Stirring the pot, raising hell and rearing children in the Bay Area

Family, Friends, Rants and Raves

A Mother’s Company: The Mother Company

Posted on Aug 5, 2011 in Family and Friends |

A Mother’s Company: The Mother Company

You’d think by now I’d be fully BlogHer’d out. I’ve got my rather tattered sparkle skirt from last year, some party pictures from years past. I have stories of bedbugs, memorable stories of late nights, and other stories I wish were not stories from others.

By now most of us know the brands, the drill, the insider’s club scramble, and the indelible thought of otherwise very classy women with bags on their heads at CheeseburgHer. By now we know that P&G does a huge ditty and that Jimmy Dean has the dancing sun man (they couldn’t possibly pay him enough to do that). We’ve done the booths with milk mustaches and supported one-another’s sponsored companies.

By now we know that last year’s HerBadMother’s fight for Tanner was an emotional moment in time for all of us, and this year, there will be a line of women waiting to donate blood in honor of The Queen of Spain. Underneath the hum of the excitement this weekend Susan is on all of our minds. At the end of the day, we’re women and we’ve got some badass compassion under all those Skinny Bitch margaritas.

You’d think by now I’d be completely done with hangovers and high heels, how-to’s for pros and breakout sessions.

But yeah, I’m not. Because of The Mother Company.

A childhood friend of mine is the founder of The Mother Company, a parent-centric, child-focused company that aims to embrace the social and emotional development of kids.

This is little Abbie, for goodness sake! This is the kid I played soccer with and took ski trips with and played dolls with. (Wait, I don’t think either of us played dolls.) This woman and her team that are making a serious run for becoming the next Mr. Rogers. I think they just might do it.

So I swore off BlogHer until Abbie asked me to come and support her for BlogHer11. And then I packed-up and headed down here to San Diego.

I realized that BlogHer is about companies like this: built by mothers, funded by mothers, produced by mothers. I believe completely in my friend and her mother-driven company. I’m here at because I know what kind of people are behind The Mother Company and I know the products to be full of soul, tackling issues and lifestyles on an intimate, but digestible level.

So I’m here. No parties or hoopla this year. No business card swapping. No sponsors to be touting. And it feels good. I’m here to be a friend. I’m here to support and make introductions here and there. But mostly I’m here to watch a female entrepreneur make a run for the big league.

If you’re at #Blogher11, you can find The Mother Company all the way in the back on the left under the big “600” sign. Their booth looks like a comfy livingroom. They’re serving ice moca lattes and showing clips from their latest production. They’ve got a limited amount of DVDs to hand out too.

Between the chaos and giveaways and pitches at BlogHer, you’ll find these women to be real and ready to talk about the business of emotional learning for kids. You’ll find me there too, because BlogHer, at it’s core is about relationships. This one was worth being here for.

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No Princess Fights Alone

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 in Family, Friends, Rants and Raves |

I have a wall in my bedroom. It’s my faith. It’s got everything from Buddhas to paintings, wood crosses to African face art. On my wall hangs my grandmother’s crucifix that she wore most of my lifetime, and, until the end of hers. On my wall is my great grandmother’s rosary I have carried around the world, and during the birth of my children. There is a mobile by a New York street artist that twirls different words like, “Believe”, “Compassion”, “Sincerity.” On my wall is a little tiny note card from La Gringa that says, “I Love You.” In the center there is a mirror to remind me to also believe in myself.

At night I fall asleep looking at my wall, reminded of all the blessings around me. Call it what you will — divine or not, religious or not, complex faith or simple blind gut instinct. My wall is my faith and running is my church. And right now, my wall is for Susan.

The past few days, my wall has been pounded on with thoughts — I’ve hit every single deity and then some, praying for a woman I do not know well and have only met twice. Her princess army is strong, her fight is extraordinary and unfair and hateful. She is very sick.

In the midst of job interviewing, offers and decisions, I find myself thinking of Susan every day. So many times a day. I think of how brave she is, what a mother-fricker cancer is. I think of my children and I hold them closer just thinking about her. I want to do something — anything, anything any thing. And there is nothing to do, but stare at my wall this week, and beg the treasures that calm me to sleep every night, to send the same peace to her.


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Happy Birthday, Angels

Posted on Jul 16, 2011 in Family, Friends, Rants and Raves |

My beautiful twin superheroes turn 8 today. You are the greatest humans I have ever known. I love you.

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“What’s Your Ideal Job?” and Other Recruiter Questions

Posted on Jul 7, 2011 in Featured, Silly, Work |

“What’s Your Ideal Job?” and Other Recruiter Questions

As most of you know by now, my company Threxy has closed. After six extraordinary years, I’ve decided to go in-house again. Why? Because I miss collaboration, I miss the startup feeling, the long-vision roadmaps. I miss the ability to see a project through instead of just advising others how to. I’ve been the Annie Oakley of outsourced marketing long enough and I can’t wait to begin working with a team again.

