Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.
Sometimes all at Once.
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.
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, […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
09TH May 2017
Cuba - Geopolitical - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Uncategorized - Venture Capital - Vision
Innovadores and Family Office Association White Paper on Investing in Cuba
I’m proud to say that, two short years after Family Office Association put us together, John, Jono and I produced this sweeping historical overview and going-forward plan for investing in Cuba, which we called “Ready Set Go: Cuba!” . Anyone headed to Havana to discover business opportunities should read it. Those are Innovadores Interns Raynel Gonzalez (GCT Intern Class 2016) and Gabriel Garcia (GCT Intern Class 2015) on the cover. Enjoy the read, and hope to see you in Havana soon! Download the report here.
09TH May 2017
Cuba - culture - Fashion Snoops - Geopolitical - Grand Central Tech - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns - Timely - Uncategorized
Three Big Indicators Cuba will Ignite soon… (and that’s a good thing)
I’ve just returned from hosting another delegation of entrepreneurs and investors in Havana, and this trip was particularly enlightening. On previous trips, I’ve lamented the fact that things seemed to move slowly, while one of my co-founders John often reminds me “this is fassssst”. In any event, we’ve held a view that Cuba is 2-5 years from kicking in to growth mode, and one of those years has passed. We also hold the view that once it begins, it will be too late to catch some of the big opportunities as it will move very fast. (The Innovadores/ Family Office Association White Paper has more on the actual opportunities themselves.) So, what indicators does one look for? At an embassy briefing, I heard the first time about Control and Change. Cuba […]
23TH March 2017
Baseball - Cuba - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Leadership - Timely - Uncategorized
Back from Havana
I got a memory reminder from Facebook- I generally hate them- but this at least helped me place a watershed moment in Cuban-American relations… the day I met John Caulfield. In the two years since, the Innovadores has blossomed under John and Jono’s efforts, and I have played a small part in assisting them. I’m back from Havana this time feeling so alive with optimism. Ok its measured, long term optimism, but optimism because of how many things progressed in two years. First, the mere fact that I did get a notification on Facebook means there was wifi, with increasing coverage. The fact that we had a dozen investors and entrepreneurs with us discovering ways to work in Cuba seemed unfathomable two years ago. Sitting in on a fabulous diplomatic […]
23TH August 2016
Cuba - culture - Geopolitical - Grand Central Tech - Incubator - Innovadores - Interns - Uncategorized
Ask not what your country can do for you…
I am often asked about Cuban people and how they feel about Americans. This recent, impromptu photo from Choate explains it well. Ruben and two other Innovadores interns were visiting Choate recently, where this picture of a notable alum hangs in admissions. He didn’t know it was going to be there, but he recognized it. Being a selfie machine, Ruben sprung to action. But later, when I asked him, he said yes he knew about Bay of Pigs, The Blockade, and the Embargo. And while it hurt his country terribly, he didn’t harbor any grudges. That was just politics among people way above his pay grade. He knew JFK was a famous and iconic figure. And he made for a good selfie backdrop. Cuban people pretty much adore Americans. And […]
- 10 Things to ask before Investing with someone
- May 08, 2014
- Angel investing for Family Offices: What if you knew ‘Zuck… back then.
- July 10, 2013
- Now I really want to be like Peter Thiel
- June 11, 2016