Contact: (415) 350-8104

8/6 Salon + News: Valerie Landau in WaPo + Joe Flower on “healthcare revolutionaires” + Suzanna Stinnett’s Coloring Camelot + Kat Smith’s Everything She Knows

You’re invited to the next monthly

 FocusCatalyst Brainstorming Salon  



Note: You do not have to read this whole long email. Ever.

(See the fine print below if you want to know why.)

All you really ever need to know is:

Drop by any time between 5-8pm at 695 5th St. #2, San Francisco.

For details like directions, what food & drink to bring, etc.,

scroll past the full News & Announcement section below the summary.




(NOTE: Scroll down for the full News & Announcements below this summary.)


Invited by the Cuban Ambassador to attend the 7/20 opening of the

Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C. and featured in the Washington Post.

Plus news on her wonderful Landau Travel tours to Cuba.


On The Change Project and Joe Flower’s book,

How To Get What We Pay For: A Handbook for Healthcare Revolutionaries.


Author of Coloring Camelot.  Plus more about the new adult coloring book phenomena.


Founder and editor-in-chief of the wonderful new site, Everything She Knows.


The response to my asking for interviewees for my new book in last month’s Salon invite

 has been amazing.  Thank you so much!

It’s been so helpful, in fact, that I’ve decided to do the interviews on an on-going basis.

If you’re interested, see details below.


“Interesting people, interesting conversations”


Alan’s Wine Cellar Wine Tasting Notes

Feel free to forward this invite to anyone you think would enjoy the Salon.  If you’d like to be on the list to receive invites, email me at Thanks!

The fine print:  

For more details than you’ll ever need (plus who comes to the Salons and lots of comments about them) just keep on scrolling.  All the details are just here for folks who like ’em.  (You know who you are…)  Also, the Salon is not a “networking” group or a place to promote products or services or to look for a job.

NOTE: All the people/places/things in the News & Announcement section are from/about my own personal friends and connections.  (The rule is pretty much if you need to ask to be in the Salon invite you likely won’t be. I end up being the one to ask friends if I can put info about them or their companies in it, not the other way around.)


I’ve only emailed this list with one invite and one reminder a month ever since the Salon started in 2004. So you won’t be getting a flood of emails.   And, if you don’t live in the SF Bay Area you can still participate.  See below for details.

Also, why is this email invitation so, um, ugly? :-)  Well…it’s a qualifier because the Salon is in my home. And I’m only looking for folks to come to it who are interested in interesting conversation with interesting people. If you take a look at this very plain Jane (um, ugly…) email and get excited about the descriptions of who comes to it and how it works (and you don’t care that it’s free of snazzy graphics :), then the Salon’s for you!



1. VALERIE LANDAU of Landau Travel (and of so much more…):  Valerie was featured in 7.21.15 Washington Post.  

Valerie was invited by the Cuban Ambassador to the United States to attend the opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2015.

Most of you know that I went to Cuba in May as part of a delegation on broadband and the Internet led by my great friend, Salon regular, Doug Engelbart scholar and co-author, and Cuba expert, Valerie Landau.*

The Washington Post wrote a story about the Cuban Embassy opening and Valerie and her father got the most ink in the article:

“Not that there wasn’t plenty unfiltered emotion. Standing near Bennis was Valerie Landau, daughter of the late documentary filmmaker and activist Saul Landau. The elder Landau spent the better part of his life working toward this moment, before cancer cut his work short in the middle of another documentary on Cuba, in 2013. Traveling with Castro through Cuba in the late 1960s, he memorably filmed the revolutionary leader shedding his uniform and playing baseball, shirtless, with peasants. At the embassy Monday, more than one veteran of the struggle for Cuban engagement choked up at the absence of Landau and his camera at such a milestone. ‘We’re continuing his work in our own way,” said Valerie Landau, who leads tours to Cuba and also works with the Cuban health ministry on education programs. “I think this is a real crossroads, and there’s going to be a lot of change in Cuba. Some of it at their own speed and choice, and some of it as a result of an avalanche of interest on the part of Americans who are hungry to know and see Cuba.”

There are some exciting tours in the planning stages with Valerie’s company, Landau Travel, including gay tours to meet with Cuban leaders and advocates in the movement, tours on sustainability and architecture and more.

