By: Tonya O'Dell
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It’s not what you know, it’s who you know-we’ve all heard that before, and while it is true the recipe for success actually requires both ingredients.  Anyone can increase their knowledge thereby increasing the “what you know” portion, but do we have any control over the “who we know” part? Increasing the “who we know” happens to be the single largest contributor to entrepreneurial success. It’s not just about racking up contacts, it’s about making connections.

Meeting new people can be intimidating which is why we often choose to break the ice with a stiff alcoholic beverage or even a cup of coffee.  There is actually neuro-science behind the need to consume either of these seemingly opposite,  yet equally effective,  lip loosening beverages.  Everyone knows coffee is a stimulant, many of us rely on caffeine to keep us productive or on schedule; be it coffee, tea, Red Bull or a shot of 5-hour energy, but did you know that coffee has been given the lead role for its part in making the Industrial Revolution happen? That’s right, without coffee we wouldn’t be where we are today.  According to a National Geographic expose, most Americans used to start their day with beer, the beverage of choice, and not great at getting your butt to work and is a terrible productivity motivator . Yet, once we were all on board with Folgers in our cup, we showed up to work alert and ready to operate (heavy) machinery, literally. And then there was the added bonus after the mass adoption of this café culture, of making healthier humans, since the boiling of the water for making coffee killed harmful bacteria that were commonly in the water and frequently contributed to illnesses and even death.  Yay coffee! (In all fairness to the other side of the pond-I suppose tea has this same benefit).

How well do you know Joe?

Did you know that the very first webcam was stationed to watch a coffeepot- allowing Cambridge researchers to monitor the coffee level at all times, like a fuel gauge. 

Google did not invent the campus style office environment; this concept probably goes back to Steve Jobs-sorry Googs. It wasn’t even at Apple either but at Pixar Animation Studios in Del Monte, a pet project of his he was actively involved with. It was in this old factory space that Jobs inadvertently created the forced mingling approach by putting the only restrooms in the middle of the open building to create random frequent run-ins with co-workers resulting in optimal creative output. If you don’t see the connection, first, I recommend reading “Imagine”, by Jonah Lehrer published in 2012, (despite the controversies there is gold worth panning in those pages).  Secondly, by utilizing the inevitability of our nature call Jobs forced interaction between departments, between every individual guest, executive, designer, what have you, making it genuinely one multi-lobed think tank. 

Aside from this open work flow design, there has also been a proven need for what Lehrer mentions in his book called the “third place”, not at home or at the office, but the “third place” could be; a bar, a coffee shop, the water cooler, the break-room, or rec room, etc. which can now be found within our workplaces. Including these “third places” into the workplace is a modern approach and now not outrageous perks of “the best place to work” we’ve heard of-and of course ROC has been rocking this since the very start as well. It’s really simple actually, making work feel less like work and more like a place you want to be, that even inspires you, works, it works really well.  Ask Mark Zuckerberg who situated Facebook in Menlo Park, California (of course), recently renovating, reinventing, redesigning and resituating its headquarters. 


Cre8tive Californians

As of 2013 and anticipating continued growth, if California were a country it’s GDP would exceed both the Russian Federation and Italy (at $2.2 trillion in the fiscal year 2013, which accounts for more than 7.5% of the total US GDP).

This same book breaks down why so many of the nation’s most innovative cities are in California, why Silicon Valley exists and persists, and the value of what we have created in the state as an endlessly creative co-working collaborative and working cause to save corporate America. Seriously, our way of working in California is working. Sociology is able to closely look at the fibers of our relationships, the web of our networks and explain certain “social behavior and functions” but that’s where the “what you know” comes up short. We need people. We need special people, with skills sets, who also need people with special skills. We work better as a team, as a state, as an inspired generation that is utilizing social interactions to accomplish tangible, incredible goals through angel investors, venture capitalists, and believers who are seeking an innovation and brilliant ideas to believe in.

Entrepreneurs are often attributed with being their own idea factories or overflowing with juicy ideas, but they are not simply a one man or one woman show, they are expert minglers , anglers of feedback, and explorers, always curious and open to others ideas.  Collaboration is the concentrate for juicy ideas, and for the best results, mixing well is recommended. 

