Stockholm: The Land of Unicorns

Last week I was fortunate to spend time in Stockholm, Sweden. I was attending a global conference of women leaders from around the world. Although it was not possible to meet all 650 women personally (although I did my best), I did have a chance to interact with many of them. Several sessions updated us on Africa, the United Nations, Populism vs. Nationalism, and much more, but the most interesting session for me was on unicorns. In addition to being a mythical animal, I learned that the term “unicorn business" refers to start-ups with a value of more than US $1 billion. When Cowboy Ventures founder Aileen Lee coined Continue Reading

Lessons from Billionaire Stewart Resnick

I’ve noticed that many universities and colleges have found an interesting way to expand their community outreach and donor base. They host CEO summits, speaker series, and economic forecast events to appeal to local business owners and hook them on supporting educational institutions. Earlier this week, I attended a speaker luncheon at one of California’s finest public colleges: Cal Poly Pomona. (Full disclosure: I am a member of the dean’s advisory committee.) As one of two California Polytechnic Universities—the other is located in San Luis Obispo—it is known for “Learn … Continue reading

Bite-Sized Innovation

If you work in an office, you probably have one coworker who has snacks at his or her desk. You know, when you get the munchies, and just want a little something, you go to their desk to get a small snack. For me, that is Becky. She is a member of our sales team and has been at Frieda’s for more than 20 years. She has a drawer filled with healthy snacks, and some mornings I just need a fix to hold me over until lunch. Usually it’s Trader … Continue reading

Vegas, Baby!

Last week I went to Las Vegas. Does it surprise you that it was a business trip? I was invited to speak at the first Vegas Food Expo. My topic was “How Produce Trends Happen.” It’s always fun for me to demystify how kale or kiwi appeared on the produce scene. “Gradually and then suddenly,” I always say. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Las Vegas and for a few years now, I’ve had something on my bucket list. And that is to take a tour of Zappos … Continue reading

The Devil is in the Details

Many applications only have a place to check boxes or fill in basic information, like your name, address, previous jobs, etc. You really don’t have the opportunity to be creative when you are applying for a mortgage or a new job; you just fill in the blanks. But last week, I had the opportunity to see some very creative applications, as I was one of several judges for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards, a business awards competition in Santa Barbara. This is the second year I was asked to review … Continue reading