When you think of high-end concierge services, the world’s most exclusive hotels come to mind, not Google’s corporate offices in Mountain View, Calif.
But that is where Ginger Franke, the founder of Franke Lifestyle Management, better known as FLM, a concierge service catering to Silicon Valley’s elite, cut her teeth. For seven years, Franke, a 35-year-old Alaskan, worked with the company’s top executives, including Google’s co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
FLM now has about 20 clients, some of whom keep the company on retainer. Others buy blocks of time by the half-hour and hour, or hire FLM for specific projects. The company’s rates – typically $70 an hour – are clearly not for everyone. But FLM and its eight employees in San Mateo, Calif., and New York City do not just run to the dry cleaner and drugstore; they offer a personalized service that has few limits.
In Franke’s first years at Google, the company had as few as 50 employees and the pace was frenetic, so she quickly became a jack-of-all-trades, doing everything from filling bowls in the office with M&M’s to planning company sales conferences that seemed to triple or quadruple in size each year.
“These guys couldn’t tell me how to do my job because they were too busy being entrepreneurs,” said Franke, who previously worked at Netscape. “If I was going to survive, I would have to feel and not think.”
Photo by Marilynn K. Yee.