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June 24 2016

December 30 2015

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Good trick.

April 10 2015

April 06 2015

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We are completely stunned by the amazing success that was Showered With Love: the Un-Gala.

The support was overwhelming; in under 30 minutes our guests raised over $104k Dollars for Dignity!!! With another $44,200 raised through ticket sales, we are well on our way to scaling our shower service in San Francisco! This is entirely thanks to a remarkable community of partners, supporters, and citizens like us who firmly believe that EVERYONE deserves the dignity of being clean.

We continue to be humbled and deeply grateful by the countless individuals who make what we do possible. If you had a blast with us at the Un-Gala, or if you couldn’t make it but want to help, vote for Lava Mae and our founder Doniece Sandoval in 7X7 Vanguard Award Finalists:…/meet-7-bay-area-vanguard-award-finalis…

With loads of love,
Team Lava Mae

March 17 2015

February 27 2015

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#CLADE ash goatskin kimono blazer. available at @akaiitoboutique #dtla #secondskin #menswear (at Akai Ito Boutique)

February 03 2015

January 14 2015

Secular Stagnation: GDP is the Wrong KPI


The secular stagnation discussion has a bad title and sounds wonkish but is extremely important — it is about nothing short of understanding what the economy is and should be about. If you want a lot of detail you can read through Marc Andreessen's epic secular stagnation tweet storm and all the great source material that he links to.

At the heart of the secular stagnation discussion is the idea that somehow the economy is growing more slowly than it should. See for instance the following quote from a Larry Summers speech:

[…] through this recovery, we have made no progress in restoring GDP to its potential.

The rest of the speech goes on exploring the reasons for why this might be so with a particular focus on interest rates.

There is, however, another line of inquiry that is much more important and that is to question the very premise here by asking whether GDP makes sense as a measure for the economy going forward.

Let me give an analogy from the business world. Suppose you are newspaper and the KPI you are using to manage your business is your circulation. That works really well for a great many years. Then all of a sudden you are in board meetings that show a lack of circulation growth and possibly even a decline. You keep arguing about the reasons for why your management has “made no progress in restoring circulation to its potential.” The debate rages on all the while you completely ignore that your newspaper also has a website on which traffic has been growing steadily.

That is what is happening with the economy at large. We are de-materializing it and moving from a world of easily measured and priced atoms to a world of bits which are creating massive consumer surplus. So for instance: we stop printing and selling the Encyclopedia Brittanica because everyone is using Wikipedia instead — that shows up as a decrease in GDP even though many more people now have access and get the benefit of knowledge. If we take dozens of different devices that were all sold separately (film camera, video camera, maps, books, photo albums, pencils, tape recorders, etc) and combine them into a single device (the smartphone) that uses primarily software to accomplish these functions that too can easily result in a decrease in GDP. In a talk I am about to give at DLD in Munich I will give even more examples of this but you get the idea.

By the way, GDP was always a suspect KPI for the economy because of the challenge of negative externalities: if we make products that harm people (eg selling cigarettes that cause lung cancer) and then sell other products to correct the harm (eg lung cancer treatment drugs) both of these increase measured GDP. Again, there are tons of other examples like that.

To be clear, there are lots of intelligent discussions to be had about phenomena such as reductions in risk premia, the role of China and NAFTA, the influence of household deleveraging, etc. and their impact on the economy. But until we are willing to ditch GDP as the correct KPI for the economy we will be like the newspaper management team trying desperate measures to fix their circulation problem.

You can see me talk about all of this in a presentation recorded last May at DLD New York. In the coming days I will write more about this topic including the impact of technology driving down pricesChris Dixon tweeted a great chart and you should check out my posts on education and healthcare. Imagine for a moment a computer than can correctly diagnose patients within seconds and then think about the implications for GDP.

I understand that this is a partial equilibrium argument and will expand on how it can be true for the economy as a whole. As part of that I will also suggest that our obsession with full employment — which is also part of the secular stagnation discussion — is also problematic as a KPI. Stay tuned.

