Keep Your Advice, But Tell Me a Story

I’ve been thinking a lot about advice again…this time how it is deflected or digested depending on the relationship between the two parties partaking.

The accelerator world hears advice thrown around more than Paige Craig’s name at any given Silicon Beach mixer…though I’m certain 98% of the time, said advice can more so be defined as unwarranted at best.  Personally, I have felt less confident in asking the advice of others.  As the depth of this chess game expands, I find I’m more strategic in my approach to learning.  If I do look to others, it is most certainly from a small group of seasoned vetrans that, on their worst day, can still be described as omniscient.  Point being, advice is a null point in times of late.

On the flipside, I’d be lying if I said I did not have a small group of people approach me with challenging questions, inquiries, and painstakingly deep eyes in search for the be all end all.

Here’s what I know now…

Fair play if a trusted friend/workmate comes to you for words of wisdom, better yet, *highfives* all ’round.  Means you’ve got most of your shit together. But humour me for a minute as I pose a few questions:

…How seasoned are we in fact? …and should we be so quick to deliver one dimensional, freshly pulled out our arses ‘advice’ in 30 minutes or less ‘solving’ their problem and quickly pushing them out the door – smiling #jobdone? I think no.

Something I learnt this Friday past whilst enjoying my favourite afternoon sport, verbal ping pong, with one Jarl Mohn was, in fact – advice, is so yesterday.

Further to this, Jarl posed a new forum of sorts when people were in need of answers and told me a story that proved its’ worth.  #wouldn’tyouliketoknow…

That story is on lockdown, but here’s his equation:  Direct advice is forbidden.  Rather, tell a story, a relavent/relatable one, and how you dealt with X, Y and Zed.  Let that person digest it, and decide on the appropriate steps to move forward given your simple past experience offered.  #thxJarl

I ask you to consider…What’s more pleasing than hearing a colourful story from a trusted source, then holding yourself accountable to correlate and decipher your own solution to this tantalising web we weave?




Opportunity Costs…A Shit Ton

Last night, the omniscient God that is told me, in no uncertain words, my Monday was going to blow.  This morning, I woke myself by falling out of bed, literally.

It get’s better.

Frustrated by the recent resurgence of insomnia in my life, that adds colour to my clothes via spilt coffee and a jittery hand, but subtracts it from my face, under-eye circles don’t count, *they’re black,* last night I found luck in the oldest form of hibernation learnt as a wee girl:  Crying.

Opportunity cost:  ‘Did a bee sting your eyes lids?’-syndrome, come morning.

Scaring the shit out of myself via a chance encounter with my closet mirror whilst peeling my discombobulated shell of existence off the ground, got me thinking about the all too common, but rarely overanalysed, opportunity cost.

I may have mentioned I’d recently embraced the workaholic in me, being constantly surrounded by inspiration and positive vibes  Given this new gigantic pool of positive influences linked to other groups of interesting kids/events/dinners/coffees/10 minute chats gone long/etc., I’ve opened up flood gates to the temptress of temptress’s:  a social diary that never ends.


I place a magnifying glass on this topic, only because I feel like I’m failing miserably at identifying the happy medium and / or understanding what it is I want, who’s to be trusted, or exactly what is the trade off I seem to be recklessly giving over to?

Recent hints of the #goodlife, forgoing a late night at the office in lieu of enjoying the company of your favourite Dev Boy over Hama Sushi Crab Rolls 3 nights a week, or a simple late night stroll with new found friends collecting sour kids and 55 scratch cards from local petrol stations are all good and well… but is their currency greater than my long term goals and the potential of success/benefits to come? I’m digging deep to recall if there was an amortisation schedule for opportunity costs?  #eyescrossed  Even so, my mid/long term memory seems to decrease accordingly in direct proportion to the increasingly large amount of Champers drank at Sunday Brunch. And again…opportunity costs.

At the end of the day, long term goals, (staying fastidiously focused) would seem to take precedence, but are somewhat impossible without entertaining a few short term goals, (distractions) in order to stay sane – is what I’m thinking.  Paradoxically, there’s always a lifeless, numbing boat trip back to the ‘every man’s an island,’ school of thought; where crying oneself to sleep and bee stung eyes are the norm. #cute

In closing, anyone who knows my love for scratch cards would bet I’d never side with an environment where opportunistic currency matters not.  Between scarcity and choice… at the bare minimum, I choose opportunity – costs will always level themselves out.



