Caffeinating Sand Hill Road

Having a business on Sand Hill Road just opens up all sorts of possibilities to fledgling entrepreneurs.

Close proximity to a boatload of venture capital means that your brick-and-mortar may actually qualify for some of it, IF you can prove you have the right vision and strategy.

Case in point?  Blue Bottle Coffee.

The minimalist décor of a Blue Bottle café in Oakland, Calif. Courtesy of Clay McLachlan/

The minimalist décor of a Blue Bottle café in Oakland, Calif.
Courtesy of Clay McLachlan/

If you roast it, will they come?

Evidently.  In droves.

Venture capitalists love the next big thing. And hordes of caffeine-starved fans spell lots of $$$. But note that this isn’t a tech company.  There’s no app. It’s an EXPERIENCE. No ambiance to speak of…the cafes are very minimalist and bare, there is not a large assortment of supplemental products offered to customers (e.g. CDs, travel mugs, Kind Bars or cake pops)…no, it’s the consistency and quality that have raised millions of dollars in seed funding to bring a unique coffee experience to aficionados.

Like Apple, Blue Bottle assumes that the best customer experience is one in which all of the hard decisions have been made—correctly—in advance. (Genius Barista by Will Oremus, Slate).

You won’t find a Blue Bottle café on the corner of every metropolitan street or avenue.  The name is not ubiquitous.  Each café has its own look, nonconformist in layout but still comfortable and down to earth.  The exterior doesn’t scream GET YOUR COFFEE, HERE!!!  It’s quietly cool…muted.

But investors are taking notice.  It’ll be interesting to see how much the Blue Bottle vision changes over time as more and more money gets thrown at the venture.  Will they go mainstream?  Time will tell.

Scoring The Holy Grail…Must Channel Your Inner Indiana Jones!!

I read a lot of interviews in Entrepreneur magazine.  A LOT.  If you haven’t already picked up on this, I am obsessed with all things start-up, Silicon Valley and innovative.  Unfortunately, my own endeavors led to one pile of handbags and a second, larger pile of debt.  But I’m still an entrepreneur…and as such, I need to keep learning.

Successful start-up CEOs all share unique war stories about the roads they traveled to attain their good fortune, ways to thwart the most ominous pitfalls, and creative ways of bringing an idea to market and creating perceived value and demand for a product or service.

But there are certain sound bytes that stay consistent across the board.

1.  You’ve gotta be willing to take the risk.  It’s going to cost a boatload of money and time, and knock downs are going to HURT but the only way for you to be really hungry is to put yourself in a place where you HAVE to succeed.  Desperation makes us do crazy things, things we’re advised NOT to do in business school.   Be like Indiana Jones.  Keep your eye on the prize and go after it, no matter what.  Go rogue.  You may crash and burn, but if you take the beatings it could turn out to be very lucrative for you in the end.

Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso: ‘Wisdom is Earned Through Experience, Particularly Mistakes.’

2.  Keep moving, thinking, creating.  Don’t stick to one idea…as you learn, you have to evolve.  You may end up with a better result than you initially anticipated.  Keep thinking out of the box.  Continue to learn and absorb.  Always strive to become BETTER.

3.  Be smart with your funds!  Make a financial plan and stick to it!  Ohhh, this one is sure to aggravate my Hubby and I’m going to hear an earful later since he still hasn’t forgiven me for my reckless spending on Krina, but hey, we live and we learn.

I keep telling him not to worry about the debt.  One day, I’ll be on a bestseller list and then I’ll be able to pay it all back and take a nice long vacay to celebrate!

Help Me Celebrate The Upcoming Launch Of Unlikely Venture!

Unlikely Venture, Fall 2014

Yay!  I’m officially kicking off launch preparations for Unlikely Venture this Fall! Help me celebrate by entering the celebratory giveaway!  For a Facebook like, A Twitter follow or a Booktropolous Social friend request, you get a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Click Here For A Chance To Win A $25 Amazon Gift […]

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Oh To Be Young And In Love….But When Is It Ever That Simple?

Courtesy of

I love stumbling upon a great book, one that draws me in immediately, one that I cannot put down, one that elicits both tears and laughter.  As authors, we strive to bring this experience to readers.  Ryan Ringbloom seems to have it down to a science. I read Panic on the heels of Flaw, my very first […]

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Are You Creating Something Disruptive? If Not, Get Back To The Drawing Board!


I’m a lot of things.  Patient is not one of them.  And it cost a boatload of cash for me to realize that rushing toward the finish line without a solid pair of running shoes is the surest way NOT to win the race. You see, back when I decided that I was going to […]

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Does Anyone Out There Brainstorm About Creating The Next Big Thing?

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Here’s a question, how many of you sit around and brainstorm new company ideas at the beach while drinking “lemonade” with your friends?  Okay, the beach and lemonade are my own additions.  Feel free to hypothesize wherever you want. But back to the company ideas… Is this something you find intriguing?  Trying to figure out […]

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Desperately Channeling My Inner Chi

We got some really distressing news this morning about the child of a close friend who was just diagnosed with leukemia. But yet we let our own kids continue to haunt us all day, because we ARE only human and the stress just made us snap. But the stress of what exactly? Contending with three […]

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Not All Silicon Valley Execs Dress Like Zuckerberg

Kurt Geiger Sandals

I got a new pair of KG Kurt Geiger sandals today.  They’re HOT…like if you touch them, your finger will sizzle HOT. I tried them on, teetered around the kitchen and wondered if my current heroine Avery might sport them.  Although anyone who knows me would imagine that ALL heroines I create would share my […]

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A Knife-Wielding Lunatic Is On The Loose In My Neighborhood…I Bet He’s Got A Pretty Dark Backstory

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I’m officially stuck.  I’ve written exactly 6 pages of Venture Forward and…screeching halt!  Why?  Because although my hero fascinates me, I don’t know where the hell I’m going with his story.  I’ve played the “What If” game for DAYS and nothing!  But this is my normal process.  I just write, sometimes hitting 100 pages before […]

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Why Write Romance? Is It An Escape Or A Revival?


Relationships are hard.  That’s a shocking revelation, right?  They take work and dedication and tremendous amounts of patience, every day.  There’s never a break.  Most times, I’m happy to say things with Hubby click.  But on occasion, the edges fray a little and bickering ensues.  Chalk that one up to two stubborn Type As, lack […]

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