Already planned tours include: US/Cuba Maker Exchange (taking 30 U.S. Makers to Cuba to meet with 30 Cuban Makers) in January 2016 and one that includes mass with Pope Francis this September 2015.

Valerie’s contacts in Cuba are unprecedented and extend to the highest levels there.  Her access is amazing.  If you are interested in any of the tours mentioned above or are interested in talking with her about others you’d like to do, just contact her here.

About Valerie Landau and Cuba:  Valerie has been to Cuba many, many times (and lived there both as a child and as a teenager). Valerie’s father, Saul Landau, was a great filmmaker and author. He’s a hero in Cuba–his films and interviews play regularly on TV there.  He received Cuba’s highest honor, The Friendship Medal. His film, Will The Real Terrorist Please Stand Up, is renowned.  I got to go to its premier in SF a few years ago which featured one of its stars, Danny Glover.  You can watch it on Netflix or Amazon. Highly recommended!

2.  JOE FLOWER: Author of How To Get What We Pay For: A Handbook for Healthcare Revolutionaries.

Thanks so much to Salon regular, Suzanna Stinnett (see #3. below), for inviting her friend, Jennifer Flower, to the last Salon. I’ve since had the opportunity to spend time with Jennifer one-on-one (ironically, as many of you know, I actually don’t get to do that AT the Salon!) to learn more about Jennifer and her husband Joe’s work, The Change Project.

I haven’t met Jennifer’s husband Joe yet but since so many Salon folks are involved in or very interested in the health care system, I wanted to share this information about Joe’s book: HOW TO GET WHAT WE PAY FOR: A Handbook for Healthcare Revolutionaries – Doctors, nurses, healthcare leaders, inventors, investors, employers, insurers, governments, consumers, YOU.

About The Change Project, Jennifer Flower and Joe Flower’s book from their site,  “The Change Project is a partnership between Joe and Jennifer Flower, Ph.D., a psychologist and psychoanalyst, trained at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Massachusetts, in the Harvard hospitals, and at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City. Dr. Flower is a content collaborator, speaker, and writer on change in a quirky combination of wisdom and the absurd that renders that hard change stuff more tolerable…

[How To Get What We Pay For. A Handbook for Healthcare Revolutionaries] is a true manual for how each of us can get much better, much cheaper healthcare for ourselves, our families, while revolutionizing the system at the same time.  He paints the big picture of how healthcare works and how it is changing and why, building on his previous work, Healthcare Beyond Reform: Doing it Right for Half the Cost, a widely acclaimed manifesto on where healthcare is and has to be heading, based on his in-depth survey of healthcare trends and innovation. 

“Joe Flower was a founding member of the International Health Futures Network and the principal author of the landmark healthcare forecast, “Technological Advances and the Next 50 Years of Cardiology,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (vol. 35, no. 4, 2000). His other writings include:  China’s Futures, Global Business Network 2000 (co-author); The 21st Century Healthcare Leader, Jossey-Bass 1999 (co-author); Japan’s Futures, Global Business Network 1998 (Executive Editor); Leading Change: A Key Challenge for Board-Management Teams, The Governance Institute, 1998; The Encyclopedia of the Future, MacMillan, 1996 (co-author)  Best Practices in Collaboration to Improve Health: Creating Community Jazz, (principal co-author), The Healthcare Forum and the California Wellness Foundation, 1996; Prince of the Magic Kingdom: Michael Eisner and the Re-Making of Disney, John Wiley 1991; Age Wave, Random House 1989 (co-author)


3. SUZANNA STINNETT:  Author of  Coloring Camelot.

I only recently heard about adult coloring books through a June 11th piece on them on NPR, For Adults, Coloring Invites Creativity And Brings Comfort and the Boston Globe covered it on June 30th with Coloring books for adults are flying off shelves.

So I was thrilled when I learned that Salon regular, Suzanna Stinnett, has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to bring out her own adult coloring items.  They are beautiful!

