Writing what she knows: LA resident secures major deal for debut novel


Photo Courtesy of Kathy Wang
Those who know Kathy Wang only through a glossy photo on a book jacket won’t glimpse baby Vivienne and toddler Daniel, who co-sponsored her novel through naps and, in the case of the baby, not arriving too early as Wang wrote and queried agents at high speed.

Here’s a love story to the harried naptimes and uncertain bedtimes of early parenthood: Los Altos resident Kathy Wang managed to use those moments over the past year to write a novel, pick up an agent and snag a significant deal with William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers.

Anyone who remembers the chaos of early parenthood could be forgiven some gently envious chagrin at Wang’s story of determination and a son who’s an amazing napper. But the business behind her success is almost as interesting – she learned the publishers’ market using skills built as a Harvard MBA and product manager.

Afficient Academy puts twist on tutoring for local students


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Afficient Academy teacher Janet Larwood works with Lucas Wang, 7, in the Los Altos location that opened in December.

The idea for Jiayuan Fang’s learning center business, Afficient Academy, was born when the electrical engineer realized that his children’s progress wasn’t effectively being measured at their after-school tutoring program.

“(When) they gave you the next week’s worksheets, they do not know how well you did in the previous week,” Fang said of a nationally known after-school program. “The feedback is very slow. So when they figure out how you do, they give you additional worksheets to repeat it several weeks later.”

Morseys Farmhouse Kitchen brings water buffalo to Los Altos

Morseys
Megan V. Winslow / Los Altos Town Crier
Yulia Morsey, standing, talks with customers at her and husband Kal’s water buffalo-inspired eatery, Morsey’s Farmhouse Kitchen in downtown Los Altos.

Kal Morsey’s taste buds never forgot the water buffalo milk he was raised on in Egypt. So when he drank the sweet and savory milk while on a business trip to Pakistan, he knew what he had to do.

“There (was) a breeder in Texas that had water buffalo and I went to see the breeder and I tried the milk,” the Los Altos Hills resident said. “It took me back. I (thought), ‘I will do this, whatever it takes. I have to bring this to the United States.’”

Los Altos Chamber of Commerce holds Annual Awards Dinner

Chef
Nicole Walton / Special to the Town Crier
Chef Chu, left, held The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Awards Dinner Jan. 24 at Chef Chu’s. According to Chamber President Pat Kapp, it was the 29th year the ceremony was held at Lawrence Chu’s restaurant.

The dinner honored the following local organizations and representatives.

• Pride of Los Altos: Los Altos Hardware (Sue and Henry Nesmith)

• Chair’s Special Recognition: Ellen Biolsi, Cranberry Scoop

• Architecture and Design: Southgate Partners LLC (Sean, Erik and Wilfred Corrigan)

• New Member of the Year: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (Robert Kelley)

• Community Legacy: Heising-Simons Foundation (Holly Kreider)

• Member of the Year: Safeway Community Market/Safeway Stores (Wendy Guthsall and Ethan Baker)

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Office use on hold in old Pharmaca space

Additional office space at 400 Main St. will have to wait. The Los Altos Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to hold the discussion over to the next meeting to allow the city attorney to review the ramifications of amending the zoning code.

The space in question is the former site of Pharmaca, which closed last fall only two years into a 10-year lease. The property owner, Jeff Morris, is looking to lease the 3,000-square-foot space to Keller Williams Real Estate. However, 400 Main, located in the commercial retail sales zone district, falls under a zoning code that prohibits office space on the ground floor.

Japanese designer travels to MV to translate toy for U.S. audience


Courtesy of Naoki Ono
The Chappet button brings toys to life. Mountain View played testing ground to its American iteration a year after its launch in Japan.

Entrepreneurs from around the world travel to the Bay Area to build their businesses, raising funding, networking and testing ideas in a startup-rich environment. Tokyo-based inventor Naoki Ono set up residence in Mountain View last year to redevelop a children’s product his company had already launched in Tokyo to some success.

Ono created Chappet, a bright-yellow button that attaches to stuffed animals or dolls and helps them “speak,” spontaneously, via a smartphone app.


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