Last Call!

Sadly saying goodbye to a community.

Joe Maruschak
4 min readJul 15, 2021

The past fews weeks have been bittersweet. Things are opening up post covid. I had some people over for drinks and the grilling of steaks. It was great to hang out face to face, but I could not shake the feeling that this was good-bye and that I would never see them again.

After 11 years of working to help grow the startup community in Eugene, Oregon, I have gotten to the point where although I love the work, it is not sustainable personally.

I started out helping startups with the idea that I would find an opportunity. I was thinking at the time I would find a startup to join and help grow.

My career path took a detour from doing startups to becoming a startup community builder. I ended up either starting or working with several organizations that helped not just one, but several startup companies, and in the process, made friends with, and supported, hundreds of entrepreneurs.

I have been in Oregon for 28 years. I have lived here longer than any other place. Although I was not born here, I have come to consider this my home.

But, I have stopped growing, and I have been finding it difficult to put together enough work that does not make my life a collection of endless side hustles. It is time for me to move on.

I had decided to make this leap in the winter of 2019, but 2020 had other plans than a free ranging grand adventure. I instead took time to think about what I wanted to do, and I know myself better now than I did then. I have a clearer idea of where I want to eventually end up, but do not yet have a clear plan to put it into action, or, more precisely, I do not have an idea of how to put it into action and continue to cover the cash burn of my current situation.

Once we move, we will reduce our monthly spend quite a bit, and without having to worry about being near, and managing a ‘house’, I can free up my brain to come up with a longer term plan that gets me to where I want to be.

Half of the people reading this who know me well will respond to this with a “NO, We don’t want you to leave!” with the other half already queuing up the text messages that will all say “about F*#@ing time!” (and probably a few silent ‘good riddance’ sentiments thrown in).

So, this is the last call. We have not set a date but we are going to be selling the house and moving at the end of the summer. The first stop will be in NJ, but this will be a temporary situation as we regroup, reset, and chart the new path.

I am not opposed to staying here in Eugene, but I personally have exhausted all the paths that I could see and done what I could to make that happen — I was not able to find a way to make it work. I have a couple of conversations going that might pan out, but I am putting the likelihood of a scenario that keeps me in Eugene at less than 10%. If anyone has any ideas, NOW is the time.. My assumption is that there may not be a solution, and I have accepted that reality.

If you want to meet face to face with me before I leave the state, send me an email and we can set up a time.

We will be hosting not quite a party and not quite a garage sale. I think we are going to call it the “Great whisky tasting and gear swap”, where one day I will be hanging out and giving away stuff that we will no longer need (garden implements, furniture, etc.) and have people help me whittle down my scotch collection a bit. Donations for ‘stuff’ we are giving away will gladly be accepted, but the goal is just to say good-bye to everyone and find a good home for all the stuff we don’t want to spend money moving.

It will be, hopefully, a way to get at least some sort of closure to this chapter in my life, and to celebrate it with those with whom I shared the last few decades of my life with.

As to what is next?

I know that I need to be doing something like what I was doing at RAIN — mentoring and helping startups or growing businesses. This could be as the Managing Director of an accelerator, doing portfolio support work at a fund or a venture studio, or something similar.

If anyone knows of an opening that might be a good match for my skills, please contact me.

I am exploring becoming a coach, as it is a good fit for my skills, but that is going to take some time to get rolling, and I will continue to explore this avenue as a possible future.

If nothing comes together in terms of a ‘job’ and if the coaching work does not take off, I may have a startup in my future. Without the looming pressure of trying to figure out a way to make $ to support the life I have, I will have downsized quite a bit, and as a result, given myself time and breathing room to work a bit more on my ideas to make them more ‘real’, and be in a better position to make them a reality.

I will leave much as I arrived.. a car, a few cats, a little bit of cash, the girl of my dreams by my side, and with an expectation that whatever the future holds, it will be an adventure.



Joe Maruschak

Entrepreneur and Investor with a background in games Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL). Follow me on Twitter!