IMG_6276What city is this?

The answer is Los Angeles, as viewed from a dive bar in Skid Row-Adjacent.  We haven’t had the opportunity to hang in said bar much because I’m not in LA a lot lately.  Here’s  my travel schedule of the last couple of weeks:  LA, San Antonio, LA, Phoenix, LA, Berlin, Milan, Verano, Revoreto, Milan, Turin, Legnano, LA, Mexico City, LA, Puerto Vallarta, LA.  Ninety-nine percent of this travel is LACI related because we’re building the Global Innovation Network (GIN), which will link together a couple dozen premier innovation institutions in key world markets.  More about this is a bit.

KR and I are preparing to move further south into the industrial core of Los Angeles.  While our current place is Frontier Land for most people,  its becoming too gentrified for me, so we’re moving to an old fabric manufacturing building that’s being converted to lots of (even smaller than Factory Place) lofts.  It’s in a good neighborhood: across the street from a strip club, next door to a marijuana dispensary, and it’s freeway close because its under a freeway.

It wasn’t easy to find because of its prime location:) We found it during one of our regular Sunday drives through the deserted streets of Vernon and surrounds.  Vernon is best known for a Pedigree dog food plant, Jimmy Dean’s Sausage factory, and its the world’s metal recycling capital.  I’m afraid these lofts will become a hot as well since Gino, the developer of said lofts, taped a telephone number on the side of his building to advertise leases and got over 100 calls for his 50 apartments in two days.  He took the number down the next day.

Building GIN is rapidly becoming a full time gig in addition to my day job as ED of LACI.   We now have partners in Germany (2), Italy (3), Sweden, Finland and Mexico.  Next up is the rest of Latin America and Asia.  Our goal is to have 12+ partners signed by the end of the year.  Many of you may be asking the question that I get a lot from LACI’s stakeholders, “What the heck is a small incubator located in downtown Los Angeles doing building a global network?”  I’m stating it much nicer than its usually asked.

Here’s the short answer:  our goal is to make Los Angeles into a world-class innovation ecosystem and huge green economy.  We believe we can’t do that without connecting to the world.  What better way to connect to the world than placing LA in the center of an international network?   The long answer would include that the environment and energy sustainability is a global problem, therefore its a global market that our companies need to take advantage of.  One of LA’s key strengths is that it’s a leader in international trade and hence our efforts are in line with LA’s future.  If we succeed in doing this, we will position LA’s economy for excellent growth for the remainder of this century.

As most of you know, I prefer to travel by motorcycle or at least by RV or fast car.  Our European trip involved taxis, buses, trains, and planes over 5 days of 13 meetings in five different cities in two countries.  Whew.  We were always running for a train or bus and made all of them.  I thought I was getting the hang of train travel until I took the wrong train in Northern Italy and came close to crossing the Austrian border before realizing that I had just spent 1 1/2 hours going in the wrong direction.  Bottom line: lots of buses and trains, but I haven’t been on NVII in over 30 days.  He barely has more than 1300 miles on him (I put 500+ on our first day together).

Here’s what all this looks like in pictures.

then

This is what most people see when in San Antonio

 

then

This is what I came to see: a very very long meeting with various  State Department and  Mexican staff discussing a new alliance

then

KR ready to go on our first day in Berlin

then

Just a street in Berlin

then

Where I spent most of my time

then

One of the few forms of transportation we didn’t use

then

Could be my favorite train station in the world – Milan’s Centrale

then

A bullet train awaits us

then

An international man of mystery

then

One of the reasons I loved Milan is that its a city of motorcycles/scooters.   Everyone uses them.

then

If you can’t live in the country, crane some trees up your skyscaper.

then

The Duomo cathedral in Milan — it took SIX centuries to complete by 1400.

then

KR’s picture from the top

then

Milan Plaza

then

Very funny guy

then

KR’s attitude about train travel may be changing:)  “Why  do I have to get here 30 minutes before the train comes?”

then

I’m not sure what KR’s point with this picture is aside from saying something to the effect that we had similar expressions

then

This was a large cigarette factory in Rovereto that was converted to a very impressive cleantech incubator focusing on green buildings

then

Great shot out the window of a train in Northern Italy.  Don’t have the slightest idea where this is as I spent hours on the train going the wrong way.

then

This is what I needed after another 17 hour day.   Dinner and drink(s) in the center of Verona, a beautiful little city.

then

Verona street close to our hotel

then

If I didn’t know better I’d say this was Mexico with similar aversion to 90 degree angles.

US Ambassador to Mexico speaks to entrepreneurs in Mexico City

then

Lots of happy campers sitting in Mexico City airport

then

Back at the ranch we are taking green literally.  Some of the team have planted a vegetable garden.

then

The alley next to our new home.  The “Arts District Healing Center” is a pot dispensary.  Very convenient.

then

Future home for the Bullet and NVII.  Parking lot underneath the 10 Freeway.

then

How the Other Half live —  a car show in Beverly Hills.   I was thinking of buying a Morgan 3-Wheeler like the one above until I found out it cost $85K.  I don’t think so…

IMG_20140605_201801

Back to reality. The Iron Duke on the way from PV to LA.

 

then

Just to prove that I haven’t lost any of my fix-it-while-on-the-road talent…

then

This is what happens when you cross the border in the “wrong” lane — that of the Semi’s.  We were searched by three different teams in addition to a dog.  Their thinking was probably something like…”Anybody this dumb must be dangerous..”

7 replies
  1. debbie hundoble says:

    Location, location, location ! Living next door to a POT dispensary and across the street from a strip club should provide for very interesting people watching :)No pole dancing lessons for KR !
    xo,
    Debbie

  2. Ron Kuhl says:

    Just reading your travel schedule made me want to find a quiet, dark place and lie down to take a nap! Sure is a change from shuttling back and forth to PV and LBS.
    Totally agree with you about Centrale in Milan. Hard to imagine using words like “magnificent” and “impressive” to describe a train station, but both are apt.

  3. Peter and Aneth says:

    How much enjoyment is allowed when one reads Ferd’s tales of discovery and adventure? For Aneth ande me, it’s endless. Keep ’em coming, oh Marco Polo of our time.

  4. Gregg Power says:

    Why are you moving in L.A.? I thought your loft and the surrounding ambiance was très chic.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *