Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Was The Last Four Years of My Life Worth Half a Million Dollars?


Four years ago, the me you see today would not exist if I had just said, "yes." And saying "yes" for me has never been a problem.

You can pretty much ask me anything and I'll say "yes." Grab something to eat? Yes. Go out tonight? Yes. Travel? Yes. Use my toothbrush? Yes. Turn around, lay on my stomach, pull down my pants, don't ask questions and find a happy place? Yes.

There are times in a person's life that he can look back and realize that if he had chosen one path, things would've been drastically different. Monumentally different.

Four years ago, I had the opportunity to lead the in-house Public Relations efforts of a 7,000 employee company (11,000 today) while making over six figures a year.

13 years ago, I had the opportunity to be a summer intern for a fringe cable show featuring two guys who spoke a lot about breasts, alcohol, sex, and debauchery. Right up my alley, no? (I get a "B" just for showing up, right right?) That little show was called, The Man Show, featuring two young, up-and-coming hosts by the name of Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel.

Most of you probably don't know these stories about me because I don't spend much time living in the past. I also don't regret the choices I made, making these stories irrelevant.

Instead, I did things that I've always wanted to do. Things that were true to me. Real to me. They became the living embodiment of my fantasies – more than just passionate ideas that would only fester in my mind because of some excuse or another. In the last four years, I eliminated the barrier of "excuses" and fulfilled these dreams:

– I learned how to write a screenplay and did it. (I even wrote a second, to boot!)
– I visited nearly 20 countries, of which highlights included: Vancouver for the Winter Olympics, running with the bulls in Pamplona, scuba diving The Great Barrier Reef, Brazil for Carnaval, visiting Cuba illegally, walking through my favorite artist's house (Frida Kahlo), visiting the hometown of one my favorite authors (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), partying in Ibiza, St. Tropez and Amsterdam, couchsurfing with strangers who became great friends, "winging" it at train stations in Europe not knowing where I would end up next, celebrating dear friends' weddings in a mansion on the French Riviera and another in a castle on the Amalfi Coast in Italy...
– I wrote a book.
– I started bartending.
– I founded and launched an internet startup.

Learning and doing something completely foreign to you is a game changer. It takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you believe – no – see possibilities that you once thought of with limitations. You push what you know. And what you know will push back. And it's scary. Your mind is accustomed to what the parameters of society has placed on it. It wants to go back and do things you know you're good at. That you know you're comfortable with.

How much is that comfort worth? $500,000?

Let's say that I had taken that PR job four years ago. I would most definitely have earned a pay increase each year with bonuses (or been fired in a blaze of glory), but to make this easy – for my poor, feeble mind, that has already pushed its mathematical threshold passed the enjoyment level – let's say that I would've made $100K a year for the last four years. Minus 35% for taxes, $3K monthly expenditures on housing, bills, expenses, and partying, I would've been able to bank $116K by now. Cash. That seems like a ton of money!

Holy sh*t. What have I done?!?!

I could've had a bigger TV, a nicer car, designer clothes, the occasional bottle service, and maybe even lines of cocaine off a stripper's butt! I would've had two whole weeks of paid vacation a year! Two WHOLE weeks! That's eight over the course of the last four years. (How's that for math skills, Mr. Hanson!?!? Go f*ck yourself! (Actually, I take that back. He was a nice guy. I just hated Geometry.))

If I had taken that job, I might be a VP today of that same company, or possibly leading the PR efforts of a Fortune 500 company.

13 years ago, if I had taken that internship, today, I might be a producer or a writer on The Jimmy Kimmel Show or working with Adam Carolla (maybe even fetching his laundry!), but instead I chose a TV news internship in San Diego that spring-boarded my career into my childhood dream of being a journalist.

I liked PR while I was doing it for the challenges they presented – I was at a startup that allowed me to experiment with almost unlimited reign – but eventually it got cumbersome as I was telling the same story over and over. With television, I got to live my dream across several markets. I loved it, but also felt the weight of having to report tragedy on a daily basis. It had lost the creativity that I so madly desired.

I've always believed that if you love doing something, the money would eventually come. It's been somewhat true for me. Maybe not enormous amounts of it when you start off, but enough for someone who values experiences over money.

Too many times we say we're going to do something and never get around to it. We make too many excuses. We've been given this miracle of life and I want to try and do everything possible. At a very young age, I was always very conscious of mortality. Then, that fear was put to the test with the passing of my grandparents. Nothing has ever affected me so much. It would be a shame not to see what we're capable of before we're done with this world.

