Pancakes

Entrepreneur Lessons

I thought this week would be sort of a chill one. My assistant is in Japan right now and with her being away I dialed back the typical high volume meetings we normally have for a little less intensity on the work front. Maybe a week off? Think again. This week has been one of the busiest ones in ages and I swear I say that each week to myself as I huff and puff in the bathroom getting ready for work thinking how could it get any crazier but really this one is major.

My days seem to start drifting into one another where I tell myself I need “more hours” in the day to get stuff done. When an email and call comes in I wish I had twenty fingers to quickly respond to the deluge of emails and calls. I used to never be a morning person, in fact growing up I had a true disdain for mornings. I was *that* kid in school who loved faking a tummy ache so I could sleep a little more.  I was also that kid who loved sleeping in and then mom making me ridiculously delicious stacks of homemade pancakes smothered in butter and rich Aunt Jemima syrup dripping off and playing a little hooky.  What’s wrong with a little vacation and play day with mom? Those were the days!

Now with the demands of my job and Linx truly being on the so-called map in a huge way, my previous repulsion of morning has started to drift away as I evolve as a founder, small business owner, wife, and mother to our pup. It has actually been our dog who has helped shift my body clock to become more of a morning person. He wakes up at the crack of dawn stretching and giving us the sweetest little puppy kisses ever. It’s feeding time and game on for him!  While that is my husband’s job, I can’t help but sort of toss and turn by his affection and the fact that my two favorite guys are already wide awake. hopper.morning-sunMorning Sun by Edward Hopper

I used to do the majority of all client interviews in the later afternoon hours and evening hours. Bang three out in one night, last interview with new client ending wrapping at 10:00pm in my old office in Palo Alto. I’d do my personal notes from my assessment of the interview and then deliriously cruise home for dinner at 11:00pm most week nights. It just wasn’t healthy nor balanced in anyway. I had truthfully always believed my clients wanted evening hours since they were all busy professionals working during the day. I’ve learned in my business lessons of running my company, when it comes to matters of the heart people will do what it takes to carve out time for themselves at any hour of the day for a meeting with me. Morning. Noon. Night. It doesn’t matter.

My sacred time has now become the silence of the morning with the sun rising. The occasional car passing by, the birds starting the sing their songs, and Peninsula Cal Train’s faint horn sound in the distance. I actually now really enjoy doing morning meetings. In fact, I love wrapping my client interviews by 2:00pm so I can have time to reflect on notes and then get to emails in the afternoon. Ironically I find my mind is a ton sharper and I’m more “on” in the morning. I’m ready to go, excited for the day, and can hardly wait to get to start discussions with my first client. For an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley it is a complete rush of endorphins and a massive satisfaction of absolutely loving being a passionate and innovative entrepreneur here. 94.428_01_a02                   Coffee by Richard Diebenkorn

Last night I worked with a prospect by phone quite late as he doesn’t like computers and does everything he can to get away from them. I had sent him his Linx application and other materials to get started on weeks ago and in our call last night before today’s big meeting he admitted he was *that* kid at Stanford who waited till 12:00am to complete his homework for that day. Some things don’t change. I’ve learned that not every new client is the same on many fundamental levels. As a CEO you have to be nimble and adapt to what he or she might feel more comfortable with.

I had a very long day yesterday and luckily sweated it out some at the gym which I really needed (blog post on that coming soon) yet was not as nearly prepared as I always am for today’s meeting since my client had not sent me ANY of his materials. I acted quickly and responded to a way I knew he would appreciate. I took am hour and a half on the phone with him dancing through my database and application questions in an effortless way for him. He was more than happy to share everything on the phone and will do the same in person today but just having to fill out forms isn’t his thing. I get that. If I had been too rigid about my standard methodology and forcing him to do it my way, I would have absolutely lost him as a potential amazing client. In fact he texted me the other day saying “Are you sure you aren’t from New York?” I wrote back saying, “Why, cuz I work all the time?” He said, “No cause you are so persistant…and that is a good thing.” I smiled. As a former Wall Street financier he respects my drive and creativity too where sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get the job done.