Go here find out more and to participate in her IndieGoGo.  Below are some excerpts about it from her IndieGoGo page:

We Are Coloring Camelot

“I’m Suzanna Stinnett, an author and artist lucky to live in the lush greenery of northern California. My environment is filled with imagery that begs to be drawn, and what could be better than creating books full of designs for others who like to color?   I love drawing these images! The meditative comfort that many of us are finding with coloring is only surpassed by the calm relaxation I find while sketching, sculpting and inking these pieces. What a happy meeting of hearts!  Did you know coloring reduces your heart rate, produces friendly brain chemicals, and relieves stress? I like to think of everyone taking a nice long break (or lots of short breaks!) to color away, grow peaceful inside, and let the world breathe for an hour or two. My drawing is influenced by

Maxfield Parrish, Kandinsky, Hunterwasser, and Dr. Seuss, to name a few. I love scenes with a bit of whimsy that evoke a sense of story. Another great love of mine is architectural shapes. Many drawings in Hidden Realms include aspects of castles as well as fanciful versions of architectural design. Flowery swirls and leafy lanes in scenes of an imagined Camelot appear in this collection. Decorative bits of ancient kings and queens weave their way into patterns framed in handcrafted borders. My drawings contain “brain-friendly” repeating curves and varying lengths which contribute to the calming action of coloring.”

4. KAT SMITH:  Founder and editor-in-chief of Everything She Knows.

I’ve had the wonderful privilege of getting to know Kat Smith for several years now–ever since we met at FACTORY in San Francisco.

Kat recently launched her beautiful site (in many more ways than one), Everything She Knows, and I’m honored she asked me to be a Founding Contributor.  (And from the site’s page of the Founding Contributors, I think it’s safe to say I’m the oldest!  :)  It’s really great to be in such wonderful company.)  My story is still to come.  Sign up here to know when each woman’s story is posted.

About Everything She Knows:

Every woman has a story and a unique perspective on life.

By sharing these perspectives we strengthen each other and the world as a whole.

This is so much more than a website. It is a community.

A reminder that we are never alone and support is always within our reach. 

And if you’d like to contribute, I included below the guidelines from the site.  I wanted to include all of it here because Kat’s checklist of what she’s looking for (and not) tells you a whole lot about what a great thing she is creating here!

So, you want to submit your story to share with the community…hooray!  Here is a little checklist of the types of things we love/don’t love as much:


What we love //

  • Personal Stories of triumph, courage and overcoming obstacles
  • Honest, raw and real reflections
  • Fun and snappy how-to articles (i.e. 5 Real Ways to Find Your True Calling)
  • Poems about love, loss and resilience 
  • Letters to your younger self, your children or other important people in your life
  • Short stories (fiction or non) 
  • Submissions that are 300-1000 words in length

Things we don’t love as much //

  • Holier-Than-Thou-ing + humble bragging (or just bragging)
  • Political Pieces – not our jam
  • Articles attacking or discriminating against a race, lifestyle or personal choice
  • Excessive cursing (we understand the satisfaction of a good curse word here and there, just keep it reasonable)
  • Blatant promotion of a business, product or service
  • Plagiarized submissions – just don’t

Want to share a story but not sure how to begin?


Here are some creative prompts to get your inspiration flowing //

  • Write a letter to your younger self. What do you wish you knew at that age?
  • Describe your first love. How has your idea of love changed since then?
  • Describe your relationship with a person who influenced your life. 
  • Describe a traumatic event. How did you overcome it?
  • What are 3 experiences that defined you as a person?
  • Looking back on your twenties, what were your biggest takeaways/lessons/revelations?
  • Describe a point of definition where you were no longer the person you had been before that point. 
  • Write about a job you had where you learned about yourself and your dreams.

About Kat:  Kat is a writer, foodie and fellow female. To celebrate her last year as a 20-something, she reached out to some inspiring friends to participate in an essay series. From there, the list of women grew and grew and Everything She Knows was born. The things that get her out of bed each day are: hearing and sharing the stories of other women, listening to music, eating food that looks too good to eat and adorning herself in ridiculously colorful ensembles.  Kat’s 6-Word Memoir //  I really should write that down. Connect with her here and here.”

5.  BETSY BURROUGHS: I’d love your feedback and advice for the NEW BOOK I’m writing based on using the techniques in my first book, Focus. The Catalyst for Innovation, but applying them to weight loss–of all things! :)

NOTE:  Thank you so much for your wonderful response to this.  And thank you to all I’ve had the great privilege to interview already.   