Working on my internet startup, I don't do it to strike it rich. I do it because of the challenges, because I believe in it, believe it'll make a difference, and I do it because of the unique experience. Do I question myself? Do I doubt whether I'm capable? Of course. Almost every day and night. It's that fear that sometimes debilitates me from getting out of bed (and I have a hard time already), but it's also that fear that lets me know I'm vulnerably alive and that I have a new challenge in front of me.

For me, every day has been about self-discovery, pushing the boundaries of what I know about myself and intimately exploring possibilities I'd only envisioned from afar. We have a relatively short time on this earth, why not do as much as we can to exceed all our own expectations? I am constantly pushing, delving – and, yes, failing – but those experiences and the rewards of accomplishing something new can never be measured in dollars.

If I had taken that PR job, no doubt I'd be more rich... but only on paper. I'd also have missed out on all those amazing experiences.

I had a boss once who thought that he could motivate me by fear or money. That's not what I'm about. It never has been.

I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and smile, knowing that I did everything I could to accomplish all I'm capable of. I still have a gaping hole when it comes to love, and I still have a few more dreams out there I'd like to chase, but saying "no" to some of the easiest choices can have you saying "yes" to a lot more in life.

To all out there, I hope that you never look back at life saying, "I wish I had...."

Kevin L.
The SVB

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Do I Choose Bachelor Life Over A Relationship?!?!


I am not a bachelor for life. I repeat. I am not a bachelor for life.

One of the most common misconceptions about me – other than people thinking I just roll out of bed ridiculously good-looking – is that I choose to be a bachelor over being in a committed relationship.

I do not CHOOSE to be a bachelor.

I choose NOT to be in a mediocre relationship.

The problem is that I haven’t found a woman (no offense to those I’ve dated) that has met my combined expectations on physical traits, intellect, personality, and love. Maybe I shouldn't be so demanding, since I'm barely clinging to the bottom rung of life's societal norms, but when you've had tastes of aspects you're looking for, it's hard to go back to anything less.

I do not WANT to be a bachelor.

Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I’m going to spend all my time alone desperately trying to find a match, all while miserable in the process. I may be less conspicuous searching for relationships more meaningful, but it's most-definitely going on (as is the sadness I often feel). If bachelorhood is my given outlook, I’m going to live it to the fullest. I'm not waiting for anyone to travel with. I'm not waiting for anyone to go dancing with. I'm going. I have no apologies. I think this is where the disconnect happens.


I’ll be frank – and for once, blatantly arrogant (as opposed to well-phrased humblebrags) – I am fairly good at courtship, or being a lothario. It’s not because of any kind of manipulation having to do with peacocking, negging, mind games, or cheesy opening lines. I come at women with an open, honest approach. I listen, and above all, I have a good time, and hope those around me jump on board with my singing, dancing, drinking, and joking shenanigans. It’s as simple as that.

But, let me tell you. I AM getting tired.

What I write here on this site is an extension of who I am. I do this to entertain you and myself. Every single thing that I write is an article, or an essay, if you will. It’s not a journal. It’s not a diary.

I enjoy making you laugh.

Ever since Miss Michaels in 5th grade would openly laugh out loud at my short stories and told me that I had “the gift of laughter,” I knew I never wanted to stop making people laugh. It felt good. And I wanted others to feel good too. I love letting myself fall into a world where the variables can be challenged and defined.

This site, blog, whatever you want to call it, has always been about (hopefully) imparting some wisdom through my life experiences. No matter what I write, I always try to give tips to those who may be in need of it, or at the very least, end things on a positive, optimistic note. This site is an extension of my personality. It’s an enhanced version of some aspects of my life that I, myself, find humorous. To those women, my family, my friends, who think that my relationship status is a choice, I adamantly refute your assumption.

Sure, I may perpetuate and embellish the stereotypes I've created for myself around being "The Silicon Valley Bachelor" for comedic gain, but I do not want to be a bachelor forever. I cannot think of anything more tragic than not sharing the joys of life with someone you hold dear. Every time I am truly mesmerized by an experience overseas, I always have a tinge of regret that I'm not experiencing it with someone I love. I see your relationships, your marriages, your births, your beautiful growing families and careers – and while extremely happy for you and proud – I can't help but be sad about my own predicament. I want what those of you in love have.

I've never closed myself off to the possibilities of a monogamous, meaningful relationship. Have I sabotaged some of my own relationships? Yes. But only because I didn't know how to handle things in a more constructive manner. Empathy can be debilitating. But as I get older, I minimize the amount of relationships I begin, in hopes that no one will have to suffer heartache down the line.

