Everyone’s Rushing To Be An Entrepreneur (aka Why I Don’t Have A Startup)


I think deep down I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but it wasn’t until I read Mukund Mohan‘s post today that I was inspired to just get it out there. Definitely read Mukund’s post too, by the way — Great read!

Friends have been asking me for a few years now what my startup is going to be (a dozen or so — is that even considered a lot or am I just kidding myself?) Either way, it’s very kind of them to insinuate I should start my own startup. I’m reading into this the assumption that they think I would be a successful founder. So here are the reasons I haven’t had a go at it yet:

1.) I don’t have the right idea yet. It’s not only about finding a pain point or completely new idea. It’s also about having the instinct for product development, the connections, and the passion to devote several stressful years of your life to making this dream a reality. One great piece of advice I recently heard is that entrepreneurs should always be asking themselves “Am I the right person to be doing this at this time?” Until I find the intersection where something I’m truly passionate about, my strengths and the correct timing meet, it just doesn’t make sense for me to take the plunge.

2.) It takes A LOT of blood, sweat and tears. I’ve been working with entrepreneurs pretty closely the last 3 years, and I’ve seen what it can do to some very intelligent, even-keeled, all-around wonderful people. The stresses of entrepreneurship are often compared to manic depression. One day, it looks like you’re on the right path and things are lining up like it was meant to be, the next, you’re losing traction, faith in yourself, and feel depressed that you spent years of your life on a baby that will ultimately fail.

3.) I’m not sure I have what it takes. It takes a very special and talented person to be successful at founding startups. Why else would there be such a high failure rate? You need to listen to advisors, but also have enough conviction to know when to follow your gut. You need to be stubborn and not give up, but be flexible enough to pivot if your original idea just isn’t resonating with your target market. You need to be very good at sales, marketing and product development (or develop those skills quickly!) since you’ll be wearing all of these hats and more in the beginning. And that’s just scratching the surface.

3 b.) Women lack self-confidence. According to loads of articles on why there are so few female entrepreneurs (a real explosion of those articles in the last 1-2years!), this may also be simply because I am a woman. We are socialized and probably have natural tendencies not to put ourselves out there or just run with it as much as men do. While I’m aware of this and compensate as best I can, it still feels like something that’s holding me back. Either way, if I ever do find an idea I feel strongly enough about to go for it and found a startup, I’ll be very grateful for all the encouragement friends and family gave me along the way!

What I’m really trying to get at here is that entrepreneurship is hip and cool right now, but the media glorify the fulfilling, glamorous aspects of the job to the detriment of a comprehensive understanding of all its realities. While I love the feeling of having a big impact I can see (never mind the celebrity if you strike it Uber famous), I have little illusions about just how hard it’s going to be: years of 70-80 hour weeks, sleepless nights, and despair when it looks like things aren’t going to work, hopefully followed by periods of elation when things look up again… Rinse, wash and repeat.

At a panel at RocketSpace just a few weeks ago the founder of Eventbrite said that if she’d known ahead of time just how difficult and stressful starting her own company would be, she might not have gone through with it. It’s not to say I haven’t learned a lot from everyone I’ve worked with and the hundreds of startup events I’ve attended. I’ve been fortunate to get that much advice before even starting. For better or worse, I know just what I’d be getting myself into.

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Fainting in Bart, A Short Story


Stylized short story based on the morning’s events (I’m fine 🙂 )

My collar bone got hot, then my neck. My cheeks flushed and the edges of my vision started to turn black, pixelating like a screen. My head swam and tilted backwards, falling like the first moments of sleep as Bart disappeared.

It felt like a nap. I wasn’t in bed though. A woman was staring down at me and talking to a voice in the wall. Hair was in my face. I wiped it off and started to stand. Did friendly hands help me? A guy moved so I could take his seat. I shrugged my jacket off but still felt like I might throw up.

Could the lady ask the voice in the wall if I could get off the train?

Help is on the way.

I’ll just wait on the platform. The guy is nice – short with a warm smile, I note before I sit gingerly on the platform. The pavement is chilly and the breeze gives me goose bumps but it feels good. The medics are on their way too.

Did I hit my head? Everyone asks that. The medics too, once they arrive. They’re 2 youngish guys – Matt and Max? Matt with the blue eyes introduces everyone, but I don’t notice Max? pushing the gurney behind me until he asks me about France. He’s trying to distract me while Matt lays probes on my clavicle and feet, then pricks my finger to test my blood sugar. He wants to travel to France but broke up with his girlfriend. Is he flirting with me? Matt broke up with his girlfriend of 7 years 4 months after they moved in together. Guess it’s harder than it looks.

Did my Lyft finally find the ambulance? Man, they really need to fix those Bart trains! Why hasn’t an entrepreneur come up with a great alternative yet?

Underground Brunch at I Forgot It’s Wednesday


I recently discovered a friend of a friend, Jenny Wang, is a magnificent chef who runs an underground dinner and brunch club, I Forgot It’s Wednesday, out of her Lower Haight home with her partner in cooking and life Matt.

