the list

Have You Seen The List?

As Thanksgiving and the holidays approach, I like to take a some time to reflect on the the things I’m grateful for, and take stock of how great life is. If I were to boil the things I’m grateful for down to a single item, that one item would be ‘opportunity.’ Opportunity is the thing that enables us to make the most of our passions, desires, and motivation, so that we can design lives we love through our persistence and hard work. On the eve of Thanksgiving, I like to think of the things that have both given me amazing opportunities, and that have helped me make the most of the opportunities I’ve had (and some things that are opportunities in and of themselves). Here’s a short list of the top 23 things I’m grateful for: The people I’ve met. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some amazing people in the companies I’ve worked at and worked with, in my networking circles, and even people I have simply shared advice with on Linkedin. These great people make opportunities worth taking. The game “Cards Against Humanity.” There are few things more entertaining than an evening with good friends and the …

Starbucks Evenings are Bringing Wine and Beer to San Francisco

Imagine if your go-to morning coffee stop transformed into a relaxing place to enjoy drinks and appetizers in the evening. That’s the reality in cities like Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles, where “Starbucks Evenings” has been rolling out at select Starbucks stores since 2010. The program adds beer, wine and small, tapas-like plates, like truffle macaroni and cheese and parmesan crusted chicken skewers, to the regular Starbucks menu after 4pm. So far only 40 of over 11,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. participate in Starbucks Evenings, but the company has plans to introduce the program nationwide within the next few years, according to Chief Operating Officer, Troy Alstead. Hoodline recently reported that the Starbucks Evenings will be coming to at least two San Francisco locations as soon as this summer. The Starbucks at 9th & Irving recently completed a major renovation, and has been hinting at the new program on its Facebook page, mentioning plans to introduce a “doggie day” and board game night, in addition to other activities. The location at Fisherman’s Wharf has already applied for a beer and wine license, and similar applications have been filed for Starbucks stores across the state, including Napa, San Mateo, Santa …

San Francisco Bay Startups: Good and Bad Branding

With today’s fierce competition for startups in the San Francisco Bay area, it’s important for new companies to establish a brand early. A good brand can easily help a startup make it big, and a bad one can just as easily kill it. What makes a good brand? Good branding goes beyond just an attractive logo and catchy name. It’s important for startups to be consistent in all of their branding, and take every opportunity to convey their brand’s image. Everything a company does or says should reflect the brand, creating brand unity. A brand’s message should be unique and fresh, communicating regularly with its audience in a distinctive voice. Example: Airbnb San Francisco-based startup, Airbnb, has become a go-to app for travelers and vacationers looking for an affordable place to stay. The app provides rooms and guest houses all over the world that are available to rent by the night. Airbnb uses several different social media platforms to spread their message and convey their brand. Their Facebook page is updated every few days with photos and videos related to travel and hot vacation spots, as well as interviews with Airbnb hosts. Their Twitter page shares Tweets from app users …

SF-Based StartupStats Helps Investors Find the Most Talked About Startups

San Francisco-based entrepreneur, Nick O’Neill, is known in business circles for founding SocialTimes, a news website that reports on all things social media, from Facebook news to Twitter trends and everything in between. The site launched in 2007 as AllFacebook, and in 2010, O’Neill sold it to WebMedia Brands. Recently O’Neill started a new project designed to connect investors with the hottest startups. StartupStats was launched in 2012 and has been adding new features ever since. The site matches investors with new startups by analyzing data from AngelList and Twitter to determine which startups are getting the most attention. This data is used to generate a rating called a “StartupScore,” which shows how many AngelList investors are following a particular startup, and how many Twitter users are linking back to it. Investors who have joined StartupStats have found the service to be a good indicator of which startups will be funded soon. “It surfaces upcoming startups earlier in the cycle and they can get earlier access, ideally,” O’Neil told Business Insider. “Now, whether or not they’re going to turn out to be legitimate companies is a whole other thing, but we’re at least beginning to see that our system surfaces …

Tech Startup, Breather, Provides Private Spaces for San Francisco Workers

When writer, Julien Smith, toured the country promoting his best-selling book, he had a difficult time finding a quiet place to work or relax. “I would find myself in cities… where I didn’t know a lot of what was around me, and I just wanted—I don’t want to say a sense of safety, but more like a sense of just feeling comfortable or feeling at home,” he told Inc. “So I would end up at Starbucks.” Coffee shops like Starbucks proved to be too noisy for Smith, and he didn’t want to pay high hotel rates for just a few hours of privacy. This need for a familiar space in an unfamiliar city inspired Smith to co-found Breather, a company that rents out private office spaces in several major cities for between $15 and $40 per hour. In San Francisco, Breather currently rents 16 locations at a rate of $25 per hour, and they plan to add another eight to 10 more over the next month. The company recently secured a new flagship office on Mission Street near Transbay Terminal. Breather spaces offer amenities like Wi-Fi, chargers, couches and access to bathrooms, and are well-stocked with complementary candy and books. …

