Saturday, February 23, 2013


Startup World @ Microsoft
February 19th 6:00-10pm

Hermione Way and I 

I crashed Startup World in this hidden Microsoft office that was located in Westfield Mall. Who knew this office even existed? Everyone I had asked at this event had no idea and I wonder if Microsoft even knew about this. What I did know though was that Hermione Way could have possibly been the only person there that was aware of this secret space. She was the host of Startup World, as well as one of the cast members of that show on Bravo "Start-Up: Silicon Valley." Hermione Way continued on to start a global competition to find the world's most innovative startups. She identified 36 tech hub cities around the world and was holding a regional pitching competition. With ten entrepreneurs from each city pitching to a panel of expert judges (and me), SF was their first stop.

Why is there such a big start-up scene here? Why are we like this? The panel brought up some explanations as to why the bay is such a big player in the start-up scene. SF keeps the geeks here, according to the panel.  Part of the reason being is that geeks change things, and people want to hang out with smart people which ends up drawing more smart people in. When Hermoine asked the panel where they thought the next Silicon Valley was going to be, an array of places were mentioned:  London,  Berlin,  Bejing  Moscow, Tel Aviv, amongst others. However, the truth is no other place will be just like Silicon Valley especially with Berlin's distinct rave scene (which apparently is the reason why the geeks stay there).  Of course it was a close competition to find the top start-up in SF, so I decided to feature the first and second place companies.

Leo's Pad

Winner: Kidaptive -Learn to change the world.  Co-Founder Dylan Arena was here to represent this media and technology company dedicated to smart storytelling on iPads with a curriculum developed in collaboration with Stanford University researchers to create entertaining and adaptive content that helps children learn. Their first product, Leo's Pad, engages preschool-aged children with games, puzzles and projects woven into an immersive story arc. Their technology uses embedded assessments to customize learning, support metacognitive development and provide parents with actionable intelligence and useful tips about how to further support their child's progress and interests.

2nd Place: GazeMetrix -Finally your brand can see. GazeMetrix was led by a modest team of geeks in hoodies that built an algorithm which breaks down the unique characteristics of a brand's logo, everything from the corners, shapes, lines, shadows, and colors, to create a brand signature. Using image-recognition software they let brands track where their logos are being photographed, helping brand marketers measure their brand's reach in people's lives by capturing these 'visual mentions'.  With 12 million public pictures being uploaded a day, GazeMetrix empowers brands with insight into when and where their brand was photographed across social media in real-time.

Startup World with Hermione Way and the geeks of SF... CRASHED IT!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Women 2.0

Women 2.0 Conference Reception @ Westin St. Francisco
Feb 14th 6:00-8:00pm 

I got myself a badge and crashed this Women 2.0 conference reception because for this Valentines Day I was going to surround myself with females. Exploring "The Next Billion: Consumers, Markets & Product" was the must attend conference for investors, engineers and designers focused on exploring up-and-coming trends in innovation. "The Next Billion" is the future that we see today with successful women entrepreneurs who've reached milestones of billions with some of the leading female executives in technology.

Amongst these female leaders were Selina Tobaccowala (Founder of and Jessica Scorpio (Co-Founder of Getaround), but still women start only 3% of tech firms. I crashed this conference to discuss innovation and learn from their start-up advice:

"Choose your partners wisely, in business and in life."

"People are everything; not just who share a vision but who execute it."

"Content is queen."

It only seemed appropriate on this V-Day to track down the woman whose partially responsible for bringing hundreds of couples together. Fran Maier co-founded one of the first and most successful online dating sites, Back when most people thought the whole concept of internet dating was weird, Fran helped grow Match by changing the perceptions and building one of the most recognized online brands. Fran stepped away from the project in 1998 when it was sold by a board of directors who didn't believe in the potential of online dating. It was purchased for a few million dollars (pennies compared to its current $178 million revenues). Fran shared advice to VCs now around women advancements, "If she has traction, if she has customers, if she has sales -maybe you don't get it, but write the check anyway."

Thanks to these and the many other women nerd superheroes. You’ve truly helped make the world a better place... CRASHED IT!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Cycle For Survival @ Equinox

Feb 2nd All day

This was an event for only the fearless, that's why Daniel Glover and I crashed it (although I think he may have been invited).  

Danny and I joined the battle to beat cancer as they closed down Equinox for the day. For the most of you that are a member of a gym, a foreign scene for me, but imagine the entire place transformed into a giant spinning class. Amongst all the cyclers was a man that started it all, Dave. Actually it was his wife Jennifer Goodman Linn who was diagnosed with Sarcoma back in 2004. Jen wanted to give back to others so with her husband she founded Cycle for Survival in 2007. Cycle for Survival is a high-energy indoor cycling event that brings people together to raise funds for rare cancer research; 50% of all diagnosed cancers are considered rare. What started out in New York has now expanded to Chicago, Long Island, SF, LA, and DC becoming one of the fastest growing fundraising events in the world.

Meet Dave (The Co-Founder)
Now once a year you can join the battle as well by cycling (no trainer is necessary). You can either start a team and be a captain, join a pre-existing team, or go extreme and ride the entire four hours yourself. Corporate teams seem to be a popular route to go. 

Even though it's too late to help Jen, Dave has chosen to do everything he could to help other rare cancer patients live every day to the fullest. This was also a special day for Dave though as it was his 40th Birthday. When it was Jen's 40th she made a video called the "Happy to be 40 Dance" in which she just let it all go to simply dance, so for this day the entire place stopped to dance -smile, laugh, and live life to the fullest. As Jen had once said, "If you take fear out of the equation people could could be much more satisfied and successful." 

Cycle for Survival makes a tangible impact on cancer patients and their loved ones, and you can too. Here a few more incredible statistics made possible by Cycle for Survival.
100% of the funds go directly to the cancer center and are allocated within six months of each event.
25 million dollars have been raised to this date, funding 53 clinical research studies. 

Some of us leave the world and make an everlasting impact.
Thank you Jennifer for being one of them. 

You Fearless -Jennifer Goodman Linn
CRASHED IT -to living fearlessly!