I’m All Ears…-ish

Some old fart once said something about tangled webs woven…, strike that, indeed it was my FOB father’s way of translating a Walter Scott quote, and like many ‘sayings,’ nonsensically redistributed them into my unassuming adolescent ears.  Either way, you are catching my drifts. #seewhatididthere?  o.0

Back to spiders…

Tonight I feel inclined to speak about honesty.  I have come to find the Accelerator world to be one massive chess game…on crack.  Chess I’m well into…crack, not my cupp’a… alas, we play along.

I’ve found, in my lifetime, human nature to be naturally distrusting, though oddly, in the midst of such emotional turmoil, ups/downs, and, my personal favourite, a cacophony of demanding cries from both seasoned vetrans as well as fish-out-of-water freshman; truth is hotter than the soup de jour.

Daily flood gates of all the honesty flow through my ears riding an array of conduits: desperation, anger, even fits of rage, at times; but I stand on the @Amplify benchmark, mental NDA’s signed, and welcome the underlying layer of trust that comes with such heavy words.

Enter here, a ‘practice what I preach momen’ is afoot…

Truth be told, this is the first time I haven’t been extremely pleased with the direction of a blog spot, and feel like kicking myself in the head for getting to the point of no return; so I’ll make like Mike Skinner and push things forward.

Though I’m embarrassingly cognisant that I’ve spent the past two days faffing about with this blog only to state the obvious; I do realise, now, in true Tegan form, this was me digesting feelings of sorts in a series of unfortunate events.

I’ve recently needed to say some unpleasant truths to a number of people – family, friends, and co-workers alike.  And, though it may have felt worse than, let’s say,  blank conversation with someone you’ve dated that was 12-13 years younger – #i’veheard – it seems now to have worked out for the best-ish.

At the end of the day, I’ll continue to side with the ‘honest to goodness…’ taking my chances on where the cards may lie and stay oddly grateful that I’ve re-learnt simple truths whilst working in a palpable, precarious playing field.



Tilting at Windmills

For better or worse… in times of late, I’ve been after advice from my peers and mentors.

Now that my life has replaced… I dunno, good decision and prudent practice with the hovering grey cloud that is Murphy’s Law, I’ve found the imminent need to prepare myself with a spectrum of assessment and recommendations from my luckier/more seasoned associations.

Oddly, though the life experiences and generational gap between my peers and mentors is as high as my golf handicap, their words of wisdom stay consistent.

Which reminds me:  Dear Consistency, I miss you.  Moving on…

Yesterday I spent 9K hours at #LADemoDay / #StartupsUncensored spearheaded by the colourful Jason Nazar who always produces a well constructed event.  #jobdone.  And though I am certain end goals were reached, I am also, unfortunately, not in the habit of blowing smoke up anyone’s arse.

Typical hit and miss / kill me now issues reared their cheeky faces via the 55K degree heat emanated by 1800 guests, and incessant noise coming from the imprudently loquacious nobs who exited prematurely opening and closing doors as if they were simultaneously creating UGC for a WD40 advert.  Feedback from a few start ups I just met stepping off the hot seat described the disconnect between panel expectation and their pre-coached preparations as alarming. As @Topherolson always states: #youcantwinthemall

On a better note, demo’s were inspiring, panel brought perspective, and best of all, I was able to see my friends/colleagues present the backdrop of their coveted ideas, come reality.

Needless to say, after the charade of meet and greets, curious small talks, etc, etc, my mind’s thoughts were restlessly vamping faster than LaunchPad LA/Matt Cooper’s geek’ed up Addroid Demo.  *To be certain, a much needed pick me up for the seemingly waning mood of the crowd.  #pointCoop

I suppose what I mean to get at is there was this watershed moment of sorts, where those in the crowd representing Accelerators were asked to stand and be seen.  Apart from my ridiculous retaliation to the infamous all-eyes-on-you syndrome, there was a slight part of me that felt inclined to stand.  However, as I looked to my right I saw a few colleagues sit happily neither seen nor heard, and to my left, my favourite boss, lacking any peripheral vision super powers, stand up with ease, unaware of my plight.

Not sure why I needed a wink or a nod from Solly at that moment to be recognised, though a well timed kick on my chair from a fellow mentor sitting in vicinity did help answer my own question… And here it is:

What I’ve learnt most in the past fortnight, is there’s a new school of thought to be reckoned with in this face paced Technology movement.  My peers and I would use hipster slang such as: ‘Shut the Hell Up and Do.’  A topic I touched on over the summer whilst I worked as a useless freelancer.  Paradoxically, my mentor of choice would take a more mature approach and drop a sexy idiom like don’t ’tilt your windmills.’   Nothing says #duhstupid like a Don Quixote reference.

