to be where we are manufacturing, and more about how we want to build our team and culture. I recently gave a talk at Wash U’s business school in St. Louis on how to launch and build a startup. One of the main things I focused on was the importance of setting a team culture and staying true to it as you build the company. The central question for us is do we want to have a team where everyone is in the same place or are we ok with a distributed team structure. There are examples of companies that have had great success building teams either way. On the distributed side, Automatic, whose runs WordPress, is one of the most talked about companies that has 100% of their team remote and distributed. Another, not so extreme example, is Kayak which started with both co-founders in different areas of the country (one in Boston and the other in NYC area) that grew separate teams in each office. On the other hand, I’ve spent the last 6 years at a company where having everyone in the same office was extremely important to building our team culture and our success as a company. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It has to do with the relationship of the co-founders, their leadership and management style, their personal situations and preferences, and how they decided they want to build and recruit their team.

Our lease ends 8/31 and we have to let our management company know by the end of June if we are going to renew or not. I’m just as curious as you find out how and what we decide….

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