Creative Lives: Jim Fruchterman and the Art of Change

In his early life, Jim Fruchterman, founder of Benetech and now Tech Matters, was a rocket scientist and a Silicon Valley exec on a more or less conventional path (start-up, work work work, sell, do it all again.) But along the way, he harbored a nagging and then burgeoning desire to make tech work for good. So he founded Benetech, the now-legendary Silicon Valley-based non-profit that focuses on bringing together technology and the tech industry with social causes to create innovative solutions that work and scale. And now…

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Regina Connell
Creative Lives: Ian Richards on Extreme Entrepreneurship

Starting a business of any type is, of course, not exactly for the faint of heart. But imagine doing it in a completely new industry, where standards and regulations—often conflicting—are just emerging, where market forces are not fully understood. And finally, on top of all that, add dealing with a finicky agricultural product and the inevitable complications that come with a brick and mortar operation. These challenges call for entrepreneurship on steroids. 

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Regina Connell
Cannabis: The Basics

The world of craft cannabis began as a reasonably cozy, nerdy little place for “specialists”. But with the decriminalization of cannabis in many large states and all of Canada, plus with the decriminalization of hemp-based CBD (more on this in a bit), every pharma, food, wellness, spirits company seems to be getting in on the game. It’s going to be everywhere—so it just makes sense to know more about it. 

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Regina Connell
Cannabis 101: Getting Practical with Marcia Gagliardi

Marcia Gagliardi, of table-hopper fame, has gone and founded mymilligram, too: a weekly newsletter covering the best cannabis products out there. Having Marcia with you as you explore the world of cannabis is invaluable: there are so many choices out there, so many new brands, so many ways to think about using it (sleep? feeling chill? feeling blissed out? pain relief?), that a guide is an absolute necessity.

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Regina Connell
Living Well: What to Watch

Refinery members are old enough to remember when TV was just a desert, filled with some seriously bad drek. Love Boat, Hotel, Dynasty… and network is still at it with some of the more jaw-droppingly awful reality TV shows.

But as we know, we’re now living in the new golden age of TV. Our problem is now that of too much quality, and expanded geographies: we’re now getting great shows from Australia, Europe, and Asia. Overwhelm, not underwhelm is the problem. (465 shows produced last year alone.)

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Regina Connell
Living Well: Getting Buzzed

Anderson Valley is only about 100 miles from Sonoma, but it feels like it’s on a completely different continent and in a different century. Geography, history, and weather have conspired to keep it isolated from the more glamorous, manicured, agrarian fantasy that is Northern California’s “wine country”. It even has its own language, Boontling.

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Regina Connell
Zeitgeist: A Movement is Born

We’ve been following a newsletter called AGEIST for a while now. We love its commitment to changing mainstream perspectives of the over-50 demographic through stories and images of engaging, creative, and entrepreneurial (not to mention telegenic) doers. So when AGEIST mentioned they were throwing a conference in LA’s happening Arts District in June, I was intrigued.

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Regina Connell
Creative Lives: Tobin Costen

Most entrepreneurs I know just can’t help themselves. They have no choice but to do what they do: Get interested in something. See an opportunity. Ignore the “it can’t be done” messages you’re flooded with. Find a way to overcome the challenges. Keep making it work. Find another opportunity. Lather, rinse, repeat.

That’s certainly the case with Tobin Costen, hip hop maverick, film producer, marketing maestro, food entrepreneur, and imparter of hard-won wisdom to the next generation of entrepreneurs. He also happens to be one of the most generous people I know, with a huge “give back” streak and a big sense of legacy and purpose.

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Regina Connell
Creative Lives: Rae Dunn and Johnny Wow

I’ve been a huge fan of artist/designer/potter Rae Dunn for a good long while. I’d been smitten by her style: instantly recognizable quirky, organic but sophisticated, employing a simple, largely off-white and black palette, and usually featuring words and simple illustrations that made me laugh, smile, and ponder.  This was work with personality; lightness; verve; a certain gentle, knowing sauciness and grit. Just like Rae herself.

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Regina Connell
Just in time

One thing we’ve been hearing from all that on-boarding: travel is a PASSION for so many of us. It may feel a little late to be planning summer travel, but it’s not. For a little Inspo, we pulled up with Patti Kelley of PK Global, designer of bespoke travel experiences extraordinaire. Here’s what Patti thinks you might want to consider for the summer (or beyond, for that matter.) More here.

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Regina Connell