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A rare December snow at home in Alamo!

DEAR FAMILY AND FRIENDS, Happy holidays from California and best wishes for the new year! I hope that this letter finds you well and that you will forgive me for

I met a lot of

once again sending a holiday email this year. As with 2008, the last

amazing people at

year has been a real roller coaster ride. In my letter last year, I

Beautifull and we did

described having to look for work three times in just over a year. Well,

some great work. I’m

after less than a year at Beautifull, I was laid off in September with most

grateful for that. I do

of the rest of the company after our venture capital war chest was

miss my job and I do

exhausted (see the postscript on the last page for more on Beautifull).

hope Beautifull makes it

I once heard a story about Brahma (the Hindu god of creation) that goes like this. “A fool,” said Brahma, “can have ten thousand lessons


and still be no wiser, but a wise man needs only two thousand five

But, in retrospect,

hundred.” Humor aside, after about seven thousand five hundred

the best moments of

lessons involving

2009 have been the

working insane hours

time I’ve spent with

at startups at the

family and friends in the last few months since being laid off from

expense of my social

Beautifull. I hope that 2010 brings many more opportunities for us to see

life and family, I have

one another! Also, you may see me on your couch if I don’t find a job

finally gotten a

soon. :)

smallish portion of

Washington DC (with cousin Tyler)

On that note, I would like to share a few of the highlights of 2009.

wisdom. I am now

Heinz Awards in Washington DC

seeking a new job

My uncle, Bob Berkebile, received the Heinz Award from Teresa

and I’m looking for

Heinz and John Kerry at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. There were

companies that are

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party in San Francisco (with friends Raven and Mary)

in the end. The food is

ten recipients at the 15th annual Heinz Awards this year. Unlike previous

stable and value careers over venture capital run rates.

years, all of the awards went to a single special focus: the environment. It was an inspiration to see each recipient’s amazing work get much deserved recognition and reward.

Mount Diablo foothills in beautiful Contra Costa County near my home


Washington DC (with uncle, aunt and cousin)

Bob Berkebile (left) receiving the Heinz Award from Teresa Heinz at the Smithsonian While we (my uncle, aunt and cousin in

with any great photos of the event. Who wants

the photo above) were in Washington for the

to share theirs?

Heinz awards, we took the opportunity to visit

National Constitution Center

the Pope Leighey House, a Frank Lloyd

Shortly after being laid off, I visited my

Wright house, at Woodlawn. I had never

parents in Pennsylvania and my brother joined

seen a Wright house and I was impressed at

us. We went to visit the Princess Diana exhibit

how obsessed he was with the details of living

at the National Constitution Center in

space. This was one of his “Usonian” homes

Wright Pope-Leighey House at Woodlawn

designed to be affordable for the people. Having seen this home, I would like to see some of his grander projects.

Princess Di traveling exhibit was actually better

I found a lot of inspiration in how Jefferson

than the museum itself. There were number of

ordered his life and channeled his energies

interesting items including letters she wrote,

into his interests in science, engineering and

details of charities she worked with and millions

agriculture. He built a life that wouldn’t have

of signatures in sympathy books collected after

been possible without slave labor, and yet, I

her death.

don’t think it is possible to be a Monticello

A Note About Babies

and not feel Jefferson’s presence and his passion for learning and not be inspired by

All my friends have babies. Ok, most of

the scope of his vision. I recommend a visit to

my friends have babies, but seems like

anyone with the inclination.

Garden Pavilion at Monticello

My great aunt’s 100th Birthday

terrible cold and lost my voice completely, but still managed to thoroughly enjoy the visit. Polly has some trouble hearing, but her wit is still sharp and it was great to hear her stories.

We introduced several family members to

all (sorry!), but a few are below. Olivia was first birthday this year. And you know what? I

Geocaching and had a great time discovering

love spending time with babies! I know, I know.

caches in the parks and woods around the area

It is time to start thinking about getting in gear.

where Polly lives. The only unfortunate part

My resolution for 2010 is to spend as much

was that Polly, at 100 wasn’t able to clamber

energy on dating as I do on working ...

through the woods with us. Well, that and my camera was broken, so, sadly, I didn’t end up

Best wishes for 2010!

