A few days ago I met Chris Michel for coffee. It is our semi-regular monthly catch up to discuss life, photography and occasionally, technology. Often we meet in one of the coffee shops – Blue Bottle, Sightglass or Viva La Tarte. But this time, I trekked it out to Noe Valley, at a place called Douglas. It is called Douglas because it has an exposed Douglas Fir wood beam which is a common building material in San Francisco’s period buildings. (More about Douglas at SF Eater.)
It is a charming little cafe and neighborhood corner store. Not only does it serve Heart Coffee (nerds in the know approve), Song Tea and lots of baked goods, wine and many products from artisanal (and local) brands. In other words, a great comfortable and lovely location befitting its neighborhood.
The cafe is the brainchild of two techies — Michael Molesky and Maggie Spicer. Michael was the chief operating officer of LiveRail, an ad-tech company that was acquired by Facebook for a rumored $500 million, and later shut down the business. I knew him through my former colleagues at GigaOm, while Maggie is known to me because of her work as a designer. Michael is also running Marker, places oriented startup as well.
Douglas as about half a dozen employees and are looking for more. They have created a social hub for the neighborhood and I was excited to be sitting in a location that felt social — in real life. What a sharp contrast from Bodega, that startup company that essentially wanted to put the corner stores out of business. Not all techies are created equal, after all.
November 23, 2018, San Francisco.
Photos under permission and courtesy of Christopher Michel Photography