The interviews have been so successful, I’ve decided to keep doing them indefinitely.  If you’d like to do interview with me (details below), just let me know.  Thank you!

As some of you know, I’ve recently lost 70 lbs. (On my way to losing 100+ lbs total.)

And…it was quite amazingly “easy, effortless and fun” *** because I applied all my FocusCatalyst techniques to do it.  Yes, I used the same techniques I use when I consult with companies on innovation based on the Neuroscience of Insight.  Sounds crazy, but it worked!

So right now I’m in the process of writing a new book that will show how to use those techniques for weight and eating issues–instead of innovation.

I’m putting this into the Salon invite because I’d love your help, feedback and advice!  

First of all, “weight and eating issues” isn’t just about losing 100+ lbs like I’m doing.  I know many thin women who have a lot of weight and eating issues, too.

So wherever you are on the “scale,” I’d love to have a confidential 15 minute phone conversation with you about it.

While the call is a total favor from you to me (thank you!), women I’ve done this with already find it’s helpful in and of itself. And fun!

If you’d like to do that, just shoot me back a reply at and we can set it up.

Thank you so much!


*** “Easy, effortless and fun” is a phrase I use in my current book on innovation based on the Neuroscience of Insight.

That phrase based on the fact that you can accomplish a lot if you manage your brain right.

Looking for how to make things “easy, effortless and fun” is something the brain can really get into–IF you know how–even with really hard things to do, like losing 100 lbs.

My new book will cover how to do that, using practical, easy techniques.

6. For folks new to the Salon invite:  

For a taste of just what the Salon descriptor, “Interesting People. Interesting Conversation,” can mean, below is a wildly divergent list of topics one Salon attendee sent me the day after a Salon: 

“I had a great time at your salon. In a trip down memory lane, I recall conversations about:


·         Categorical and topographical mapping

·         London, Tokyo, Bay Area underground systems

·         Harry Beck

·         Edinburghians vs. Glaswegians

·         Blind Man’s Bluff

·         Scuba driving

·         Bali

·         Web site design for the challenged

·         GoDaddy

·         Hogmanay

·         Wine tasting and hosting events

·         Bill & Melinda Gates and Hewlett Foundations


·         Learning Chinese and ballroom dancing deep in China

·         Air pollution in Shanghai and Hong Kong

·         Colorforms


Alan’s Wine Cellar Wines at the Salon: Tasting Notes 

Background: As many of you know, Alan is the husband of FocusCatalyst Advisory Board member and Dwell Media CEO. Michela O’Connor Abrams.  Alan is a real expert on wine and folks who come to the Salon love finding out more about it by chatting with him. Alan’s Wine Cellar does wine tastings (including charity fundraising ones), wine cellar design, wine courses, cellar stocking and wine search.


Below are Alan’s tasting notes for the July 2015 Salon, which are similar to all the wines Alan brings to every Salon.


As always come early if you want to taste these. They can go fast! 


Pinot Grigio

Vintage: 2012

Varietal:  100% Pinot Gris

Origin:  The Veneto region of Italy (near Venice)


Wine Library: “Incredible for the money!  Clean, crisp and refreshing, this is an excellent value and a must try for anyone who loves Pinot Grigio.  The soft citrus flavors and the creamy long finish make this our top choice for under $10 P.G.” If you’re looking for a wine to bring to an outdoor party this is the one; pure expression of fruit and what a value wine should be.


Tasting Notes

“Light straw color.  Fine, elegant, clean and intense aroma, dry flavor with pleasant green apple aftertaste.  Lively, and easy to drink.”

Production notes:  fermented and finished in stainless steel (no oak)

Alan’s Tasting Notes

Truthfully, many of the Pinot Grigios imported into the U.S. have about as much taste as glass of water.  This wonderful Pinot Grigio is dry, but still delivers a wonderful, crisp fruitiness.  Perfect with salads, chicken or fish dishes, and many lighter Italian foods.  It’s also wonderful all by itself.



