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!

    By: Tonya O'Dell

Pursuing your passion as a career requires your complete devotion and a lot of time, but labors of love ultimately do return the investment.  Likewise our pets require the same devotion and time of us, but they return our investment immediately.  Especially our dogs who shower us with love (and slobber) regardless of the day we’ve had of work, reminding us that being healthy and happy are really the most important things in life.  Dividing your time between work and taking care of your pet can be a compromise that unfortunately your pooch rarely wins.  

Even if you are lucky enough to be able to bring your dog to work, he/she doesn’t like being stuck at a desk for eight hours any more than you do. In California however, your dog can accompany you to lunch at most eateries in the state that offer outdoor seating. In August 2014 California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill for the statewide acceptance of dining with your dog if the establishment has an outdoor dining area proving that in the sunshine state an outdoor lifestyle and our pets are top priorities for residents state-wide.   

The best part of a dogs day is when they see you and when they are on a walk (or run) taking in the sights and smells of the outdoors.  With our productive and busy lifestyle in the state of Innovation, it takes a village to raise a family and a family to help care for a pet.  This is where the Zingy family is able to help time-strapped dog owners.  Zingy is a premiere dog walking service that can be scheduled via their nifty new app which just launched this week on both iTunes and Google Play! 

Zingys goal is simply to assist the busy professional and provide and healthy active and happy lifestyle for your dog whenever your own schedule is unable to allow this necessary quality time. All of the hand chosen, thoroughly investigated team-members must successfully pass Zingys’ 6 point background check so you can be confident with your chosen leash-holder. 

The simple but nifty app allows you to choose the length of walk (from 30-60 minutes) and allows you request feeding and/or treats. In addition to the exercise you also receive a “walk summary” and a “Happy snap”, along with allowing access to GPS tracking so you know exactly where your pet is sniffing around.    

From the Zingy website:

“What separates us from the pack is the fully transparent, seamless and frictionless nature of our service. We enable real-time track and trace so pet owners know where their pet has been walked and we guarantee no pack or off-lead walking. Further, peer-to-peer reviews and star rating ensure full transparency.”


    By: Jamie McClung

No one likes moving. The pain of having to deal with heavy lifting, talking your friends into helping you out over the weekend, renting a Uhaul, then unloading. Why not just have someone do it for you quick and convieniently without the man labor and the additional costs?

One of ROC Santa Monica's very own clients found the solution. BuddyTruk is a company devoted to making the local moving and delivery process friendly, simple, and community-oriented. At its core, buddyTruk believes in people from the neighborhood helping others in their community. The buddyTruk mobile application connects people that have a local hauling or delivery need with another person in the community who has a vehicle that can do the job. BuddyTruk will help you move your couch to your new apartment, bring you that desk you found on Craigslist, or deliver that Christmas tree around the holidays. BuddyTruk is the truck that you never had.

Additionally, BuddyTruk recently won the Startup of the Year Award given to them by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce!

BuddyTruk's primary goal is to be the friendly neighbor with a truck. In today’s day and age where cars are becoming more compact, less people have access to the convenience a truck provides. BuddyTruk’s service provides you with the truck you can utilize at a moments notice, without having to own one.

BuddyTruk, Inc. started as an idea to make moving and delivery friendly, easy, and efficient. After moving multiple times over the course of 5 years in Los Angeles, founder Brian Foley thought that there had to be a better way to move and transport a mattress. A moving company seemed unreasonably expensive to move down the street, and they discovered that driving a cargo van was rather difficult. Technology and social media were and still are connecting people more efficiently than ever before. As such, they believed there was a way to connect those who needed help moving, with others in the local community who wanted to help. By utilizing individuals who possess proper vehicles, they were able to bring the community spirit back to the local moving scene.

Moving forward, BuddyTruk's vision is to be the social moving and delivery alternative in every major city in the United States by providing the people of that city with a friendly, affordable, and efficient method of moving goods locally, the moment they need it. “We want to bring back that community spirit to each city and town by lending a helping hand whenever possible.”

ROC Santa Monica loves having the BuddyTruk as clients and we're so proud that they call us their home!

    By: Tonya O'Dell

Have you heard about the tech start-up scene in Korea?  Southeast Asia in general has seen tremendous growth in this sector.  At the top of that list with both growth and production is the beautiful country Singapore, which many professionals already know is not only a legitimately desirable and stable marketplace, but for American investors the Singapore market is an ideal international location of operations for a variety of logistical reasons.  By the numbers, over the last 7 years, the number of start-up companies in Singapore alone has grown by 60%, mainly due to the rise in venture capital investing and funding matching this same time period. In 2011, the startup sector raised approximately $35 million, and more recently, as of October 2014 that figure has risen to $2.1 billion.

Singapore has celebrated solid growth economic and boasts of an internationally known and prosperous quality of life partially to the credit of the national ‘meritocracy’, which is a system where one’s (business or individual) is based on ability. In a collaborative alliance with A.C.E. (the Action Community for Entrepreneurs), and the C.B.A.  (Clearbridge Accelerator) ROC hopes to exchange respective strengths in technology development and cross market development.

Collaboration has been a buzz word lately, as far as phraseology goes, but this is not a new way to work. More smart heads are better than one, and when you add innovation with investment funds as we have seen in the last decade, there are no limits to the potential success, reach and international influence. 

Here in the US we are, by now, all accustomed to hearing about new start-ups and those boot-strap genius collaborations that are taking on and directly challenging the traditional corporate sector.  What may have begun from a need to funds (fuel) and investors after our economic engine stalled and banks were not lending to small businesses has now grown into the most sought after and desirable business structure not just for the end customer or client but from a purely socio-economic perspective. The type of passion and perseverance needed to take a start-up from an idea to the market is a process, one that is made a bit easier with the support of entities such as ROC, who provides a net of support and aligns opportunities for Entrepreneurs that they would otherwise not have access to, be it workspace (collaborative or meeting space), the last technology products, and special events, such as the upcoming Korean Tech Startup Days hosted at two ROC locations. These events are open to investors and those with an interest in the Southeast Asia market, who claims to be in a direct, albeit friendly, popularity contest with Silicon Beach.

The two (2) Korean Tech Startup Demo Days will be held in February targeting the alliance of an international “entrepreneurial nation where innovation and enterprise can be translated into wealth creation and where diversity of ideas thrive”. 

Real Office Centers Santa Monica will be hosting the first event on February 3rd from 6pm-9pm, and the second event (or another opportunity if you cannot attend the first) will be held at ROC in Newport Beach on February 4th from 6pm-9pm. If you would like to attend this Private event or would like more information about becoming involved in the Southeast Asia Startup movement register for either event via the Eventbrite links or contact either ROC location directly. 

 Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain), the Singapore River, the Supreme Court and Parliment of Singapore are visible.