Addendum 1: Turns out that Erik Brynjolfsson has given a great talk about the importance of free goods at Techonomy and has a working paper aimed at quantifying these effects (a couple % of measured GDP).

Addendum 2: One other important criticism of GDP as a KPI is that it is silent on distribution. We have seen major changes in that (a) away from labor toward capital and (b) within labor from normal distributions towards power laws (eg CEO comp relative to employees).

January 13 2015

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The Financial Lives of Girls [Infographic]

The Girls of HBO’s beloved eponymous series live like seemingly normal NYC Millennials, more or less. But just how realistic are their exciting (financial) lives, as they hop from one social event to the next?

Applying financial reality to fiction is a challenge, but it’s not impossible! To do so, we just need averages and standards to measure against, along with reliable sources for actual rents, salaries, and costs of living. Check out the graphic to see just how close the Girls live to reality.

January 03 2015

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Moxie rep’in the fun new @dogvacay logo (at McKinley Square)

December 02 2014

I'm not loving these big phones


Hands down the best thing about upgrading from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6 is the camera. How they can deliver those images with such a small sensor and lens is truly a miracle. 

I also love how thin, smooth and solid it all is. You can feel the craftsmanship that went into the design of this product.

Except here’s the thing. I’m not loving the size of the iPhone 6.

I’m trying to get into the big screen but the truth is I don’t. It doesn’t feel good in my pocket. I don’t want to run with it. I need to put a case on it because it’s too big to get a good grip on it. The iPhone 6 is so big than I have to take it out of my pocket ever time I’m in a meeting or sit down at a restaurant. I put it on the table and feel ashamed doing that. It’s just there waiting to interrupt me. 

And these phones are only getting bigger. The latest Google Nexus phone is even bigger than the iPhone 6. I believe it is the same size as the iPhone 6+. You can’t get a state of the art Android phone (ie great design, clean OS) unless you buy a phablet (phone + tablet). We now call the one of the most amazing products a phablet. 

I’ve read that iPad growth has stalled a bit and its because the big phones have taken over.

I have an iPad Air. I love that machine. I haven’t upgraded to the latest iPad Air 2 because it works so well. It has nothing to do with my iPhone.

The response to these big phones is the Apple/Google Watch. It’s designed so we don’t need to pull out a big honking phone to read a message.

We now need to strap on a new device to address a drawback of another.

I sincerely hope there are people at Apple that miss the state of the art 4” iPhone like me. I’d love to see the 2015 iPhone come in three sizes: the current two sizes and a return to the 4” screen size with a camera as good as the 6. That would be my phone.

Until then I can only hope we will all outgrow this big phone trend.

Maybe it will be the bell bottoms of our generation. 




I haven’t put on a real bra since my diagnosis. For me, a real bra is a thing of armor, constructed with large swaths of hefty material, shaped for full coverage and held together by thick, sturdy straps. My bras have no time for playthings like lace or sheer material.  The most my bras can manage is a swirly flower embroidered into the canvas-like fabric, an attempt at feminizing that ends up feeling more like a doily on an antique table.  Beyond their aesthetic shortcomings, my bras leave me feeling constricted, pinched, and agitated.  Lift and stabilize they do, but at quite a cost, and after my diagnosis, I stopped wearing them altogether, opting for absurdly incapable but deliciously comfortable thin, wireless bralets.  Something shifted and I was no longer able or willing to tolerate any discomfort in the bra department, and I somehow stopped caring altogether whether my girls were properly placed and held.

When I first learned that I had breast cancer (bad news) I very soon connected the dots and realized my heretofore burdensome bosom would be forever changed, reduced, and lifted (fabulous news!). My early breast cancer conversations with friends were filled both shock about my disease and merrymaking about my future new boobs.  Why not?  I’ve been lugging these things around for decades, proud that they did such a stellar job serving their one actual purpose (my kids nursed heartily, often, and for a solid 18 months each), but always burdened by their bounty.  I’m an athlete, and have been stuffing my breasts into ill-performing sports bras since high school soccer.  Bathing suits are impossible, and there are whole categories of clothes that are simply off-limits (spaghetti straps, anyone?).  To imagine a life in which I’m freed from this bosomy burden is indescribably exciting, a life where I no longer need to wear my matronly, function-forward brassiere (rumor has it I won’t actually need any brassiere), where I can run freely without first securing all parts, and where I can throw on any dress on the rack, regardless of straps, coverage, or cut.

