General Government & Technology mail Start Ups

Digital Nomads and Mail in Silicon Valley


How important is your mail? Stupid question, right? It’s critical. No matter the digital world we still need mail and a mailing address.  Increasingly, digital nomads are resurrecting mail on the go services. Are they doing their job?

What if you found out your mail person was misdelivering your mail? Or not getting it to you in some way? Or sent you other people’s mail and didn’t respond to you about it? And suppose it cost you $11.00 to get the other customers mail and you had to send it to them certified? And suppose they charge you for what should be free?

That’s the story of The UPS store in Palo Alto. The one on Bryant Street. The one visiting VC’s use. Start ups use it. Digital nomads use it.  And ordinary people. Like me. It doesn’t matter who we are – we deserve a) our mail b) customer service without attitude c) attention to postal regulations in getting us our mail. Not too much to ask when you’ve paid hundreds to receive your mail.

I think the most shocking violation of “my mail is safe” with them came from their not responding to three or four emails about the other person’s mail. They only respond when I purchase the overpriced service of having them send my mail to me: $22 for 2 pieces of mail and that was the least expensive packet over the past months.

Here’s the DNA of this story: (long and boring but I spent a lot of time on postal regs so some of it. TY)

In order to become a UPS Store that offers mailboxes, they have to fulfill requirements from the USPS. (United States Postal Service). Seems logical doesn’t it? However when mentioned to an employee at another UPS Store (not the Palo Alto one) the response was “No, we don’t we’re individually franchised.” Hmm..methinks that’s unclear on the concept (the concept being the USPS is in charge of mail rules).

Mailing stores (of any kind) are called in Postal Service lingo Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies or CMRA’s for short.

I’m going to make this quick: to be a CMRA, the owner must fill out Form 1583a. That’s a US Postal Form which outlines what the store must do to receive and distribute mail. It is named Application to Act as a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency.

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Investing Start Ups

Pie Capital of Palo Alto Announces New Funding Limits


Pie Capital

Palo Alto, California


Current Funding Platform, formerly limited to Unaccredited Investors from $50-$2,000, now permits higher limits in excess of $5,000 for Accredited investors.

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA – February 26, 2019 – Pie Capital, Inc. today announced the immediate availability of their new Accredited Funding Platform. The technology is available on mobile and desktop viewing.

For the first time we are proud to offer the ability for accredited investors to participate in a meaningful way in Pie Capital’s portfolio companies, explained Bill Eichen, CEO of Pie Capital. Family Offices, Angel Investors and High Net Worth individuals (HNWs) can now fully participate above $5,000 without limitations.”

“Pie Capital is a unique tool for our early stage startups to quickly access funding, and we are now vetting the accredited investors to allow them to participate as well”.  “Family Offices and Angels are busy with so many investment opportunities, and need 24×7 access to our portfolio companies.”

By using today’s mobile communications technologies, Pie Capital brings these investors to the startups in a pre-vetted environment.  Investors have immediate access to the pitch decks, valuation and video of the corporation’s tech business.

“Pie Capital utilizes the latest reactive technology to ensure multi-platform compatibility with mobile and laptops,” said Sanjeev Dharap, CTO at Pie Capital.  “Our active startups enjoy a secure, fast, and reliable service, and the HNW capability makes everyone more efficient.”

“Pie Capital has created an innovative platform that pairs smart money with pre-vetted startups, which is extremely valuable to Silicon Valley in early stages,” said Dennis Surabian Jr., of the Surabian Family Office. We would not have had access to BBuck and other great startups in Silicon Valley if it wasn’t for the Pie Capital platform.

“We appreciate being a lead portfolio company on Pie Capital’s platform, said Malcolm Flack, CEO of BBuck, a leader in next generation gaming technology. “Pie Capital has demonstrated a revolutionary technology for us to get funded quickly, and effortlessly using standard mobile devices” added Malcolm.

Online and mobile customer support is available 24×7 to registered startups and investors. “We have created a customer-facing corporate culture to insure our portfolio companies and investors receive information in a timely and reliable fashion,” said Eichen.  


