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Musings from Silicon Valley - January 2018

This is a roundup post of my favorite things from the last several weeks.


I am working on two startups - which is incredibly fun but requires a high level of organization and focus on moving things forward on each business every day. I have noticed that it is important to completely turn off late at night so my brain can recover. This means that I need to turn off email notifications late at night. In discussing this with friends, a Facebook employee told me about Beach Mode, the Facebook mode that allows employees to control notifications they receive late at night. This is described in this VentureBeat post from February 2016 - though the end of the article makes it sound like it never shipped.



In a marketing discussion last week about localization, this Invisibilia story came up about the challenges McDonald’s faced when they opened its first franchise in Moscow in 1990. “American cheerfulness” is part of the McDonald’s in-store experience - no matter where the store is located - and they require employees to smile. The podcast talks about how customers grew to like it and how it influenced culture.



My Dad's cousin, Julie, is a professional quilter and sent me a link to see Gee’s Bend Quilts. The designs are bold and have “unexpected patterns, unusual colors and surprising rhythms.” They are incredible pieces of art, and now as the Silicon Valley focuses on design with clean lines and whitespace, it makes me wonder how to add those surprising rhythms.

Gee's Bend quilts



Last week, I met Drea Koval, the creator of Maybe Capital - a new board game where you are a VC-in training, traveling up and down the 101, pitching companies to your friends and convincing them that your idea is the best and that you should get all the money. Your ultimate goal is to get to Burning Man to host a VIP Disruption camp and collect investors and millions of dollars. But be warned… there’s different pricing for men and women to highlight the disparity in earning power in the Silicon Valley. Love it, Drea! Grab yours here.

Cards from Maybe Capital's Silicon Valley board game



Sofar Sounds logo

One of our new favorite things to do is to go to a Sofar Sounds show. Sofar Sounds holds really intimate shows in private homes and small shops. Three artists each play four songs at each show. Sofar Sounds is in a growing number of cities. Head to their website, click to apply for tickets for a specific date, and they’ll contact you if you’re invited. Buy tickets ($20 each in SF) and then the day before the show, they’ll send you the secret location. Bring a blanket for the floor, a bottle of something, and you’re in for one of the best nights. Also, Kevin, my Beledor cofounder, just found that Sofar Sounds has a great Spotify channel, so check that out to discover new artists.



As Bitcoin falls this week and we all ride the wave, blockchain and cryptocurrencies still dominate technology discussions. My friend Arianna has a way of staying on top of all things pop culture and tech, and I have to say this Bitcoin mug makes work mornings more fun. Get yours here.

I Like Bitcoins and I cannot lie mug



As my cofounder Kevin build our online contemporary art gallery, Beledor, we are hitting up every art event we can. Last weekend we were at San Francisco’s art fair, FOG Design & Art. The showstopper was this piece, “PixCell-Maral Deer” by artist Kohei Nawa, most easily described by SFGate as “a full-size reindeer covered with shimmering glass orbs.” It was an incredible site, with an asking price of $500K. Read more in this SFGate article.

PixCell-Maral Deer by artist Kohei Nawa

Reindeer sculpture at FOG Design & Art


My best friend Jen recently introduced me to Thrive Market, an online health food store where you can order really healthy snacks and food at wholesale prices. You have to pay an annual membership ($59.95), but this is a great answer to ordering healthy office snacks. Follow this link if you want 25% off your first order.


Thrive Market logo



Thanks to Hilary for sharing this most hilarious response to Mario Batali’s sexual misconduct apology letter. Enjoy this one ladies!



This week’s shoutout goes to the Aptascan team. Their first patent was issued last week getting them one step closer to major innovation that allows for continuous monitoring of infection and more. We’re all very much looking forward to the day when we have as many analytics about our bodies as we do about our website traffic - especially when we are in a hospital setting.

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