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08TH February 2019

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

Prisoner AT War. Stoic lessons my Dad taught me.

My Father, aka Big Art, loved to teach us about perspective. He could take nearly any situation, and find some lesson, some thread of good in it. And usually a chance to learn and do better next time. He suffered hardships throughout his life, some by his own hand, but never lost that gift of self awareness and the thirst for improvement. The most extreme example he would give was about a man who would become Vice presidential Candidate under Ross Perot- James Stockdale– and the seven years he was held POW in Vietnam. AOM tels it well; Rear Admiral James Stockdale wasn’t a prisoner of war in that prison camp in North Vietnam. He was a prisoner at war. At war with his captors. At war with his own […]

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24TH September 2018

Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Good Story - Parenting - Timeless - Uncategorized

The Sharpless Method: We suffer more in imagination than in reality

The title quote is from Seneca. I grew up with a different phrase, but it still worked for me: “80% of the sh*t we spend time worrying about never happen anyways” ~Herbert “Sharpless” Spencer And it’s not that these guys were fearless. Rather, they broke down those fears, those worries, those paralyzing doubts and categorized them in bite sized pieces. My grandfather was a rifleman in WW-I; life expectancy in the trench wasn’t too good. But he survived to marry, to have and to raise twelve kids, to send some to college, and to comb the hair of his grandchildren… which numbered like [33] by the time he passed away. This was his system for dealing with worry and anxiety: Name each fear that keeps you up in explicit terms: […]

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20TH September 2018

500 Start Ups - Angel Investor - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Football - Timeless - Uncategorized

Closing? Should be called Opening…

Closing is the most worst name in the financing dictionary. I know, it’s the day or week when money changes hands. Back in the day, Wall Street-ers would hold a dinner and, after the wire went out (or came it) at 4:31pm everyone would head to the bar to celebrate. But the world of start ups, and start up financing is so different! Funnel and Filter – for years, I have had the good fortune of a funnel of opportunities that keep coming my way, and I’m very grateful for every one. I’ve always followed the lead of [Bear Bryant from this epic post]- be nice, be helpful, and be quick about it. When it’s time to apply the filter, I stick to a couple of basic theses described on the […]

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28TH June 2018

Angel Investor - Geopolitical - Mobile - Parenting - Race to the Bottom - Timely

Ding. Look at me.

Digital addiction has gripped society in less than a decade. The smartphone era dates from Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007… before that, the closest thing to a digital pavlovian response was hearing AOL’s goofy “You’ve got Mail”. Either way, it is a nanosecond in human evolution. No matter what we think we know now, we simply don’t know what the long-term effects of digital devices/smartphones are or will be, any more than generations past could glean the effects of all of those earlier technologies on moods, relationships, and cognitive development. Americans check their devices 80 times per day, which is more often than men think about sex (34.2 times according to Psych Today… I promise). Why? The secret is in the glowing notifications, likes and shares. Psychologists at […]

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28TH May 2018

Family and Friends - Parenting - Parenting - Social - Timely - Uncategorized

Fortnight and the next great Battle for Screentime

It seems the big parenting battle of the summer might be over FortNite. This survival-action game developed by Epic Games and People Can Fly is a bit like what you’d get if you combined a sandbox-building game like Minecraft with an action shooter like Call of Duty. On one hand, it’s getting major points with kids and parents alike for building teamwork and thoughtful collaboration. On the other hand, it’s a combat-based game with tons of guns and violence. And the designers were brilliant in the way they weave the elements of addiction into the action- thanks guys! So whats a Father to do? Here are a few ideas I’m working on: Set limits. Establish media-free zones and weekly screen-time amounts. Aim for a balance of activities throughout the week: reading, playing, exploring, and so on. Choose age-appropriate, high-quality media. Not […]

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19TH February 2018

Cuba - Entrepreneurs - Family and Friends - Food - Havana Culture - Leadership - Timeless - Uncategorized

On Celebrations and Cigars

The most appreciated gift I bring home from Havana is cigars. Wrapped by the best hands in the business, they seem to imply… “party coming soon”. I’m told this by aficionados because I certainly am not one. Usually, the reason to celebrate this way is having a baby, closing a financing, manifesting an exit. Sometimes it’s a personal best that takes a lot of work and has a defined moment worth savoring. They also combine very well with Cuban rum, which isn’t a coincidence either. So here’s my offer: tell me about your recent financing, exit, acquisition, or similar entrepreneur or life triumph in 100 words or less, I’ll send you a box of the best Cohiba’s I have. I’ll do it just for the happy story.  

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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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08TH December 2017

Cuba - Grand Central Tech - Havana Culture - Innovadores

How’s it going in Havana? See for yourself.

I’m asked a lot about Havana. I suppose my opinion has gone from rookie observations to a seasoned sophomore at this point- there are so many others here that have lived and learned so much more than me. But FWIW here’s what I see. Sonic attacks are at a bare minimum (haha). Whatever happened, whoever knew, wherever they got that thing… if it existed at all…it is safe to say that no-one here gives it any more credence than the sinking of the battleship Maine. While I can’t make any guarantees, I think it is safe to say the risk of danger from rum overload is probably greater than the danger from sonic attacks. The hotspots are still pretty hot. I once wrote about a list written on a napkin at 304 O’Reilly in […]

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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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