I grew up on Hollywood standards, listening to hopeful love songs like MC Hammer's "Have You Seen Her" and more recently, Michael Buble's "Just Haven't Met You Yet", and I never thought I would still be searching for love at this age. Can there be passion in a relationship like those you see in The Notebook? Or Dirty Dancing? Is that only something glamorized on screen, hardly attainable – or sustainable – in real life? Why not? A guy can dream, can't he?

At least in one regard, I'm still that 5th grade schoolboy dreaming and writing stories in Miss Michaels' class. An empty page can be daunting and terrifying, yet wildly optimistic. It's a blank canvas. My love story has yet to be written. In my mind, it has a helluva ending. I'm just waiting to put it all down on paper.

KL

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What the SVB Would Do in a Zombie Apocalypse


Some of you may know that I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre. While The Walking Dead is excellent, I kind of wish they had zombies that sprinted after people, a la Dawn of the Dead – my favorite zombie movie and the one where they live in a mall for a period of time. As a former track & field runner in high school and a bit of college, I just never felt that "walking" zombies could ever catch up to me. Plus, I haven't fallen while walking or running (the number one cause of death in horror flicks) since I was three years old. I'd imagine that Usain Bolt, Adrian Peterson, and I would all be hanging around a campfire together, laughing at how that pregnant lady couldn't run fast enough from those zombies earlier in the day. Then, we would eat the rest of the Cinnabons from the abandoned store before reading magazines at the newstand with Kate Upton's latest photo shoot.

I believe a seemingly fringe horror genre that became the backdrop for the most popular cable television show ever, gains its allegiance of fans because people just want to feel like they're a part of something. A group. A bond. A family. A will to survive. Unlike most other television series, The Walking Dead could be any of us out there. We're not watching lawyers battling it out in the courtroom, police officers on the street, cancer-ridden drug dealers, sociopathic serial killers, mob bosses with families, or any other far-fetched characters, we're watching "seemingly normal" people try and survive, all while examining what they would do in the face of an unparalleled adversity.

While it's been quite some time since I last did a post where I wrote it in screenplay format, here's a throwback envisioning a scenario where a zombie apocalypse is thrust upon us.

ZOMBIE-A-GO-GO
(It's a working title)

Scene 1. Interior of Kevin's Bedroom – 2pm

Kevin is sound asleep. He scratches his butt occasionally. And even though he is deep in stupor, he still unconsciously smells his hand afterwards and giggles.

Scene 2. Exterior of Kevin's House

The sirens of ambulances and police cars are blaring in the distance. Cars are piled on top of each other in a heap of wreckage. People are frantically running everywhere being chased down by blood-thirsty zombies.

Scene 3. Interior of Kevin's Bedroom – 5pm

Sirens blare through the window of his house. The clock shows 5pm. Kevin is sound asleep mumbling something about, "don't put it there, that tickles." He then goes to scratch his butt before smelling his hand.

Scene 4. Exterior of Cupertino – 6pm

The sleepy town of Cupertino is up in smoke. Decay and ruin is everywhere. There are very few cars even operational. A few Asian tiger moms are still shuttling their kids out of SAT prep courses, sprinting between zombies, heading to kumon class.

Scene 5. Interior of Kevin's Bedroom - 7pm

Kevin slowly begins to arise. He checks his phone. There are 796 text messages. Kevin ponders this for a moment.

KEVIN
That seems to be a bit high. I must've slept through two days again.

Kevin puts down his phone and relieves himself in the toilet. He looks at his naked body in the mirror while he's peeing and likes what he sees. He does several flexes before taking a sideways glance at the nice curvature of his buttocks. He knows it's not much, but swears that if he only had a few more pounds on his body, his butt would be rocking. 

After 30 minutes of continued flexing in different poses, pretending he were a Playgirl model, Kevin starts to get a headache and realizes he's hungry. As he goes to the fridge, he sees that it's turned off. He tries to flick on the lights. No luck. Before even attempting to work on the starter box in the garage, he already assumes the worst. He looks out the window. There's smoke and fire everywhere. Zombies amok. 

Kevin calmly pours a bowl of Alpa-Bits cereal because he knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and he'll need some sustenance in his body to survive. While eating, Kevin painstakingly forms child-like words like, "poop" and "boogers," that make you question whether Kevin has had any formal education. After finishing, he goes to the closet and grabs the duffel bag with a label on it that says, "Zombie Apocalypse: It's Time". The bag sits next to one that reads, "You're a Vampire: DVDs of Sunrises and BBQs So That You'll Never Forget". 

Kevin straps on several pieces of hockey gear and covers open areas of his body with shin guards. He walks outside and yawns loudly. Zombies look up from their daze. They sprint at Kevin. Kevin calmly walks to his car. The zombies reach him first. They cannot bite through his protective gear. Kevin talks mad smack to them. 

