It is mind boggling to me that today, in 2017, that men and women are not paid equally for the same job.  Although we have a sexist in the White House, it is important for all of us to make sure that everyone is paid equally.  There is no doubt that everyone comes to the table with a different set of experiences and expertise and one should be paid for that but it should be in line with your peers.

I have heard countless stories from women where they have found out that the man reporting to them is making more than them.  That a man who has less experience than a woman is at a higher salary and a higher level job.  That a woman feels that they have to sneak out the backdoor to see their kid play a soccer game but a man brags about going to their kids soccer game during the work week.  It is up to all of us to create a level playing field, period.

In my first job, I got an offer and a salary and just said thanks while doing the silent happy dance on the other end of the phone.  Fast forward, I found out that everyone in my training program was being paid a range of salaries and the reality was that I had more experience in that field than anyone in the room when I walked in the door.  I should have been making the top of the range and I wasn’t.

Fast forward several years, I took a job with a company and six months later I found out I was pregnant.  I had made a major impact there and said I would return under the conditions of renegotiating my entire salary.  I returned and was rewarded what I deserved.

I look at the female founders who are funded mostly at lower valuations, with less capital and give up more equity although the data still points to that the ROI on companies that have women at the helm is higher.  

People should be paid for what they are worth, their companies should be valued based on what they are worth and women should expect to be paid the same amount that their male counterparts are who have the same experiences.   Ask for what you deserve and if you don’t get it then you won’t be happy being there.  At this point of the game, it is utterly ridiculous that women are still fighting for equal pay.

Linda Ong, A Brand is an Ideology, Podcast

Linda Ong, branding powerhouse & Chief Culture Officer of Civic Entertainment Group, sat down with me this week to chat about how her own “mish-mash” of cultural identities informed her career — one in which she’s created cultural identities for companies and media networks alike. Linda breaks down how she approaches the building of a brand identity with her own clients, and her insights are not to be missed!

#EarthMatch, Month 3, Campaign for Earthjustice

This month Fred, Brad, Amy, Albert and Susan after a variety of conversations have zeroed in on raising money this month for Earthjustice.   It isn’t easy to figure out what organization we should be highlighting each month to raise money and awareness around because our current Government seems bent on destroying progress.  It is a bit like playing the game whack-a-mole.

Our environment is at the top of the pyramid.  The data is clearly there around global warming that holding big companies accountable to treat our environment with care has a positive affect and creates jobs.  Rolling back on car emissions, coal mining on public lands, drilling for oil in the ocean instead of creating incentives for electric cars and new energies such as solar.

Earthjustice says “our earth needs a good lawyer” and that is exactly what they do.  They provide that legal backbone to make a healthy world.

I am excited about supporting this months cause.  I hope you can give too.  We are doing the match at Crowdrise.  This is the place to donate and then please tweet this out so we can create a groundswell of support this month for Earthjustice.

Here is what you do.

  1. Go to our EarthMatch page on Crowdrise and give any amount (minimum is $10).
  2. After you complete the donation, tweet your donation out on the post donation page. That will register it for our match.
  3. If you don’t use Twitter, you can forward your email receipt by following the instructions on the post donation page. Tweeting is much better though as it will amplify the campaign.

I just donated to #EarthMatch on @crowdrise. Friends – donate to @Earthjustice at https://www.crowdrise.com/EJMatch and have your donation doubled

4 3 2 1

I finished the book, 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster, a few weeks ago but still keep thinking about it.   I have read more than a handful of Auster’s books over the years and have always enjoyed his work as his writing provokes thought.  He is an insanely prolific writer from fiction to poetry to screenplays to memoirs and more.

This book got mixed reviews and keep in mind it is almost 900 pages but I opened the first page and continued turning.  It is an impressive body of work centered around a family, particularly a young boy who grows into a man through the book with the historical context of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s as the backdrop.  It is also the classic American story of that era with immigrant Grandparents and how the next generation of children grew up.  All of these things including Auster’s in-depth information around writers of books, poetry, and music as it relates to the characters.

The premise makes for an interesting coming of age story but it is the multiple layers of this story that makes it even more fascinating.  The constant is the main boy/man character Archie including his love of writing and women and his desire for Amy who is also always present.  Yet each chapter has four different stories of the same characters at the exact same time.