So enough already I say… As much as human nature naturally encourages me to #wow the hell out of those associated with me @amplify, bosses included, and talk the talk every day of the week and twice on Sundays…  I’m over it.

Flipping the tables I happily state, though talk is cheap, there are pros to living in a state of perpetual recession and saving your dollar bills / big’ed up stories about yourself.  Feeling sheepish yet?

I’m gonna #dropthemic and exit on this note: my heads down, lips sealed, mindset focused and here to crank out massive moves whilst simultaneously circumventing any ‘Tilt-age of Windmills.’



Know Your Key Players

So here’s the thing.

It’s simple maths really…Having just left the card tables, I find it necessary to keep with my poker idioms, metaphors, similes, etc. – or perhaps I’m pulling some sick formed slight of hand in order to really muddle the waters and secretly write about what’s got my knickers in a twist.

I digress.

You have a team, and within this team you have the go to guy, you have head down/focused mother crunchers who don’t say much but knock their shit out of the water, you have an array of BS in-between, … and, if you’re lucky, you have key players.  #KB. Well, maybe Kobe and other Christ-like figures should be left out of this story.

Either way, I’m convinced that no matter how many articles, case studies, or full out companies prove the “emphasis on employees’ happiness” model is working… we hit and miss.

In times of late, I’ve been privy to too many close friends happily picking up their own cardboard box and facing the eye of the double dip recession grinning like a kid in a comic shop.  Or, the somewhat ironically moronic, over-achieving go-getters are secretly stewing, definitely questioning…#seriously?

These kids are better described as those few/far between/non-existant people that would have given their right nut/first born to the seemingly typhlotic heads of the company, without hesitation.  And in some sick world, we continue to overlook, mis-judge, and spit in the eye of this rare breed of worker.


Having the privilege to knock elbows with a larger number of companies under one roof of an Accelerator, a la, I see all the personality types; not to mention, the tangible ability to have your peers’ personage easily and correctly assessed via the brilliant minds of Tidepool. *take the test*

In short-ish, I basically understand that I’m surrounded by the cream of the crop.

That all being sussed out, sans any actual poker metaphor, #oops, I just can’t help but ask individual companies large and small, near and far,  ‘Do you know your key players?’  Further yet, ‘What are you doing to ensure they’re recognised, challenged, trusted, and, the be all end all, #happy?’



Tempest in a Teapot

I have a new favourite fascination.  Catalysts.

I think what I appreciate most about this Synergist of synergies is that it bears all vines.  The variance involved in a typical day where catalysts rear their ugly/beautiful heads is worse than any all-in, pre-flop hand of PL Omaha.

As mentioned in my declaration and intent of this blog’s purpose, I’ve recently been invited into the Accelerator community – a world where identifying a catalyst at its’ inception and manoeuvring it to work toward your benefit is critical.  Even still, the art of strategically serving as one, under the ‘less is more initiative,’ is an art form to be reckoned with.

I do believe my interest in dwelling on stimuli and their coddling consorts is in direct correlation to the building of an ecosystem; a challenge I willingly accepted with the better parts/founders of Before my eyes, I see one of the greatest movements initiated in Los Angeles, a town I am openly unmoved by on the whole, yet, recent events have my ears perked / sleeves rolled up…opportunity is abreast and my wheels are turning. #gunsblazing

But I must stop myself short and look to ordering a large plate of restraint with a side of clarity.

The question at hand is: Are the many accelerators living in arms reach of each other in West LA engaged in some sick competition, or are we better off defining ourselves as intricate cogs in a master machine which could stand to make a better difference as an epic entity?  I’m torn to be fair.

Which ever side of the fence you straddle, I can say that engagement and relevance seem to be top of mind in this race toward building out and owning #firstin rights to a saturated market.  Further to this, I find the usual suspects and recurring, malfunctioned, manufactured catalysts that have since defined Silicon Beach – bore me to bits.  Differentiation becomes dire and I’m 5 steps ahead of this lot.  *stepsoffpedestal*

Major point being, I don’t think it’s about holding hands and singing ‘We are Silicon Beach, hear us roar…’ to a Kumbyah drum beat… nor is it an uncommunicative, decentralised Allies vs Axis Powers armed conflict.  I do think it’s an opportunity to differentiate, re-position and define what moves us as individuals.  The space is open to verticalize to your heart’s content or simply set a new precedent in a realm begging for individuality and perspective.