Pie Capital, Inc. is a privately held corporation in Palo Alto, California.  Pie Capital designs, develops and supports vertically oriented internet products and tools for the startup and financial community. Professionals and related ecosystem partners are encouraged to contact Pie Capital’s Affiliate department

Pie Capital may be reached at (650) 493-1801; via email at; or visit

Pie Capital,,, AutoVet, and Pie Learning Center are trademarks of Pie Capital

apps Futurism Health Health Medical Technology

Blogger, Coder, Futurist: Michael McAnally Describes This Life

Proud to have a Guest Post today by San Francisco’s own Michael McAnally,  Founder, Futurist, Entrepreneur and Science Fiction Blogger who goes by the pen name Michael Blade. Mike lives in San Francisco as CEO-Dev of Touch Voice. He has apps in all major app stores which help thousands of speech impaired individuals and are used in hospitals and care facilities around the globe. Welcome Michael and thank you!

Michael McAnally

181,400 Mayfly years ago

Yes, I’m a dreamer and very proud of it!

I was born before the Smart Phone, before the Internet, before the Microwave Oven, before the Touch Tone Phone, before the Answering Machine, even Voice Mail. Before the VCR, CD player, Blu-ray, Netflix, before we landed on the moon July 20, 1969 (and we actually did, I saw it on TV [live black and white video feed] as a kid that day at my grandparents house). I hope to live long enough to see a stable human colony established on Mars!

I just realized by millennial standards I might actually be considered old. Yet, I’m okay with that, the age of the universe is 13.7 billion years old, give or take half a billion, so relatively I’m not even a few cells old.

Am I slowing down? I do know I’m somehow creatively smarter than your average joe (apologies to those named Joe). Why? Simply because I try harder, I don’t accept the status quo by default, I question everything I can until I run out of energy, and sometimes not even then. But over the years have I become much less arrogant? Humbler in disposition? I sure hope so for everyone’s sake! I do have a good sense of humor, and I can even laugh at myself occasionally.

Honestly, I could never have imagined writing something so personal, putting it out there about myself, posting it up for all to read. I really must say, I really have come a long way baby from that introverted, and frightened young teenager afraid he was so different others would notice and criticize him, or maybe even beat him up.

I’m approximately now 483,840 years old in Mayfly life times. The Mayfly lives 24 hours. That’s 483,840/12/30/24 hours (so if my age is so important, you do the math, please don’t forget to take into account the date this article was written).

My story is unique as all stories are. I started out as one of the “original computer coding nerds” when it wasn’t so cool (even worked for DMV at one point, and wrote video games, had a Radio Shack Model I, Vic 20, Commodore 64, then Amiga, built my own PC compatibles, now own a Macbook and code an Arduino). Suffice it to say I know a lot about computers, I’m even a computer science dropout, something many of us did back in the late 80’s (as “in good company” reference see: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates). Some lines of my code, probably over thirty years old, still executes on computer systems! I’m sure much more of it has been trashed or updated as well . . .

I have remade myself many times into a blogger and now entrepreneur. Along the way I have worn many hats; I’ve called myself a hacker (ethical hacking only), business analyst, solutions architect, network engineer, webmaster, designer of custom virtual worlds. I can honestly say over my 34 year career I have forgotten more technical computer knowledge than most average level programmers currently know today. I literally have coded in archaic programming languages now almost forgotten. (IBM 360/370 Assembler Language, COBOL, Fortran, Pascal, C, Basic, Pilot, RGB II, Z80, 6502, JCL).

Does this mean I don’t learn new languages? Exactly the opposite. (SQL, Perl, Visual Basic, Java [Servlets, JSP, EJB], ASP, PHP, Javascript, Android, Swift, now learning WebVR). The reason I have to forget things is so I can make room for new skills. My neural net, my connectome is complex and diversely connected.

I have even written short science fiction stories and now have my own indie comic online for free. I love using Photoshop regularly and editing and uploading interesting YouTube videos. I have real world experienced in UI/UX design.

Recently I have written Mobile Apps which help the speech impaired to speak, like the software that Stephen Hawking uses, but different still. This is the one thing I am most proud of because it helps so many people who really need, and use it daily. It hasn’t made as much money as I would like, but that’s okay . . . it’s still a win-win and really helps those who have lost the ability to speak.

