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06TH January 2018

Angel Investor - Cuba - Family and Friends - Family Office - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns - Leadership - Parenting

Fire and Fury? Well, Havana’s safe as ever, guys. (IMHO)

I don’t know much about the current book dominating the headlines, except for how it applies to my personal experience in Cuba. Last year, much was made about travel to Cuba being suddenly suspect or dangerous. With nearly a year to look back now, I see a few main themes that may explain 2017: Roll back on any Obama initiative one can find. Lob an unprovable grenade as justification. Even though “Sonic Attacks” sounds more like “Remember the Maine” each day, it got the job – confusion- done well. Exert pressure on Havana citizens by closing the US Embassy and closing off visa applications. This isn’t much fun. Poke the Cuban Military by blacklisting hotels and travel business they control. Since the State Department published it’s “no-go” list in November, […]

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01TH January 2018

Cuba - Entrepreneur - Family and Friends - Leadership - Parenting - Timeless - Uncategorized

An Entrepreneur’s Life

Honestly, it’s been hard to understand it [entrepreneurship] myself, let alone explain it to others.

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01TH December 2017

Family and Friends - Parenting

A man never forgets where he ran as a boy

A man never forgets where he ran as a child. I heard this quote somewhere in my teens, and it stuck with me. It stuck with me enough to be aware of it when I was running, and that this place, this run, this feeling may be a moment I remember later. That fact added a sense of self-awareness that I otherwise lacked. My first recollection of running as a child was in my front yard in Beaver, PA. It was unique because I would run alone, for hours I am told, on snowy winter days in a patch of grass left bare by a gas leak. It left a perfect miniature football field for me, and during half-time of any Steelers game I would throw the ball to myself, avoid tacklers, and dive […]

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20TH November 2017

Angel Investor - Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Good Story - Leadership - Parenting - Portfolio - Timely - Uncategorized

Vaux Founder Profile- Theresa Claire of “Mixed Emotions”

Today, I couldn’t be happier to feature Theresa Claire, Founder of the Mixed Emotions Game. In her first pitch to me, even on the first slide, she told me all the reasons I should not get involved… I’m a solo entrepreneur- and Mom! I’m not the first mover. I don’t have a PhD. to my name. I need a side hustle to make this all work. To which I responded; so what. I tested the game with my kids, their friends, their parents, their teachers… and it totally rocked! Which is not the first reaction you would expect when discussing the subject of card games that teach kids emotional awareness. But here we are, launching a Kickstarter less than a month later and crushing it on social media. Because it […]

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13TH October 2017

Cuba - culture - Geopolitical - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Timely - Uncategorized

Thank you, Donald 

POTUS, you made Havana mysterious again. (Havana, Cuba) Back in the day, Pan Am brought The Rat pack and friends to Havana for some of the best fun in the sun of the 20th century. Nothing since has come close, until Obama ended 55 years of Castro Curfew in 2015. Havana lit up, out of almost nowhere. Thanks to AirBnB, 497,000 Americans visited Cuba in the following year. Restaurants, music clubs, galleries, and tech began to flourish under the “small entrepreneur” permits. Flights were quick, regular, and cheap. Visas were easy to obtain. The path to progress looked pretty direct. Then, the US embassy staff in Havana was cut by half, Cubans were expelled from Washington, and warnings were made based on a mysterious sonic device. Everyone was totally confused at the […]

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13TH October 2017

culture - Geopolitical - Good Story - Leadership - Timeless - Timely

Hold my Beer- Jacques DeMolay

  On the way to dinner, with Cuban entrepreneurs no less, we got into a discussion of the hex of Friday the 13th, and no one knew the origin. It’s actually an 800-year-old entry in the “Hold my Beer” Series: the name is Jacques De Moulay, last of the Knights Templar. [French King] Philip wanted the Templars arrested and their possessions confiscated to incorporate their wealth into the Royal Treasury and to be free of the enormous debt he owed the Templar Order. Molay was in Paris on 12 October, where he was a pallbearer at the funeral of Catherine of Courtenay, wife of Count Charles of Valois, and sister-in-law of King Philip. In a dawn raid on Friday, 13 October 1307, Molay and sixty of his Templar brother knights were arrested. Philip then had the […]

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01TH October 2017

Adventure - Cuba - Good Story - Incubator - Innovadores Foundation - Timely

What’s up with the Cuba Sonic Mystery?

(Washington, DC) I was at the WaterGate Hotel, the mecca of silly spycraft, just having a burger and catching up with John and Jono of Innovadores fame. The breadth of what their humanitarian accomplishments in two years is pretty amazing, as their regular updates will attest. It has been a breakneck sprint (relatively) since Obama loosened relations with Havana in 2015. The Foundation has sponsored three years of fantastic Cuban entrepreneurs to intern at Grand Central Tech, and everyone has returned to do good things in Cuba. Several have begun to launch businesses, and we stand ready to assist again. But recently, the US Embassy in Havana cut staff 60%, just two years after opening for the first time in 50+ years. Guidelines on doing business- mostly tourism– are expected to further curtail […]

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11TH August 2017

Angel Investor - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Platforms - Portfolio - The Way - Timeless - Uncategorized

Vaux Founder Profiles: Brandon DuFour of SHRPR

(Watertown, CT) Today I am talking with Brandon DuFour of SHRPR, fka Next Street, a tech platform for in-person learning driven by personal improvement and curiosity. He also invented the verb “decal-ing”… This is part of an ongoing series of rambling interviews loosely with Founders in the Vaux portfolio structured as five questions. Don’t miss Lilly B. from Fashion Snoops and Tom O’Reilly of Aptaris. Question #1; The Entrepreneur’s DNA Miles: So Brandon, I’m really interested in how you grew up as a kid in your formative years, and what DNA you had in your family or in your neighborhood that contributed to you wanting to be an entrepreneur. Brandon:  So it’s in my blood and in my DNA on both sides of my family. So on my father’s side, […]

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07TH August 2017

Angel Investor - AppTaris - Creative problem Solving - Family Office - Good Story - Leadership - Legends and tales - Portfolio - Timeless - Timely

Founder Profile #3 – Tom O’Reilly of Aptaris

(Tampa, FL) My sit-down with Lilly from Fashion Snoops was so much fun I decided to continue with more; it’s one of the most rewarding parts of my work because I believe the talent is in there, somewhere, and it’s just my job to ask questions that bring it to the surface. In the case of Tom O’Reilly, we have an epic story of a scrappy entrepreneur just figuring out how to literally rebuild an airplane while he was flying it. Literally, another story of “Hold my beer, I got this”. So how did it happen? Well, he stuck to the values he learned as a little boy; use the tools of the day to stay in close contact with your customers. Here are Tom’s 5 Questions Question #1; Where’s the DNA from? Miles: Tom, […]

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30TH April 2017

Family and Friends - Legends and tales - Parenting - Timeless - Uncategorized

Oh Father, my Father… this is your success.

I looked through some family pictures on my Birthday, and this one made me think of what my father has given me. He’s given me something more permanent than good hair, and more powerful than money. He’s given me values and meaning, though it took me years to discover that. And when I did, I was drawn to the story of what his father gave him. And the father before him, and the father before him, all the way back as far as Spencer legend will go. This is quite far when you are a Spencer, and you don’t let too many facts ruin a good story, which is the what is about to happen here… It is was actually deSpenser to start, which means the steward or butler in French. […]

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