Locke B.


Olivia with papa Andy

everyone does! I don’t have pictures of them born this year and Max and Manu had their

My great aunt, my mother’s maternal

gathered in Minnesota to celebrate. I got a

permanent exhibit to be somewhat thin and statues of the founding fathers, though. The

home, Monticello, which was also new to me.

It was a great occasion and the family

beautiful space, although I found the showy. I did love the room full of life sized

We also visited Thomas Jefferson’s

aunt, Polly Swoboda, turned 100 in November!

Philadelphia. The newly constructed Center is a

With love,

Max & Manu


Postscript on Beautifull and work We worked very hard to make Beautifull special. We built a great eCommerce website and we built an amazing store location in record time (all the technology for the store was

as shifting strategies demanded changes in

beautifull! food

company composition and, finally, as the money provided by the venture capital firm Mohr Davidow Ventures ran out.

The Beginning

procured and installed in 9 weeks!). We

Last year, when I wrote about going to

produced sensational food that everyone raved

work at Beautifull, I was extremely excited.

about. A lot of amazing and talented people

And with good reason. I was going to work

came to work at Beautifull and, with the

with some of the great people who I worked

exception of a few survivors, we were all laid off

with at Scient (where I worked when I first moved to San Francisco in 1998) including Julie Russell, Matt Elders, and Andy Arnold (pictured with daughter Olivia above). And Beautifull was an example of everything I loved about startups: an exhilarating challenge; an opportunity to create a new market; and, in this case, the promise of changing the way people think about food and health. It was the right idea at the right time.

The Year We accomplished a lot in the year I was at Beautifull including building the store pictured to the left. My heart was really in it. But, in the background, we were spending too much money and had already spent too much money on

Laurel Village beautifull! store just before opening

strategies developed and abandoned before the store even opened.

The End

What you don’t get is an environment with

Then, in September, after three previous

long term stability at a company that cares

rounds of layoffs, the inevitable

about careers. What you don’t get is knowing

happened, and it was over for me. The

you will have the same job next year. And, of

next day my boss, Matt Janopaul got the

course, what you don’t get is a life.

axe as well. Beautifull is now operating on a shoestring budget. But, they are still going. I wish them luck.

me wrong, I don’t have a single regret. It is just

Ten years ago, I came to San

time for a new beginning. I am now searching for a different kind of

Since then I have worked at one start up

job. I’m looking for a stable, established

after the next. Beautifull was the bookend

company where I can build a career. I will be

capping a decade of dreams and long

taking classroom training and earning my

hours for me.

Project Management Professional Certification

Startups require long hours, a certain

Just before opening!

Which is why 2010 is going to be the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Don’t get

Francisco to work at a consulting start up.

Store construction meeting

could be huge.

from the Project Management Institute in

kind of manic energy, a consistent sharp

January. I’m seeking out and interviewing with

focus and an ability to be hyper-

established companies that have focused

productive while juggling multiple roles

project management roles. If I’m lucky, I will get

and projects. The reward is the people

to work in an industry I’m passionate about, like

you get to work with and the life-long

green energy or biotechnology, but I will be

friendships you build while working

happy with any role that is at a company that

shoulder to shoulder on something that

can commit as much to me as I commit to it.



Birds go outside!

In the summer, I was working in the office when I heard what sounded like pounding against glass in the other room. I went in and found that three small birds had flown in through the french doors. They couldn’t find their way back out the door and were trying to go through the large plate glass window. The poor things were knocking themselves senseless. I tried to corral then out the door, but with no success. At first they were terrified and panicky and kept thrashing up against the windows, but, eventually they got so dazed and tired from the ordeal that they let me get closer and closer to them. After nearly knocking themselves out cold, they finally resigned themselves to their fate and they let me help them. I wrapped each one gently in a towel and carried it outside. Each bird leapt out of the towel and flew away happily chirping.


Holiday Letter 2009  

Happy holidays!

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