I met Marisa Weiss a few years ago.  I was introduced by a breast cancer survivor.  Her story is amazing.  Her endless support as a doctor and champion around breast cancer from research to building a support system is tireless and deserves applause. just relaunched their site.  It is grounded in the deep medical expertise of Just as medical research guides’s information for a woman with breast cancer to help her make the best decisions for her care, this organization also provides science-proven steps to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Only 10% of breast cancers are due to an inherited genetic mutation. This means that 90% of breast cancers primarily depend on the lifestyle, reproductive and environmental factors—many of which can be modified to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer or its recurrence.  A recent paper by Dr. Graham Colditz claims that breast cancer incidence could be reduced by 68% if breast health promotion starts with our girls and continues through life: eliminating obesity, eating mostly a plant-based diet of real unprocessed foods, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, utilizing breastfeeding, and avoiding pharmaceutical estrogens/progestin products.

The video is a worthy watch.

Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook

9780804186179-959x1200This is a labor of love.  The photos are magnificent…and the recipes are pretty damn good too.  The book comes out Oct 13th.  You can pre-order the book here.  You will be supporting a great organization and in turn you get a fantastic book to add to your book collection.


Restructuring my time

imgresI know it is an extremely difficult thing to just no.  It is also tough to say this isn’t working for me or it is time for me to move on.  Most people let things linger or just say nothing at all.  I can’t do that.  It isn’t in my DNA.  Restructuring my time is just like getting through my list.  Otherwise they just hang over your head.

I joined a large board (non-profit) and I was very wary even when I said yes.  I was honored to be asked and intellectually is seemed really interesting.  I knew it wasn’t for me after the first meeting.  I stuck with it for a year but not going to each meeting.  I don’t like to have my name on something without doing the work.  I resigned after a year.  I wasn’t excited about going to a meeting.  That is a bad sign.

Large non-profit organizations usually get everything done in committees.  The Highline does a really good job at that.  I have been involved in three committees there and they have really been a help to the organization.  I am not good on large committees that just seem to be meeting just to meet.  I am not good at rules or following the purview handed to me.

There is another organization that I have been involved with forever and I am beyond proud of everything that has been accomplished while I was there.  The last board meeting I went to was just perfect.  If I was giving it a rating it would have been a 10.  Started on time, did an activity to get everyone on the board connected again, gave the latest and greatest updates with some exciting notes for the future, the whole senior team came and gave short updates too. The meeting ended on time.  It was a perfect storm.  My time was done.

I just got asked to be on another board.  I love what this organization is doing.  They have product fit.  Nobody has been able to figure out this product.  Am thinking about what the commitment means, and it is makes sense to do something else.  It is hard to say no.

I am invested in a bunch of companies who are really pulling out of the gate.  I sit on those boards.  I will probably exit a few.  It is time.  My work is not done but it is sometimes time to hand the wand over to the next.  New blood is needed.  It really comes down to me restructuring my time.  I don’t think I will be any less busy.  I will just be working on other things.

East 12 Osteria

12thosteriaI met the owner of this restaurant when I spoke at Story.  I finally got the pleasure of having dinner there with some friends this past week.  In the world of restaurant insanity this restaurant is a gem.  The food is excellent, the service is too.  It reminds me of why people opened up restaurants years ago.  It was because that is what they did, it was the business that called to them, they loved food and hospitality.  East 12 Osteria is very much in line with the restaurants that feel homemade and are usually found in parts of Italy.  It is if this restaurant was flown in from a tiny village on the Mediterranean coast of Italy for the night.  I loved this place…and the food is delicious.

goldentomatogazpachoWe split everything except our main courses.  Our first course was from the chef.  Yellow tomato gazpacho.  Perfect.  Sweet salty and creamy.  Here is another bonus at this restaurant, they do not use garlic.  I swear.

artichokessaladCarciofini.  Thinly sliced artichoke over avocado, pieces of mache delicately places, shavings of Parm and a mix of olive oil and salt.  Delicious.

proscuittoburrataProscuitto, Burrata, essence of tomato, thinly sliced pickled peppers and olive paste.  Really simple and good.

fennelLayers of fennel, baby arugula, sections of orange, pecorino cheese, toasted pine nuts with a balsamic reduction.  Another winner.

crudoCrudo di Mare.  Excellent fresh fish.  Big eye tuna crudo with blood orange segments, chopped branzino with a light olive paste, Langoustine topped with pieces of apple and white sturgeon caviar.  Amazing.

riggatoniBolognese special with large pieces of beef with an intense red wine flavor over fresh spinach black pepper pasta.

mushroomtruffleFresh mushrooms sauteed with truffles over spaghetti.

vealchopClassic Milanese veal chop.  Pounded, breaded and fried with a arugula tomato salad.  Perfectly done.

porkOur friends split the pork that looked beautiful.  Sous-vide pork shoulder, loin and rib.

