Kevin Warnock

Entrepreneurship, ideas and more

Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Why in 1978 I moved to San Francisco from Chicago

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The Memorial Church at Harvard University photographed by user Siim Teller, April 22, 2011

The Memorial Church at Harvard University photographed by user Siim Teller, April 22, 2011

Tonight, September 2, 2012, I learned why in 1978 I moved to San Francisco, California USA. I never knew why until today, because I never thought to ask the right questions.

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, at the University of Chicago, where my mother worked as a Pathologist.

My parents had married soon after she graduated from Harvard Medical School, where she was one of five women in a class with 145 men.

My mother met my father Robert Warnock at Harvard, where he earned his PhD in Physics.

My father and my mother got married in The Memorial Church on the Harvard University campus, a church I visited in 2000 when I was in Boston, Massachusetts, USA meeting with storage vendor EMC to discuss an investment by their venture capital division in my startup Hotpaper.

When I visited The Memorial Church, it was just another church. When I told my father about my tour of the Harvard campus, courtesy of my EMC provided limousine with two eager salesman trying to sell me an unnecessary USD $1,000,000 dollar storage array for my startup, my father said ‘your mother and I got married in that church!’

After they wed, my father decided to move with my mother to Chicago so that he could work at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

My mother was doing research at the University of Chicago, discovering that asbestos is even deadlier than was known at the time. Amazingly, the University of Chicago did not have a spectroscopy attachment for its electron microscope, and my mother needed this device for her research. IIT did have the needed equipment, but they charged money to use it, and IIT was a lengthy drive from our house at 5138 South Dorchester in Hyde Park, on the South side of Chicago. My mother rode her bicycle to University of Chicago, and it would have not have appealed to her to have had to drive to IIT on a frequent and regular basis.

My mother’s research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. I would think that a grant could have been won to order a spectroscopy attachment, but for whatever reason, that was not the path my mother took. Instead, she wrote to a friend she had worked with for a year some twenty years earlier in Seattle, Washington, USA. During that two decade span, that friend had become Chair of the Pathology Department at the University of California at San Francisco.

My mother explained her research and that she had heard that UCSF had a spectroscopy attachment for its electron microscope. My mother asked her friend if she could move to San Francisco and work at UCSF so she could use the required hardware. Her friend said ‘yes,’ and my mother started at UCSF as a full professor.

I learned tonight that my mother was promoted to full professor at University of Chicago just one month before she left for San Francisco. She had been an Associate Professor before that, and I remember as a kid the day my mother was granted tenure. Since I was young, I hadn’t heard that word before, so I thought she said ‘ten year.’ I assumed it was her tenth anniversary of employment. I told my mother that story tonight — perhaps for the first time.

I have a suspicion that University of Chicago panicked when they found out she was leaving for UCSF and rushed through the promotion to full professor, because the timing is so unlikely to have happened naturally. Even if that’s the case, I am sure my mother was pleased that she got to be a full professor at University of Chicago and University of California at San Francisco. My mother retired from UCSF years ago, so is now Professor Emeritus. She still has a website on the UCSF web server.

My mother decided to move our family to San Francisco, since my father had made the decision to move to Chicago. I did not know this until today.

I had always thought we moved to San Francisco because of its reputation as a great cosmopolitan city with superb weather. I had sometimes considered that perhaps UCSF had recruited my mother, but she dispelled that notion today. She did not have to interview for the job at UCSF. She did not have to compete with dozens of candidates. She asked her friend if she could work at UCSF and he said ‘yes.’

I am so thankful my mother needed a piece of equipment that University of Chicago didn’t have. She moved us to the center of the Internet world, and had we stayed in Chicago, I probably would not have become an Internet entrepreneur, which has allowed me to build a richly rewarding life that I cherish.

Thanks Mom! I love you.

University of California Berkeley student Henry Treadway died May 8, 2012

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Henry Treadway vigil, May 11, 2012, UC Berkeley campus, photo by Anda Chu

Henry Treadway vigil, May 11, 2012, UC Berkeley campus, photo by Anda Chu of the San Jose Mercury News

University of California Berkeley student Henry Treadway died May 8, 2012. The death is being investigated as a suicide. Apparently, Treadway fell from a window in the dormitory building where he lived.

Treadway was a sophomore. He touched a lot of people. The Facebook page set up to invite people to attend a memorial vigil for Treadway gathered over 3,957 RSVPs out of 3,992 invited, as you can see in the Facebook screenshot I captured and have included below.