It takes awhile to figure it out but it slowly unravels that each chapter has four components that are just a different avenue that Archie’s life took based on events.  One life a tragedy happens, another one his parent’s marriage does not last, another one he has a sexual experience that changes things.   Each life is a bit different as each event in his life moves him forward in a different direction.

All of us have had times in our life that made us who we are.  It could have been a parents divorce, a death of someone at a young age, moving from one place to another at an impressionable age, someone getting sick, etc.  As we get older it is easier to acknowledge those things and understand the impact.

Auster has written a really powerful book about how life is a journey that is affected by nurture although, at the end of the day, nature is at our core.

Shifting mentally

I am always moving forward.  I have been since I came out of the womb.  Not sure if it had to do with wanting to get out from underneath the people who raised me although I am giving that a lot of thought to that these days.  There has always been this fire inside me that needs to climb every mountain that crosses my path.  It appears that looking back there have been many mountains that I have come in contact with and scaled.  I am well aware of that.  I got to the point where I did not want to climb every mountain.  It was pure exhaustion that got me to that realization.  Yet I had to understand the part of me that never allowed me to unpack my climbing gear.

I have written about slowing down every fall, post the summer relaxation period, for the past few years.  I definitely want to be ahead of the curve and work on many projects but at a difference pace.  Over the past year, I have learned to do this and feel confident at the same time.   It feels insanely refreshing.  I am enjoying the gig I have built for myself in different ways and that is pretty sweet.  I get to meet amazing people and be engaged intellectually at a pretty high level.  I get to make a difference in other lives and that is really important to me. I get to make an impact on the economy by creating jobs and businesses among other things.

Our time in Los Angeles is coming to an end in the next few weeks.  I am really looking forward to returning to my hometown of NYC.  There has been a paradigm shift in my thinking.  I am not necessarily moving in a different direction but am evolving in a new direction and it really feels fantastic.

The Ecosystem of Expertise

Over the last decade, we have seen start-ups change industries, take out middle-people and in many ways create efficiencies through technology.  It is the next generation of thinkers re-tooling verticals that are ripe for change.  What has become more and more apparent as these start-ups begin to mature and shift market share is that many of them have built businesses on their own expertise that has helped consumers and companies.

New brands that sell directly to consumers have side-stepped the retail stores as the only avenue to peddle their product.  It has made a dramatic impact on the companies revenues and margins.  They are all scrambling from Macy’s to Sears to Whole Foods to look at their organizations from bottom up.  How can they become more efficient and continue to bring in the customer?  Perhaps Amazon will be the new leader in this space and show them all how it is done in 2020 and beyond.

I am invested in several start-ups that are creating businesses that help other businesses eliminate an entire division that oversaw something because they can hire an outside company to be that expert and in turn be more profitable and efficient doing that.   That is a win-win for everyone.

We are just beginning to see the many companies built 5 years ago start to get serious traction that results in consumer behavior shifts.  Although 92% of products are still bought in store vs online and that will start to accelerate in the years to come from 8% purchased online to 50%.  Companies that operate with a smaller staff of people and overhead because of the expert companies that they can hire for a particular job.  New brands at the grocery store are starting to grab a lot more of the shelf space than they had 5 years ago.

And of course there is more but these subtle shifts are happening at a bird’s eye view and we are not that far from an onslaught.


Little Sister and Kerry James Marshall at the MOCA

There are very few things left on the LA list that we didn’t get to but the good news is that there is always next year.  I really wanted to get to the MOCA to see the Kerry James Marshall exhibit even though I went to see it three times at the Breuer in NYC.

Going back to see this exhibit in the post of our Presidential election makes it even more powerful.  It was also interesting to see how differently curated the exhibit was at the MOCA vs the Breuer with the exact same pieces.  I actually preferred MOCA as the pairings of the pieces in each room seemed to make more sense and pack a bigger punch.  This piece that represents the 60’s, speaks to everyone that it might have been quite a time but it isn’t over.

This is one of the first pieces in the exhibit that sets the tone.  Marshall painted this piece in 1986.  This piece including the many he painted between 1980-86 represent his reaction to reading Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.  Those eyes are visible yet nothing else is.

We stopped in Little Sister to have lunch.  I wish that Little Sister was on the west side because the food here is fantastic.  The sweet, sour, spicy flavors of Vietnam pack a powerful punch.  Each dish had perfect balance.  We had three dishes.   Beer keeps the fire of the food at bay.