We didn’t do dessert although I am sure their desserts are divine.  Looking forward to returning.  You could close your eyes and pretend you are in Italy.


Recycling fabric is no longer in our future, it is now

I was introduced to Stacy by a woman who is a reader of this blog.  What Stacy is doing blew me away.  I had been in the manufacturing world and dealt with fabric companies so I knew just enough to be dangerous about what Stacy is doing.  I invested in her company, Evrnu.  I have also had the pleasure of speaking with her every few weeks to be that sounding board outside of the company as she grows.  I also wrote her story a few months ago.

Watch this Tedx talk.  It is only 6 minutes.  I guarantee that you will be as excited as I am about what Stacy is doing.  She is the future of apparel.

the future of Women’s health

imgres-2Technology is changing how the medical profession looks at everything.  Not surprising is that I am seeing a variety of new businesses crop-up from some really brilliant women who are coming out of the top medical schools.

I invested in Clue not only because I used the platform and was blown away by Ida Tin but I could see the future of this platform.  Not only will women be able to track their periods, they will share this information freely with their doctor, they will be able to put other relevant medical information in the app about their bodies from disease to exercise and the data around each person will be different.  That is relevant because each of our bodies are different yet we are generally all lumped into one category.

The importance of being able to monitor our own health needs is powerful.  Every stage of a women’s life there are different things that come to the forefront of their mind.  Childbearing is one that rings loud and clear.  Each woman’s body is different.  Some women go through menopause in their early 40’s and some don’t go through menopause until their late 50’s.  That is a huge gap.

Someone said to me the other day that they were told that they should think about freezing their eggs at 24.  24??  24 is supposedly when your eggs are at their peak but I have had friends get pregnant without any help from a fertility doctor at 40 while others have had problems at 32.  That information is readily available through testing but not so easy to get a doctor to do it for you unless you find yourself having a hard time getting pregnant.

There will be many generations of change in this arena over the next decade.  As an investor it is about betting on the right one.  As a woman, I am thrilled to see products come to market that will allow each and everyone of us be able to detect endometriosis to infertility to genetics in the privacy of our own home.

Saturday in NYC

The weather has been quite spectacular.  We took a walk through Chelsea, hitting up some of the fall shows and then made our way over to PopUp NY, an 8th Avenue day of eats.  As a rule I am not a fan of the street fairs but they did a nice job on this one.  The vendors were broken down by block.  Visual art, Craft Lane, Multicultural Cuisine, BBQ, Art, Entertainment, Beer, Sweet Course, Crafters Paradise and Food Truck Alley.  There were really good food stalls and there was entertainment every few blocks as well.

chuckclosepaceWe started out at Pace Gallery for the Chuck Close show.  Creative pieces mostly self images.  Not my thing but interesting.

CO-88261Next door is the Winston Wachter gallery.  The work drew us in.  At first you think these are photo-shopped but ends up they are pastels.  Makes you really appreciate the work.  They are really beautiful.  Works by Zaria Forman.

frankstellaFrank Stella at Paul Kasmin.

rymanAlso Will Ryman at another Paul Kasmin gallery.

roseAnd my favorite, the Rose, at the Paul Kasmin store also by Will Ryman.

telephonesFive 11 Gallery, Alexis Dahan.  We loved the old telephones.

large-markus_brunetti-dresden_frauenkirche-2007-2014Markus Brunetti at Yossi Milo, facades.

joseparlaJose Parla at Bryce Wolkowitz

isagenzenzwirnerIsa Genzken at David Zwirner.  I might be too pedestrian to really get this.

danashutzDana Schutz at Petzel Gallery.

bratwurstOur favorite was definitely the pieces at Winston Wachter.  It was time to walk over to 8th Avenue.  We started at the top and bought a few things at each stop to share.  First was the German Bratwurst.  Excellent.  Great dog, sweet sauerkraut, spicy mustard.  Could have been a less thick bun but all and all a winner.  Now where is this place located in the city?  It would have been great to see each of them highlight their locations for future visits.

friesHome Frite.  Hand cut french fries with Sir Kensington Ketchup.  I admit it, I am a sucker for just plain old Heinz.

manhattan pretzelsManhattan Pretzels.  Beautifully made.  Different flavors of shortbread chocolate dipped.

duckwingsDuck wings from Duck Season.  Not so good.  Chewy.  There was also Bassanova Ramen there.  We did not get any but am a huge fan.  They are located on Mott street south of Canal.

smallbrisketmightyquinnThis was the best.  Small brisket sandwich with the works at Mighty Quinn.

becBEC had a booth but we were done.  Bacon Egg Cheese, the new store on 8th avenue in Chelsea.  Might have to get up there for a breakfast one morning.