It’s always sad when someone takes their own life, especially when the person is smart, productive and well liked.

This is the second suicide that I’ve learned of in two days. I didn’t know either of the individuals, but both made me reflect on the subject of suicide.

I learned about Treadway’s death on Facebook via a Wall posting by my friend Cindy Lu. I met Lu last year when she helped organize the inaugural startup pitch competition Made for China.

I have been very close with someone who has told me that in the past they have  considered suicide. This person is also smart, productive and well liked, and although I am no longer in touch with them, it would shatter my heart if I were to learn that they took their own life. It would probably take me years to fully recover, for I would wonder if I should have told anyone what I knew, while there would have perhaps been time to do something to prevent it.

I do not know who reads this blog, for the most part. I do not know if the friends and family of the person I am writing about above read this blog. Since I don’t know, I am not disclosing even the gender of the person, to protect their identity. What I know is sensitive, and while I did not promise discretion to this person, I feel that they assumed I would be discrete, and that they want me to continue to be discrete, indefinitely.

Henry Treadway Facebook candlelight vigil invite

Henry Treadway Facebook candlelight vigil invite. Screenshot from Facebook, May 19, 2012 at 7:40PM PT.

If the person I write about is reading this, please do not take your own life! Despite our distance, I still care for you, and I know many others do as well. Everything you consider broken can be fixed — even the things that are broken that you don’t know are broken can be fixed. Life is worth living. Life is to be cherished and celebrated.

Do not assume you know who I am writing about. It could be any of hundreds of people that I have cared about over my lifetime. But if you’ve considered taking your own life, even if you don’t know me, you are welcome to think I am writing about you in particular.

The other person that I just learned apparently took their own life is Andrew Fluegelman. Fluegelman disappeared in 1986, and it’s presumed he killed himself by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, although his body was never located. I wrote a blog post on May 20, 2012 about Flugelman because I attended May 18, 2012 the Annual Andrew Fluegelman Awards Gala honoring outstanding students, student-athletes & foster parents. This was a moving event, and I am friends with Stuart Sweetow, a videographer that made the May 18th Gala particularly special. Read the post for details.

Here are some more links to stories about Henry Treadway:

Henry Treadway aka sfkicks Gone Far Too Soon – Rest in peace

Hundreds Mourn El Cerrito Native at UC Berkeley Vigil

Student Falls From Unit 2 Dorm Window Tweets about Henry Treadway

Friends and Family Remember Henry Treadway, UC Berkeley Sophomore

Vigil For UC Berkeley Sophomore

I extend my sympathies to the friends and family of Henry Treadway. From what I learned preparing this post, Henry was deeply loved and appreciated by those around him. May his memory remain bright in your hearts and minds. If an investigation concludes his death was not self inflicted, then I pray those responsible will soon be brought to justice. No matter the cause of death, Henry’s memory will endure.

Written by Kevin Warnock

May 23rd, 2012 at 5:00 am

Ellen Campesinos! says that female rock musicians rarely get laid on tour

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LOS-CAMPESINOS! the band. Photograph from WikiPediA.

LOS-CAMPESINOS! the band. Photograph from WikiPediA.

I have been thinking about the life of musicians. I just finished writing a post about the band Peligro.

Peligro is D.H. Peligro’s current band. I’ve known D.H. for over twenty years, having met him through my good friend from high school Willy Lipat that was in a band with him.

Peligro always had gorgeous models or model types around. I was a painfully shy photography student that hoped to become a fashion photographer so I could hang out with beautiful women. I was envious.

I imagined that rock stars got a lot of sex while on tour. I still imagine that.

Thus, it was with surprise that I learned touring is not a sex fest — at least not for female rock musicians.