KEVIN
You ain't sh*t. That's the best you got?!? You trying to tickle me?!? I watch Shark Tank and those guys are way scarier than you! Holy smoke, is that you, Bob? Is your wife still alive? Because she made a pass at me last week. Didn't want to be the one to tell you, but hey, it is what it is. Anyhow, I'll see you guys later. Bob, tell your wife I said hi. 

Kevin gets into his car and drives off, backing over Bob and a few zombies along the way. He casually sings to Carly Rae Jepsons' only hit, Call Me Maybe. He has it on CD. 

Scene 6. Int. Kevin's Car – Dusk

Kevin knows exactly where he's going. He stops at a nondescript house, gets out of the car, heads to the door, before kicking it down dramatically. Screams can be heard from behind the couch. The head pops up of a beautiful woman named, Bianca. 

KEVIN
Come with me, if you want to live.

BIANCA
Who are you? 

KEVIN
That line was from Terminator 2. It was one of the rare sequels that was better than the original. 

BIANCA
Please don't hurt us. It's just me and my parents. 

Two other heads rise up from behind the couch. They seem very frightened.

KEVIN
Don't worry. I won't hurt you. I'm here to help. It's a zombie apocalypse. We're going to be just fine. I've watched Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, I Am Legend, World War Z, and many others that don't deserve mention. I can quote every line from those movies. I got this. But you must...
(Kevin deepens his voice)
Come with me, if you want to live.

BIANCA
Can we pack a bag?

KEVIN
We!?!? Your parents are staying here. They'll be fine. Plus, if your parents came, they would be major cockblockers and it would take you a lot longer to fall in love with me. Eventually, your mom would probably fall in love with me as well, and that would just be weird. Don't worry about them, I brought a can of Chef Boyardee and this Walkie-Talkie so that they can communicate with us at all times. It only works at distances of 100 yards, but you'll have at least five seconds to talk with them before losing range. 

BIANCA
(Turning to her parents)
Mom, Dad, I'll come back for you.

KEVIN
You'll probably never see them again, but we should get going. In retrospect, breaking down your parents' door to the house was a bad move. I've severely handicapped them against a future zombie attack and the roar of the car engine and the unnecessary screeching of tires against the concrete will alert zombies to the area. They're as good as dead. But anyhow, look at me babbling on and on. I'm Kevin, by the way. Have you ever heard that Savage Garden song, "I knew I loved you before I met you..."? I saw you at Whole Foods last week. Followed you home, so technically this is your first time meeting me. But I've seen you many, many times parked right outside there on the street. Anyhow, there's plenty of time for small talk as we forge our new life together in this apocalypse. Let's go!

Bianca takes Kevin's hand and they rush out to his 1986 Buick LeSabre with counter-clockwise spinning silver plastic rims. 

TO BE CONTINUED....

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Rise of the Hater


I don't hate on Justin Bieber. I don't hate on Kanye West. I don't hate on Kim Kardashian. I don't hate Michigan. I don't hate the Dodgers. Heck, I don't even hate Richard Sherman. Where I live and who I associate with might tell me otherwise.

If there's anything I appreciate with getting older it's knowing that I don't have to HATE to like. I don't have to hate the Dodgers to like the Giants. I don't have to hate the University of Michigan to like The Ohio State Buckeyes. I don't have to hate on you and what you have to achieve what I want. It's just not who I am. I love people. Why am I going to let hate seep into my heart, my mind, and trickle down into other parts of my life?

Why must people hate to love?

I recently started following Lebron James and Dwayne Wade on Instagram – and I'm not even one of those people who follows celebrities – I just liked their fashion sense and the candid look into their lives. But every time they posted something, every other comment was one that was hating on them. The other day, it was Lebron's Mom's birthday and he posted a sweet caption and a nice picture collage. One of the comments simply stated, "Delonte West lol" (a reference to a former teammate of Lebron's who was rumored to have slept with Lebron's mom). What the f*ck happened for so many people to feel the need to bring someone down and hope for the worst for someone!?! Can't people live their life with graciousness and goodwill?

Don't get me wrong, I have definitely hated at times in my life. I hated my high school basketball coach for cutting me from the JV basketball team. I hated on the people who made the team over me. I hated my old boss. I even hated my old developer, who left my startup high and dry and ruined our friendship along the way. (That one I struggle with the most.)

The problem with hate is that it leaves you bitter. It makes you angry. It makes you resent what someone has and what you don't. It's infectious. It trickles down into your pores. It turns your optimism into pessimism. Hate is ugly.

For people who vent all the time or post hateful remarks on social media (I've blocked you already) – in all honesty – I think that person has a horrible sex life. No joke. I even imagine how awful it must be for that person and their partner. (So, yes, I imagine all of you naked. And it's glorious!)

