Archive for October, 2012

Interior and environmental designers really need to think it through. And decision makers who approve of their designs should keep them mindful of the purpose of a space. Is the design useful as well as aesthetically pleasing?

Kaiser Permanente is our medical care provider and I cannot find fault with their medical services. But they seem to forget that patients are often accompanied by family members. People who chauffeur them, assist them, wait for them. The discomfort of family members increases the patient’s anxiety. Waiting rooms aren’t just spaces where patients wait to see doctors. They’re spaces where people wait for patients who are seeing doctors.

A recent pre-dawn trip to the Sand Canyon ER in Irvine was sheer hell. While my husband slept on a gurney with the help of pain meds and a blanket, I sat in a stackable chair, freezing cold, approaching 24 hours without sleep. The visit lasted five hours. The ER waiting room didn’t offer any more comfortable furniture. This is not a small or outdated facility. It’s new. It’s state-of-the-art. It’s stark.

CIMG0003A subsequent trip to their new La Palma facility in Anaheim, barely open 3 months now, cemented my viewpoint that decision makers aren’t actually sitting in the spendy retro furniture they’re giving a nod. The entire facility reminded me of scenes from Atlas Shrugged, mid-20th century retro. Light cherry wood every where. Very nice. Would you want to spend an hour or two or three in one of these chairs, waiting for a family member? By the way, the bench in the picture is a scarcity at this facility. Almost all the seating has armrests. Perhaps to encourage people to lose weight.

I really needed to get some work done. A table would have been nice. I’d have settled for an electrical outlet. In fairness, KP does offer guest wifi at their Irvine facility. Acknowledgement that people have lives. But I have a big beast laptop that will only run for 2-3 hours on battery. My waiting time could be usefully spent if they had considered family members in their design.

CIMG0004Then there is the parking lot. How many times have we all had to walk behind parked cars, endangered by drivers backing out of spaces? At KP Anaheim, they have lots of walkways, with signs that encourage walking for good health. Great. Adjacent to the parking lot, there is a lovely winding sidewalk flanked by natural grasses. It’s separated from the parking lot by a pseudo creek bed, presumably for drainage. But you can’t get to the sidewalk from the parking lot. Why not put the “creek” on the other side of the sidewalk, between the “nature walk” and the main driveway, enable patients to walk safely to the building?

I notice these design flaws everywhere. Designers need to consider who will be using a space and how. My business concept involves making space more functional. I’ve never taken a design class. Maybe that’s a good thing. It seems living in the real world is a better teacher.

Have you ever heard of the six degrees of separation? The theory that every person is just 6 steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on earth? Oh, go ahead and click the link. It will take you to a Wikipedia article about it.

I don’t know if it would actually work. I guess it depends on how many people you know. But I do think that, with the Internet, we are all six steps or less from finding anything we need to know. If we follow rabbit trails.

Rabbit trails tend to meander, lead nowhere, and generally, get us lost (look what happened to Alice). But sometimes, we find something worth finding… Nerdy Girl says it doesn’t take much to amuse me. She’s right.

1. I signed up for an Intro to Marketing class in which…

2. I had to write a paper about e-publishers charging a subscription fee for news. It’s been successfully done, but I had to do some research which took me to…

3. The USA Today website where, in their effort to get people to subscribe to the e-paper, offered to show me a sample. That sample happened to be their 30th year anniversary edition in which…

4. There was a special section at the back filled with articles on what business people and innovators foresee the next 30 years to bring. And there I found an article about the future of education, including quotes from Sebastian Thrun, a Google VP and Stanford Research Professor. Thrun sees education as something that should be accessible and free… He has started a company called Udacity offering just that..

5. I was curious about the kind of classes they might offer and ran a quick search which took me to Udacity.com. They only have 14 classes so far, but one of them…

6. How to Build a Startup: The Lean Launchpad is offered. From watching the preview, I think I’m about to unlearn much of what I’ve learned in Intro to Business…

FOLLOW RABBIT TRAILS! You don’t have to have a goal or an objective. Just a bit of curiosity.

en·tre·pre·neur

/ˌɑntrəprəˈnɜr, -ˈnʊər; Fr. ɑ̃trəprəˈnœr/ [ahn-truh-pruh-nur, -noor; Fr. ahn-truh-pruh-nœr], plural en·tre·pre·neurs /-ˈnɜrz, -ˈnʊərz; Fr. -ˈnœr/ [-nurz, -noorz; Fr. -nœr], verb noun

1. a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

2. an employer of productive labor; contractor.


I’ve been taking college classes online. Accounting. Business. Marketing. I’ve still much to learn, but I want to start a business. Rephrase. I want to see my ideas come to life. I’m not talking about a small retail shop or a one-person service business. I’m talking manufacturing. Probably under contract at first, then maybe someday in our own facility.

For now, I’m going to start putting together a business plan, do some marketing research (a lot of research, actually) and ferret out every possible source for financing this endeavor. I’m writing about this because, if you have an idea too, I’d like to invite you to join me. I’ll be posting links to resources and information I discover, and hope to find a few kindred spirits along the way so that we may encourage one another.

I’ll confess, part of my motivation is family. The past few years have been lean for us and we’ve all exhausted retirement funds trying to get by. Also, I have a daughter, a nephew, and a brother who are brilliant and talented and like most geniuses, don’t fit well in a world that doesn’t understand the personality quirks of extreme intelligence. So I want to build a business where genius can be celebrated.

Come along. Subscribe to my blog. Hold my feet to the fire. I won’t let weeks go by without working toward this goal and I’ll write about it here. This will be fun!