Ellen Campesinos! of the indie-pop collection Los Campesinos! (sic) wrote a powerful piece for Nerve magazine that shattered my illusion about the sex life of traveling musicians. Before I get into what Ellen wrote about road sex, have a look at what WikiPediA has to say about her band, for context:

“Los Campesinos! are a seven piece indie pop band from Cardiff, Wales, formed in early 2006 at Cardiff University. Although the band formed in Wales, none of its members are Welsh. They released their debut album, Hold on Now, Youngster…, in February 2008 and followed this up by releasing a record titled We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, in October that year. Whilst many consider it to be an album due to its length, the band have always referred to it as a ‘record’ or EEP (Extended EP)[1] due to contractual and artistic reasons. Their second official album, entitled Romance Is Boring, was released on 1 February 2010. Their fourth full-length release, Hello Sadness was released on 14 November 2011. The band has announced US & UK tour dates for 2012.[2]

All of the members use the word ‘Campesinos!’ as their surname, even though the members are not related. The exclamation mark is part of the last name. The real name of Ellen Campesinos! is Ellen Waddell, and I will refer to her as Ellen in this blog post, even though I usually refer to people by their last names once I first identify them by first and last name. It’s too confusing to use Ellen’s last name when all her band mates use the same last name.

Ellen quickly catches the reader’s attention in her Nerve article with this eye opening paragraph:

Neko Case recently claimed via Twitter that “Ladies in bands don’t get ANY action,” and as a female musician with a frustrated libido, I can sympathize. I’ve been playing bass in a touring band for five years, and I’ve had intimate relations on the road four times. (I class intimate relations as third-base-plus, but even if I counted kissing and over-the-clothes fumbling, it would still be a pretty low number.) I’m lucky enough to be in a job where I get to tour the world and meet interesting people, but in my experience, musicians  especially females  get a lot less then you’d imagine.”

Ellen colorfully boils sex on the road down to these four points:

  • Time and space are limited on tour since tour vans and buses are cramped and really are there for the band mates to work in, not play in.
  • It is awkward and unsatisfying to seduce a fan from the audience because fans put musicians on uncomfortable pedestals.
  • It creates workplace stress to seduce the musicians from bands touring with your band.
  • Friends of fans that are attending the show out of their support for their friend rather than their knowledge of the band make the best targets for lustful connections.

Why am I writing about Ellen’s provocative story?

Ellen is an actual rock star. Ellen is beautiful. Ellen is young. Ellen writes well (she studied journalism). Ellen is a founding member of a well regarded band that tours the world. I would not expect that she would have any trouble in the sex on tour department. I would expect that she could point out to a roadie a guy that she is interested in, and that roadie could do the tough work of approaching the guy and explaining a deal of quick sex with Ellen in exchange for not stalking her or trying to attach long strings to her. I would estimate the success rate of such an approach would be around 90% or greater.

Ellen Campesinos! playing bass guitar. Photo from

Ellen Campesinos! playing bass guitar. Photo from

But Ellen is shy, like I am. And shyness just sucks. It has messed up a good part of my life. I am absolutely determined to not let it mess up the rest of my life, and by writing about sex and Ellen, I am drawing your specific attention to a subject dear to my heart these days.

When you really get down to it, I left UCLA for Brooks Institute because I was shy. UCLA is a big school, and the second year, when I did not get a slot to live in the dormatories, I had to live about a mile off campus in a soulless apartment building without any other students. Most of my classes had 500 people in them. There were no cell phones or texting. It was difficult to ever see the same students even twice.

Friendships were difficult to form.

Brooks at the time seemed so much better. Classes were small, at around 20 students, and I made and kept a lot of friends.

Trading the opportunity at UCLA for friendship at Brooks is not a trade I should have made.

I deeply regret leaving UCLA.

I regret it so much that I am seriously considering returning, especially since I recently learned I do not have to go through the admissions process of a new student, because I properly withdrew and I have the original stamped paperwork in my fire proof safe. I have learned that all I need to do is fill out a one page form, send in my Brooks transcripts and I am in.

I have lost most of my shyness, but not all of it.

I still am hesitant approaching women for dates. I can approach them painlessly for anything else, including to model for me. I can handle a roomful of women. I can direct one or more women in front of the camera with confidence and authority.

But when I ask a woman on a date, I feel vulnerable because I am signaling to her that I find her sexually desirable. I am in effect telling her that I want to have sex with her, even if I am a perfect gentleman asking her for coffee with her grandmother. I should not feel awkward. I feel less awkward about asking women for dates now than at any point in my life, so I am making progress. But for me to be most effective, I should dispatch all fear and nervousness, for I fear that women pick up on that and are less likely to accept an invitation.

I thank my lucky stars that I have taken care of myself and am only 10 pounds heavier than I was at age 16 when I got my driver license (155 then and 165 this morning, in pounds). I feel attractive and sexy which I think women are also good at decoding.

I will conclude with a crazy story from my youth.

