Far West Capital April 2012 Newsletter

At Far West Capital, we help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we love hearing stories and experiences about entrepreneurs’ successes – from the idea to the creation of something great. It energizes us and truly gets us excited to come to work every day.

We recently learned about Caine, a 9 year-old boy in East Los Angeles, who started his own arcade – Caine’s Arcade – in the back of his father’s junkyard where he sells and ships auto parts. He took his curiosity of how things are built and started to explore and experiment with making his own machines. The result: a full-functioning arcade that attracted hundreds of people.

Here’s Caine’s story. For those of you with short attention spans, start at 5:40.

How can we keep convicted felons out of jail? How about by teaching them yoga? Inspired by her yoga school and its required community service requirement, Toni Carbone developed the Ascend Program, which teaches life skills such as nutrition, financial management, career counseling, and yoga to convicts. Judges direct prisoners to the program as part of their sentences and although the program was recently launched, its first group of graduates had promising results. We love seeing the connection between yoga and start-up company, especially in a unique way.

Did you hear about the Internet meme ‘Texts from Hillary?’ The Tumblr site poked fun at Hillary Clinton’s seriousness as she uses her Blackberry and captioned imagined conversations between Clinton and another prominent figures. Clinton got word of the meme, submitted her own comic and invited the creators, who both work in D.C. to the State Department to express her approval of the site. After a week of viral sharing, the creators decided to stop posting on the site, saying “Is it really possible to top a submission from the Secretary herself?” The site is still up for laughs, and here’s an example.

About 15,000 people gathered to see Tim Tebow, New York Jets quarterback, two Sundays ago, but not to play football. Tebow spoke at the Celebration Church Easter service in Austin in a 20-minute interview about being outspoken about his faith. People have dubbed Tebow “God’s quarterback” and “Tebowing” (the act of dropping to one knee in prayer) has become his well-known routine on the field.

Did you play the Mega Millions lottery a few weeks ago? The three winners in Maryland, who are self-declared as the “Three Amigos,” want to remain anonymous, which is pretty smart since they will each receive $35 million after taxes. While the three public school employees plan to invest and purchase new homes, each also have fun, splurge plans: one wants to take a backpacking trip through Europe with her brother; another wants to pay for his daughters’ college educations and buy his sister a house; the third wants to tour Italy’s wine country. Winning tickets were also sold in Kansas and Illinois. What would you have done if you won the lottery?

In Facebook’s biggest acquisition ever, the company bought Instagram, a photo-sharing network for $1 billion. A month ago, Instagram’s creators claimed they had no interest in selling, but it looks like the right price changed their minds. Since Instagram has only 13 employees, each employee is now $77 million richer. Instagram was exclusive for iPhone users until they released their long-awaited Android version two weeks ago. Facebook claims it will not make any more big purchases like this, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Facebook Empire keep expanding.

We hope we’re as spry as Johanna Quaas when we’re 86 years old. The octogenarian wowed the crowd at the 2012 Cottbus Gymnastics World Cup in Germany when she performed spins and jumps in her parallel bars and floor routines. While Quaas has a history of athletic endeavors and didn’t excel in gymnastics spontaneously, she proves in these videos that 86 has nothing on her.

In honor of April Fools’ Day, we bring you the story of one of the boldest con men in the early 20th century. George C. Parker sold New York’s monuments, which, of course, he did not own. Some of the monuments included the Statue of Liberty, Madison Square Garden, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His favorite sell was the Brooklyn Bridge, which he sold twice a week for years. Parker convinced buyers they could set up barriers on the bridge to collect tolls, which they found out to be false when the police said otherwise. If you’ve ever heard of the phrase “and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you,” Parker is who it was coined after.

Next time you’re texting while walking, be careful, you might run into a bear! A 400-pound bear dubbed “Meatball” (for the food he had been swiping from people’s fridges) had been roaming the California neighborhood for weeks before he was caught by helicopter camera scaring a man walking on the sidewalk, texting with his head down. Meatball was later tranquilized and released back into the wild as the “texting guy” gained his 15 minutes of fame.

A former Occupy Lubbock dweller is now a Lubbock entrepreneur making news with her new business: Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock. Customers pay $100 an hour for one maid or $150 an hour for two maids. No touching is allowed. Oh, and the maids are nude. Police are watching the one-month-old business because of possible permit violations, but the business has been good for the entrepreneur who started the company because she was struggling as a waitress.

A new policy went into effect last week at The University of Texas at Austin that prohibits tobacco products on campus. The new policy was a result of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas announcing it would tie research funding to tobacco-free policies. This means The University of Texas can now apply for an additional $80 million in grants from C-PRIT. The University currently has $30 million in grants. The University is offering low or no-cost treatment programs for those who want help quitting.

Conan, the Louisiana chimpanzee, has undergone two vasectomies and recently fathered a baby born in February. He fathered another baby in 2007 after his first vasectomy. Unfortunately, Conan was not the only chimpanzee who had a vasectomy that didn’t work. Chimp Haven opened in 2005 and requires any chimp being sent to Louisiana to have a vasectomy because a national moratorium on chimp research. Chimp Haven opened in 2005 with 31 animals formerly used in medical or scientific research. Now, it has 132 chimps in 18 groups and room at its 200-acre site for nearly 70 more animals. Until a solution is found, all female chimps are now on birth control.

We were touched by this video we found on YouTube of Henry, an elderly man who has been in a depressed, unresponsive and almost “unalive” state. He was given an iPod containing his favorite music (religious) and immediately lights up, his face shows expression, his eyes opened wide and he begins to move his feet and sing. He became animated with the music. Now, he sings and moves all day while listening to music. He’s now able to answer questions he wasn’t able to answer before. The power of music!

WARNING: This video may cause you to shed a tear. Grab a tissue before watching.


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