The Loh Life

Signing a non-disclosure agreement with a friend

Sandra Tsing Loh appreciates confidentiality.

There are two types of people in the world. Those who believe there are two types of PEOPLE in the world, and those who don’t. This bit of whimsy came TO me recently via an old FRIEND of mine. He’s a somewhat eccentric millionaire scientific entrepreneur, who has invented a couple of things you MAY have heard of, but which I can’t talk about as upon arriving for LUNCH I was asked immediately to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Which is an idea I like. Come to my house, ride in my car—you should ALSO sign a non-disclosure agreement, particularly given the current STATE of my car. But I digress.

Regarding the two types of PEOPLE in the world, though--? I think it’s true. While I don’t know ANY of these youthful Facebook FOUNDERS who are about to become multi-BILLIONAIRES, I DID graduate in 1983 from CALTECH, whose Alumni Day it is this weekend, and many of the people I went to SCHOOL with live, I’m noticing, very different lives.

Take my old dorm mate Larry, who has NEVER made me sign a non-disclosure agreement -- which is just as well, because even if I WAS trying to spill the beans all I could tell you about how he makes HIS living is…biofuels, venture capital, social networking, and something having to do with platforms, multi-level. . . distribution. . . platforms.

Ever boyish at 50, he is eagerly SHOWING me recent IPHONE photos of himself climbing, Base Camp ONE, Mount Everest-- which I have to put on my reading glasses to see.

And then Larry INSISTS that, just for fun, I must drive his new solar powered car.

It’s actually a prototype BMW ELECTRIC car, which he has CHARGED from an OUTLET from his HOME, which is on SOLAR. It can go for 100 miles before requiring another 12 hours of charging. They cost God knows what, there are only 700 in the United States, and I am wearing these chunkily awkward Ross for Less platform SANDALS.

As I jerkily pull away from the curb, Larry is both telling me to watch the computerized gauges-- “When the car coasts downhill, as the wheels turn see how it re-charges itself?” While gruffly commanding, “FLOOR it!” right into the business district of Old Pasadena.

And yet, while frightening, in the end I DON’T crash the fabulous BMW super car and it is a heady experience, making me think: Look. Never MIND those Facebook kids, I TOO have great contacts, I have the smarts, all I need is a 50 million dollar idea.

And it comes to me! What is it? Tune in next week.


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