“Sleepy Hollow” Pinot noir

Vintage: 2012

Varietal: 100% Pinot noir

Origin:Estate Grown in ‘Sleepy Hollow Vineyard’, Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the most significant vineyards in the appellation. The vineyard is situated on 585 prime acres of benchland in the Santa Lucia Highlands, 13 miles south of Monterey CA.

Winemaker’s Notes

“It has aromas of bright cherry and plum leading to floral and spicy French oak notes. On the palate, this Pinot Noir displays a rich texture, soft, velvety tannins and ripe fruit. Flavors of Bing cherry and red plum lead to a long finish with vanilla oak and lively acidity. This wine defines the Talbott style, with power, richness, integrated oak, and cool-climate acidity.”

Production Notes

  • Barrel aged 11 months in French Oak, 20% new.
  • A blend of old-vine (planted in 1972), Martini clone Pinot Noir grapes and Dijon clone grapes.  

Roots Run Deep Winery

“Educated Guess”

Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage: 2012

Varietals: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc,

2% Petit Verdot


Origin: Napa Valley

Vineyards:  The primary sources for the grapes are Beckstoffer Vineyards in Rutherford and Louer Family Vineyards in St. Helena.


Production Notes: Barrel-aged 12 months in French & American oak

Winemaker’s Notes:

“What can we say about how delicious our Cabernet Sauvignon is? It’s rich, ripe, and focused with juicy blackberry and cherry fruit, milk chocolate, and dusty notes all tied together with a creamy french vanilla middle and a finish that in a word is…lingering. Educated Guess fills all the requirements that a serious cabernet lover is looking for while remaining fun, approachable, and food friendly!”

Label: It shows actual winemaking formulas that are either induced or naturally occur during a specific winemaking process.

* A NOTE ABOUT NEXTNOW (and Doug Engelbart**)   

A lot of people who come to the Salon are in a group I’ve been involved with pretty much since its inception in 2003, NextNow. It’s a small, relatively loose affiliation of interesting folks started by Bill Daul, who Doug Engelbart (fellow NextNower and who in the 1960’s was the inventor of the mouse and a whole lot of personal computing in general–see Wikipedia.  Sadly, Doug died on July 2, 2013) calls “human glue” and James Burke (from the UK, known for the TV series “Connections”), calls “the world’s greatest social networker.” NextNow members include Buckminster Fuller’s archivist and the CTO for the Dalai Lama, among a lot of other very interesting folks.

The FocusCatalyst Brainstorming Salon is where NextNowers get together most regularly. But the Salon is not a NextNow function per se and you sure don’t have to be in NextNow to come to the Salon!



WHAT:  Interesting people. Interesting conversation. Bring food and drink to share.  

[Note to all you cooks out there: Please do not bring items that need heating up in a microwave, stove or oven. Also, bags and boxes are just fine to serve what you bring. But if you feel you need a serving dish, please bring one and take it home afterwards. Many thanks!] 

Optional: Write what you want brainstormed on the sheets provided. Put them on the wall. Others add their ideas with Post It notes. Then you take your sheet home with new ideas and contacts.  (But also, you don’t have to have anything you want brainstormed or put any sheets on the wall to participate and have a great time)

This isn’t a meeting or a place to sell your services or products.  It’s an informal, fun, and relaxed get together.

The end game isn’t even brainstorming as much as it is “interesting people/interesting conversation.”  To tell you the truth, most people get too involved in conversation to write on people’s brainstorming sheets–but that’s the point. The brainstorming technique works as a catalyst to help move the conversations beyond just the usual “Hi, how are you?  What do you do?”

WHEN:  First Thursday every month.


Drop by any time between 5 and 8PM for as long, or as short, a time as you’d like.

WHERE:  San Francisco: 695 5th St. #2 (5th & Townsend).


Alas, parking meters have finally arrived in my neighborhood. The good news is there’s now more parking available.  But please note: they can sometimes be in effect until 10pm.  So make sure you check all that out if you use them.   They do take take credit cards.

There’s also a parking garage a block away, underneath the Safeway at 4th & Townsend.  You enter the garage on Townsend, between 4th & 3rd Streets.  You can get 90 minutes of free parking there if you spend at least $5 at Safeway. (But if you stay longer than 90 minutes it can cost you up to $30.)

