Making effective use of technology to get ahead


Living in Silicon Valley can make us feel like we are constantly driving in the fast lane, with little time to slow down and enjoy life. Between work and life demands, and tending to daily routine chores that take up most of our time, we all feel the pain of time poverty.

An idea is born

The frustrations of time management and a growing desire to delegate routine chores without having to hire a full-time assistant led Michael Duran, a physician and single dad, to found Crowdservice.

Mountain View's Milk Pail Market announces plans to close


Town Crier File Photo
As new development envelopes The Milk Pail Market, the Mountain View mainstay is set to close this spring.

The new movie theater, offices, apartments and retail that rose in gleaming stories around The Milk Pail Market didn’t bring it down. But after surviving years of construction disruption and uncertainty from its quirky perch on the edge of the massive Village at San Antonio Center redevelopment, The Milk Pail now faces a more certain closure.

The Rasmussen family, which has operated the market since 1974, announced last week plans to permanently shutter the business later this spring.

Raising strong (business)women: How the Janes girls carried Cooks Junction through retail upheaval and back again


Courtesy of Katya Janes
Cooks Junction owner Linda Janes, center, and daughters Katya and Ilona are scheduled to host open houses at the Main Street shop Friday and Saturday to commemorate 35 years in business. “As her daughters ... we are proud of her small business first and foremost because it exists,” Katya said of her mother. “It exists because she did something incredibly brave; she chose to follow an idea, a dream, and got it on her own.”

Linda Janes, a woman once described in the Town Crier as a “prominent downtown Los Altos merchant,” and her daughters are spending this week celebrating 35 years in the cookware sales business. They invite local residents to come “toast and party” at their shop, Cooks Junction, noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Cooks Junction, located at 261 Main St., stocks approximately 5,000 kitchen items, ranging from classic silver pots and pans from Cuisinart to colorful fruit palm peelers from Chef’n. The store still sells the same food processor (albeit a different model) listed in its grand opening ad from 1984. Although Cooks Junction closed for two months in 2001 to undergo renovation, Janes’ business has survived multiple rounds of retail rotation in downtown Los Altos. She was not totally left unshaken, however, as she had to close her fine-china store, Janus, in 2009.

Transactions for the week of March 20

Los Altos

1545 Montebello Oaks Court, J. Becker to Perloff Family Trust for $3,725,000

Los Altos Hills

12830 Deer Creek Lane, Sansome Heights to Badhwar-Rishi Trust for $9,100,000

What should investors do about the record-high trade deficit?

The U.S. Commerce Department reported this month that the trade deficit for 2018 reached a record $891.3 billion and grew by nearly 13 percent over 2017. As investors, what should we be taking away from this metric?

The first question might be: How did we get to this point? President Donald Trump assured us one year ago that raising tariffs on imports from other countries would force them to lower their import tariffs and correspondingly reduce the U.S. trade deficit. In fact, his announcement last year of the imposition of punitive tariffs had the opposite effect of stimulating U.S. businesses to import more before the costs went up, which exacerbated the imbalance.

Mountain View High grads launch popular Genies avatar app


Courtesy of Akash Nigam
Akash Nigam launched an app he created, Blend, while a student at the University of Michigan years ago. Blend evolved into the avatar-customizing Genies, which has propelled the Los Altos native, pictured recently, and co-founder Evan Rosenbaum onto the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Consumer Technology.

On any given day, mobile app Genies CEO and co-founder Akash Nigam could be meeting with a famous pro athlete or social media influencer hoping to have his or her face transformed into a virtual avatar powered by artificial intelligence.

“The cool thing about this company is that a lot of these influencers or celebrities reached out to us themselves,” the Los Altos native said. “We were contacted by a number of people that range from (NBA player) Russell Westbrook to (musician) Shawn Mendes. When they learn more about the company, they end up investing. A lot of them have now become friends with (Genies), and a lot of them are just fans.”


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