Dream Girl Web-Series

There is so much footage of many powerful female entrepreneurs that the duo behind Dream Girl put up a web-series.  Right now there are ten in total.  This are short and powerful.  I really like the one above that sets the tone for the series and the film.

This one is an additional clip on me.

Also, in honor of Women’s History Month we are discounting our one-time public screening license from $595 to $295! People can book the film online now and hold their event whenever they are ready. Screenings can be booked here.

The importance of brands connecting with social good

Millennials care about social good.  They are more apt to pick up a product that has a social component than one that does not.  Generation Z will drive this home with their spending dollars.

The next generation of large brands will have to have a social give to build loyalty not only among their consumers but inside their company.  Social is in and it is about time.  Our culture is built on being philanthropic.  It starts in kindergarten with bake sales and lemonade stands to raise money for others from a tsunami to a cause.  In general, Americans feel comfortable giving back to others.  I believe that people (like myself) who have had financial success have a responsibility to give back to the community in ways that resonate with them from supporting the arts to supporting cancer research.

I have never understood the push back to not pay taxes as it maintains our roads, who monitors our airways for flight travel, who delivers our mail, who educates our children…all of this is paid for with tax dollars.  The parks, the museums and the organizations that help underserved communities are paid for by the good of the public that makes donations to their bottom line.  Granted many of the non-profit organizations do not run as efficiently as profit organizations but they are important.

The concept of joining a board, paying them to be on it and then doing a lot of work for them is one that seems odd but that is what has been going on for decades.  Things need to change.  Having brands be the next generation of support for an organization that they get behind through their consumer’s dollars is what companies should be thinking about to capture future customers.

Nina Luu, Episode 16, Building a Diverse Team

Chatted with Nina Luu, Founder & CEO of Shippabo, about how she came up with the idea for her successful startup and what really sets them apart from other solutions in the marketplace. Nina’s approach to management and diversity in considering how to build her company’s team takes on unexpected difficulties that she shares with us here — it’s definitely worth a listen for anyone thinking about growth and culture.

 

What is your natural gift?

I was talking to my friend about her golf swing.  She said it is her natural gift.  She is an incredible athlete and that is absolutely a natural gift.  If you ask most people what they wish their natural gift was it would be to have a musical voice.  That is a helluva gift.

She asked me what was my natural gift.  It really got me thinking.  The first thing that came to my mind was cooking although is that a natural gift?  It is something I love to do and I certainly have become better with age.  I believe that natural gifts can be honed as the best vocalists continue to take voice lessons.

Everyone has a natural gift.  It can be as silly as being able to curl your tongue into a clover.  As parents you want to nurture your kids natural gifts but you also want to nurture your kids natural desires and passions that they are drawn to.  Is one the same or are they completely different?

Ask yourself, what is your natural gift?  Is it something that has been nurtured?  Is it something that has gotten better with age?  Is it something you never embraced?  Certainly a fun question at a dinner party.

Doing diligence and using it for yourself

I have witnessed this a few times where companies go and pitch investors who are really not interested in investing but looking to do diligence for their other investment.  I have seen this from investors and from accelerators and incubators.  Then soon after the company is turned down the company finds out that the business that they flagged to the investor or accelerator as a possible conflict goes out and starts doing things that are in their business model.  In the incubator they do it themselves if the founders don’t like their terms after multiple open conversations.

This is the type of behavior that nobody talks about.  It is almost as bad as the many stories I have heard of inappropriate comments to women from male investors.  It is bad business and when I hear about those people I take note.  I figure what goes around comes around.  I have thought many times of calling those people out on the mat so that other founders can be aware of what might happen when they walk in the door but I have chosen to keep the information in my head for the times that people call me on diligence about the investor/accelerator/incubator.

Honesty is always the best policy.  Certainly if an investor is looking into an arena to invest in then talking to as many companies in a space makes sense but to already make an investment and then try and look behind the curtain into another company to use for their own agenda is not ok.  It is the same for incubators who then decide they know enough to do it themselves.