In the past few days, I’ve spoken with some fantastic companies and, as you’ve probably experienced yourself,  I’ve been asked the same battery of questions by almost every person I’ve spoken with. What do you say we make it easier on all of us? I’ll just go ahead and answer the questions now… then we can move onto the fun stuff like experience and interest and cool technology.

To the recruiters who are seeing my blog for the first time (welcome and, um, happy-ish reading), this, like most of my writing, is just plain silliness.

Q: What is your ideal job?

A: Well, I could be snarky and say, “Not having one,” but that’s not true at all. I love to work on projects I can wrap myself around. My ideal job today would be a VP Marketing role in a smaller size company that is building out or rebuilding their marketing initiatives. My ideal job would involve working with smack-down-smart brainypants, because, well, that’s what I call fun. I’d throw in a tasty product that is actually exciting to market and one that could benefit from my experience. I’d like to learn from my colleagues. Mama always says, “Learn and teach, learn and teach to keep the balance of work just right.”

Q: What is Threxy? It sounds a little dirty.

A: Threxy is not an adult business, although I’ve made sales programs for enough of them to know more than I should about it. Threxy stands for “Three Ex-Yahoos!” and it’s a company we started in 2005 with three ex-Yahoos (product, engineering and me, the marketer). We had a product idea that we incubated and took through the funding stage. A killer VC told me to scrap it, take the assets and create something new. He was right. From the bones of FamilyRoutes came a six-year business that built online products, developed product and marketing strategies and knocked back about $1 million in revenue. Not bad for a true cottage (like, really, startup.

Q: What are your salary requirements?

A: Now, really. Etiquette says to never talk about money, sex or politics and we’ve already covered two of the three. My consulting rate is about $150/hour. That would be over $300,000 per year if I applied the same metrics to a 40-hour work week. I’m not asking for that much, not even in the same ballpark. So there you go.

Q: What makes you a good fit for this role?

A: See, this is a trick question. No one is the perfect fit. It doesn’t happen. It’s about having the right skills to apply to the right company, at the right time, with the right team. Stars have to align — that or a great recruiter. Which is why I’m on this call anyway. So tell me, what makes me a good fit for this role?

Okay, maybe not the way to answer that one. I know people apply to hundreds of jobs online. I’ve known friends and colleagues who click Apply to every job with their keyword search results. That’s not my approach. I’m looking for a company to call home, a place to sink my brain into, and a place to enjoy watching a company grow and develop. I’m only applying to companies where I think I’m a good fit. That said, I’ve had two calls already where the job description and the job offered were different things. Thank goodness for great recruiters who can navigate it with me.

Q: So you graduated from Syracuse University in 1992?

A: <<Crickets>>. Most people don’t know that I didn’t ever receive a degree. I left Syracuse University in 1992 with a good education and a lot of life lessons, but no, I did not graduate, despite my genius IQ. Did I just say that out loud?

Q: Are you willing to relocate?

A: Nope. San Jose to San Francisco is about the max I’m willing to shift. I have too good of a life to consider anything else.

Q: Do you do SM, SEO/SEM, CRM, UGC, SCRUM or PCP?

A: Yes, I have been doing social media since before SM was a catchphrase and I’ll be doing it long after it is called by another name. Social media to me = customer engagement where customers are. SEO/SEM are in my planning and management suite but not my day-to-day job. There are people a lot more skilled than I at executing on SEO/SEM. CRM is old fashioned lead generation and customer retention. So yes, I’m a marketer to customers and CRM is about customers. I earned my chops building, monetizing and growing UGC. I’d consider myself well versed. I know the SCRUM philosophy because two of my clients are using it and because I try to follow what product and engineering are doing. After all, the whole reason you have a company is for the product, right? PCP, nah, but thanks.

Q: Tell us something unique about you so that your resume will stand out!

Are you telling me my resume doesn’t stand out? Okay, fine. Here you go: I once spent five minutes alone with Michael Jackson. There you go. Does my resume stand out now?

Q: It must be hard closing your company and going in house.

A: Not really. I’ve been looking forward to it for a year. This step was planned and I’m literally thrilled and like a kid waiting to open birthday presents over finding just the right company to work for. I am very proud of the company I built, but I’m also proud to say that phase of my career has finished and I’m onto this next one.

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The Day We’ve Waiting For

Posted on May 1, 2011 in Politics and Rants |

Wikipedia, by 8 p.m. PST May 1

The news broke on Twitter, and as of this post, we’re still waiting for the President to address the world with the news that Osama bin Laden is dead. Eight years to the day after Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner, 10 years after the world’s heart broke on September 11, thousands of childless mothers from war. People are singing at the gates of the White House, “God Bless America” and our national anthem. I wish there was a “God Bless the Whole World’ anthem.

The news brings surges of emotion — for 9-11, for the pain, the loss, the great financial burden, the sadness — and then, relief, joy, “die motha flippa” type exhilaration.

Osama bin Laden is dead.

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Panda Breakfast

Posted on Apr 26, 2011 in Thing 1, Thing 2 |

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