All of this is to say that for months now, I’ve been more than ok letting go of my upper lady parts in exchange for a pair of high, firm, hassle-free new ones. But now, as I actually face the surgery, just 22 days away, feelings of fear and loss are creeping in. What will it feel like when they’re gone?  Will I miss them?  Will my new pair ever become part of me in the same way?  The skin will remain, the nipples will be gone (and eventually tattooed back on), but the tissue inside, down to the muscle below, will be scraped away so that my BRCA2 mutated breast tissue won’t turn on me yet again in the future.  I’ll emerge from surgery with tissue expanders underneath my chest muscle, placeholders for the silicon implants that will eventually be there.  What will THAT be like?  What will it feel like to have these foreign pieces inside of me? Will I feel the seamless sense of whole that I have always felt in my body? 

People get joints replaced all the time and don’t tend to mourn the loss of the failed knee or hip and wonder how the prosthetic will effect feelings of identity.  A knee is not a boob, however, and a boob is not a hip – neither play such a central role in femininity, sexuality, and identity.  Women all over the world choose to have breast implants, and I imagine feel lucky to have the chance to change their bodies in that way.  Perhaps it’s the absence of choice for me, that my surgery is not the elective type that I’ve been saving for for years and finally had the time, money, and courage to do; rather it’s the next step in a treatment plan that leaves me pummeled, weakened, and in ways, disempowered, because there are no choices to be made, just acceptance of what lies ahead. 

 So for now, I’ll leave my mega-bras in the drawer as I make my way to December 22.  I hope that my surgery will bring me a much deserved and joyful change in my body, and I will also honor my loss for what it is and must be.

November 02 2014

October 24 2014

The Only Thing I Have To Say About Gamer Gate


I had a day off this weekend from shooting Supernatural, and I was walking around downtown Vancouver on Saturday, sampling all the artisan coffee I could get my throat around. At one point I saw a pair of guys walking towards me wearing gamer shirts. Black short-sleeved, one Halo and one Call of Duty. 

Now in my life up until this point, that kind of outfit has meant one thing: Potential comrades. I love games, I love gaming. If it’s Friday night, I’m not out hanging at a club, I’m diving into a new game I downloaded on Steam. And I am blessed with the fact that my career is largely built upon that love, which I channeled into fiction so many years ago with “The Guild”. If there’s anything I’m proud of in this world, it’s the fact that I’ve had people come up to me on the street and at conventions over the years to tell me that they feel confident to call themselves a gamer because of my work, where before they were ashamed. Hearing that kind of stuff has kept me going, against the mainstream, against all odds. 

So seeing another gamer on the street used to be an auto-smile opportunity, or an entry into a conversation starting with, “Hey, dude! I love that game too!” Me and that stranger automatically had something in common: A love for something unconventional. Outsiders in arms. We had an auto-stepping stone to hurtle over human-introduction-awkwardness, into talking about something we loved together. Instant connection!

But for the first time maybe in my life, on that Saturday afternoon, I walked towards that pair of gamers and I didn’t smile. I didn’t say hello. In fact, I crossed the street so I wouldn’t walk by them. Because after all the years of gamer love and inclusiveness, something had changed in me. A small voice of doubt in my brain now suspected that those guys and I might not be comrades after all. That they might not greet me with reflected friendliness, but contempt.  

I went home and was totally, utterly depressed.

I have not said many public things about Gamer Gate. I have tried to leave it alone, aside from a few @ replies on Twitter that journalists have decided to use in their articles, siding me against the hashtag. Why have I remained mostly silent?

Self-protection and fear. 

