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25TH July 2019

Family and Friends - Good Story - Legends and tales - Timeless - Uncategorized

Squaring the Curve – A Quality Life Right Through the Finish…

My father sold life insurance. Actually, people said they bought life insurance from Big Art. He didn’t so much sell it. He did this by asking questions and listening empathetically. How old are you today? Where do you work? Tell me about your family. Does your spouse work? How many kids? Where are they in school. What sports do they play? Do you play with them? What other activities interest you? How much does it cost you to live here? What do you want to be doing later in life? Do you want to retire someday? Where and how? What do you really love about life? And so on and so on. He insisted on doing it at the kitchen table, with life going on all around. That was the […]

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12TH July 2019

Culture - Good Story - Timeless - Uncategorized

You can take the boy out of the neighborhood, but never the neighborhood out of the boy…

My boyhood home recently came up for sale. That would be 113 Windy Ghoul Drive in Beaver, PA. Flipping through the pics- which show a house virtually untouched (!) since we sold it in 1974- I was reminded of how much an impact my neighborhood had on me. I could see my bedroom, and the front yard where I played endless baseball. I could see the pool where we swam until our fingers looked like raisins. The wall where my Mom’s lilacs framed the garden that provided us with so many fresh vegetables. The terraced lawns my dad loved and I despised, because half my allowance was dependent on mowing the eastern quarter. The roof where we climbed and played tag. The piano room where my sisters practiced endlessly (and […]

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20TH June 2019

Entrepreneur - Social - Uncategorized

Is Shark Tank “Real” Enough

It’s been 20 years since I was in the studio for MoneyHunt; not a week passes without the same question… “is that like Shark Tank (previously, Dragon’s Den). I explain the similarities, and the differences, and conclude… all that is worth, like, one Chai Latte at Starbucks, give or take. On MoneyHunt, we were nuts enough to write the check on the air. No broken deals, no weaseling out of agreements on arcane terms. We considered it a cost of business, and didn’t expect much from the outcomes (our expectations were met!). But we did a whale of a job marketing our little VC fund, a seminal outperformer in the dot.com rush. So what people ask me about SharkTank is this: Do they really do what they say they do?  […]

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10TH May 2019

Angel Investor - Culture - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Leadership - Uncategorized

Introducing Incredulous… a little show about cultural shifts, discomfort and opportunity.

Over the past few months, I’ve worked with the best PR firm in the nation, Gregory FCA, to develop something we talk about at the dinner table each night. Incredulous is about culture, emerging trends, generational conflict… and some damn silly stuff we get upset about. Sometimes it’s an opportunity. Other times, it’s just something to laugh about. In this flight… For Boomers, the party never ends! Jimmy Buffett opening a Retirement Home Erasing History at Washington & Lee. Is that really what we want to do? Sign of the Times; Giuliani Gets Booed at Yankee Stadium Duh! English Teacher Corrects White House Letter Trumped; Social Media more powerful than White House visit. Teach your parents well. Mom Fired For Kid’s Instagram Antics FOMO built this. Beanie Babies Empire won’t […]

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18TH April 2019

Angel Investor - Business Tricks - Family and Friends - Timeless - Uncategorized

Busy could, sometimes, just be BS

We’ve been talking an awful lot about work norms. Goldman Sachs no longer requires suits. IBM allows flex time. MasterCard permits video attendance at weekly touch base calls. This is all terribly progressive, and probably helps with attracting, retaining, and motivating A Players. But one thing remains a fallacy; the common safe place called “being busy”. Maybe it’s the old puritan work ethic. Maybe it’s from back in the days when people- most- billed by the hour. Those warriors who worked on weekends. Brought files along on vacations. Always had a conference call, or a reason to burn the midnight oil. How impressive. What a workhorse. Such a team player. An animal. We gave you a pass because you were full on, all day. Frantically moving from one thing to […]

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13TH April 2019

Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Timeless - Uncategorized

We are the Factory

I’ve spent the last two years super optimized on one platform- I can’t believe the increased efficiency, and the decreased anxiety of this move. I credit Don Dalrymple. First, about my work: I mentor startup founders, and I am quite active in that role. Which means I have to be able to plug and play into their systems seamlessly. I do not, hell I can not dictate which conference line to use, which product management tool, which crm, etc. I have to adapt, quickly, to whatever they choose. It used to be maddening, but I flipped that; now I enjoy the challenge of learning how they communicate by diving in quickly, so we can get to the real stuff. Which meant my stuff had to be super organized. It wasn’t. […]

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08TH April 2019

Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Food - Good Story - Timeless - Uncategorized

Avocados also come with Values!

Entrepreneurs are mad for Avocados- in shakes, on toast, even guacamole. it’s perfect as protein, and even better as a value reminder. Yes, true! I caught Seth’s Godin mention the Avocado principle recently: it’s a well cited mantra in the Bay and especially at 500 where I learned so many incubator scale tricks. It goes something like this: If you wait until you really want an avocado, the market won’t have any ripe ones. You need to buy them in advance. But… If you eat an avocado that’s not quite ripe, you won’t enjoy it. AND, you won’t have a chance to enjoy it tomorrow, when it would have been perfect if you had only waited. If you live your life based on instant gratification and little planning, you’ll either never have […]

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28TH March 2019

Entrepreneur - Family and Friends - Geopolitical - Incubator - Leadership - Timeless

Passion can be Painful

I wonder if founders appreciate that the origin of the word “passion” . It’s the Latin word for “suffer.” I didn’t know that until recently, on a Founder touch base call, where a very passionate argument was made and didn’t land. [It makes perfect sense; passion requires a commitment so pure that mere suffering would not deter i]t. I hear about- and see- Founders everyday that are bursting with passion about their product, the problem it solves, and the business they are building around it. Problem is, many forget the suffering that comes with it. So here are a few of the pain points each founder must learn to stomach; Suffer the humility of defeat; by this, I mean the realization that it is time to quit pressing the idea as […]

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22TH March 2019

Food - Social - Timeless - Uncategorized

A Diet should include ANYTHING you consume.

We did a Whole 30 diet this year… plantains seemed to be the most appreciated Whole 30 hack… I probably ate too many of them. But otherwise, I learned to have a discerning eye for labels, looking for sugar, additives and sneaky stuff I had never noticed before. So, with a little self control, I was pretty much able to regulate anything that entered my body… But with all this effort around regulating what goes into our body, what about what goes into the mind… “George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed. He’s making sure […]

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24TH September 2018

Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Good Story - 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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