Certainly the companies that ended up not with those investors/accelerators or incubators probably dodged a bullet.  Not sure I’d want to be in bed with those people.  Bottom line is we all have to get up every morning and look at ourselves in the mirror and it never ceases to amaze me how people who do this sort of thing can just soldier on as if this is proper behavior.

Scoot is on the run

For a few years I tooled around the city on a scooter.  At first it was a Vespa but then I got a Buddy purely because I needed something smaller.  I loved driving them both.  So when I was introduced to the founder of Scoot a few years back I was sold immediately on the concept but of course more important I believed in the founder.  Transportation needed to change and I felt that Scoot would be one part of that transformation.

Today Scoot announced that its international expansion with their operating system for sharing light electric vehicles in densely populated cities throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia.  I am always amazed how we have those conversations at the very beginning and always realizing how it takes a few years for this to happen.  The demand for cleaner more efficient transportation options is growing and Scoot is filling that void.

Bike sharing, car sharing, electric scooters and other small electric vehicles are going to be everywhere in just a few years.  Scoot saw this first and made Scoot part of the San Francisco streets to start.  Now they are going to set up operations in other cities.  They are looking for more partners to hep them run these valuable but complex transportation services.   The win is for less traffic and a cleaner environment.

If you happen to live in SF, sign up and jump on a Scoot.  If not, be on the look out for a Scoot as they continue to grow their services in cities across the globe.

Just imagine…..A Day Without Women

Mostly women are nurses, kindergarten teachers, payroll clerks, consumer of products on the web (and brick and mortar), manager of the household, etc.  Women tend to make less money than their male counterparts.  There are laws (mostly written by men) who are interested in taking away a woman’s right to her own body and more.  This strike on International Women’s Day is more than a strike against Trump’s white male cabinet that is dismissive of women’s rights including Mitch McConnell disrespecting Elizabeth Warren on the senate floor by telling her to sit down and shut up.   It is an international issue.

Women should be treated equally at every level period.  So, for today, can you imagine a day without women? #internationalwomensday

The tech industry needs to be the leaders in closing the gender gap — not the leaders in “ “bro-culture”

In honor of International Women’s Day, LinkedIn asked me to write a post about how we can close the gender gap before 2086.  Here is my post.

When the technology boom began in the mid-90’s I re-started my career.  I had make a choice to be home with our two children, then three for a few years.  It was timing more than anything but in the end one of the best decisions I ever made.  I was closing the door on the fashion industry and taking some time before my next endeavor.  

After three years of full-time Momdom, I was ready to return to the work world.  Yet here’s the thing…I didn’t want to return to a job where I had zero flexibility.  The good news is the technology industry was just starting out in NYC.  The internet was going to change everything and I wanted to jump on board.

The first thing that I thought of when I saw all these new companies begin to crop up is how company culture will change.  I figured young founders are going to change the way we do business and technology would make it so that we could work from anywhere.  That was over 20 years ago.

I was lucky because I became the first employee, as a freelancer, at Silicon Alley Reporter.  I had three kids and lived in the suburbs of NYC.  I oversaw revenue from ad sales to sponsorships to business opportunities and partnerships but the killer part is that I ran all of this out of my basement in Chappaqua, NY.  I came in once a week to meet and greet but that’s it.  In that office I helped grow that business from a small 10 page printed and stapled newspaper to a full-on glossy bound magazine including a conference and an ezine with the cash I brought in.

I believed that by 2017 this mindset would be part of every growing company and that the large enterprise companies would be forced to change because of it.  Maybe I was too early to that concept but finally we are seeing shifts.  Companies are not only thinking about a 3 month maternity leave they are also giving that same opportunity to men with a paternity leave.  Some companies are extremely flexible with parents by putting family first. Parents know that they can be there for their children be it an event or because someone is home sick or they want to work out of their home a few days a week.  Technology has played a major factor in that type of flexibility and that is a good thing.