I have been through a lot in my years on the internet. I have encountered a small fraction of the attacks from people like the ones who currently represent the worst of this “movement”. In the past, I worked through it alone because I felt shining a light on their words gave them exactly what they wanted: Attention and credibility. To say that their attacks and contempt didn’t set me back creatively would be a lie, but overall I got through the twists and turns, emotionally battered, but alright. My philosophy has always been, “Exist and represent yourself the way you want to exist as a woman who loves games, not as a reflection of what other people think or want of you. You will change minds by BEING. Show, don’t tell.” The attacks I experienced over the years were NOTHING compared to people who are the victims of these attacks now, but I still thought early on during the Gamer Gate phenomenon, “These trolls will dissipate into the night like they always do, it will be fine.”

But they have not dissipated. And because of the frightening emotions and actions attached to what has happened over the last month, the events are sure to have a long-lasting affect on gaming as a culture. The fact that it has affected me, to the point where I decided to cross the street last weekend away from those gamers, was heartbreaking. Because I realized my silence on the issue was not motivated by some grand strategy, but out of fear that the issue has created about speaking out. 

I have been terrified of inviting a deluge of abusive and condescending tweets into my timeline. I did one simple @ reply to one of the main victims several weeks back, and got a flood of things I simply couldn’t stand to read directed at me. I had to log offline for a few days until it went away. I have tried to retweet a few of the articles I’ve seen dissecting the issue in support, but personally I am terrified to be doxxed for even typing the words “Gamer Gate”. I have had stalkers and restraining orders issued in the past, I have had people show up on my doorstep when my personal information was HARD to get. To have my location revealed to the world would give a entry point for a few mentally ill people who have fixated on me, and allow them to show up and make good on the kind of threats I’ve received that make me paranoid to walk around a convention alone. I haven’t been able to stomach the risk of being afraid to get out of my car in my own driveway because I’ve expressed an opinion that someone on the internet didn’t agree with. 


I have allowed a handful of anonymous people censor me. They have forced me, out of fear, into seeing myself a potential victim. 

And that makes me loathe not THEM, but MYSELF. 

So I write this to urge any person, male or female, who now has the impulse to do what I did, to walk away from something they loved before, to NOT. 

Don’t let other people drive you away from gaming. 

Games are beautiful, they are creative, they are worlds to immerse yourself in. They are art. And they are worth fighting for, even if the atmosphere is ugly right now. A small minority are putting up barbed wire walls between us who love games. And that is sad. Because odds are 99% certain that those guys on the street who I avoided would have been awesome to talk to. I realize that letting the actions of a few hateful people influence my behavior is the absolutely worst thing I could do in life. And not an example I want to set, ever.

So to myself and to everyone else who operates out of love not vengeance: Don’t abandon games. Don’t cross the street. Gaming needs you. To create, to play, to connect. 

To represent.

I know this entry will probably draw contempt from people in the Gamer Gate movement. Something to scorn, something to rile them up against me and everything I’ve ever made. Especially, and most hurtfully, to mock my vulnerability. I just have one thing to say to you who do that: I’m genuinely sorry you are so angry. 

I have lived a large part of my life ruled by negative emotions, mainly fear and anxiety. From my experience of working through those issues, I have this to say: Steeping yourself in the emotions that you’re surrounding yourself with, of hatred and bile and contempt, is ultimately not destructive to others like you want it to be. It’s destructive to yourself. 

I know it feels good to belong to a group, to feel righteous in belonging to a cause, but causing fear and pushing people away from gaming is not the way to go about doing it. Think through the repercussions of your actions and the people you are aligning yourself with. And think honestly about whether your actions are genuinely going to change gaming life for the better. Or whether they’re just going to make someone cross the street away from you. And away from something, ironically, that we both love.

