Start-up with big dreams launches localized, secure messaging app

megan V. winslow/town crier
Marty Kacin, right, CEO of Los Altos Research Center, promotes his newly released app last week.

Approximately 150 guests, including the mayor and other Los Altos officials, convened at Los Altos Golf & Country Club to witness the launch of a new business three years in the making.

How the early use of big data made a mutual fund's trillions

It was 40 years ago last month that Jack Bogle and his new firm The Vanguard Group launched First Index Investment Trust, the world’s first index mutual fund available to retail investors. Looking back on it today, you’d probably be surprised at just how difficult the effort turned out to be.

Not only did it take him two years to get the fund launched, as Bogle writes in an article in the Journal of Index Investing, its initial public offering flopped. It took several years of poor performance for the fund, later renamed Vanguard 500 Index Fund, to grow.

RRM Design poised for $300K city vision project

Photos by Asher Kohn/Town Crier
RRM Design Group would work with the city of Los Altos to reimagine the streetscape in the downtown triangle. City gateways such as Veterans Community Plaza at Main and State streets could see significant changes. RRM used gateways as focal points for pedestrian entry in Pismo Beach to bring more foot traffic to downtown shopping and restaurant districts.

Los Altos city staff recommended that the city council award RRM Design Group of San Luis Obispo the contract to consult with the city on its downtown visioning process.

The contract – capped at $300,000 – was up for discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting, after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

Sour deal for client leads to a savory treat for Lemon Lawyer

My first column for the Town Crier involved a free latte. This one, oddly, concerns food, too. I recently received an inquiry from a client I last worked with in 2010. While I handle more than 100 cases per year and cannot remember all facts, names and faces, this client stood out.

Her car had a leaky sunroof that caused problems each time it was washed. An attorney in Southern California agreed to help her. The agreement she signed with him was onerous and bordered on unethical. He then promptly allowed her statute of limitations to expire, prior to telling her that he could not help her.

Meet the sweet-tooth whisperers

A child investigates Sugarbaby Sweetshoppe’s bulk candy selection. The store’s owners are surprised that only approximately one-third of their customers are kids.

Darren Howze and his wife, Colleen, own Sugarbaby Sweetshoppe on State Street, which opened in February. They have prided themselves on changing their selection to keep up with the changing seasons – and tastes – of Los Altos.

Are you paying too much for your 401(k) funds?

Although we cannot control the returns we get from our investments, there are things we can control to maximize the chances that our investment portfolios will grow sufficiently to support all of our future goals. A very important one is cost.

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