Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Time for Business: Power Hour

Power HourSan Jose businesses, looking for a way to save energy and money? Want some free advice for managing your business? PG&E is hosting Time for Business Power Hour at The San Jose Woman’s Club, Thursday August 28, 2014 from 7:30 AM to 4 PM.

You’ll have  an opportunity to:

  • Create a free energy plan, with a  energy assessment and a customized action plan for how to save both money and energy
  • Talk one-on-one with your PG&E representative about customized ways to help you save
  • Learn key business strategies from local experts on digital marketing, personal branding and small business financing.
  • Enjoy snacks and refreshments from popular local businesses
  • Get connected with other professionals, networking with business leaders


Register here.

When: Thursday, August 28, 2014 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Open House) 
Speaker sessions will  repeat and start at: 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. 

Location: San Jose Women’s Club
75 South 11th Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Get Directions

Investors and Startups Crawl Through Downtown San Jose

PitchcrawlThursday night was what I think will be the first of  many PitchCrawls in downtown San Jose. Created by the energetic Tracy Lee of Dishcrawl fame, the event brought together investors and startups in a crawl through some of downtown’s innovation centers, with a break at each for startups to pitch their ideas in 3 minute sessions to investors who offer everything from funds to technology for the companies they invest in. We heard ideas for everything from affordable tech support and iphone apps to the next hot sports drink company founded by a scientist and a well known athlete and an outsourced HR company. Ideas were flowing and so was the banter as we moved from place to place.

This is a refreshing change from the usual pitch events, that’s for sure. Instead of gathering in a room to hear elevator pitch after pitch and then the frantic rush to speak to “the” investor, startups and investors had a chance to mingle and talk more casually, eat some great food and tour some of San Jose’s downtown innovation centers at the same time. Everyone I asked was delighted with the format, even in the chilly winter weather as we worked our way from venue to venue.

The first stop was at the San Jose Tech Shop. I’ve been wanting to venture in here for months. They soft-opened in July and the place is amazing. If you’re wanting to do anything requiring very cool and expensive toys, this is your place. They offer classes to expand your knowledge for using everything from CAD programs and 3-D modeling to a sophisticated machine shop, industrial sewing equipment, a powder coating booth and a huge water cutting table that can slice through marble or steel like a hot knife through butter. Very impressive. We noshed on tacos from Juanita’s and had a tour of the facilities, then stopped for round 1 of the pitches.

Stop 2 was at the home of DishCrawl and several other burgeoning startups housed in Next Space, a co-working space on 2nd St. While we sampled the amazing concoctions provided by Raw Daddy (find him at the Sunday Campbell and Palo Alto farmer’s markets) we met more founders and toured the space with manager Gretchen Baisa. If you’re looking for a drop-in space to work or a friendly office environment that’s not in your garage, you should be checking this space out right in the heart of downtown San Jose.

The 3rd stop was–in classic DishCrawl style–a food truck. This time from House of Siam for some yummy roti wrapped around satay pork with peanut sauce. It was a quick stop but gave us more energy for the busy networking scene going on at our last stop, the Irish Innovation Center. The Innovation Center had a full-on networking event going on already in the Silicon Valley Holiday Mixer, complete with a mini trade show and music, and the place was packed. Add a pile of Pichcrawlers and you’ve got a fantastic networking opportunity. The center partners with the Kauffman Foundation, Microsoft Bizspark, IDA Ireland. and Price Waterhouse Coopers to name a few, and offers members office space, mentoring, education and the opportunity to connect with potential funders.

All in all, the event was a huge success and I heard quite a few meetings being scheduled. What a unique and fun way to get in front of some interesting investors with your startup or find the next startup before anyone else! The next PitchCrawl is to be held in San Francisco on January 10. At last check there were just a few tickets left, but I expect they will be back in Silicon Valley soon. Big congrats to the DishCrawl team for another well executed concept!

Why the Netflix price increase isn’t

I might be getting in to this conversation a little late, but I still keep hearing people talk about the “price increase” for Netflix users. But its not really; or not if you’re willing to ditch one of their two services, streaming or dvd-by-mail. And I’m gonna be just fine with ditching streaming. Here’s why:

  • Selection: Out of 40 disks in my queue, only 6 are even available for streaming.
  • Reliability: Who wants to get halfway through watching a tv series and have the remainder suddenly yanked from the service because of a contract dispute between Netflix and the producer? I’ve had that happen at least once with streaming.
  • Picture quality: At least on my interconnect connection, watching Netflix streaming is like watching a DVD, if I were to previously have dipped my glasses in vaseline.
  • Sound: In some of the videos I’ve watched on streaming, the sound was out of sync with the video by more than a second. I saw this the worst in the old Monty Python tv shows. Timing is everything (they say) in comedy…and trying to watch Monty Python with the sound off by a second proves it.

I’ve heard some people say they’ll be just as happy ditching dvd-by-mail and getting streaming only. I’m not sure why they’d be willing to pay for a limited selection of jerky out-of-sync videos, but they’ll get a price cut too, just the same.

Now if Netflix ever decides to actually drop their dvd-by-mail service altogether, then we’ll have something to really complain about, but hopefully they’re smart enough to know that streaming just isn’t ready for prime time, yet.

25 Technical Girls Win Awards

The National Center for Women & Information Technology today gave out 25 awards to San Francisco Bay Area girls for their technical achievements. This is the first year for the Bay Area Affiliate group to give out NCWIT Awards for Aspirations in Computing. Girls who were honored in today’s ceremony at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View are eligible to compete for national NCWIT awards. More about the award:

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. Awardees are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing offers both a national and local “affiliate” competitions to generate support and visibility for women’s participation in communities nationwide.

Today, girls from high schools in San Francisco, Fairfield, Oakland, Pittsburg, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Cupertino, San Jose, Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz, and Watsonville were recognized for their technical achievements.  With five, San Jose had the most winners for any city.

A group of 18 men and women from business, academic, and non-profit companies, schools, and institutions worked for the last six months to create today’s event. Sponsors were: The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, Apple, ETR Assoc., Girls Inc., Google, Intel, Microsoft, MOUSE Squad, NSBE Alumni, Palo Alto Unified School District, San Jose State University, SDForum Tech Women’s Program, Techbridge, The Computer History Museum, The Tech Museum, and UC Santa Cruz. I lead the Application Review Team. We plan to distribute these awards annually.

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Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson

Top Nosh Cafe Opens in Willow Glen

While I have been working at the Diabetes Society on the top floor of the Garden Theater building in Willow Glen, I have also been waiting for the new Top Nosh Cafe on the ground floor.  Today it opened!  I was on my way across the street to Peet’s for some morning coffee when someone said that Top Nosh is now open and selling Espresso drinks for half off! The Peet’s on Lincoln Avenue usually has an all-day crowd inside and in front, complete with dogs and bikes. I have loved Peet’s coffee ever since I was at U.C. Berkeley, near where Peet’s was born.

Nonetheless, I went inside to see Willow Glen’s newest restaurant. The brown paper is indeed off the windows at last and Top Nosh is open.  I was delighted to find a friend behind the counter.  Yasmin Tyebjee is the CEO and Owner of the Top Nosh Cafe and a very good cook.  She is also the Mom of one of my daughter’s Middle School classmates.  Top Nosh serves breakfast and lunch and take out dinners.  Check it out!

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Images 2010 Copyright Katy Dickinson

Renovations in progress at Coconut Willie’s

At work at Willie's

Nearly two years after a fire gutted the place, it looks like work has begun to renovate the former Coconut Willie’s bar at the Corner of San Carlos and Lincoln.

From My Yoga Mat to The Movie Maverick

I was on my yoga mat this morning at 24hr, trying to focus on my breathing in savasana (or corpse pose, the much anticipated final super-duper relaxing pose of any yoga class). Usually my mind wanders off into space and I feel pretty floaty, but today it just kept going back to Tuesday night at Cinequest.