So, what’s the point of my story?? I don’t know, I still don’t know? Each time I think I have it figured out, something new comes along, an idea, a technology, a different approach or solution, a new problem to try to solve. I guess that is what it really is about for me, change, revolution, reworking the old into the new. Saving the good things, tossing the bad and useless. I have met the most amazing people, some I have even helped to make a little famous. Am I famous, no. I’m comfortable with that as well.

So, if it is not about age, or experience, or becoming famous, then what is it all about? Money, really?! How shallow . . . What is that magic spark, that brilliance, that for me makes life so much worth living? That makes me want to get out of bed every morning, rather than pull the covers over and go back to sleep?

For me, I think it has to be wonder. Amazement, excitement at the potential for new technologies. I guess that is why I love science fiction so much, that future just can’t get here fast enough for me. Even though I know I never will, I want to walk on the surface of another planet circling another star, look up and know how far I have actually come. That’s why I became a serial entrepreneur, I wanted to bring that future just a little closer, just a little sooner. Yes, I’m a dreamer and very proud of it! If you have read this far, you should be too.

I guess in writing this, in explaining myself to others, I have discovered myself once again. That is the way to introspection and the ability to shrug off harmful criticism, but also the way to accept and learn from it, iterative self-improvement. In writing this and your reading it I hope I have helped you as well.

My story is not over, it is really just beginning. Filled with a new determination, soon a new purpose will follow

Fraud General Government & Technology Health Health Investing Medical Technology Start Ups Startups

Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, Blood Tests: Fraud

theranos and silicon valley story

Theranos at Walgreens, Palo Alto

Fraud and Failure

Fail often, fail fast is often said to startup founders.  But why?  You can get an answer to ‘why’  from tech gurus, plain folk and failures as to why that might be a good thing. Supposedly the lessons learned are invaluable.

Here’s my take: if you need to fail to know what difficulties are, then good ahead and fail. But if you haven’t lived in the bubble called perfection then you know failure happens.

You don’t have to idolize failure however – or make it mythical –  which leads to complacency which leads to obtaining a lot of other people’s money, using them, lying, and more.

Let’s get specific. It gets us to Theranos and Noatta. You may not know Noatta (but you will because they owe yours truly) but you must know Theranos, the blood testing company now outed as a fraud.

I’ve written about Theranos since 2013, in the days when no one know who Elizabeth Holmes was. I called it “The Almost Perfect Palo Alto Start Up.” l loved the idea of faster, cheaper, better blood tests. I admitted I knew nothing of the tech but the idea of getting results according to Holmes’ view was great. I still think that way and agree with her you shouldn’t need an Rx to find out your triglyceride level or your vitamin D3 level. Health care costs are outrageous enough.  Why pay $400 to get an Rx to get a blood test? (ok, we know why – it’s a cash cow for the medical profession).

But today we know that Theranos had a talking head who was so very, very good at what she did,  con people  – that many are hurt. And she and lover boy, Sunny Bulwani may end up in prison.

I knew someone who worked closely with Holmes. She told me Elizabeth stayed late every night and was a real workaholic. She believed in Elizabeth through her outing. Maybe not now, I don’t know. Apparently Holmes had a way about her that could make you believe in her. Others not so much.

I knew she was special because the Executive Office of the President came to my website to my post called Blood Money  Also arriving was DOJ,  DOD and CIA. Initial soup – but why? Well, the Executive Office of the President came in on the keywords ‘general mattis and theranos’ The date was early December 2015. And Holmes’ Dad was CIA and her mom was also a Washington DC insider. And someone from Theranos itself would come with keywords ‘theranos fraud’. (November and December 2015).

And then came all the wealth management firms (to see what they could learn to consider investing), her competitors such as Lab Corps, Quest Diagnostics, etc and finally, the lawyers…including a firm involved with Enron case. I knew the end was near then.

Elizabeth, you didn’t have to fail unethically. Maybe if you announced your troubles, helpers would have come that you didn’t need to defraud.

And Noatta: you should have listened to what people were telling you. But that’s another story.

Failure is only good if it helps you. Not when your friends and helpers are bamboozled and betrayed.