October 11 2014

Yesterday at Brooklyn Beta, Elle Luna gave a talk based on the manifesto she wrote called The Crossroads of Should & Must.
It resonated with lots of people in the room and it made others uncomfortable. Uncomfortable about their privilege. Their privilege to decide what they want for their life.
Having the ability to choose what you want can be difficult. What if you dont know what you want? What if you choose something and then you realize don’t want it anymore.
Elle has a great technique for recording what she wants. She will write her wants, whether they be small wants or big wants.
I’ve adopted this practice in my own home, since in the past I’ve struggled with knowing what I wanted.I’ve put up lots of wants that may seem unattainable but I’m happy to share that I’ve received some of them already(I guess you’ll have to come over to my place to read my index cards:)
Awhile back my buddy Ronen V encouraged me to take part in the same exercise and I can’t recall if I ever created a want list. One helpful trick he shared with me was that you can have contradictory wants.
For example I have 2 index cards on my wall. One that reads: I want to have lots of kids. The other reads: I want to have zero kids.
When you start meditating on what you want you start a dialogue with yourself and with others to understand why you want what you want as well as you begin starting making moves consciously or unconsciously in the direction of obtaining what you want.
As someone who used to not think they had permission to want things, this is a great exercise of the mind, I highly recommend it.
the michael galpert experience: Permission to Want 

October 08 2014

New Middle Men


When new services spring up to support specific marketplaces its usually a leading indicator that the marketplace is going to get bigger.

Most recently this has been the case with Airbnb.

There are cleaning services (all of them are still unreliable to link to), key pickup/dropoff services and even full on management companies that specialize for the short term rental economy

I’ve even recently heard of a number of uber/lyft drivers who are driving other people’s cars and then sharing their earnings with the car owner. This is a win win that I hope the ride sharing companies encourage and build systems in place to make this more common place. [I loathe seeing parked cars on the street for days.]

What are some other recent examples of this?

I came across today. They help you optimize you’re retail lending on Lending Club and Prosper. 

Also we used Air Envy this summer. We wouldn’t have done AirBnB if they or someone didn’t offer that extra level of service we needed.

September 16 2014

Fight for the Future and Namecheap have parked a truck with a giant video billboard directly across the street from the FCC!



This just in! We’ve teamed up with our friends at domain registrar Namecheap to bring the overwhelming public outcry for real net neutrality protections directly to the agency’s doorstep.

As the hours count down to the FCC’s net neutrality comment deadline, we have obtained a permit to park a truck with a giant video billboard on top directly across the street from the FCC facing the agency’s headquarters! It’s amazing! We’re attracting tons of attention already.

Got something to say to the FCC? Send us a link to your video and we’ll play it on the billboard!

Are you in Washington, DC? Join us, Free Press, and Popular Resistance on Tuesday, September 16th as we gather near the billboard to call for the FCC to get out of DC and listen to the public! More info here. 

We’ll be here until the end of the day Tuesday playing a steady stream of videos about net neutrality. The FCC needs to hear from everyone — but not everyone can make it to DC to speak out. The billboard gives us all a platform from which to speak, just like the free and open Internet!

Internet, send us your videos! Take a short 1-2 minute video of yourself explaining why net neutrality matters to you, and we’ll play it on the billboard for Tom Wheeler and everyone at the FCC. Use the form below to submit your video or email it directly to with the subject line “Billboard submission.”


Need some inspiration for what your net neutrality video should be like? Check out this awesome video that Namecheap made! They’ll be playing it once an hour to make sure the FCC gets the message.

Namecheap gets that Internet Freedom isn’t just a good idea, it’s a critical fight for the future of the entire web. Not only are they making the billboard action possible, but they’re helping raise funds for Fight for the Future to support our ongoing work for net neutrality. Head over to and share the video there and they’ll donate to us each time!

Need more encouragement to submit your own video? Get ready for Harry Potter to break it down for you. Thanks to the Harry Potter Alliance.

See below for some more great photos. More coming soon! Press inquiries contact or call 978-852-6457.


T9:30am the billboard is up and playing a video of Lawrence Lessig explaining the importance of Title II reclassification.


Folks from Namecheap are there with flyers to talk to FCC employees and pedestrians about why the Internet cares so much about net neutrality.


The billboard directly faces the FCC’s headquarters, and FCC employees can be seen looking down from the windows. Impossible to ignore.


The billboard will play a steady stream of videos in support of Title II net neutrality. Internet users are encouraged to submit videos to play on the billboard through this form.

Photo credits: Namecheap team. These photos are available for use by press.

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