You Take A Picture & Post It…On The Line. Let’s Call It….Exchange-O-Gram!

The Internship is my current favorite movie.  The first time I watched it, I was really tired and had way too much wine so I didn’t fully appreciate the humor.

The movie has some classic scenes, but this one is my fave.  I got such a chuckle when I watched it earlier that I needed to share with all of you!  If you don’t see any other part of this movie, watch the clip.  Hysterical!

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m SO intrigued by the Google campus.  I’ve never had the pleasure of a visit but fortunately, I got an inside view today.  Pretty cool digs, huh?

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Would You Please Sign My Kindle??

Okay, I spend a lot of time covering ideas that others have but here’s one I’ve mulled over…

People love autographed copies of books, especially books they actually enjoyed reading.  But how does that work if your library is in electronic form and all of your books are downloaded to a Kindle or Nook?

No hard copy to treasure and pass on to your kids?  Or to eBay if the author is(gets) really famous?? =)

There are many varieties of autograph apps out there but I haven’t seen something specifically compatible for the e-readers. Wouldn’t it be great to bring your device to a book signing? Or have an author gift you an electronically signed copy of their bestselling book, Unlikely Venture? (Wink, wink).

Sign with your finger and BAM! You’ve got digital swag!!!

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/Claypix.com

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

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!

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 Card!

Unlikely Venture, Fall 2014

Unlikely Venture, Fall 2014

Unlikely Venture Synopsis

Here’s the thing about keeping secrets…they can only protect you for so long before threatening to destroy everything you hold dear.

Meet Jessica Latham:  a bright, sassy, workaholic with a penchant for plunging necklines and Christian Louboutin stilettos.  She has her dream job at the top management consulting firm in Manhattan, but it is coupled with the daily nightmare of an overbearing and demeaning boss who consistently undermines her abilities and challenges her at every turn.

And that’s the least of her problems.

Devastating news threatens her livelihood and sends her fiancé running for the hills without so much as a backward glance.  Newly single and fearful about her future, she focuses on work to escape the looming uncertainty…until a moment of weakness changes everything.  During a night tinged with one too many glasses of chardonnay, she meets Paul Emerson, a mysterious stranger who becomes an eager and willing participant in Jessica’s efforts to finally regain some control of her life.

It was supposed to be an isolated incident, something she subconsciously needed to restore her confidence and clear her head.  But what Jessica soon realizes is that taking control doesn’t always mean she is actually the one in control and things don’t always turn out as planned.

After being awarded a coveted opportunity at work, Jessica thought she was headed for a much-deserved promotion and some degree of stability.  But she didn’t anticipate meeting James Callahan, MIT-graduate-turned-start-up-CEO and she certainly didn’t expect for Paul to walk back into her life.  The internal struggle intensifies when threats to her future resurface.  Her worlds collide when everything Jessica thought was important is pitted against everything she wants for the future and she needs to quickly get her head and her heart in sync before somebody gets hurt.

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

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 encounter with New Adult author, Ryan Ringbloom. And while I loved everything about Flaw, Panic is on an entirely different plane. I haven’t been held captive to a book like this in a very long time. I laughed, I cried, I empathized, I cried some more – I was completely engrossed in the characters, their experiences and interactions. They were so real, relatable and endearing. My heart broke for them in times of despair and I felt uplifted by their happiness and excitement.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

The book is broken into two parts and is told from the points of views of four characters whose lives intertwine in quite an unexpected way.  At least, it was unexpected for me.  When I finally realized the final direction, I was on line at GameStop.  My audible gasp resulted in more than a few curious stares from the geeky gamer crew (I say this with affection since I write about the geeky gamer crew).  I had to fight back tears while the incredibly concerned cashier tried to comfort me.

I really enjoyed the way this story unfolds, how the relationships develop between these couples. Ryan has a real talent for delivering a riveting tale through the eyes of multiple storytellers. She gives us as readers eyes into the souls of the fictional characters that she’s worked so carefully to craft.

No words I can write will do this book justice. Panic is an excellent read, one that I’m so grateful to have found. Ryan, you really have a wonderful gift. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

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 design the next “IT” handbag, I needed to jump in with both feet, break both ankles and crash down on my knees before realizing that a bit of education and feedback might get me a hell of a lot farther than throwing an awful lot of borrowed money toward my dream.

Why was I in such a rush?

Nobody had a bullet to my head.  I never stopped to research, didn’t bother to have any informational interviews with success stories.  I NEVER considered getting feedback about the designs.  Why WOULDN’T someone want to buy a Krina handbag?  Best Italian leathers, trendy looks, fabulous colors, celebrity endorsements?????