Imperial roll filled with shrimp, crab, pork, taro root and glass noodles inside a light crispy covering.  Take some of those crushed peanuts, chile sauce, a roll and wrap it up in the lettuce before taking a bite.

Salad of thinly sliced cabbages, mango, onion, and cucumber mixed with cashews and a lemongrass-cilantro dressing with large charred shrimp on the side.  I could eat this every day.

Spicy deep fried lemongrass chicken pieces mixed with slices of jalapeno and cilantro.  If you wanted to get involved you can pick up each piece and gnaw the bones.  The combination of flavors are perfectly balanced.  You get the full on punch of the lemongrass with the spice of the chiles and the crunch of the chicken.  Wow.

The afternoon was classic LA…get the car washed before heading home.


Tracy DiNunzio, Tradesy, From Learning to Closing, podcast

On episode #18 of Positively Gotham Gal, we talk with Tracy DiNunzio, Founder and CEO of Tradesy, an online platform where women can buy and sell from their own closets. Tracy’s scrappy approach to success is both tenacious and endearing — a great inspiration story for anyone in need of a swift kick in the pants in the start- up world.

Walking the neighborhood in LA

We have been taking Sunday afternoon walks with Ollie.  In general, he is a pretty lazy dog and is quite happy to lounge around on the couch but we all need our exercise.

The trees, the gardens, the look of each house in Venice is so unique.  Everyone is wearing their vibe in their front lawn.

The palm trees are pretty epic.

The color of the trees and the size is too.

Not sure what is happening in this house.  Something with the flags.

You don’t see jade trees like this on the East Coast.

A small garden with chairs

Next to the neighborhood library.

Incredible cactus.

More cactus

Colorful plants.

There are so many amazing homes and so many quirky homes.  I am going to miss our Sunday walks.

Fixing Government

We have had more than a few conversations about this at the dining room table over the past year.  The Trump budget is destructive to many of the fundamentals of our culture but how do we keep those programs that are so important and have a healthy balance sheet?  Non-profits can have healthy balance sheets too.

The concept of trickle-down economics doesn’t work for any of the people who are supposed to get the trickle.  It just works for the top.  Elected officials are by most accounts career politicians.  They are most interested in getting re-elected and passing bills that help their constituents although these days we are seeing more interest in just staying in power.

One of the many reasons I am so sorry that Mike Bloomberg did not run for the job of President is that after 3 terms of being the Mayor of NYC he understands Government budgets and he also understands business budgets.  They are very different things and few people really get both.  The only constant is the word budget.  Those of you that believe Trump gets it too are wrong as this is a man who bankrupted his own company four times and US banks refused to give him any more debt.  Says something right there.

Slash and burn is not the answer.  Careful thought to each program from how it is managed, where the money is going and that includes military and everything in between is needed.  Technology and infrastructure which includes our roads and the way our Government is run, from a bottom-up approach is what is needed.

When companies are purchased that are bleeding cash and not making the impact that they could be making, the owners (sometimes it is new owners) take a look at every aspect of the business and make the appropriate decisions to keep the culture yet make it profitable.

Perhaps I am being naive but our elected officials need to be able to not have knee jerk reactions based on who is in power but to take a long look at how our Government operates in a smart way.  Bloomberg is the only person I know who is capable of that.  I so wish that there was a few people who fall under this category.

Almost 20 years ago, Fred and I attended an intimate event of around 15 people in the tech world and 20 senators including the Clintons.  It was a dinner roundtable discussion about what we cared about and how our “new” community could obviously become more involved in politics.  Fred talked about the same thing we are talking about today, smart immigrants to come here and work in our companies and the insanity of our immigrantion policies.  I talked about education as I was chairing MOUSE at the time.  I remember hearing more than a few Senators talk about how they can make the changes today yet nobody was talking about the long tail.  It was about keeping their jobs, aka keeping them in power.  I brought up that nobody in their jobs makes a decision that will be the right ones for the long run and that is the problem with Government.  Not sure they wanted to hear that but this table of young people in a new industry were extremely “un-political” in their suggestions.

In the past few weeks, I have thought a lot about that dinner.  If the people sitting around that table had made the smart decisions vs the decisions that kept them in power (aka treading water) then perhaps our country would be in a very different position today.  Everything is short-term in Government.  It is too bad we don’t have a leader who thinks about the long view.