Investing Start Ups

Investing with a Team: Palo Alto’s Pie Capital

 Did you forget a gift?  this is perfect  –  a GREAT gift. $50 gets a piece of the pie. What’s cooler than owning part of a startup? Nada. Nothing.  Click to see what’s available and give the coolest gift.  Birthday coming up for someone? Or yours! How about owning a piece of a start up? 9 unique windows of the future – go ahead, look:  PIE CAPITAL  

Time to Invest 

So you want to invest in a startup? Good – because the innovation machine is on a roll and you might be on for the ride of a lifetime.

However if you don’t live in Silicon Valley and you don’t know anyone in a startup and you haven’t got a clue what to invest in but you want a piece of the pie what are you going to do?

First, congratulate yourself that you don’t need to find a place to live in the highest priced real estate market in the U.S.  It really is true that a 500 sq ft.  shack will cost you over a million. That topic is exiting stage left right now.

Second, here’s the good news: you aren’t stuck with the guesswork of a Kickstarter or Indiegogo (though I love them they can be confusing to an investor) in order to invest. With a new company in Palo Alto, Pie Capital, you have someone looking out for you, finding the latest and greatest startups and doing all the pre-vetting work for you.  And then, letting you in on the ground floor for as little as $100.00 and even better…letting you decide how to allocate whatever amount you decide to invest. I recently spoke with Bill Eichen, founder and CEO of Pie Capital. He explained what Pie does differently.

I am quite impressed with the vetting process the team at Pie Capital does. A start up can’t just throw together a cool video, a dubious product, make an app and say, “Give me money and I’ve got a t-shirt for you.” and expect to make it to Pie Capital’s recommended list for investment.

Let me insert a personally embarrassing but relevant  anecdote here. I had the co-founder and then CEO of Pinterest renting the studio at my house while they were  in beta.  I saw their site before it was released to the public.  But then out it went and Paul (Paul Sciarra, co-founder, former CEO) was worried one day – VC’s were going to be looking at the site’s traffic the next day and he thought they might not have enough.  I had a  newsletter I wrote with 2000 on my list.  I told Paul I would send out a notice: “Drop everything, go have fun, here’s a great new site you are going to love.”  I sent it and silently felt like a fraud. I did not really like Pinterest. I thought it was silly and due to fail.  Now you know the embarrassing part: as of May 2018, Pinterest had 200 million active monthly visitors.

How wrong was I?

Very wrong. How wrong were the local venture capitalists that funded Pinterest? Not at all.  And that’s what Pie Capital brings you. Thorough vetting and not a single mini me to make the mistake of thinking: ‘If I don’t like it no one else will’. The team at Pie Capital brings sensors, software, engineering, MIT, finance experts, CEO’s, COO’s, which all adds up to an embedded sense of knowing which startup has the brightest potential. I asked Bill Eichen, founder and CEO of Pie Capital if they have any secret sauce in how they make a decision for inclusion. They do. (This is so cool!)  They have a trademarked AI they call an Autovet engine.  Input the cap table, balance sheet and income statement of the startup to the engine and out pops the magic Bill and the team at Pie Capital use to decide who gets in. (Ok, I gave you the TL:DR version. But it is proprietary and what’s important is that these veterans of the Valley know what to do with it and what it means.)

Most importantly, they know what VC’s do: you don’t have to like the product, use it, or want it, but will the market ?  If so, you have a winner. Like Pinterest.

As great as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are, they do not make it easy to evaluate assets which means  a high barrier for entry for the public. And if you have no experience or knowledge base and don’t hang out with the founder then you need the wisdom of the team at PIE to help you evaluate.

Many seek out PIE but only a few are chosen.  We have no lack of startups today but picking the quality ones is a skill and an art. I love that Pie Capital brings this to the table.

Everyone has a different tolerance for risk but no one wants to be last out of the gate. No one can guarantee a winner but you can have a head start. With a variety of vetted startups that range from coffee shop startups to the MVP’s (they have a minimum viable product) to those with traction (they are already on the go), Pie brings you choice.