    By: Tonya O'Dell


ROC has been busy bursting its seams in response to the demand for flexible and affordable office space suited specifically for the prosperous population growth of todays entrepreneurial needs. The way we work in a global and mobile society has changed, so has professional office space.  ROC has been at the leading edge of these new updated demands and continues to go further making the act of “going to the office” a perk in itself. Entrepreneurial and start-up professional  focused events, special (elite) opportunities, educational seminars, networking and promotional opportunities are all passionately promoted and available at each of ROC’s six (and growing) locations. Going a step further (since many corporate office centers have modeled their latest renovations after ROC’s success), Real Office Centers also nourishes its clients physical well-being with weekly treats such as juicing days and Free Lunch Friday’s which is actually an independent global organization dedicated to feeding the minds and bellies of entrepreneurs along with a stimulating topic discussed and presented by an expert in a specific field.  Free Lunch Fridays have kept the schedule of these events both concise and consistent since the inception of the program, serving food and beverages first, and then commencing with an expert discussion which lasts no more than 20 minutes. Taking a cue from TED talks, our attention spans have decreased, our free time has decreased, but most of us have the time for a free meal (and a beer on a Friday afternoon), if not, making time should be your first priority this week!

(ROC-Santa Monica) On Friday April 24th Jill Brown, the Queen of Royally Awesome a media content, coaching and consulting business, will be presenting an easy approach for Start-ups to rally media coverage and expand publicity like a pro. 

Real Office Centers and Free Lunch Friday (#FLF) have been working together for the last two years and have had such great success that ROC is expanding the program to be hosted at the Santa Monica, Irvine, and San Diego locations on a regular and revolving basis, please visit ROC’s Event page, the location’s event representative, or the FLF Locations to check it out for yourself. 


“There is often a stigma about the formality and cheesiness of “networking” events, but just meeting people that share your work ethic and standards, that have something unique and interesting to share, or expand the opportunities of your business can be a relaxed and pleasurable experience, only further enhanced by free food, cold beer and a Friday!”-Spoiled in San Diego

Aside from Friday’s being the best day of the week, some great connections have been made and prosperous results have arisen from these productive, insightful and casual events, but the proof is in the Pilsner and what do you have to lose? 

“Free Lunch Friday is a fantastic meetup, and if you live in one of the four cities where FLF is held, you should definitely make an effort to go. Come for the free lunch (and beer), and stay for the networking.”-John Chow, author, marketing and owner of “one of the biggest blogs on the internet”.

“The folks over at ROC are great, they’ve hosted every event for Free Lunch Friday in Orange County and LA so far. On top of that they’ve made a great video from our April event.”- Oscar Gonzalez, a dot-com lifestyle guru. 

    By: Jamie McClung


ROC Santa Monica has an overwhelming list of successful companies that occupy our space.  From tech start ups to lawyers, financial advisors to web developers - you name it and you can find a company here to help you with your needs.

We are helping your business learn more about the companies within our building by hosting "Office Hours" every 3rd Thursday of the month.  ROC Santa Monica has partnered with tempCFO, Shepard Mullen, High Pressure Zone and Silicon Valley Bank to bring the experts to you for any questions you may have and to discuss a specific topic each month.

Every 3rd Thursday, these influential companies are offering their services for FREE for 2 hours. Come prepared to ask them anything!  The panel will give a quick presentation and offer a free consultation over drinks and food.  Just another perk of working at ROC!

Join us in the second floor boardroom from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. to network, eat and consult with these companies. 

ROC on!
    By: Tonya O'Dell

Q: What does a brain do when it sees a friend across the street? 

A: It gives a brain wave. 

This joke may not have you ROTFL but it is literally what happened when two strangers who happened to be using the office space available at ROC Santa Monica last year began talking about the brain, brain science and tapping our unused potential. Reading and understanding each others (or our own) brain waves is a key component in life and in business. Meet  Garrett Ruhland, a graduate from Duke in Neurochemistry and he is hyper stimulated by what he knows (and has learned) about getting the most from this evolving organ and applying updates for our modern world. Much attention has been given recently to the brain and understanding this complex organ that seems to control us and everything we do. In the last four years funding and priority has been given to this research under President Obama’s “BRAIN Initiative” putting these complex cortexes under the microscope. Those two former strangers who shared a mutual interest, co-habitants of ROC, translated this meeting of the minds into becoming the co-founders of a new company called ModernAlkaMe. Garrett and Bryan have their sensors on the pulse and have developed an evolving system of their own to upgrade our brains function and put the ultimate control back into the rational realm and tap into our ultimate potential.   


ModernAlkaMe evolved as a passion project when Garrett and Bryan first met working for different entities both using office space at ROC Santa Monica.  An inspiring, “supportive and desirable environment” which provided the fertile soil for sowing the seed for ModernAlkaMe, credits  Garrett, who knows that we can all increase our brain function with the right tailored match, likening the company to a “match-making service for your brain chemistry”. 

Tapping your potential and pursuing professions with passion and purpose are popular phrases in today’s fast paced professional world (pardon the p’s).  Of course, your ultimate potential and what you are passionate about are wholly unique to you.  Being receptive to opportunities however, is something we can all understand and incorporate in our daily lives.  This openness and receptivity in a collaborative environment like ROC provides, nourished the concept of creating a program to enhance brain function on an individual level, and the founding of ModernAlkaMe in 2014.  Now Garrett and Bryan are based at ROC together again, this time at one of the Newport Beach locations, and according to Garrett the choice in office space was “a no-brainer” considering his lingering positive and prosperous experience with ROC in Santa Monica.  