But, really, I implore you – even if you have this awful sex life – to stop hating. Give a person their props. Or ignore them all together. Live your life free of this infectious hate and free of hurtful envy.

Unfortunately, anytime that someone of color does anything in America, someone is going to make a racist remark on Twitter. Whether it's Jeremy Lin during Linsanity, Nina Davuluri being crowned Miss America, Marc Anthony singing the national anthem at the all-star game, or even Richard Sherman gloating after a game, someone, somewhere is going to be making a hateful, racist remark. (When journalists get bored and lazy, just wait for this link-bait headline: "*So and so does something spectacular – People get racist on Twitter.") It's an easy story, because there's always going to be some haters out there.

You don't have to be that someone.

Thankfully, Facebook will NEVER get a "dislike" button, because Mark Zuckerburg knows that this world is already too filled with haters – particularly in the online, lurker community.

We don't need to hate on people for having things to get what we want. Hating can wear you out. It takes away from you really enjoying your life and those around you.

There are events in your life that are out of your control. And if those events turn out to be a negative in your life, sure, dwell on it for a bit, then let it go. Don't post hate to social media, don't spread that hate, and don't let it eat you up. Do something that is in your control that feels much better.

Like. Love.

You'll see. It feels soooo much better.

KL

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What It's Like to Meet with Tucker Max, The Investor, and Why He Probably Shouldn't Serve on Your Advisory Board


Many of you may know Tucker Max as the callous, crude, and disarmingly honest author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. His tales of sexual revelry in blog format may have even been passed around years ago in your inbox before the publishing of his books. While I found his stories entertaining, I was always more intrigued with Tucker Max, the person, than I was of his sexual conquests. I think the nature of his stories belied his intelligence, uniqueness of his background, and his perception of the world. I admired the cadence of his writing – the setup and timing of his comedic humor.

I reached out to Tucker to join my Advisory Board for On A Map, Inc., in particular, for the value he would bring to our first niche travel site launched: GirlsOnAMap.com, a site that caters to the bachelor traveling demographic. I thought his connections and his audience of "fratire"-loving schenanigans might be of value in spreading the word.

During the process of getting him to agree to sync up on a phone call (which he suggested after a few emails back and forth – win!), I was able to secure another author, and controversial pickup-artist, Roosh V, to join my advisory board. (While I don't agree with much of what Roosh writes, I like differing points of view than mine.) This made it almost redundant to have someone like Tucker on the board. With Roosh, I had someone who could help me deal with some of the unwarranted controversy surrounding GirlsOnAMap, which I documented here. In what manner Tucker might be able to help the company on top of that, I was still diligently researching. But I wasn't about to miss out on an opportunity to pick the mind of someone I admired for his writing prowess and branding. Little did I know, this wouldn't be a two-way conversation.

My preliminary research showed he was actually an active angel investor with over 20 investments – and goals to reach 100 early stage investments by 2018. (His fratire-way of life seemed to be a thing of the past. He is 38, after all.) Our email interactions were about as abrupt as you would expect from the personality in his books. Initially, he sent me to schedule a call with him at $10 a minute on a site called, Clarity.fm. If you're a math man, that's $600 an hour. I truly thought this was genius for a man who commands so much attention.

But, much like I've never paid for a prostitute, I wasn't about to pay someone just to ask him whether I could give him a portion of my company to serve on my advisory board. After a few more emails back and forth, he responded with this gem of an email – which I loved:

Your deck doesn't matter, and I have no desire to go over it. I've seen thousands of decks in my life, they are about as meaningful and realistic as unicorn farts. Here is what matters: 
1. How good is the idea? 2. How big and competitive is the market? 3. MOST IMPORTANT: Can the founder(s) & team execute this idea? 
Most pitch decks don't adequate answer 1 & 2, and I've never really seen a pitch deck that can answer--or even addresses--3.

My responding email led to our call, which you can read here. What I didn't really appreciate about the previous email interactions was his insinuation of how busy he was and how important his time is. We're all busy. I can email Ron Conway – and he's not even an advisor or investor in my company – and expect a gracious reply within a few hours. I know Tucker's time is more valuable than mine – from a monetary standpoint – but it's not necessary to highlight. Tucker also asked for an equity stake of at least 1%, to even "start the discussion," which is something I said I couldn't agree to without at least having a good conversation with someone. (Typical advisory board shares would be .1% to .25%.) Even then, for 1%, they would have to far exceed the typical value of an advisor for me to warrant giving up that much of a company that I have bootstrapped and worked side jobs to sustain.