I used to love DNA Lounge. It’s still there, and it’s still cool, from what I can tell from afar. It’s open late. When I was a regular, it closed at 4am.

I had been there dancing by myself at about 3am, and found myself dancing with a solo woman, as often happened. We danced together until closing, but didn’t exchange numbers or keep in touch. It was fun but she was one of many women that I had ‘met’ and danced with late at night. She did tell me a bit about herself, including that she worked at Levi Strauss.

About two months later I was at DNA for a concert. The bar was in the center of the main room, about 15 feet from the stage. I was standing facing the stage and leaning against the bar. It was extremely loud because the band was playing.

A woman slid in next to me at the packed bar, to my left. I glanced briefly at her and it was the woman from the 3am dancing the other month. We hadn’t kissed or anything when we met, but I thought she was very attractive. At the bar at the concert, I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and she immediately, within five seconds, leaned in towards me as if we were a couple. We watched the show like this for at least ten minutes, not speaking, as that was essentially impossible since the huge speaker columns were just 15 feet away.

Live music at DNA is much louder than the recorded music the DJ plays.

At this point, it was around midnight. Without worrying about anything, I leaned to the left and kissed this woman. She kissed back. Soon, we were upstairs on one of the couches making out. This is before the days of bottle service where the nightclubs charge big dollars to sit down.

After about an hour of making out, still comparatively early, I asked her if she still worked at Levi Strauss. She replied that she didn’t and had never worked there! This woman was a complete stranger, and I had not danced with her for an hour some two months earlier!

She was a student at UC Berkeley.

I still wonder what she thought of me being so bold with her that I put my arm around her and start kissing her without even saying hello or asking her name.

I have never done that again, but I sometimes wish I could. No, I don’t want to kiss women I don’t know, but I would like to be able to be so confident that I can attract a woman so powerfully that she would agree to kiss me, even if we never did so in such haste.

Ellen of Los Campesinos!, talk to strangers after your rock shows. Don’t wait for them to get up the courage to say something. You’ll be waiting a long time most of the time, as a guy alone at the bar upon seeing a hot band member is extremely unlikely to approach you because he’ll assume your boyfriend is going to be by your side any moment. You don’t look like the type to want to have casual flings either, which particularly works against you.

I am not interested in picking up women in nightclubs or bars, and I haven’t been out dancing by myself since 2005. The woman I am looking for is not likely in a nightclub or bar in any event, so I don’t feel that I am missing anything. But I did want to share this outlandish story from my past as I think there is much to be learned from it.

You might be wondering why I write this blog. I don’t make money from it. It costs me a lot of time and a little bit of money.

What I am doing here is making my own luck.

The women I want to meet are much more likely to be reading this blog than to be looking for me in some dark nightclub at 3am.

By sharing my life, dreams, secrets, ambitions and ideas, I am also setting the stage for my next marriage and starting a family with children, since I am single now.

Stay posted to learn how my life progresses.

You may subscribe by leaving your email address in the upper right corner. I also encourage you to friend me on Facebook, where I post status updates for each blog post.

And if you’re a woman you think I might like after you’ve read a dozen or more of my blog posts, please introduce yourself to me, OK? Remember, I’m still a little shy.

Man drowns after jumping into river to save his girlfriend from her sinking car, even though she had already made it to safety

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This story made me cry. Here’s an excerpt:

“Authorities say the Tennessee River’s current was swift when 25-year-old Christopher Heaton jumped in the water to rescue his girlfriend.

Heaton, of Jasper, Tenn., had driven to Bridgeport, Ala., to meet his girlfriend Tuesday evening. He arrived at their meeting place near a boat ramp to see her car sinking as it was swept down the river, said Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen. Witnesses told police Heaton immediately dived into the water.

But the woman — whom police haven’t named — escaped from the car and was helped from the water by fisherman at a ramp only 20 yards away, Harnen said.”

It’s so sad that his girlfriend was alive and well just 20 yards away!

I know how powerful love can be, and I might well have jumped in the river as Heaton did had I discovered my ex-wife’s car sinking in the river. When I was married to her I was so in love with her that I believe I would have thrown my normal caution to the wind. Now that I’ve divorced her I don’t know how I would react, as she’s less important to me now. But that doesn’t mean she is unimportant to me and that I would definitely not jump in, because part of me still loves her.

Written by Kevin Warnock

February 9th, 2012 at 10:56 am