The next Next Step


LACI staff the day I told everyone I was leaving.  Surprisingly, no one burst out in tears.  Whats up with that?

After more than five years at the helm of LACI, I offered my resignation as CEO on December 22nd of last year.  The Board asked that I stay with LACI running our international operations, so I’ll still have something to keep me busy for bit longer.   We’ve been conducting a search for my replacement ever since and I believe the new CEO will start early this summer.  Freedom here I come!

I guess.

I’ve been pretty schitzo about this whole subject for a long long time.  I first tried to stop working full time about seventeen years ago after my Internet Titan phase ended.  I figured we had enough money to scrape by and I was anxious to get on the road.  But then I fell back into bad habits and tried to buy a company, start a couple of others, and was lured back to the start-up world full time at Idealab a couple of years later.  I quit again two years later,  but that didn’t last long either as a couple of friends and I started a management consulting company.  That lasted four more years and I finally said “ENOUGH! – I’m outta here!” Karen and I sold the our house in Hollywood, bought a base of operations in Mexico, packed up  Now Voyager I (our m/c), and went down to South America for an extended “adventure riding” get-away.

Two guys who were instrumental in making LACI a success: Steve Andrews from the Mayor’s office and Neal Anderson, LACI’s COO. They got all dressed up for the LKIC Grand Opening

How far does a guy have to go to get away?  Obviously, Bolivia wasn’t far enough as that’s when I got a call about building LACI.  Frankly, I just found it impossible to resist the pull of building things.  LACI was both an irresistible challenge and a chance to do a good thing.  It’s been fun, all consuming, stressful, invigorating, challenging, tiring, fairly lucrative, and immensely rewarding.

I first wrote my letter of resignation in February of 2016.  I didn’t send it in.  Every time I got close, I’d edit it and put it away to think about it.  I went through eight drafts:) before sending it off nine months later.  So, this is really it.

Ohhh man, this is both exciting and pretty damn scary.

Let’s talk excitement first. I’m pretty sick and tired of my friends having all the fun.  You know who you are, Sam, Chuck, Bill, Larry, Keith et al.  How come you get to have so much fun and I’m still pulling on the oars of commerce?  Geez, they seem happy!  What the F____ am I missing?  I want IN!


Something in our future? KR tests a sidecar as a means of carrying all four of us. The jury is still out.

Bogart and Squirt took a ride in the vehicle on the left.  The jury’s still out.

As readers of this blog will attest, Karen and I like to travel.  Long, sometimes hard, but always interesting travel.  This is less a hobby and more like a compulsion.  Our 800 sq. ft. loft in LA has three or four globes and a dozen or so maps taped on the walls.  We have more space dedicated to travel paraphernalia than we do to normal stuff (like furniture:).  Not too may days go by without feeling the pull of  Let’s Get Out There!

Now, let’s talk scary as in I’m scared shitless that 9 months into this I’m going to be stark, raving bored.  What happens if everyone is right about me — I can’t possibly not work because I’m a f____g workaholic!  The common view is that I’ll be so bored that I’ll rue the day that I hung up my keyboard.

I’m sure the first among the “Are you sure?” crowd is my dearest wife.  Karen doesn’t need a lot of “help” in her daily routines.  (She’s probably thinking, Geez, now I’m going to make lunch and dinner every day for Him?)  This could end badly:)  Yet we have experience in being together 24/7.  We built FMIG together.  Much of my Eat-What-You-Kill work has taken place at a home office.   Spending lots of time on a m/c or in an RV doesn’t leave a lot of room for much personal space – either literal or figuratively speaking. So, there’s hope that the Boss of Factory Place, Corona and LBS can learn to Love Her Man even if he’s around a lot.