All and all a really great way to enjoy NYC in the fall.



Anna Zornosa, Ruby Ribbons, Woman Entrepreneur

imgres-1Anna and I have known about each other for quite awhile but never had someone make the connection.  Once the connection was made we both jumped on it.  Her story of how she started Ruby Ribbon, climbing the corporate ladder to starting a direct sales business around shape-wear products is inspiring for all women.  I really did not know any of it until we spoke.  Somehow I thought that Anna was a first time founder who didn’t have that many work experiences behind her.  Totally wrong.  Her experiences are the key to her success.  Although that could be said for anyone.

Anna grew up in rural western Pennsylvania, about one and a half hours south of Pittsburgh.  It was a mining town that eventually become something else over time.  Growing up the town was super industrial.  Her father was an engineer who came from Columbia at 19 to pursue a better life.  Her Mom was your typical American housewife at the time raising 4 kids and managing the household.  Her Mom wanted to do more so she became an Avon lady.  At 5 years old, Anna was given the title VP of Operations for her Mom.  She immediately saw it as part of her DNA.  She loved putting the makeup in the bags and delivering it to the neighbors.

Anna was always entrepreneurial.  Her brothers had newspaper routes but that was deemed unladylike.  She convinced her parents to let her have a TV Guide route.  She developed her clientele when she was 14 by babysitting which was much more lucrative than the newspaper route.  She eventually sold her route to a neighborhood girl for 4 times EBIDA.  Gotta love that.  She sold everything from pot holders to magazines and would go to sleep every night thinking of new ways to make money.

After graduating from high school Anna spent two years at Penn State hoping to major in communications.  At that time she found the program not up to par and transferred to University of Wisconsin for the remaining two years.  She graduated there in 1980 and then went on to a masters program.  Before embarking on the masters program she took a six month journey to Mexico.  Anna participated in a think tank there that was focused on western advertising on Latin American indigenous women.  There was a lot of thinking at that time about the impact of western control over the communications and the impact.  She returned to Wisconsin to do her masters studying the changes in communication between cable and classic broadcasting.  She continued working in another think tank around remote learning during graduate school.

It was the start of change in media. Anna graduated and went to DC.  AT&T was breaking up and few people really understood the impact of the changes in the business model.  Anna began working as a journalist and began to see beginnings of a wireless network.  Her publication was based on Manhassett and so she moved to NYC as the Editor in Chief.  Quickly Anna realized that as the Editor in Chief she had no impact on the business so without ever having gone on a sales call she made the move to publisher.  She had zero sales experience so she transferred to Ziff Davis and became the publisher of PC Magazine and learned sales.  Kind of amazing she convinced everyone to let this happen.  It was 1994 and Anna moved out to the west coast where she over saw enterprise sales.  She got to know every client that Ziff had.  Her accounts were Microsoft and Intel to name a few and it was clear to her that they were all organizing themselves for something big in technology which ended up being the internet.

In 1995, Anna moved to internet services as the head of sales for Pointcast.  She stayed out west through 2011 working with various internet companies from big to small.  At one point she was a VP of Yahoo and also worked in the digital division of Knight Rider.  What she loved was viral models where customers recruited customers.  This was essentially modernizing the direct sales channel.

Her last stop was the EVP for the Cobalt group that was backed by Warburg Pincus.  She ran the division that was about the impact of the internet on the auto industry.  It was sold to ADP in 2010.  By 2011 the merger was complete and it was time to think about what is next.  Anna had multiple thoughts running through her head.  Do I do a turn around?  Do I retire?  She realized her personal love was really helping other women succeed, particularly entrepreneurial women.

Along the way she met Chantel Waterbury.  She invested in her business, Chloe and Isabel, and realized she really liked the support she gave to Chantel.  She wanted to continue down that path.  Around that time every single woman she talked to wanted to have a different relationship with their job.  Many that she spoke to had to deal with aging parents, they craved self development and she began to think about fractional labor.  What could she build to unleash an opportunity for an educated group of women who demanded flexibility from their jobs?  Anna wanted to build a company that could help women take control over how they work and she realized direct sales did that.  Then the question was, what was the product for that channel?