Before the call, Tucker sent a conference call invite that included four other people:

- Kevin Currie
- Brent Underwood
- Zach Obront
- Jason Camps

Unlike most other investors who CC some partners and colleagues, I initially couldn't figure out who these people were and why they would be on the call. Doing some research, they weren't in the investment world, but came from all different walks of life: real estate, politics, entrepreneurship, and... thought leadership!?!? Tucker has stated in some of his previous posts about his shortcomings and about surrounding himself with intelligent people. I'd imagine these people were filling in the blanks of his expertise. I respect that.

During the call, it was just Tucker and I, as the other four participants were muted. The beginning of the call started out kind of awkward, as I didn't expect there to be any small talk or pleasantries after our email interactions. Plus, for a guy who normally bills $10 a minute, I thought it would just be best if we cut to the chase. So after a bit of silence, I asked, "where do you want to start?" And it was fortunate for me that I wasn't paying, because after 10 minutes he still didn't understand the company. (He understood it from the emails, just not in person, apparently.)

I'll admit, I probably did myself a disservice with Tucker by allotting some of my explanatory time on monetization – which is what most other investors care about. Tucker only wanted to understand this from the point of a consumer. Why would he use this. Why is someone rating pictures from the outset. Why is this a travel startup and not a platform for connecting peers. Why are we different from any of the other travel startups out there.

Frankly, I have great answers for all of these questions, but I take the blame for not conveying it well enough for Tucker to understand. This is a shame, considering I used to make a living telling complicated stories on the news in roughly a minute. When I first came to Silicon Valley, I loathed the jargon and liberal use of acronyms that distanced startups from their actual consumers. In talking to Tucker, I became a victim of the overuse of "jargon," which Tucker related it to as, "not understanding the product," or "trying to hide behind the words."

Like Jerry Maguire, "who had I become?" (Conversely, if I didn't use terms like "SEO" with a Silicon Valley investor, I would probably have my meeting be cut short.)

Then, when it came time for me to ask Tucker some questions on what I wanted out of him, I was flatly rebuffed for asking about his relationships with his current startups, his experiences, and how he's been able to help them grow. For me, this is a similar question I've asked in many job interviews (and almost every single one I got the job), where after being interviewed, I'll ask the direction of the company, where they see the company in five years, what they see my role in the company as and how I'll grow in this position... I think it shows that you want to be invested in the company and they invested in you.

This is what you should expect out of an advisory board member – a mutually beneficial relationship with an open dialogue.

With Tucker, I never felt there was this possibility of open interaction, as he never ceded control of the conversation – constantly cutting me off – even when I interjected to answer his question. I get it though. For someone who writes very opinionated books, he's looked upon to have strong answers. Passivity has never been, or will be a trait of his. And I don't expect that. But I do expect some modicum of respect and – if he were to be an advisory board member – to have an open line of interaction where I didn't feel the pressures of a guy who is currently an "advisor in 7 other startups" and bills $10 a minute.

Who knows? My pitch was definitely not its strongest and me going into the meeting, curious as to what might make him worth 1% of equity, probably didn't stroke his ego enough.

Tucker also flatly refused to leverage his network, his Facebook followers, or "fratire-facing" blog to help. (He has another blog now to focus on his second act in life). So I guess there was no where to go but to say goodbye from there.

I'm not trying to make Tucker out to be an asshole, even though he calls himself that. I think he's just very opinionated and free of bullshit. At the end of the conversation, he did offer words of "wisdom," saying that he thought I was a smart guy, and reiterated repeatedly that he didn't know everything. Even offering up an anecdote about how he could've sought out Evan Williams at SXSW for an investment in Twitter – in its infancy – for an investment, because it was well-known that he was making the rounds. He didn't, which he said cost him maybe $20MM.

Tucker Max might be a decent investor, because his observations on society and trends can be spot on. He's just not a good person if you want someone to listen and then offer feedback. Maybe because so many people expect provocative words out of his mouth, he's lost the ability to sit back, listen, and then offer a thoughtful response.

Maybe his 7 other startups he advises can tell you something different, but he's an intimidating person to corner, and I believe he still loves the sound of his own voice.

In the end, it's true, I came to him. He holds all the cards. Maybe I should just sit down, shut up, and listen. I'm still grateful for the meeting, but came out of it feeling like I needed a Maker's on the rocks. He can do that to you. But for someone who is arguably approached more for his fame, branding prowess and connections, of what value would he be on your board at 1%, much less .1 or .25%, if he isn't willing to use some of that fame to help your company out? But hey, he may have just hated the company, or the way I verbally conveyed it.