It also brings you ease of mind in a chaotic arena when faced with hard to evaluate assets. There may not be a t-shirt in it but really is this what you want? And when you look at the startups on the front page of Pie Capital remember this anecdote: Years ago, sitting at Printers Ink in Palo Alto I overheard the following: “My friend’s roommate just did something stupid: he dropped out of Stanford temporarily  to start a website based on his bookmarks.” That website based on his bookmarks belonged to Jerry Yang and he called it YAHOO. Was it stupid? No 🙂

Click the logo and check out the startups at PIE. Come back and tell us what you like and why.



PS. Bill Eichen is going to be was a judge on June 15th at this startup meetup in San Francisco – hopefully soon the videos will be up:  Live Sharks Tank

General Investing Start Ups Startups

Pie Capital Launches Portfolio for Microinvestments

555 Bryant, Palo Alto, CA
For Immediate Release



Unique service allows anyone to invest as little as $100 in nine startups.


Revolutionizes the micro-investor startup industry

May 1, 2018…Palo Alto, California — Pie Capital today announced the immediate availability of their new pre-vetted investment platform across multiple technology market segments. Micro-investors can quickly evaluate companies by reviewing slide decks, business plans, pre-money valuations, videos, and detailed financials to make informed and efficient investment decisions on 9 different technology startups.

Investments from $100 to $2,500 are made online with a secure payment portal from PayPal, Stripe, Venmo and BitCoin.

Investors then receive either Common or Preferred shares in the company.

Pie Capital allows investments as small as $100 and all tools are free and available to all. Transaction fees are reduced by more than 40% for investments in the diversified portfolio.

“Pie Capital is a unique investment tool for early stage startup micro-investors who want early access” explained Bill Eichen, CEO of Pie Capital, Inc. “Our investors are busy professionals, angel investors, family offices and early stage investors who understand the risk and reward in early stage funding.”

By using today’s mobile communications technologies, Pie Capital users receive instant information about their investment opportunities and can make informed decisions. Clients update their preferences at their convenience to best manage their own portfolios and transactions to review business trends on prospective new companies.

“We encourage spreading micro-investments across the 9 company diversified portfolio” The companies span Fintech, automotive, digital health, sensors, sports, and IoT marketplaces.

“Pie Capital has demonstrated a revolutionary technology using standard mobile devices” said Brandon Apparcel, CEO of SportsNuttz, Inc, a leader in sports gamification mobile technology.

“Pie Capital utilizes the latest reactive technology to ensue multi-platform compatibility on mobile and laptop technology,” said Sanjeev Dharap, Founder and CTO at Pie Capital. “Our active clients enjoy a secure, fast, and reliable service.”

 Online customer support is available 24×7 to registered customers. “We have created a customer-facing corporate culture and strive to insure that our customers receive information in a timely and reliable fashion,” said Eichen. “Pie Capital provides a Learning Center reference guide for new investors.”

Pie Capital, Inc. is a privately held corporation in Palo Alto, California. Pie Capital designs, develops and supports vertically oriented internet products and tools for the financial industry. Financial professionals and related ecosystem partners are encouraged to contact Pie Capital’s affiliates department at Pie Capital may be reached at (650) 493-1801 or via email at

Pie Capital,, Autovet, and LearningCenter are trademarks of Pie Capital, Inc.

Big Tech Government & Technology

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

silicon valley story










What took so long? This isn’t hidden info. I found Cambridge Analytica and its methods over a year ago. I tweeted. I told friends in the hopes they would stop announcing Trump was a narcissist and repeating it as news.  The Facebook echo chamber is so extraordinarily boring.  I begged them to stop complaining and devise strategy and tactics and begin with Cambridge Analytica and the Mercer Family.

Surely, surely, FB had to know.  If I did, didn’t they?

January 2017  I sent this email:

Subject: How Facebook shows the news that people like

It’s Robert Mercer’s company – Cambridge Analytica
 This article is on big data and its role in politics  – Rebekah Mercer is trying to get this page supressed
The entire article is  Orwellian   And right now there is turf war: Kushner wants his data people but Rebekah wants their company – the one described here – and all the data collected is enormous – a data base of great wealth – literally

How to keep Clinton voters away from the ballot box

Trump’s striking inconsistencies, his much-criticized fickleness, and the resulting array of contradictory messages, suddenly turned out to be his great asset: a different message for every voter. The notion that Trump acted like a perfectly opportunistic algorithm following audience reactions is something the mathematician Cathy O’Neil observed in August 2016.