We all know that many of the start-ups that have deep back-ends in technology have built bro-cultures that look and sound like high school locker rooms.  That’s not ok for several reasons starting with the pure data that companies who have equal balance of men and women on each team have a higher rate of success.  Not surprising as everyone on the team looks at things in a different light so together they challenge each other to create the best products.

Pocketbooks always rule.  If people sold all their stock in publicly traded companies if the board wasn’t gender balanced that would make a difference.  If people refused to buy products from companies that were not gender balanced than that would make a difference.  If VC’s and other institutional investors would only invest in companies that were committed to building gender balanced teams from the very start and it was actually in the legal documents then it would change the way that companies grow.  It is extremely difficult to change culture after it has been set in place.  The companies that are full-on bro-mentality will find it very hard to shift the culture and hire females.  Just like companies build out their platforms as they grow that has to include gender balance because if you don’t build the platform right from the onset the chances for success are slim and the same thing goes for equal hiring practices.  I’d throw in there that with that comes flexibility around families needs. That means making men take that paternity leave so they make those deep connections with their children at the onstart so that they will be better husbands, partners and fathers.

I was lucky to be able to re-enter the workplace under my own terms.  It isn’t easy but what was the luckiest of all is finding myself in a position where I was a complete equal and given a very long rope with pure flexibility on my time considering I had not been working for a handful of years.

The tech industry needs to be the leaders in closing the gender gap.  We are creating the companies of tomorrow and tomorrow should not have the same look and feel in our companies as they did 20 years ago.

#IWD17

A New Way to Tell A Story, Amanda Kludt, podcast

I have been fortunate to watch Amanda Kludt, Editor-in-Chief at Eater, grow into this role.  I have known Amanda for almost a decade.  Her insight into the food industry is worth listening to.  She has always had her finger on the pulse.   I highly recommend signing up for her weekly down-lows on the world of food.   I loved this conversation.

A day in downtown LA

One of the things I love about Grand Central Market is how gritty it feels among the brand new food stalls.  There is always a crowd, sometimes more than others but I am a big believer if there is a long line when it comes to food, get in it.

We didn’t have much but here are the highlights.  Tacos Tumbras a Tomas where they go for the super-sized portions.  This tortas filled with juicy pulled pork and the rest of the makings of a solid submarine sandwich.

Sticky Rice serves up Thai food.  Spicy rice with slices of pork and vegetables.  Can’t go wrong here.

DTLA Cheese serves up a grilled three cheese sandwich that is oozing with flavor.

It was time to take a walk over to MOCA Grand, one of their four locations.   I had never been to this one and it is a gem.  Really wonderful permanent collection.  To get there from Grand Central Market you can climb the stairs next to Angels Flight, the two-car funicular built in 1901.  It has been pretty much out of commission since 1969.  We were all espousing that based on what was happening in LA these days it would only be a matter of time before they fixed it.  Ends up we were right.  It was just announced that the mayor is putting funds behind this piece of history to get up back up and running.  Trust me, walking up those steps isn’t easy.

This is the view when you get to the top of the steps.  You walk through this and on the other side of MOCA Grand.

Here is some of the art we saw.  Max Ernst

Man Ray

Warhol

Christo

Jasper Johns

Rothko

Nicole Eisenman.  I love this piece.

Thomas Hirschhorn

Alice Neel.  She painted this piece at 73 years old.

John Baldessari

We stopped by Birdies where the menu consists of fried chicken and donuts.  Gotta love that.  They were out of chicken and the truth is it was a late afternoon sweet so we came for the donuts.

One more stop before we headed back to the west side at Bottega Louie.  Feels a bit like a European bakery.  Their macarons is one of their specialities.

Great day.  Hit the spots and excited return when that funicular is in action.