Frankly, our growth has been nothing short of respectable as we've been featured in several countries in Marie Claire, Yahoo, MSN, and Elite Daily, amongst others, and I'm very proud of what my team has been able to accomplish.

Like Tupac, I ain't mad. I still find him a fascinating person and wish him the best of luck as an investor.

Sincerely,
Kevin L.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Love Feels Like


Another year and another round of holiday cards. Not as many as years past – maybe this previous post resonated – or maybe people somehow misplaced my address (definitely plausible after 7 years of living in the same house). The truth is, I actually kind of love those holiday cards. Because it's a reminder that my closest friends have found that elusive thing that continues to elude me. Love.

I always keep my holiday cards on the fridge. (So after I get over being disappointed in my food options, I can add a heap of emotional emptiness as well.)

What truly gets me about those cards when I stand there, bored, pounding some whiskey while I pre-party (by myself in the kitchen before bed), is imagining the amount of love needed to get down on one knee and ask someone to spend the rest of their life with you. What is that like!?!? That once-in-a-lifetime (for some) feeling that culminates one aspect of your life and begins the most important. When not gelling my hair, I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about this. Would it ever happen to me!?!?

For someone who is known for giving in to whims and primal urges with little coercion, this is something that I have never done or been able to fathom. In fact, it's probably even more shocking if you've ever partied with me and witnessed some of the bad decisions I make when intoxicated. Surely, there must have been a proposal in there somewhere! (Although, I don't count proposals made to sweet old Mexican ladies when ordering late night food at burrito joints. I probably do that every weekend, but those were not on bended knee. Or under a lucid mind.)

I'm not saying that I've never loved any of my ex-girlfriends – there's different levels of love – what I'm saying is that I've never felt the kind of transcendent love that epitomizes our society-influenced idea of what love should be. In a much easier way to grasp, the kind of love that would make you choose to float in freezing water... all the way to death(!), while your love interest gets to lay on a bed headboard, just out of the icy water's reach. (You couldn't have taken turns?!?! Or maybe try to share for a bit?!?! Leo taught you how to SPIT LIKE A MAN, for pete's sake!!!)

That's the love I want to feel. One where I freeze to death for someone.

At 35, few friends of mine have yet to cross that threshold of love, marriage, and children. Every year my ranks get just a little bit thinner and a whole heck of a lot lonelier. Even the old high school friends I made in 7-Eleven parking lots have grown up and started to take the plunge! Countless nights I've wondered if my standards were just too high or that I might suffer from some compulsive disorder where I'll never be satisfied. The reasons I've used for ending relationships are just too abundant and shallow – and rather embarrassing – to list.

That's not to say I haven't enjoyed my single lifestyle, but I still remember that God-awful moment when I knew how empty my life could be.

But... I'm glad I waited and fought through parental pressure and my moments of doubt. I envisioned meeting that someone. I envisioned what that might feel like. And it's a standard that I haven't compromised. I'm not saying I know what love feels like. I don't. But I have a glimpse of what it can be. And it's wonderful. Wonderful and scary. It's a vulnerability that can destroy your foundation. A carefully constructed foundation built on a whimsical lifestyle, and made to sustain – even in disappointment.

I don't always know exactly who I am – and building upon that is one of the great joys in life – but deep down I think I've always known exactly who I've wanted. Someone strong and brilliant. My version of Erica Barry.

I wish you all the best in 2014. But what I wish the most is that you find the highest level of love. And for those who have, never take it for granted. It's escaped me for many years. And I hope this is the year I can make plans to join my friends on fridges and fireplace mantels everywhere – giving a big, fat finger to all those lonely, single schmucks around the world. Thank you for your holiday cards.

Sincerely,
Kevin L.
SVB

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Negging: When a Girl Should Tell a Guy to F*ck Off


In my opinion, not enough gals tell guys to "shut the f*ck up and stop talking to me."

Heck, I get that at least once a day (and twice at night!) but that's just on account of my personality. And that's just factoring my Mom! Who knows how high that number gets when I factor in people I meet everyday?!? Hundreds, maybe!!!!

Recently, during my daily Facebook stalking sessions, where I look at a female friend's pics with prolonged interest and unwavering creepiness, I've noticed the occasional negative comment (supposedly a tease) from a guy. It'll come in the form of a cutdown on the girl's appearance or physical attributes. This infuriates me. The last comment that comes to mind was one where a guy mentioned that the girl's forehead looked huge in the picture. (She promptly deleted the pic.)

Ladies, did you know this is actually a strategy used by guys – mostly upon first meeting them in a group at a bar or nightclub? It's called "negging" and that sh*t works, unfortunately. Sure, this is not something that uncommon, as ever since kindergarten, boys have been teasing girls they like. But back then, boys didn't know any better.

