Want to escape Reality? Check out That VR Joint

As one entrepreneur in Melbourne, Australia has demonstrated, you can have an entire business based on virtual reality by itself. Alan Convery has taken the idea of a video arcade, and combined it with virtual reality games

New Book THE WINEMAKERS PRIMER for Aspiring Winemakers

Are you interested in wine-making as a business? The information in the new Winemakers Primer book is worth its weight in gold.

Media TASTEMAKERS Summit on Feb. 10th is hot Industry Ticket

Time to Learn, Share and Network!
You are a player in the lucrative & highly influential Lifestyle Media categories of food & wine, fashion & design, and travel.
Summit attendees share ideas and experience, network, and prepare their projects and businesses for economic, audience, market and technological opportunities

The Media Tastemakers Summit is a one-of-its-kind gathering of Digital Media, Traditional Media, Online Video, Web producers, Platforms, Apps and Startups specifically focused on the lucrative & highly influential Lifestyle categories of Food & Wine, Fashion, Design & Travel. Confirmed speakers from Levi’s, Indiegogo, Mode.com, and more.

Early Bird Tickets Available.


SCHEDULE (Subject to Change. Check site for updates)

9:00-9:15 KEYNOTE

Food & Wine Media Tastemakers

    • Panelists:
      V. Sheree Williams, Publisher, Cuisine Noir Magazine
      Gemma Stafford, “Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking (YouTube)
      Eater SF (BC)
      Zagat (TBC)Moderator: TBA

10:00-10:30 DIGITAL STYLE
Fashion & Design Media Tastemakers

    • Panelist:
      Jill Manoff, Editor: Women’s Fashion, Beauty, and Style, Mode Media (Mode.com)Moderator: TBA


Apps powering dining, cooking, fashion and beauty

    • Panelists:
      Jared Fazio, CEO & Co-Founder, TuLook Fashion App
      Em Olson LaFave, Din
      Sonny Mayugba, RequestedModerator: TBA

11:30-12:15 ADAPT AND THRIVE
Food, Wine, Fashion and Lifestyle coverage has had massive changes over the last several years. Our panelists will discuss these changes, as well as what they have found to be opportunities, threats, and strategies to adapt and thrive.

    • Panelists:
      Teresa Rodriguez, Tango Diva
      Mary Orlin, Bay Area Newsgroup
      Amy Sherman, Cooking with Amy
      Liam Mayclem, CBS / Foodie ChapModerator: TBA


Turning Celebrity into a Bestselling Book, Successful models. It seems like every month a YouTube celebrity is getting a new book deal. In this moderated 30 minute session, with the Moderator focusing on guests who have experience in successfully leveraging or extending their celebrity brand and business with the use of authoring print publications, such as cookbooks or magazines. The focus of the questions and discussion will be on the rationale and experiences in following this strategy.

    • Panelist:
      Joanne Weir, TV Host, Author and RestaurateurModerator: TBA

PR Trends & Techniques, Strategies for developing and marketing content, building communities, and increasing audiences/followers

    • Panelists:
      Regina Grogan, User Acquisition & Mobile Experience
      Alexandra Woodruff, Trowel and Fork (Vine)Moderator: TBA

How does an established brand use the new digital tools and business paradigms to successfully influence tastes

    • Panelist:
      Jen Sey, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Levi’sModerator: TBA

MCNs, Television, VOD, YouTube and more for multi-platform content creators.

    • Panelists:
      Thomas Escourrou, COO, Videopixie
      Darren LaShelle, KRCB Public TelevisionModerator: TBA


Description: Financing and Multiple Revenue Stream Options

    • Panelists:
      Alisa Cordesius, Social Innovation & Design, IndiegogoModerator: TBA

Description: Advertising, Branded Content, Brand Extension

    • Panelists:
      Vishal Gurbuxani, Founder, Captiv8
      TBAModerator: TBA


    • Panelists:
      TBAModerator: TBA


Entrepreneur Life: Need A Mid-Career Jumpstart? HIRE YOURSELF!

Consider The ‘Entrepreneur Lite’ Option, Franchise Matchmaker Says

The traditional career path is dead, says business consultant Pete Gilfillan.

With rapidly changing technology and a global economy, the average company and employee in the United States continue to come to terms with the new normal.

hire-yourself-bookWorkers aged 50 and older who lost their jobs during the recession were 20 percent less likely to become re-employed than those 24 to 34, according to the Urban Institute. And, unemployment doubled for workers 55 and older between December 2007 and March 2012.

“It’s not just factory jobs that have gone, it’s also a wide range of middle-class, white-collar jobs that are letting go of their experienced people,” says Gilfillan, an entrepreneur who is opening new opportunities for business professionals as a franchise matchmaker, as detailed in his book Hire Yourself: Control Your Own Destiny through Franchise Ownership.

“Gone are the days when you could expect a job out of college to last an entire career. The new normal is, for many, a very cobbled career trajectory. Unfortunately, there are many talented, middle-aged professionals who are getting lost in the new shuffle. However, many are cutting their own new path.”

Gilfillan calls it “entrepreneur lite” – a franchise option that fast-tracks people to business ownership without the requirement of a brilliant idea.

“In franchising, someone has already dreamed the big dream, figured out how to make it work, and marketed and sold their way into a well-defined niche,” he says. “Now they’re looking for an investor and partner in building on that success.”

Is the entrepreneur lite career path right for you? There are many things to consider, including Gilfillan’s five Cs, which he summarizes as:

• Capital: Most franchise companies require a minimum level of liquid capital. A number of costs beyond the initial fee need to be considered when you’re investing in a franchise. There will be legal fees, rent, royalty fees, and equipment and inventory to purchase – to name some costs. Keep in mind that there is a ramp-up period with any business. You need enough money to cover your expenses during this time when more money will be going out than coming in. Meanwhile, the ordinary expenses of life continue.