These “dark posts”—sponsored Facebook posts that can only be seen by users with specific profiles—included videos aimed at African-Americans in which Hillary Clinton refers to black men as predators, for example.

“Pretty much every message that Trump put out was data-driven,” Alexander Nix remembers. On the day of the third presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, Trump’s team tested 175,000 different ad variations for his arguments, in order to find the right versions above all via Facebook. The messages differed for the most part only in microscopic details, in order to target the recipients in the optimal psychological way: different headings, colors, captions, with a photo or video. This fine-tuning reaches all the way down to the smallest groups, Nix explained in an interview with us. “We can address villages or apartment blocks in a targeted way. Even individuals.”

In the Miami district of Little Haiti, for instance, Trump’s campaign provided inhabitants with news about the failure of the Clinton Foundation following the earthquake in Haiti, in order to keep them from voting for Hillary Clinton. This was one of the goals: to keep potential Clinton voters (which include wavering left-wingers, African-Americans, and young women) away from the ballot box, to “suppress” their vote, as one senior campaign official told Bloomberg in the weeks before the election. These “dark posts”—sponsored news-feed-style ads in Facebook timelines that can only be seen by users with specific profiles—included videos aimed at African-Americans in which Hillary Clinton refers to black men as predators, for example.

Nix finishes his lecture at the Concordia Summit by stating that traditional blanket advertising is dead. “My children will certainly never, ever understand this concept of mass communication.” And before leaving the stage, he announced that since Cruz had left the race, the company was helping one of the remaining presidential candidates.

Bitcoin Bitcoins Cryptocurrency

The Bitcoin/Blockchain Cosmos



To B or Not to B, That Is The Question

Bitcoin, blockchain, cryptocurrency – all are controversial topics. This is some food for thought with a link to an article worth reading.  Check it out. I’m  presenting opinions here, not investment advice. I do encourage engagement in the topic, if not the coin, because it isn’t going away.

FWIW, I’ve been going to bitcoin meetups for four years and have recently seen a huge increase in the number of people attending.  From 15 to 200 in one group. These are tech people in Silicon Valley. Imagine when the rest of the country and world have this much interest. I see an explosion of interest not the implosion some do. Read the link, think about it, and leave a comment with your thoughts.   Finally, if you buy btc, use it.

Personal opinion: not a bubble.

Do your own research.

Think about this: bitcoins are not tulips. Some will know what I mean, for others, google bitcoin, tulips.

I buy my coffee at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto with bitcoin. Use yours.

“Bitcoin may be the first “buyable” S-curve.”   I agree. (FWIW)   That quote is from Brandon Green’s article:  Bitcoin Is Not a Bubble; It’s in an S-Curve and It’s Just Getting Started

I am an early adopter. I’ve been using bitcoin since 2012. If only I’d been saving it since then, oh well, you know where that is going…

To make my cryptocurrency adventure more fun – and because I believe in it – I bought some LISK (LSK)  Maybe you should check it out: LISK

Finally, I love this t-shirt.

pay with bitcoin

General Voices

So Much to Celebrate in Silicon Valley

What to Celebrate In The Valley

An interview with Tim Cook
A coffee with Mark,
Marissa has a tale for sure
Elon’s got 1000 companies to discuss

There’s robots and rockets,
the blockchain and bitcoin
the death of Moore’s law

quantum computing, AI,
and X’s from Tim, Elon or Google

Waymo cruising by with cameras and lidar
People doing coffee at Cafe Venetia
or planning a startup at Coupa Cafe.

Singularity U, NASA, a trip to Mars..

We are never bored here in the Valley.
There is always the new, new thing.
It’s fun and I love it and
I’ll donate my genome if you
will CRISPR my defects,
and if microdosing helps happiness, I’m in.

But today is Larry’s birthday so
let’s not forget this was once
The Valley of the Heart’s Delight
and the air was filled with sweetness
and on birthdays we celebrate that.

Happy Birthday, Larry

(with thanks to a house on Webster St.)