Which brings me back to the exordium of this long winded diatribe and my curiosity with catalysts.  It’s only been a month and I’m happy to admit I’ve been bogged down by a number of negative catalysts in the scene, but live/learn and, #hark, we’re back in the game.  To that end, I’ve personally spoken to a few movers and shakers that I find to be the most healthy motivations in the industry…kids that I find relevant whilst keeping me engaged, tout le temps.  
Jokingly I’ve labeled this dynamic duo, coupled with a few of my favourite portfolio companies, the new #ratpack and I’m hoping the momentum doesn’t stop here.  Plans of action are in the diary, positive energy is afoot, and once again, I find myself well excited to sit at the forefront of making my mark in this uncalculable technological ecosystem.

Slow, Children at Play

Yesterday, I sat down with 4 students from CalTech who wanted to get the low down on  As in many situations in my corporate career, I recall wishing my old man had morphed into a fly that sat silent and, course, in awe, on the wall.  0.o

I’ve been pondering a lot about age lately – well; the perception on age, plus maturity, attitude, mindset, et al.

If you were to walk into the cornered conference room by chance with merely your judgement cap on, you would have thought I was interviewing to join a University debate club or the like.  Here sat 4 ‘young adults,’ smartly dressed and all lined up on one side of the table, whilst me and my ubiquitous cap and new found dexterous disposition #thankyouredbull, enjoyed a game of verbal ping pong.

I recall their faces and could see the excitement welling up as I answered each of their Business 101, even more so, seemingly cautious questions with a non-pedestrian, definitely unexpected, retort.  As I carried on, I sensed their interest and discomposure rising.  The momentum in the room made me proud.

Propulsion is a funny one though.

Just downstairs, ions away from this excitement in its’ most basic form, there was a whole new breed of young adults running amuck…And this begs the question:  To what end?

As I sit on the side of Big Brother aka, the Accelerator, but identify grossly in mindset, mentality, and digital make up of my fellow friends who embody with ease, the scattered start up, I can’t help but #cryuncle and prudently press the PAUSE button.

Anyone mixed up in the flash of light that is a day in the life of Silicon Beach knows what I am getting at.

Is #ALL the adrenaline needed to ensure we as start ups and the leading minds of our generation don’t miss our inherent rites of passage?  Or, would it kill us to simmer the hell down, regroup, re-org, and re-define what our short, mid and long term goals are?

Here’s my two pence… #chillthefuckout.  If you want to own your space, you better have all your dots to I’s and crosses to T’s sorted.  Because like Solly so keenly covered in his last rant, the stakes and saturation are high and the sea of shit is restless and only ramping.




I’ve played a lot of cards in my life.  Literally, yes, but now I happily speak in the figurative.

Those of you who know me on a level only just past the surface will have noticed another pivot in my life’s seemingly masochistic road map.  Whilst those who know my real name, witnessed a simple U-Turn of significant importance.

Either way, at the poker table, or in any new situation, one must play their cards accordingly.

This past month, I’ve played the Sponge card.  Blatantly, I’ve taken liberties, perhaps even let my personality play into the game; point being, I’ve sat here, mainly quiet, soaking in and digesting an infinite abyss of politics, ego, intelligence, jealousy, success, fear, selfishness, stupidity, ballziness, d) all of the above, and now, I have… #perspective.

Admittedly, perspective was a superpower I let fade into oblivion nearly a year and a half ago.  Should you wish to dig deeper into that nebulous teaser, buy me a #pwp (post work pint) and I’ll spill some beans that won’t disappoint.

For now, I transition toward a new state of mind…strike that, world, that may or may not have room for someone of my dichotomous DNA. #timewilltell

Truth be told, I fancy(-ied) myself quite the creative and jumped corporate ship in ’10, only to find myself rambling aimlessly, staunchly stagnant.

Back to the happy present day, I find myself in the safe haven of all things digital; a space I’ve known all too well, but ‘judge/book/cover’ appearances would fool otherwise…

Jumping back into the literal, I will confirm that I now work with one of the top Accelerators in the highly publicised Silicon Beach movement.  There is no shortage of all emotion, inspiration, learning curve, or nerves on a daily basis, but even more scarce is time – a commodity worth as much as @sollytweet’s business cards, so I shan’t digress any longer.

Here comes the #liftpitch:

This blog is meant to put a new spin on my daily digestion of this fast paced entrepreneurial world, the trials and tribulations of start ups and accelerators, LA’s juxtaposition with silicon & beaches – in a whole new light, #thereisagod, and most importantly for me, the positive side of working next to those who wake up every morning with the sole intention of hashtagging the best possible version of themselves.