A Sales Operations Specialist at Hired by day, Jenny uses her culinary school background to concoct unbelievable meals on the evenings and weekends. Delicious food and impeccable presentation aside (you’ll see in the photos ;), their apartment is rustic chic, gifted with ample natural light and makes you feel right at home. My only regret? I forgot to snap a photo of Matt’s beautiful Bloody Mary and mimosa bar! I’ve never had a Bloody Mary quite like Matt’s 🙂 I hear the secret ingredient is pho broth!

Jenny and Matt made spiced pop corn for appetizers

Jenny and Matt made spiced pop corn for appetizers

Matt and Jenny's beautiful table

Matt and Jenny’s beautiful table

Jenny made the terrariums herself

Jenny made the terrariums herself

Our brunch menu! 3 courses of deliciousness

Our brunch menu! 3 courses of deliciousness

Multicolored beet and goat cheese gem with parsley and jicama in satsuma-argan oil vinaigrette to kick things off

Multicolored beet and goat cheese gem with parsley and jicama in satsuma-argan oil vinaigrette to kick things off

Rosemary & mullberry buttermilk loaf, millionaire's bacon, 64 degree egg, whipped yogurt, watermelon radish, baby kale and scallions. Yum!

Rosemary & mullberry buttermilk loaf, millionaire’s bacon, 64 degree egg, whipped yogurt, watermelon radish, baby kale and scallions. Yum!

And to polish things off, kettle corn-infused panna cotta, Dick Taylor dark chocolate shavings, granny smith apples, and a sweet stout reduction for an air from the fair

And to polish things off, kettle corn-infused panna cotta, Dick Taylor dark chocolate shavings, granny smith apples, and a sweet stout reduction for an air from the fair

Not pictured: Matt’s Bloody Mary and mimosa bar, and the sorbets served in pho soup to cleanse our palates right before dessert. Jenny tries out a different combination each time, and to welcome spring we were served kiwi, lemon and dill sorbets. And I almost forgot the peanut butter and bourbon cream filled oreos at the very end.

Jenny, you always know how to treat us 🙂

Jack of All Trades Fair in Jack London Square, Oakland


Last weekend, Oakland was teeming with life as the Jack of All Trades Fair in Jack London Square unofficially kicked Restaurant Week off (in my mind anyway).

Similar to the Renegade Maker’s Fair in San Francisco, it was full of neat crafts, quirky art and overall very enticing fair!

Jack of All Trades Market, right this way!

Jack of All Trades Market, right this way!

Succulents

Succulents

More beautiful succulents

More beautiful succulents

Refurbished just about anything into a working radio

Refurbished just about anything into a working radio

Now what do these remind me of...

Now what do these remind me of…

Thought the Burning Man crowd would love these!

Thought the Burning Man crowd would love these!

So here's where you can get them ;)

So here’s where you can get them 😉

There's something touching about the juxtaposition of beauty and it's fragility

There’s something touching about the juxtaposition of beauty and it’s fragility

Adorable!

Adorable!

But don't forget Wall-E

But don’t forget Wall-E

These are going to be EPIC next Halloween!

These are going to be EPIC next Halloween!

I just had to...

I just had to…

Apparently you can get these at Cost Plus World Market. Brilliant!

Apparently you can get these at Cost Plus World Market. Brilliant!

When I get married, this little beauty will be there

When I get married, this little beauty will be there

And a last few sappy shots. I just love those little Star Wars-inspired cranes (or is it the other way around? 😉

Star Wars in Oakland

The perfect time of dusk

The Jack London Square harbor in Oakland

Some pictures you just can't pass up...

Until next time!

In Response to the Terrorist Attacks In Paris


The terrorist attacks in Paris the last few days seem to be a new “shot heard around the world.” Countless friends and acquaintances have pulled me aside to ask me what I thought about all of it and how I think the French are reacting, so let me spell my thoughts out in long form.

The Events of January 7-9

Let’s start by setting the stage. For any who missed some of the details, 2 muslim terrorists entered the Paris office of French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo in the late morning of January 7, 2015. Armed with AK-47 assault rifles, they hold an employee and her pre-school age daughter at gunpoint and force the mother to let them into the building. Inside, they killed 12 people (both staff and 2 policemen) and wounded 11 others allegedly because of satirical cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. Survivors quote them as saying “You will pay for insulting the prophet Muhammad.” They escape the building firing their arms into the air and climb into a black Citroen (French car). They have several run-ins with police and kill one more policeman, a French muslim who was scheduled to leave the force and become a detective shortly. They finally abandon their car after hitting a pole, steal a nearby woman’s vehicle and succeed in losing the police, but are soon captured anyway.

2 days later, a muslim terrorist who claims to be coordinating with the 2 from the Charlie Hebdo attack (they met in prison around the year 2000) takes a Jewish deli and all inside hostage, demanding the police release the terrorists. He holes up in the kosher deli several hours, during which time he kills 4 people and inflicts serious wounds on 4 more before the police takes action to enter the deli. They blast the doors, which had been booby trapped with explosives, and shoot this 3rd terrorist as he attempts to make a run for it.

