Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

08TH November 2020

Culture - Family Office - Geopolitical - Leadership - Timely

Hang on, Whitey. Whitey hang on.

Ok, that just happened. It’s like we’ve all been watching this intrepid surfer, up high on the board, whooping for the crowds, showing his tan on a remarkable ride… that lasted four years by last count. And that ride is now likely over, but the wave beneath is much bigger than the surfer himself. And this wave will be with us for awhile; it’s called White Extinction Anxiety. I grew up marginally upwardly middle class in Allegheny County, PA. Yes, that Allegheny County, where we seem to count a little slower… when it counts. We were white- my team mates from Little League Champs Robert’s Oil, my hunting camp family in Pennsyl-tucky (aka Clearfield, PA), my Brighton Township Bears Pop Warner football team, my family reunions of the OG Miles […]

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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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30TH April 2019

Angel Investor - Business Tricks - Family and Friends - Geopolitical - Good Story - Incubator - Legends and tales - Social - Timeless

The Black Tulip…springtime flowers, trends & bubbles. Yeah!

Tulip futures, anyone? It’s tulip season around here; The New York Times had a wonderful story today on Rembrandt and dutch tulips. They’re pretty, but I love them for more than their looks… A very special person to me loves tulips. I do too, and I also love them as a reminder of bubbles- financial ones. Tulips are the first great bubble in modern recorded history, as detailed in the wonderful book called Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. It’s an early study of crowd psychology by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. It’s still in print, and cited by financial wizards from Bernard Baruch to Michael Lewis. Tulips had quite a run in in the 17th century. As the flowers grew in popularity, professional growers paid […]

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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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05TH April 2019

Angel Investor - Incubator - Social - Timeless - Uncategorized

Happy Collisions are actually a Developers Mantra

I don’t write about real estate much- I don’t invest there. But I wanted to write about Clay Fowler and Spinnaker, who have another project going up, along the I-95 corridor in Norwalk- you can’t miss it. I completely love his philosophy of design and space, where he goes out of his way to encourage interesting, curious people from different walks of life to have space for “happy collisions” on a regular basis. I’ve lived and done business in his buildings- which have done a lot to make Sono the cool place it has been for… 20+ years. And each time I return there, I find something new and different. A bakery inspired by Martha’s kitchen. A pool table in the lobby of an office building. A rooftop with community […]

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07TH March 2019

Angel Investor - Family Office - Social - Timely - Uncategorized

Update on the Devils Lettuce

The NY Times had a recent feature on the family behind Charlotte’s Web. Yes, a family story, about the family business. It’s truly amazing how legitimized the industry is becoming, while Opioids have become the pain management whipping boy – this Samantha Bee takedown is epic, and hilarious. I’ve watched from a distance as the cannabis market has growth it’s way across the US and Canada. Well, actually, Canada is totally covered at this point. And it looks like the states are smelling the tax revenue. (I have one CBD investment I manage, and no relationship with the substance in question). I’m not sure where all the health concerns, gateway arguments, and the like pan out, but I’m fascinated by the history of cannabis and the US. I’ also rewarded […]

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03TH February 2019

Angel Investor - Entrepreneur - Leadership - sport - Timeless - Uncategorized

Communicating with teams in motion

I really enjoy mentoring start-up founders, and I’m happy to call that my avocation these days. Most, but not all, of these founders are young or younger (I took it as a compliment this week when one founder said “we could use some salt and pepper in our founder recipe”). And, with luck and hard work, some of them will grow teams in the hundreds in the coming years, though the majority will not. That’s why I was struck by this interview with LJ Spinnato, a prep school football coach who gives very few interviews, which seems counter-intuitive for a post about communication. But what LJ has done at Choate was inspiring to honing my craft, though most of my kids are a little older and wouldn’t know what “Double […]

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20TH September 2018

Angel Investor - Entrepreneur - Family Office - 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 - 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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06TH January 2018

Angel Investor - Cuba - Family and Friends - Family Office - Havana Culture - Incubator - 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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