Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

2011

Why we don’t have more women run start-ups.

Why aren’t more women run startups funded?  Because there aren’t more women run start-ups! According to Women 2.0, women found only 11% of technology companies.  The question remains: Whose job is it to change that? I recently went to LA to help conduct a panel with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs on the state of the economy.  Topics to be discussed included the start-up bubble, new accelerators, and financing options for

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Two Chicks, a Camaro, and Carla Bruni

Can we still get anywhere by taking the untraditional road? Thanksgivings prior our family played roles out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  Mom and I cooked for three days straight to make multiple courses from family recipes.  Dad sharpened knives for his customary meat carving duties.  My brother came in and out of the kitchen sampling the fruits of our labor…only stopping his role as chief taster to help my

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Be Demanding! Women Need to Self-Promote and Negotiate Better…

H.L Mencken once wrote. “Man is always looking for someone to boast to; woman is always looking for a shoulder to put her head on.” Want to argue this? We have some work to do first.… Unfortunately for feminists, studies indicate that men are still more likely than women to promote their achievements, negotiate better deals, and generally position themselves better for success.  We need to change this…and the best

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“Job Dating” : A new approach to the career hunt

Upon graduation, Calgary born Maeghan Smulders was offered not one, but 29 different jobs.Overwhelmed with choices, she decided to do something innovative.  She decided to “date” her companies. “Rather than just pick one, I decided to see if I could try out all of them first!” Pick a Career Like a Spouse: First Date Around Most college graduates take a traditional route and accept the first job offer they receive, often

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Lessons on Humanness; Reflecting 1 Year After the Roadtrip

It has been over a year since I traveled across America’s canvas to take down stories of “unconventional’ women.  I’ve re-read, I’ve reflected, and now it’s time to share some thoughts from my journey from its impetus to its end. 13 months ago, well before I knew how to work a GPS, I went to a cocktail party with beautiful women in form fitting couture.  They expressed their desire for

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Italian Pleasure: Lessons from Rome and Florence

Italy is a place where people go to eat, to love, and to slow down.  Pleasure comes in a variety of forms and not taking the time to enjoy it is regarded upon not just as careless, but inhumane.  I was only in the country for two weeks but hope to bring back a few lessons to my San Francisco world of fast and cold. Lessons from Italian Pleasure Be

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Interview with an Artist-Performance, Painting, and Perception

Why is it accepted for a woman to be stupid as long as she’s beautiful?” “Why can women be objects of desire in advertising but shunned if they seek contraception for casual love affairs?” “Why must women choose between a family and a career when men don’t have to?” These are the questions that Ana Teresa Fernedez paints. I first met the Mexican born artist at a cocktail reception for

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Diving In and Letting Go

Years ago I spent at lot of time in Toronto working for a large retail client.  During the project’s bone chilling winter, the project sponsor Anne and I became close.   We spent many afternoons braving snowy sidewalks to explore café menus and deep conversations. Our retail planning chit-chat quickly evolved to theories on friendship and love.  Perhaps it was from years of watching the seasons dramatically change, but Anne believed

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Desert Detox Lessons

“I need to redo my life, “I said. “You are always redoing your life,” said a friend But I wasn’t really redoing…I was just adding on.  I had accumulated too many projects, too many hobbies, too many identities.  Without focus I was becoming meaningless.  In the words of Robert Hanson, President of Levi’s North America, I needed to ‘edit and amplify.’ In order to kickstart the process I decided to

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From “Faux pen” to Open

“What is the best thing you have done with your life?” people ask. Without skipping a beat I cite a road trip I took across the US to interview women who defied convention.  In dim diners, tequila bars, and strip clubs I documented raw conversations that captured the depth of the human spirit and the vastness of our land. It has been a year since I embarked upon this so called

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Redefining Life’s Blueprint: A Counter to Penelope Trunk

I live in an amazing ecosystem of women who defy convention, reinvent the rules, and passionately take risks to better the world around them. This isn’t everyone’s habitat and the team at Women 2.0 brought it to my attention. The Women 2.0 leadership team was sent the latest blog posting by Penelope Trunk titled,“A Blueprint for a Woman’s Life.”  It wasn’t any blueprint I wanted, nor a doctrine I wanted the women

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F*** the Birthday Pressure, I’m Taking My Time

On August 8, 2011 the stock market sunk another 6%, making people’s 401K plans scream. Riots in London erupted, depleting stores of PDAs.  Also disastrous, I turned another year older. As I said the digits aloud, San Francisco’s ‘summer’ felt especially grey. Frowning at the fog, I worried that I had not accomplished near enough for this age, was too far from the perfect balance I craved, and would suffocate

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A Love Poem

“Write about love,” she asked. Three weeks before her wedding, one of my closest friends asked me to create a poem to follow the exchange of vows. The world stopped at her request.  My limbs stretched and my arms grasped for adjectives to describe this mysterious force. However, no matter how hard I scraped the air, my hands came back empty. My current life was filled with turbo jets, career

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A Lesson From a Blind Woman

Sometimes we need to slow down and refocus our line of vision on what really matters. It was 8 am on Sunday morning.  My head hurt from last night’s whisky and my internal rollercoaster of competing thoughts.  Career. Relationship. Life.  What did it all mean? And why am I always hungover? Ugh. I dialed up the happy beats on my ipod and stepped out into the soft morning fog to

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Why I Love San Francisco…Food, Sea, and Dreams

I moved to San Francisco seven years ago on July 4th after a decadent fling with her on a visit only two months prior. Before I met San Francisco, I had intended to relocate to Latin America.  I spoke its language, nightlife, and romance.  As an adventurous 20something, the United States bored me. However, my weekend visit proved that adventure, decadence and amazing fish tacos could in fact, exist domestically.

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The Paradox of Choice: Making decisions in careers, dating, and pizza

Last winter I authored a few posts mentioning the paradox of choice.  Once when it came to retail assortment decisions and another when it came to making holiday plans. The conclusion was the same—with too many choices we become paralyzed.  We are so focused on making the “BEST” choice that we are afraid to commit to any decision worried that we may pass up on something “better.”   From dating to ordering what vegetables

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Being Real, a Tribute to Slam

I had the pleasure of watching the live finals for Youth Speaks, a slam poetry event for teens in the Bay area. Watching 15 year olds pour out their hearts in rhythmatic beats infuses your core with passion for life and a renewed sense to also, yes be that true. It’s a week later but I still cannot get their verse out of my mind. The kids slammed about abuse,

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Following the Right Brain Business Plan

For many, creating a business plan evokes scary images of excel and mind numbing data analysis.  Some ‘creative types’ assume that a solid left brain coupled with a MBA is required for business success.  However, this isn’t the case at all.  In fact, according to Jennifer Lee, author of “The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success “ the right, not the left brain is the most valuable

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Doing That Which You Don’t Want

Altruistic duty can bring better rewards than cocktail parties…..in the long run. “Blogger’s Block” hit as I thought for something newly inspirational to write about.  I had already written about female accomplishments, happiness, risk, entrepreneurial success, even how to network like a hottie. The only thing missing was a post on sex. But rather than write about sex, or perhaps entrepreneurial sex, I decided to write about something opposite—doing that

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Risk Taking

The fourth chapter of my book starts something like this: “Where are you from?” Anytime I travel I always seem to get this same perplexing question. Well, nowhere. Everywhere.  I don’t know how to explain my movement over the years.  “My parents were carnies,” I lie.  “We traversed the earth.  I also spent a lot of time in a box being sawed in half.” There are many plausible rationales for

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