Note to Peninsula Folks:  My loft is one block from the CalTrain Station.  So, very easy access by train.  Bill Daul comes to virtually every Salon via the train from Palo Alto. If you’d like to join him, just let me know at

Note to East Bay Folks:  It’s easy to take the MUNI light rail at the Embarcadero station (located a level up from the BART Embarcadero station)  to the Caltrain station.  (Take the MUNI light rail trains to “Caltrain/Ball Park” or “Sunnydale”.  Both will get you there.) My loft is a block from the Caltrain station.

HOW MUCH?  Just drop on by. No need to RSVP. And feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might enjoy the Salon.  This invite is in Constant Contact so you can forward it with the link at the end.

Alan’s Wine Cellar Wines at the Salon: Tasting Notes 

Background: As many of you know, Alan is the husband of FocusCatalyst Advisory Board member and Dwell Media CEO. Michela O’Connor Abrams.  Alan is a real expert on wine and folks who come to the Salon love finding out more about it by chatting with him. Alan’s Wine Cellar does wine tastings (including charity fundraising ones), wine cellar design, wine courses, cellar stocking and wine search.


Below are Alan’s tasting notes for the July 2015 Salon

to give you an idea of what they’re like.

We’ll have the new tasting notes in the reminder Salon invite next week.


As always come early if you want to taste these. They can go fast! 

More Information About FocusCatalyst Brainstorming Salons

I’m not a big fan of linking to web sites or attachments. I’d rather scroll than link. So, scroll below for more information about the FocusCatalyst Brainstorming Salons for any of you who’d like a lot of details.

For those of you who haven’t seen this invitation before, you may be asking yourself, “What in the world is a brainstorming salon?”


A brainstorming salon is an informal, drop in get together of interesting folks at my loft in San Francisco, South of Market. Come by for as long or as short a time as you’d like.

It’s a salon because it’s meant to foster some interesting conversation.


And it’s for brainstorming, too. But the brainstorming is totally optional and in many ways quite unobtrusive.


I love brainstorming with folks. It opens up whole new ideas. I love the infusion of creativity and solutions that a good brainstorming session can give. But I don’t want to require everyone to show up at a specific time, sit in a circle and brainstorm and then all go home at the same time


So here’s how it works:

Everyone who wants to (and you can certainly come to the Salon and not participate in the brainstorming part at all) when they arrive at the salon, takes a sheet of paper and writes on it something you’d like others to brainstorm about for you.

It can be on any topic and you can ask for any kind of feedback you’d like.  You can do it anonymously or you can sign their name to it. Then you put your sheet on a wall in my loft.

Everyone else at the salon can then look at your sheet and if they have a brainstorm idea for you, they can write it on a Post It note and put it on your sheet. Those Post It ideas can be anonymous, too. Or not. It’s up to you.

When you’re ready to leave, after 15 minutes or after 3 hours or any time in between, just take your sheet home with the Post It ideas people have put on it.

You’ll probably also have fun brainstorming ideas for others. And you may meet other folks dealing with similar situations to yours.

Another feature of the Salon is the big round table in the middle of it piled high with books, many written by friends of mine, including many by Salon regulars, and others that are just books I love.  It’s an eclectic assortment on a wide variety of topics. Often people connect over the books, too.

And, for those of you who can’t come at all but would like your Brainstorming Sheet on the wall, just send me an email with what you’d like folks to brainstorm about for you, ideas, suggestions, leads, anything, and I’ll put it up on the wall and mail it to you afterwards. I can keep it anonymous or not. Your choice.

Please bring something to eat and drink to share. And the Salons also feature Alan’s Wine Cellar wines for tasting, for drinking, for enjoying!  


Alan and his wife Michela are old friends of mine. (They even got me going to the Napa Valley Wine Auction for years.) Michela is on FocusCatalyst’s Advisory Board and she’s the president and publisher of Dwell Magazine. (Great magazine.)

Alan has been involved with the wine industry since 1984 when he began advertising and marketing major wine brands. Since then he has become an avid wine collector. He does fabulous wine tasting parties for corporations, for charity fundraising, and in people’s homes, as a great way to learn about really interesting and inexpensive wines from around the world. And it’s also a very fun party. He also teaches an in depth wine tasting course and provides cellar stocking advice. On top of all that, he designs gorgeous wine cellars.