But while that should have made me stop and think about a longer-term strategy, it only made me want to drive harder.  Get more bags to market, edgier designs, better colors.  Capitalize on the momentum!

After all, InStyle and Katherine Heigl loved their Krina bags, why not the rest of the world?

InStyle

And don’t let Katherine’s super sexy outfit detract from your opinion of the bestselling Calista handbag perched on her luggage cart!

 

KatieHeigl

Unfortunately, I didn’t take advantage of the resources available to me.  I wasted a lot of money, learned a very harsh lesson and realized where I went so utterly WRONG.

Richard Branson recently uttered some great pearls of wisdom for a newbie fashion designer.  Unfortunately, it came a bit too late for Krina but here’s the gist of what I took away from the article in Entrepreneur magazine:

Figure out your passion.  Instead of rushing to make it a reality, take a step back to see if it’s disruptive in any way, shape for form.  Disruption is key to innovation!  A leather handbag is NOT disruptive to the fashion industry.  This is why so many other indie designers crashed and burned alongside Krina.

Testing is also key.  You know what you know but it is limited to YOU.  Getting feedback is essential, as you are building something for a wider audience than just yourself.  If someone gets excited, it may be a winner.

It doesn’t count if it is only you and your partner (my bestie, who is thankfully STILL my bestie after what I put her through!!) who are jumping up and down and popping corks on champagne bottles to celebrate the birth of your creations.

 

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

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 the next big thing?

I like to create new company ideas.  I use a lot of them in my novels.  Even use Fiverr to create logos!  (Look out for Unlikely Venture giveaways in the not-so-dstant future…you may see some t-shirts sporting logos such as LazerShark and Blue Coat Capital…).

While I think my fictitious companies are super-fun and worthy of millions of dollars in seed money, the reality is that they aren’t moving the world forward.  I like to write about them and they serve to entertain, however, they aren’t game-changers.

Courtesy of wordstream.com

Courtesy of wordstream.com

But Silicon Valley might still fund them today even though they don’t transform lives.

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article that begs the question…is Silicon Valley funding the wrong types of innovation?  Has Silicon Valley “jumped the shark?”  Do we really need another social network variant?  Or should we focus our resources on businesses that have the potential to positively impact the livelihood of people?

What kinds of ideas should venture capital firms throw their seemingly endless piles of cash at?  I know if I was a VC, I’d like to know that there is a sustainable market for my investment.  Not sure I’d want to rely solely on projected advertising revenue to recoup my funds.  Nothing against Facebook… =)

 

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 whiny, willful and wayward kids? Makes me feel so incredibly guilty. Like, how can we let the nonsense bother us when our friend’s child is undergoing aggressive treatments to cure a potentially life-threatening disease? Why can’t we hold it together better? Why can’t we be grateful they are physically able to give us a run for our money?

I hate that I can’t rise above and focus on what’s really important. It’s really a wake-up call. We need to be grateful for everything good in our lives, everyday, because if it is challenged at some point, we can never travel into the past to change our experiences. We have to embrace every moment and ignore the small stuff. Because it really IS small stuff.

Not All Silicon Valley Execs Dress Like Zuckerberg

I got a new pair of KG Kurt Geiger sandals today.  They’re HOT…like if you touch them, your finger will sizzle HOT.

Kurt Geiger Sandals

Kurt Geiger Sandals

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 insatiable love for dangerously high heels, I’m still not sure about Avery.  So to avoid tearing out my hair over that very disconcerting fact, I’m going to redirect my attention to fashion…yes, fashion in Silicon Valley.

Oxymoron?  Not entirely.

Just as an aside, if I were a guy in Silicon Valley, I’d never sport the Zuckerberg ensemble.  EVER.  I’m not crunchy, I don’t particularly care for hoodies and if sandals don’t have a heel, they aren’t generally welcome in my closet.

I’m excited to report that there are several female execs in the technology hotbed that sport veeery exclusive designer wares.  Just ask Entrepreneur magazine.  They’ll tell you all about Silicon Valley’s best dressed.  Even Vanity Fair weighed in.  Think Ruzwana Bashir, Marissa Mayer, Juliet De Baubigny and Alison Pincus.  Not only are they entrepreneurs but they’ve got mad style.

My husband does a lot of work with VCs and tells me my vision of glamour in the Valley is somewhat flawed.  Sure there are exceptions, but they’re few and far between.  Whatever.  I’ll keep my perspective.  I knew it couldn’t all be about khakis and button downs.

So, hell YES, I’d sport these sandals in Palo Alto.  But I’ll opt to stay out of San Francisco unless I’m driving.  Way too hilly.  =)

 

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