The other elephant in the room is money.  How much does one need to make it all the way?  It’s the unanswerable question as there are lots of ever-changing moving parts.  Like how long?  Like how healthy?  Like how well?  I’ve read all the papers on what to do financially when you stop working full time. They’re all kind of mundane and pretty obvious.  My answer of course is that I’m not going to stop working, I’m just not going to work 24/7 anymore.  One really pleasant surprise on the money front  is that our home in Puerto Vallarta –Corona Adobe — has turned into a real source of extra income.  This is 100% due to KR’s decoration and hostess talents.  Who would have thunk it?  By the way, the Sales Pitch by KR for getting Thor (our RV) was that we needed something to live in when Corona was rented out.  Yah, and I also bought a bridge…

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.12.25 AMSeven years ago I wrote a series of posts on “Rewiring,” a concept  I didn’t invent but one I took to immediately.  To me, Rewiring  means  getting control of your life by re-configuring how you live and work to get more freedom and enjoyment.  The idea was to turn the work-drives-lifestyle rule upside down:  figure out how to live the life you want and then rewire to get there.  Here’s the first post: “Rewiring your Your Life”  In 2010 we had embarked on a rewiring job so that we could earn a living while traveling far, wide and long. I’m pretty much still there:)

But now that we’re approaching Launch Time,  I’ve been giving some thought to what all of the guys mentioned above do — have fun.  So here’s Fred’s everyday bucket full of fun:

Astute readers might notice a few themes from above, like he certainly doesn’t like to do much that does involve going places, fast.  Hard to argue that one.  But that’s the good thing about The Next Step, I get to be passionate about the things I want to be passionate about, when I want.  The more I think about this, it could be a very good thing.

The Beginning.  Cleaning donated furniture in preparation for opening LACI in its first home – a converted bus repair garage.  We opened LACI in July 2011 with its Grand Opening in October 2011.

A Waypoint:  The Grand Opening of the 60,000 sq. ft. La Kretz Innovation Campus.  Left to right: the architect, GM of LADWP, the La Kretz’s, the Mayor, FW, and two guys from the EDA.  We moved into LKIC in November 2015 and held the Grand Opening in October 2016.











It’s never too late to learn new things… like a new drink!  This sequence is as follows:  Start with a sip of very nice tequila, follow it with a sip of cold tomato juice, followed by a chug of ice cold Corona.  Repeat as necessary.

We attend protest rallies as a family.  Bogart and Squirt are very pissed off about our President’s attitude about climate change.

We’re always on the look out for security breeches at LACI

Innovation in transportation. RV. Scooter. And now a spare tire.

Is this what the future holds?

No, I don’t think so. It will be more like this:)

And maybe with a bit of this thrown in too.




9 replies
  1. Sam C Hershfield says:

    FW, if you and KR want to see how to have fun in retirement is, pack up yourselves, Bogart and Squirt in Thor and find your way to our cabin in Hendersonville after your July “Exit”. BTW, watch out for low hanging Home Depot entries.

  2. Bill Creech says:

    Hi Fred – Congrats on getting out of the grind, or at least making a valiant effort to. Before you two skip the area, we definitely need to have you guys out to Riverside for a get together – I’ll cook – so Karen get a day off. LOL.

    Michelle says Howdy.


  3. Name (required) says:

    Just breathe Fred, I’ve so enjoy your wit and pen,
    keep the travel blog going….
    Big hugs to you and Karen
    Juls from Santa Barbara
    currently riding my moto in France for 2 months

  4. Julianna says:

    Just breathe Fred, I so enjoy your wit and pen
    Absolutely Keep the travel blog going
    Big hugs to you and Karen
    Currently riding my moto in France for 2 months

  5. Steve Moses says:

    Fred, I am highly skeptical. There is an over/under in Vegas of 18 months before you get pulled into something. I may take the under. But congrats and I hope you do everything on your list. Hope to see you one day on your travels.


  6. Ron Kuhl says:

    I don’t know Karen G. but I agree completely with her comments. You and KR have already managed to cram a couple of extra lifetimes into the experiences you have shared, and I have no doubt that you will continue to “live big” regardless of the sources of your income. If anyone can pull off all the items on your bucket list of fun, you two can. Hope you continue to take us all along for the ride with your blogs.

  7. Greg says:

    Good move for you. Sindhu and I just returned to Yanbu, Saudi Arabia after three weeks in Barcelona, Paris and Kathmandu. We relied on the high-speed bullet train between Paris and Barcelona — still a 6.5 hour trip. Hope to meet up with you guys. Keep on trekking!

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