While I didn’t see any movies that night, I did have the pleasure and privilege to see the one, the only, a man perhaps referred to as The King of Ayurveda; Dr. Deepak Chopra.

Cinequest 2010 brought Chopra to San Jose’s California Theater to present him with their Life of a Maverick Award. The audience, filling the seats, were first (after some rather embarrassing sound issues) treated to a showcase of Bikram yoga. Luckily they didn’t turn up the heat in the theater to match the 90 degrees of Bikram Yoga San Jose, and we were simply reminded of the beauty and power of yoga.

Chopra discussed many abstract topics, touching on the cosmos and atoms to the conscious and the soul. A favorite moment of the night was near the end where he went into the audience to answer questions. I knew what he was talking about for most of it, at least sort of. Others in the audience either seemed perplexed or completely enthralled. Either way, the general feeling was that of respect and positivity.

Dr. Deepak Chopra transformed his own life and then helped to do the same to millions others. I left feeling inspired, as I assume the filmmakers did as well, to turn the balance you can find in life into a conscience piece of art. Get more info below, I’m off to give my yoga some much needed focus.

Bikram Yoga San Jose

Deepak Chopra

– tonight’s the last night, go check it out!

Shiny gifts from Silica Valley Glass Studio

Silica Valley Glass Studio

Christmas ornaments at Silica Valley Glass Studio

Wandering the River Street Historic District near downtown on a drizzly afternoon, I chanced on an open studio day at Silica Valley Glass Studio, where there were probably hundreds of fantastic art glass christmas ornaments, tree toppers, brighly colored vases, and other decorative objects. Silica Valley Glass Studio is the operation of Kevin Chong, who has been manufacturing neon signage for nearly 20 years and blowing art glass for more than 10. Chong’s neon work includes signs at Peggy Sue’s Diner in downtown and Henry’s Hi-Life, right across the street from his studio. His decorative work includes beautiful multicolored pumpkins you might have seen at various glass galleries around town, as well as Christmas tree ornaments, bowls, vases, and custom work done by customer request.

While I was there, visiting glassblower Mike Hanson was making a fluted lampshade, with a dark red glass swirled over a brilliant yellow base; or maybe I’m only imagining those colors, because actually it was all glowing red from the heat of the furnace when I saw it, and the colors I thought I saw might turn out completely different once its cooled. He worked the piece back and forth from the furnace to a bench where he continously rolled the piece to keep it from slumping to one side as he blew it to size and shaped it with various tools.

Unfortunately, my visit was on the last open studio day for the year, but you can find Kevin Chong’s work at the Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI, 401 East Taylor Street, Suite 115), or at the Art Glass Center of San Jose (465 South First Street).

At the furnace Glass blowing Vases at Silica Valley

San Jose’s new Lowe’s store

A new Lowe's hardware store opened in San Jose this week.

A new Lowe's hardware store opened in San Jose this week.

Just behind the soon-to-be In-n-Out that Joann has posted about is a brand-spanking-new Lowe’s “home improvement center”. I’m glad that now I can shop in San Jose (and keep my sales tax dollars in town) instead of at the nearby Santa Clara Home Depot; but with Lowe’s previous San Jose location only 3 exits away on I-880, I’m kinda worried that Lowe’s is going to be one of those companies that self-destructs by over-expansion.

I Am T•Pain


Mark Thompson, local South Bay renaissance man, is a bestselling author, speaker, and an advisor to world leaders. All very impressive, but I was blown away when he told me that he was with Smule, and the cool I Am T•Pain – one of the top iPnone Apps of 2009.

I Am T•Pain is on my iPhone – my songs are hilarious attempts. This App will draw attention at an office party, a family gathering, or a New Year’s Eve party.

Smule – I Am T•Pain and other cool products.

Mark Thompson

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