Luckily we went through all of the important points I need in order to represent him as a client last night. Now it’s a new day and the birds are chirping. The sun is slowing rising and there seem to be more cars buzzing by on this Friday morning. Maybe families are getting out of dodge at 5:30am before everyone else for the holiday weekend. As I reflect on this blog entry I can’t help but smile. I watch as my pup is asleep in front of me and laugh as my husband is at a kickboxing class right now (talk about a maniac..blog entry for later on that one too!). My stomach is starting to rumble. I can’t help but crave those pancakes with gooey and totally artificial fantastic syrup. 865339_com_pancakePancakes by Wayne Thiebaud

The artists selected here: Hopper, Diebenkorn, and Thiebaud reflect some of my favorite contemporary artists. Interestingly they each had an influence on one another.

Betty Draper’s Romantic Weekend Brunch for Two

Maybe your new love interest spontaneously spent the night or you planned a weekend together being lazy in bed with nothing to do. Sometimes the best moments shared are at home, cozy, and with stomachs filled with goodness.

Yummy breakfasts for two can be made with left-over ingredients in the fridge (like crisped up left-over pasta in a frying pan with bacon and eggs) or planning something sweet like cornmeal pancakes with sour cream, fresh fruit, and organic chicken sausages. If you love eggs try Barefoot Contessa’s Country French Omelet.  Fresh squeeze the best fruit available and do French press coffees. Simply divine.

Serve your breakfast and make it fit for a Draper household by using pretty china, linen napkins, and your finest glasses. If serving baked goods and toast, consider a lovely 3 tiered tray like this one here from a recent stay in Hong Kong. Look at the coffee glass as well. Elegant and handsome does the trick.

A fun alternative to breakfast in the morning is at dinner time with your honey. Grab aprons, find a delicious recipe together and heat up the kitchen. Don’t stress about having to make the food perfect. The enjoyment is found in the little details along the way- laughing over too much salt, the wrong amount of flour, spilled scallions on the floor, and burnt butter. Who cares when you are with your lover?  Betty would recommend pouring your loved one a stiff martini with stuffed olives. Upscale grocery stores like Draegers on the Peninsula and Woodlands Market in Marin have an amazing selection of luxury olives- perfect for his and hers martinis.

Perhaps I am inspired from going as Betty Draper to a friends Halloween bash last evening. Don’t you love 50’s fashion? Here I am wearing a Kate Spade dress I purchased a few months ago, a retro apron my little sister gave me one year, a cigarette holder with fake cigarette, and my blue suede heels. I bought a teal crinoline petticoat at a vintage shop in Palo Alto and some over-exagerated pearls. They served incredible basil mint martinis at the party- another great alternative to the classic martini. 

I did a ton of research on hair and make-up. I found Wet-N-Wild actually worked really great for light green eye shadow, 99 cent nail polish, black liquid liner, and hot pink blush. Revlon worked well for a matte hot pink lipstick. I didn’t feel like spending a ton of money on make-up so the cheap alternative actually worked out well thanks to CVS. For hair, I curled  it in old school velcro rollers, backcombed it a ton, went overboard with the spray, and bobby pined it into a French twist. Two hours later, Betty was ready, although there was no Don…only a funny ancient Chinese man hubbie.

Barefoot Contesa Country French Omelet

1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup (1-inch-diced) unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof omelet pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned but not crisp. Take the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.

Place the potatoes in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until very tender and browned, tossing occasionally to brown evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon to the same plate with the bacon.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together with a fork. After the potatoes are removed, pour the fat out of the pan and discard. Add the butter, lower the heat to low, and pour the eggs into the hot pan. Sprinkle the bacon, potatoes, and chives evenly over the top and place the pan in the oven for about 8 minutes, just until the eggs are set. Slide onto a plate, divide in half, and serve hot. 

Bon Appetit! 

My song selection is Frank Sinatra, The Best Has Yet To Come.