The attack on Carlie Hebdo alone is the single bloodiest terrorist attack in France since 1961.

A Little Personal Context

I flew back to France to spend the holidays with my family December 18-27. During those 10 days in Paris, I was shocked to find a new terrorist attack featured in the news every 1-2 days.

December 20, 2014 – An armed muslim enters a police office in Joue-les-Tours (Western France, near Tours) and yells “God is great” over and over as he knives 3 police officers before another pulls out his gun and shoots him. Investigations revealed he grew up in a broken home, felt victim to the system, and was most likely seduced by the violent messages of radical Islam.

December 21, 2014 – A muslim driver hits 4 groups of pedestrians in Dijon (Eastern France), seriously wounding 2 and injuring 9 more. As police officers apprehended him, he yelled “This is for the children of Palestine!” Investigative services later assess he was not a terrorist but rather mentally ill. Nevertheless, copycat attacks ensue.

December 23, 2014 – A muslim drives his car all over downtown Nantes (Western France) attempting to hit pedestrians and shouts “Allah is great.”A mere 2 hours earlier, my father was there walking with his cousin and his wife and 2 young children. Again, investigative services decide this was not a terrorist act, but rather a troubled youth, possibly to avoid panic.

So How Did the French React?

We came together, bridging age, religion and culture to support each other. They took to the streets in cities such as Paris and Toulouse to proclaim that they’re not afraid and won’t be giving up their hard-earned right to free speech.

Liberty is one of the founding principles of France – our forefathers died for it during the French Revolution. It’s a deep part of our culture, as engrained as freedom and liberty are in the US. Freedom of the press is here to stay in France.

Another big message has been that not all muslims are terrorists. Muslims comprise approximately 10% of the French population. Outside of rural areas, all Frenchmen and women know muslims and count many among their friends. I’m proud to write that we’re not turning against all muslims because of the actions of a radical few. We know these are people just like us, who want to live their lives and know their loved ones are safe.

Lastly, the big message the French want to send terrorists is that we’re not afraid. We can see what they’re capable of, but we also see that their brethren are ashamed of their violence and barbarism, and we’re not going to cave in to their tactics.

Hopefully this sheds a little light on the recent events in France for everyone!

You can check out messages of piece, support and courage at #JeSuisCharlie and #NotAfraid.

Thanks for making this year amazing, and Happy New Year!


It’s been a long and amazing year and I don’t know that I gave as much as I received, so I’d like to start 2015 by thanking just a few of the many people who made 2014 exceptional (in no particular order).

I’d like to thank my parents for always being there and dishing out some of the best advice around.

Will for reminding me to take chances.

Matt for always believing in me. You’re a hell of a cheerleader!

Helen for keeping me grounded. You remind me what truly matters ❤

Skye for inspiring me. You’re one of the smartest and humblest people I know.

Ms Thoe for being my stand-in Grandma. Your love and open mind know no bounds 🙂

Teresa for keeping my best interest at heart. Caleb put it best: “You protect your team fiercely!”

Stefan for cheering me up. You always know the right words to say when I feel like I’m drowning!

EB for expanding my horizons. My brain has absorbed so much knowledge and wisdom from speaking with you.

Ellie for teaching me the true meaning of teamwork. I had never had to work that closely with a single person before, but I like to think I went from stepping on your toes to being your 2nd work half ❤

Caleb for leading by example in humility. You are more amazing than you probably know 🙂

Olivia and Michele for giving me strong role models of women high up in startups. You own your success and intelligence 100%

Corey for setting me free. Who knew the crazy fun times I’d been missing out on!

Jake for just knowing. You’re down for everything, always get it and make a mean cake pop!

Stephanie for keeping me in line. You call it like you see it.

Eva for motivating me. I see everything you do and it makes me think I can too.

David and Renee for being my college family. You saved me from some pretty epic blunders!

And many more, special people. I know I don’t say it often enough, so thank you all. You mean a lot to me 🙂

Now go out there and have an amazing New Year!

Chevreuse, France All Dressed Up For Christmas


The Christmas decorations are out in Chevreuse, a small town near Paris.

The baker has some of the grandest Christmas decorations around!

The baker has some of the grandest Christmas decorations around!

Even their window display screams festivity

Even their window display screams festivity

Can't remember where this is, but I like

Can’t remember where this is, but I like

And this.... Is the funeral store: caskets, funeral services, etc.

And this…. Is the funeral store: caskets, funeral services, etc.

Check out these hens at the butcher's!

Check out these hens at the butcher’s!

And Santa Clause is scrambling up not 1, but 2 windows.

And Santa Clause is scrambling up not 1, but 2 windows.

Santa seems to have a real thing for windows now.

Santa seems to have a real thing for windows now.

How cute is this?!

How cute is this?!

'tis the season for wreaths!

’tis the season for wreaths!

I’ll try to snap a few shots of the decorations in Versailles before I head out 😉