I have standard replies to standard questions. Since 2009, people have asked me how I liked working for myself and I always respond that I’m the smartest boss that I have ever had.
And to demonstrate how that works, sometime before the July 4th holiday I had a meeting with myself where I decided there would be no blog article last week, since none of you would be in the office to read it. No one made me feel bad about making a sensible decision and it didn’t require a committee. And let’s face it, nothing happened last week.
The only thing I noted of worth is that apparently the uptick in real estate is not limited to Los Angeles. My very good friend Matt Farrell is the President Elect of the Chicago Association of Realtors. He appeared on a Chicago local news broadcast and reported strong demand in several Chicago neighborhoods as well. I just keep seeing these little signs that increase my confidence in the economy.
The hustle continued this week. On Tuesday I saw a listing for a community meeting hosted by Lyft in response to the cease and desist order that I wrote about in Volume III of Hustlers in Paradise. Wisely they chose Culver City near Atom Factory (outside of the jurisdiction of Los Angeles) as the location for the meeting. I spoke with drivers, passengers and other gadflies like myself.
Here’s my take on where they stand. On the negative side of the ledger, a little political seasoning is still required. They kept a long line of us waiting outside for it to begin and ultimately they kept Samantha Millman (who I consider an Influencer) from entering. It seems silly to call something a Community Meeting without letting go of that age-old idea in Los Angeles that there must be a list at the door! The point of the meeting is to create the longest list possible.
On the positive side, I have been to hundreds and hundreds of political meetings over the years. The vast majority feel moribund or perfunctory, the insiders showing up once more to hear the same soundtrack again. This, however, reminded me more of early, energetic, but slightly confused meetings in the Dean for President campaign. A whole lot of outsiders who probably don’t even know who represents them on City Council, but they feel, with conviction and passion that they will be heard.
On Wednesday I trudged over to the Annandale Golf Club for the July Meeting of the Pasadena Angels. Egats, a 6:45 AM official start time of networking, these people mean business! I wish I could report more on what I saw, but I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement as an attendee and so I will comment on what I think about that instead. I have known about the Pasadena Angels for the better part of a decade and I have met wonderful members of the organization. However, since I have moved to Los Angeles four years ago, there has been an unquestioned shift in power and energy in the venture community from the Pasadena area to the west side and Santa Monica. I understand that sourcing deals and vetting companies takes a lot of work, but I question whether this secrecy serves them well in this current environment. At a recent event I attended on the west side, I overhead a young twenty-something entrepreneur (in a funded company) say of Pasadena “Yeah, I think this guy Bill Gross is still over there.”
In other news . . . A Psychic in the Valley is being sued for fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress because a client spent $11,000 over approximately two years for the Psychic to remove the curse over the woman’s love life. See story here. The case raises several important questions. First, except for the amount of money involved, how is this transaction any different in substance from a basic transaction where a psychic is compensated to read a person’s future? In neither case does the psychic have the capacity to deliver on the promise made. Second, is every organization in Los Angeles that promises unverifiable connections to higher powers committing fraud?
Many might jump to the conclusion that the Psychic exposed herself by being greedy, but hey living in the Valley ain’t exactly cheap either. It seems to me her legal troubles could have been avoided by organizing her psychic consultancy as a non-profit and calling it a Psychic Church or Synagogue of the Psychic Order. She can continue charging those rates, but in the future she should adopt best practices in line with other such organizations connected to higher powers. Like keeping promises of results vague and using a lot of platitudes. For example, she should have advised this woman that the result of the $11,000 in services would be a reuniting with her ex-boyfriend in the afterlife. Much harder to challenge that in a court of law.
And you know what they say. When a Psychic closes a door, she predicts the opening of a window . . .
A brief comment about this week’s photo. The Los Angeles Athletic Club where I workout is offering a Film School Camp for kids 7 to 17 years old. A lot of people I know question whether they should raise their kids in Los Angeles (the drug culture would no doubt terrify me as a parent as well). Answering that question in any detail would require entire blog entries, but when I saw this I was reminded that, for whatever it’s worth, most kids in America don’t have the option of going to Film School Camp down the street.
This week I will wrap up with three shameless plugs.
— Skander Garroum is organizing a Pitch Marathon in Berlin on July 31, 2013. 42 startups will pitch to assembled VCs and angel investors. I can’t attend right now but I hope to make it back to Berlin this year.
— My fundraiser for Damian Carroll has been moved to July 31, 2013 at 7:00pm. Please let me know if you can attend or support Damian.
Los Angeles, California