San Francisco’s Found Conference Proved Dog Tech is Big Business

Technology has gone to the dogs. In March, startup CEOs gathered at Digital Garage in San Francisco for Found, the first ever dog tech conference. The event was hosted by Pack, a local startup that provides a social network for dogs and their owners. Pack co-founder and CEO, Megan Casey, said the purpose of the conference was to discuss the growing industry of technology for dog owners. “We wanted to get a group of fellow dog startups that see the same type of opportunity and solutions together into one room to say this isn’t an underdog issue, this is something that’s actually a really big market,” she said. Guest speakers at Found included Aaron Easterly, CEO of Rover, a service that connects dog owners with dog sitters in over 10,000 US cities. Easterly discussed the trends he feels are driving pet tech, including an increased demand for pet products and the lower cost of tech startups. “When you have an increase in demand and an increase in supply, you get an explosion in pet tech,” he explained. Easterly said he sees a huge undeserved market in dog technology, and urged fellow startups to think big. “Don’t get overly stuck on …

Make Your Reservations Now for the Return of The French Laundry

Napa Valley’s famous three-Michelin-starred restaurant, The French Laundry, mysteriously closed its doors just before Christmas to being a lengthy renovation process. The old kitchen has already been completely demolished, and the staff have been temporarily employed at a new pop-up called Ad Lib at the Silverado Resort & Spa. Chef and Restauranteur, Thomas Keller, told Inside Scoop that The French Laundry will finally re-open on April 7, but with a temporary shipping container kitchen, which will keep the restaurant running until the massive renovations are complete. Ad Lib will continue to operate through October to accommodate Silverado’s Frys.com golf tournament. Keller has recruited Chef Michael Sandoval, formerly of Bouchon, to take over at Ad Lib once The French Laundry returns. According to their website, The French Laundry’s historic building was constructed by a Scottish stonemason in 1900 and originally used as a saloon. Later it was converted into a residence, and then a French steam laundry in the 1920s (hence the restaurant’s name). In 1978, Mayor Don Schmitt renovated the building into a restaurant with the help of his wife, Sally. Keller discovered the space in the early 1990s and purchased it in 1994. The much-celebrated French restaurant with tasting …

SF Bay Couple Lives in 712-Square Foot Cottage as an Experiment in Energy Conservation

Since 2012, architect, David Baker, and design communications consultant, Yosh Asato, have made their home in Zero Cottage, a 712-square foot home in the Mission District designed by Baker with the goal of achieving Net Zero Energy certification. According to Living-Future.org, Net Zero certified buildings are rare, and must be designed to harness “energy from the sun, wind or earth to exceed net annual demand.” “The basic concept is that you need hardly any energy for heating or cooling because the house is so well-insulated,” Baker recently told the San Francisco Chronicle. Baker explained that the cottage uses an innovative 92% efficient Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system, that extracts heat from day-to-day use, “heat that you generate—taking a shower, cooking, using your computer.” The HRV system then uses that extracted heat to “warm fresh, incoming air.” Baker said that after using the HRV system, he never wants to build another house without one. “It’s an amazing system,” he said. “It’s so quiet, you can’t tell you are in the middle of the city.” Zero Cottage also makes use of sustainable materials, like reclaimed metal tiles and wood flooring. “We… incorporated wood flooring salvaged from a pasta factory,” Baker explained. “We didn’t …

Bay Area Boutique Uses “Magic Mirrors” to Merge Online and Offline Shopping

Like something out of Back to the Future Part II, the new “magic mirrors” at Rebecca Minkoff in San Francisco may be the future of shopping. The new technology was developed by eBay as a way to bring the online shopping experience into the real world. “People still want to use their five senses, not just the one sense you use when you’re doing e-commerce,” said Steve Yankovich, eBay’s Head of Innovation and New Ventures. “So physical retail, a showroom, I think will never go away.” Customers at Rebecca Minkoff can use “connected glass” walls to view the latest looks through pictures and video. When they want to try something on, they simply tap the item to add it to their dressing room. They can even order drinks, like champagne, which they can enjoy while trying on clothes. By entering their mobile number, the customer can receive a text when their dressing room is ready. The magic mirror experience continues into the dressing room, where the mirror uses RFID technology to recognize which items the customer is trying on. It also acts as a virtual stylist, suggesting accessories and other items to complement the customer’s selections. The customer can then ask …

AltSchool: New SF Bay Tech Startup is Creating the Future of Education

Altschool, a San Francisco Bay area startup founded by former Google product manager, Max Ventilla, is an innovative new school system that combines advanced technology with traditional education. AltSchool’s “micro-schools” are modeled after the one-room schoolhouses of the past. Students aged from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade learn together in classrooms with no more than 25 students and two teachers each. For a tuition of around $20,000, students study a curriculum focused on project-based learning and real-world lessons. “The point of education is to prepare our kids for the world that they’re going to actually experience as adults,” Ventilla explained. Students go on weekly field trips and complete activities like designing irrigation systems and building drones. Micro-schools have no principals or other administrators, but instead use technology to connect teachers with students and parents. Engineers and software developers work closely with teachers in their classrooms to constantly improve the AltSchool platform. “All engineers have ‘buddy teachers’ and study what’s going on in the classroom so they can learn about what’s most effective,” said Director of Education, Carolyn Wilson. “It lets us iterate very quickly and improve very, very quickly and validate for others that this is actually an approach that can …