After speaking with Garrett recently, the co-founder and CEO of ModernAlkaMe, he reflected deeper that one of the unique opportunities available by using a ROC office is the access to a diverse group of professionals in various fields that are more than willing to collaborate or chip in an opinion or two.  Other tenants of ROC office space have provided him with valuable financial and accounting advice, wording and phraseology for marketing, promotional opportunities, and honest opinions about everything from color choice to navigating FDA and legal issues. 

The result, interest and application of this smart strategizing is still growing and expanding, hopefully just like our brains.  Garrett believes that the tailored programs created for each brain will unlock more of our ability as human beings in the information age and better take care of our aging brains the same way we take care of our bodies.  Just like physical health is considered a balance of 80% diet and 20% exercise, our brain operates on a similar ratio, we must nourish our brain and exercise it as well.

Most of us have felt overwhelmed when going to a vitamin store or trying to decide which holistic health options are best for our bodies and brains, but ModernAlkaMe intends to customize and answer this question for you and your brain alone. Trust and customized services are part of the package they create successfully replacing the need for many other “catch-all” supplements that may not be optimized for your specific body or lifestyle. Since last month’s report from the FDA claimed that many of the vitamin and supplements on the market were not approved (or tested) and many will be recalled, the issue of trust and what we feed our bodies has become even more important.  

According to the FDA a “Dietary Supplement” must contain dietary “ingredients” such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals or amino acids”. Currently there are more than 65,000 of these ‘dietary supplements” on the shelves and more than 150 million Americans claim to take this type of supplement on a daily basis. 


We are always learning in life (hopefully) but putting that knowledge into practice is where we are able to reap any benefits from our brains capacity and trusting your brains health to a Neurochemical Consultant from the prestigious Duke University isn’t a hard problem to solve, it’s another “no brainer”. Another brilliant idea we can all learn from this blog is that being open to promising possibilities, getting feedback from others in a collaborative manner, and being in the right place at the right time are not matters of chance; they are part of the logical process of growth, not just for your brain but for any business or start-up. If you ask Garrett, he will tell you that his passion turned into a reality with the support and inspiration of ROC, the right environment to increase your ultimate potential. 

1st Image Credit:(Human Brain)
Image By National Institute of Health [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2nd Image Credit: (PET Scan)

Image By Health and Human Services Department, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging : p.24[1] (Alzheimer's Disease: Unraveling the Mystery) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
    By: Jamie McClung


Having your office in Santa Monica, California, is an obvious statement that you most likely care about your health, that you are active, and that you care about your community.  You probably bike to work.  ROC Santa Monica fully supports this unique and diverse group of entrepreneurs who also go surfing together in the morning, hiking together on the weekends and push each other to play a game of pick up basketball on their lunch breaks. We are start-up tech nerds by day, yogis by night.

ROC has a great community that encourages health and wellness.  We work directly with gyms and fitness groups to make sure our members get to experience the classes our surrounding gyms have to offer by handing our free passes.  Want to try yoga for the first time?  Just ask the girls up front and we will send you in the right direction.


The local Santa Monica Farmers Market is an added benefit to our location on 6th and Arizona.  The Wednesday market is the largest Farmers Market in the NATION and encourages the community to come together.  Our members do their weekly grocery shopping on their lunch breaks and ROC shops for fresh fruits and veggies for our weekly Wednesday Juice Days, hosted by our in-house nutritionist, Olivia Janisch.  You can find her juicing with our members on our rooftop overlooking the heart of Santa Monica while networking and blasting some good music. 

ROC's Community Developer, Jamie McClung, works at the Farmers Market selling fruit on the weekends, encouraging our emphasis on health and wellness for members who take time to visit her on the weekends with their families.

Our community here is so tight and unique that members have started putting together their own wellness programs within the diverse group of businesses.  Business Rockstars, who have a radio show highlighting up and coming entrepreneurs has a group hike every Sunday open to our members.

ROC's operations manager, Kristina Calumpong, arranges a team hiking group every Saturday, inviting each of our members to join her.  She gathers people to drive up to 3 hours out of Santa Monica for some of the best hikes in California.

Our Sales Manager, Amy Wyman, is a certified yoga instructor who is the heart of our Health and Wellness program.  She is always encouraging people to be happy and healthy and you can find her greeting clients in "Tree Pose".

ROC is a Green Sustainable organization and are proud to have accepted awards 2 years in a row for our efforts.  Members look forward to coming to work every day for the happy, healthy and productive work environment we provide here for you!