KFC Chicken sandwich billboard on Wendy’s property
KFC Chicken sandwich billboard on Wendy’s property

It all started when this billboard popped up in our neighborhood. I had to laugh out loud at the placement. The first time we drove past it, I said to my husband, “That’s what happens when you don’t read the billboard company’s fine print.” Wendy’s probably thought having a billboard on the property was a good way to make a little extra cash. Oops.

A little investigating revealed that KFC did this at three locations in the country — in front of the Wendy’s by our house, at a McDonald’s in Manhattan and a Burger King in Miami. Smart marketing.

Licensed by Valerie Alexander through StoryBlocks.com

A cousin I adore posted a story on Facebook about a white cop who, in response to protests and civil unrest, decided he needed to “do something,” and so he helped a Black utility worker by accompanying him to all his calls that day, thus assuring his safety. All of my cousin’s friends and some of our family chimed in with how wonderful that was. All except for me. I pointed out everything problematic about the story, and our collective white responses to it. …

We all grew up with the same teen movie: someone is obsessed with someone who’s out of their league — richer, hotter, more popular — and completely ignores the amazing best friend who everyone else can see is their perfect mate. We want to say, “Pay attention to your goofy, funny, loyal sidekick!” If they would do that, they’d all be happier. Especially the sidekick. And the main character. And all of their friends. …

Two things happened this past week, seemingly unrelated, that sent me into a tailspin of memories and provided a stunning realization about a subconscious, but potentially debilitating challenge faced by certain entrepreneurs.

First, Bill Gross, founder and chairman of Idealab, shared his fascinating entrepreneurial journey during his keynote at the First Look Showcase of the Alliance for SoCal Innovation. Bill is one of the most influential people in the startup ecosystem, and a true entrepreneur since early childhood, when he bought candy bars at the store, three for a quarter, and sold them at his elementary school for nine cents…

At the Y-Combinator Female Founders Conference this year, every single company that presented on stage had a male co-founder. Every. Single. One.

For the panel with YC partners, they invited questions from the audience via email, so I sent several asking them to skip talking about how many female founders they’ve invested in and tell us how many companies they’ve invested in with zero male founders. The question was glossed over with (a) no actual, numerical answer, and (b) the worst excuse ever — we can’t get women to apply.

I have been told repeatedly that my company would be…

It was the kind of call every founder wants. One of my close friends from Berkeley had introduced me to an investor in his local tech community, and after weeks of trying to connect, we finally found a morning we were both free for a good, long chat.

Everything clicked on that call. He got the concept, loved what we were building, had amazing insight about our tech, gave great advice about key hires, and so I took the plunge (already having been told he doesn’t invest in our space), and asked if he might want to join our current…

Valerie Alexander

Keynote Speaker. Author. Formerly a tech CEO, VP Biz Dev, IPO lawyer, i-banker and horse wrangler. Writes Christmas movies for Hallmark. SpeakHappiness.com

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