Anna began to do research.  Product fit was critical.  Today in retail due to ecommerce (for the most part) does not have the economics to allow for a customer to have a great service experience. Service is important.  Everyone she knew had bought something with shape-wear.  Spanx and Lululemon were just starting to percolate.  Anna thought for women it  is about feeling good and looking good.  Could she apply performance products to the other classics in a woman’s wardrobe.  How could you Lululemonize the rest of her closet?

Anna met Meg Boytnon the head of product strategy at Ann Taylor.  She liked the idea of what Anna was starting to work on and they began to dive into it together.  It took four years to get Meg to jump ship from Ann Taylor and join Ruby Ribbon but they figured it out.  They launched in 2012.  When they first launched it was about making sure the customers loving the product line.  Once they nailed that they began to build out the network from CA to NY.   Then in 2013 it was about the infrastructure to support a nationwide group of sales people.  Now it was about driving into national expansion.  There are over 1000 women selling in 48 states.  Each event sells more than the national average.  The repeat customer is huge, 9 out of 10 buy again.  There are also plenty of first time customers as they are growing.   The product resonates with women who are sharing their purchase with friends and sisters.  You can’t buy this at the department stores and that works.  Customer acquisition ends up being quite low.

The one thing that was most important to Anna when she launched Ruby Ribbon was culture.  She wanted to build a business where culture also drove the product.  It is impressive what Anna has built and continue to grow.  Her energy is contagious.  It is obvious Anna loves what she does. My guess is Anna still goes to bed every night thinking about other ways to make money but this time there is also a community component that has allowed her to make an impact on so many women who are part of Ruby Ribbon.


Bruno Pizza

brunoBruno Pizza is a new addition to the east village.  The menu is based on locally sourced food and they even make their own flour for their pizzas.   The flour is make from whole wheat berries.   The other addition is the 20% tip is including in the price at the end so no tipping.  I am a fan of that policy.  The service was really good.

platesPizza is rarely something I go out for and so when I do I really want it to be amazing.  I was not so wowed by Brunos.  The plating is beautiful on every dish that came out but nothing had that omg punch I wanted to have.  Everything was just ok.  The flavors were all mild, nothing packed a punch.  I did love these plates on every table.

beetsWe started with the beets.  Beets topped with sunflower greens, pieces of plum and a little bee pollen.

veggiesGreen market crudite, mostly radishes at this time of the season, sitting over a gorgonzola butter that had been mixed with black garlic and topped with a few gooseberries.

localsquidGrilled local squid sitting on charred onions with a hint of chili and some wild sumac.

ndujaWe had two pizzas.  Nduja; spicy pork, roasted cauliflower and tomato.

mushroomThe other was local mushrooms, bechamel, chives and chilies.

agnolottiPastas were beautiful.  Agnolotti with squash, chanterelles and hazelnut.

cavatappiCavatappi topped with smoked bone marrow, clams, collards, bacon and dill.  This just did not work.

The restaurant just opened so they are honing the flavors.  Dishes are beautiful but I am looking for an intensity of flavors that is lacking.  The other thing is the lighting is way too bright.  Can someone just add a dimmer switch to bring it down a notch for dinner?


I love content

ratter-logoIn 1996 Bill Gates wrote the original article declaring Content Is King.  I was involved in the tech community back then and I totally got why he said that.  Then we watched the technology industry come to a huge halt a few years later. Yet the first thing that pulled me in when the next generation of the web (2.0) starting to return to life was Curbed, Eater and Racked.  Content, content, content.

We are seeing content become king again.  Look at Vox, Vice and Buzzfeed.  In full transparency we are now owners in Vox because they acquired Curbed.  The stats are crazy.  People read the new content coming at them all day long. People are also interested in connecting to something that they read every day.  People have their feeds just as they have their favorite apps.  All of that is just an extension of who they are.

I am invested in more than a handful of content platforms.  Ratter is one that is just making its way into the world wide web.  Ratter’s content is like no other.  Breaking stories that are unique paired with local tabloids.  The founders came out of Gawker.  The first thing they did was get off the Kinja platform so that they owned their own space.  Super smart.  Respected journalists who are writing interesting content.

TheBolde.  Content on life and love.  Female millennials love it.  Smart, sassy and snarky.

Vinepair.  Informative info on wine, cocktails and beer for the next generation.

The Mighty.  Powerful stories from people with meaningful heartfelt stories.

The traction is super interesting around these sites.  As they have each found their voice and their audience the numbers just soar.  People are looking for the right content that resonates with them.  Investors bob and weave around investing in content but to me content is king.