Hope you can make it.  If you think you might be able to, you can shoot me an email and let me know. Though really, just come on by.  No need to RSVP.  Even if you won’t know until the last minute if you can come, it’s fine for you to come on by anyway.


Scroll down for comments from Brainstorming Salon attendees

One comment that’s been made by a lot of the Brainstorming Salon first timers is how easy it is to participate even if you don’t know anyone there. You can start by reading the brainstorming requests on the wall and from there it’s easy to strike up a conversation with the person next to you reading the same request.

Other comments:


“Your salons offer another benefit besides brainstorming and snacking: they’re a place to practice the (almost) lost art of conversation. Madame de Stael, who ran a famous salon in 18th century Paris (and who said, “Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike”) would approve.”


“Thank you so much for inviting me to the salon. It truly was like the old salons of Europe with smart, interesting people and a lively exchange of ideas.” 


“At the salon I talked to so many diverse and all fascinating people from different professions with different perspectives but I think what really “makes” the Brainstorming Salon is the warmth and openness among everyone because after all we’re all FOB (friends of Betsy).”


“I had a great time at your brainstorm salon. In a trip down memory lane, I recall conversations about:


·         Categorical and topographical mapping

·         London, Tokyo, Bay Area underground systems

·         Harry Beck

·         Edinburghians vs. Glaswegians

·         Blind Man’s Bluff

·         Scuba driving

·         Bali

·         Web site design for the challenged

·         GoDaddy

·         Hogmanay

·         Wine tasting and hosting events

·         Local politicians aren’t the solution

·         Bill & Melinda Gates and Hewlett Foundations


·         Learning Chinese and ballroom dancing deep in China

·         Air pollution in Shanghai and Hong Kong

·         Colorforms

·         Burroughs’ family updates

“I developed some alliances and client relationships in a natural way just through conversation. There is a great flow of energy at these salons! “


“I really enjoyed your brainstorming event last week. What a wonderful group of fascinating people!


“What a wonderful evening! The brainstorming salon was interesting, dynamic, and loads of fun. Not only did I enjoy meeting a number of bright, fascinating men and women, but it inspired me in new directions.” 


“Bravo! You are one creative individual. I look forward to the next Thursday salon at your loft. Thank you, thank you.”


“I had so much fun and met such interesting people. Thank you!”


“Great Salon party. I enjoyed myself immensely.”


“I LOVE these events. Even in the short time I was there, I connected with so many great people. There are starting to be “regulars” which is great since there is never enough time to get to know all the people at one event.”


“I had a terrific time at yesterday’s Brainstorming Salon. Thanks so much for hosting it. What an interesting group of people. So many good conversations. And then the serendipity of seeing Beatrice Wood’s ‘I Shock Myself’ and Christine Walker’s ‘A Painter’s Garden’ on your coffee table. Downright spooky.”


“Hey, last night’s Salon was just great! Both Mike and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and got some good ideas. We were so jazzed that we went out for a “bar dinner” at Absinthe. We talked and talked about everyone we had met at the Salon and how energized we were. Thanks so much for inviting us.”


“Great gathering last night. I really enjoyed it. And I love your swingin’ bachelorette pad, it’s the perfect party palace.”


“That was a blast.  Wonderful people.”


 “It was terrific and I had a splendid time.”


“Thursday’s Brainstorming Salon was a hit! I really appreciate you opening your home and ideas to so many of us. I look forward to the next one!”


“Having the chance to get objective input from people of this caliber is wonderful.”


“Looking at the brainstorming requests is good way of ‘meeting’ people in a way that is beyond the first introductions social interaction.”


“I felt energized by the level of intelligence and curiosity of the people there.”


“I really enjoyed the people and ambiance.”


“I couldn’t tear myself away from the conversations.”


“I always feel energized and empowered after spending time with you. Thanks so much. I look forward to the next one!”


“I thought it was wonderful to meet interesting, witty people and to talk on a range of subjects. The most complimentary way to show my appreciation is to say, ‘I look forward to the next meeting.'”


“I had a great time. Just being around persons from different walks of professional life rubs off on us, and we take what we want from that. It is invaluable! Thanks for including me.”

“I loved it.”