Now we're f*cking men.

(Men who like to asterisk their curse words, in case their moms see.)

What I'm talking about is when guys purposely put a girl down in an off-handed remark. Urban Dictionary defines negging as "low-grade insults meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman so she might be more vulnerable to your advances."

This is for bush league douchebags. Just like homophobia, you are not welcome to hang out with me with such unsavory tactics. (And hanging out with me is a hot ticket in the town of Cupertino.)

Some examples given in well-referenced blogs that I won't give any extra link attention to:

"Your roots are showing."

"I like that outfit you've got on... but I don't know... your shoes don't really match. You should have gone with tan boots."

"You have a pretty face, but you'd be even prettier if you'd lose the bangs."

The goal of these negs is to undermine the self-confidence of a hot girl so that she might work to gain your approval. Unfortunately for attractive girls, they are most likely to be the most insecure. They're so used to getting hit on and complimented all the time, they see this slight as something very foreign to them. It plays to all their insecurities.

My strategy, on the other hand, is to gape at the attractive female with my mouth wide open and hope that I don't drool in the process. (Whatever you do, do NOT compliment a girl you JUST met on being "beautiful," "gorgeous," or "pretty" – but that's another story.)

I'm not saying put a hand up in the face of any guy approaching you, because that guy could be me, and all I want to do is attempt to engage you with conversations about my favorite cartoons (did you know they killed off Brian Griffin in The Family Guy!?!?!?), but put a stop to these negs. Only ugly guys use tactics like negs.

So, ladies, if you're with your girlfriends and you're engaging with some courageous guys that have made their way over to you, give them a chance. BUT, if you hear one of these off-handed negative comments, remember that you don't need to appease or impress anyone at this stage. Tell that douche to "shut the f*ck up" and leave you alone.

Sincerely,
Kevin L.
The SVB

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Most Creative and Obscure Halloween Costumes of 2013

Many of you have been clamoring for my annual Halloween costume idea guide (nobody), and the truth is, I have been unbelievably busy (shout-out to my startup! What?!? I can plug whatever the hell I want! I love you, Jack in the Box – particularly your new Jack's Munchie Meals! And that's not because you gave me $20 for that plug. Btw, Jack's Munchie Meals are only available from 9pm to 5am – which are my awake hours – and are all for the low-price of $6 (prices and participation may vary)), so therefore, because this ISN'T a paid post, here is my annual Halloween list. In case you want 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009, there they are.

First off, I am running out of good ideas. You can only go so far by picking the year's hottest tragedies, current events, scandals, and celebs as costume ideas. For instance, I'm almost certain that Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in their hazmat suits are going to be very popular.


Personally, I would be Walter White in his tighty whities, complete with tucked in green shirt, although that would mean I would have to workout my legs every day this week in anticipation, and I'm just not that dedicated.


I like to go for less obvious choices. Last year I was Dexter. About 7% of the people knew who I was. A few years back, I was one part of Milli Vanilli. That had about a 5% recognition rate. This year, I'm aiming for the coveted 2 - 3% range. 


Take for instance, Top Gun. Most people would go with the flight suit or the Bomber jacket, aviators, jeans and white-T. Not this special short-bus commuting guy. I would get a buddy and we would re-enact the beach volleyball scene. He would have to be Goose, so that I could take my shirt off, of course, and then we would yell out, "SWORD FIGHT!" every once in awhile and throw the volleyball around, in case people were confused. 


The key is straying from everyone's preconceived notions of characters in movies. Like in Tommy Boy, I would put on a tiny jacket (I wish I were fatter for this) and wear it around, and constantly sing, "fat guy and in a littttttle coat. Fat guy in a little coat." My friends would love this about the three hundredth time I sang it. 


You could even get a little creative. For instance, I might dress up as the Dread Pirate Roberts (and pirate costumes are pretty easy to find), and cut up a silk shirt to walk on. Look it up. I don't have time to explain to you commoners.


I'd also like to be Miguel, drop-kicking someone's head at the Billboard Music Awards. When anyone asks me who I am, I'll grab the friend that I convince to be the unsuspecting audience gal, and I'll take a running start and drop-kick her in the head and continue singing. It'll be awesome! For me. Sorry, friend. 


And if I didn't like my hair so much, I would take it old school and be Sinead O'Connor when she tore up a picture of the Pope. I would have numerous copies of the picture, for authenticity and dramatic effect. I would also look really good in that white, lacy top. My boobs would probably be bigger too. 


Welp, guys, here's my creative (self-proclaimed) and obscure costume list of 2013. Good luck! See you in rehab!

Sincerely,
Kevin L.
The Silicon Valley Bachelor