Capacity: You must have a certain level of business acumen. As a business owner, you must understand people and how to motivate, lead and support employees. Experience in sales and operations management is a plus. It takes strong leadership skills to build a business and develop a reliable staff, and savvy hiring skills will save you from costly mistakes.

• Cooperation: A franchisor will have a detailed plan for you to follow—and they need to know you will embrace that plan in a spirit of cooperation. They want to feel confident that you’ll follow their procedures and systems to create a consistent product and service upon which they can build their brand.

• Character: Franchisors expect the people with whom they partner to operate with honesty and integrity. As a franchisee, you will be representing the brand, and franchisors will take a close look at how well you will do that. A company may do a background check on their candidates to make an assessment of this quality.

• Customer satisfaction: Warren Buffett famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Think about your own shopping and service provider experiences and how those interactions have shaped your opinion of businesses. Everyday transactions can earn your repeat business—or ensure you won’t be back. Do you have the desire and passion to create a superior customer experience? A franchise needs to ensure that you will take good care of customers.

About Pete Gilfillan

With more than 20 years of experience as a corporate executive and small business ownership, Pete Gilfillan is a matchmaker for entrepreneurs who seek career independence via franchise ownership. He also is author of the book Hire Yourself: Control Your Own Destiny through Franchise Ownership. As a young man, he worked 17 years at Ford Motor Company, rapidly advanced to general manager, when he guided 600 franchise dealerships generating $5 billion in revenue. Gilfillan became a franchise owner in 2010 when he purchased a multi-state master license to a junk removal franchise. Since 2011, he has been working as an independent franchise consultant with FranChoice to help potential franchisees gather information, evaluate opportunities and make smart selections in franchise ownership. Gilfillan is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

The Pop-up Playbook from Eventbrite

Our good friends at Culintro have brought to our attention that our great friends at Eventbrite (which we use for all of our direct event ticket sales), have created a nice how-to for restaurants and bars considering holding their own pop-up event.

The compilation is called the Pop-up Playbook, and collects the advice of several experts for you to use. (BTW, they did not call on us, which is of course an oversight since we also manage PopUpRestaurants.com).


It also includes a Toolkit to help you organize your popup event, such as this Popup Report on ‘experiential dining.’

To view the Eventbrite Pop-up Playbook, go here.


Zinc Details – From Stylish Interior Designs to popular Retail Brand


TasteTV chats with style guru Vas Kiniris, founder of the retail furnishings and furniture boutique, Zinc Details, about what’s hot in the world of design.


TasteTV: How are Scandinavian, Japanese different than other kinds of designs in the home?

VAS: After studying and working as architects in the Bay Area,Zinc Details was founded over 20 years ago by me and my wife, Wendy. At that time modern design wasn’t valued and people were looking to postmodernism for inspiration. Most design was decorative and overdone. Think fleur de lys, porticoes and colonnades everywhere… We were interested in a parred down aesthetic that promoted a “less is more” aesthetic but with soul! We liked to showcase the beauty and integrity of the natural material, and the clarity of the design. Also true innovation without being gimmicky or kitsch! For us, the Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetic clearly exemplified these design points. Both cultures appreciate the natural beauty of the materials and clarity of design. Also both cultures draw inspiration from their long history of design and crafts! These days we look for these qualities in all cultures and we are constantly inspired by all the countries and communities we travel to, near and far!

Zinc-Details-IMG_9790TasteTV: What about housewares such as dinnerware and tea-ware?

VAS: In addition to our ever evolving range of national, international and local furnishings, we also carry a select curated selection of housewares. Again we take inspiration from the Scandinavian aesthetic of well made timeless and versatile design classics, new and old! We also carry a select range of vintage accessories which, in our opinion, really make a house into a home! We encourage our customers to mix and juxtapose products from all over the world, and different eras too! So a vintage Japanese teapot can mix seamlessly with a set of Finnish tea cups and presented on an Italian tray!

Zinc-Details-IMG_9791TasteTV: What drew you to focus on this theme?

VAS: We love design and we love to seek innovation and integrity of materials in our lives! We are also contemporary American designers living and working on the West Coast. This is important because we are multicultural and constantly inspired by the world around us. It’s second nature for us to mix seemingly disparate cultures and eras into our lifestyle. This is what we are constantly showcasing in our store.
My wife and I are also come from different cultural backgrounds and we bring our rich cultural backgrounds and experiences to Zinc Details. I was born in Greece and raised in the Bay Area and Wendy is a third generation Japanese-American who was born in Boston and grew up in Texas!

TasteTV: Is the design community doing anything that you find particularly exciting?

Zinc-Details-IMG_9789VAS: I am particularly excited by the design community’s movement toward design that isn’t based on meaningless consumption and non-trends. Many designers are now drawing inspiration from ago old crafts which are indigenous to their culture or country. So there’s a cultural foundation to their products! The worlds of craftsman and designers are finally coming together!

TasteTV: What about the younger designers, how are they getting their names out there and their foot in the door?

VAS: When we first opened our store, we only carried products by local artists and craftspeople! These days there is a strong community of designers who are crafting and producing products right in the Bay Area! Designers are getting their names our there by forming groups and associations which give them a louder voice in the design community. IE Renegade Fair and the American Made. They are also using pop-up shops and social media to get their names out to the public! They are definitely more innovative and resourceful bunch!

TasteTV: Have you noticed any trends since you opened the store?

VAS: The local movement has finally hit the design scene. There’s an awareness and pride in the local design/artist scene. People are looking for an authentic design that speak to the local design scene.