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.  

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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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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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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.      

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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 […]

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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 […]

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15TH July 2016

Adventure - Creative problem Solving - Cuba - Entrepreneur - Geopolitical - Grand Central Tech - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns - Uncategorized

Crushing it in Cuba

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead The Innovadores Foundation just completed the most amazing year of progress, thanks in no small part to that small team, and the support of donors like you who believed it could be done. ReBirth of our Foundation A year ago, our 501c3 was still named KFAC, a charitable hold-over from our many years crossing Long Island Sound to benefit our community and environment. Part of that journey led us to support young entrepreneurs who won internships at Grand Central Tech; we have placed more than two dozen kids in that enviable spot in the past two years. But when we began to make our inroads in […]

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06TH June 2016

Cuba - Fashion Snoops - Geopolitical - Grand Central Tech - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns - Timely - Uncategorized

We did this: Innovadores Year One

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead The Innovadores Foundation just completed the most amazing year of progress, thanks in no small part to that small team, and the support of donors  who believed it could be done. ReBirth of our Foundation A year ago, our 501c3 was still named KFAC, a charitable hold-over from our many years crossing Long Island Sound to benefit our community and environment. Part of that journey led us to support young entrepreneurs who won internships at Grand Central Tech; we have placed more than two dozen kids in that enviable spot in the past two years. But when we began to make our inroads in Cuba, it seemed right to […]

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20TH May 2016

Cuba - culture - Havana Culture - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Timely

Oh, the things we take for granted…

I flew to San Fran this week, and back, hardly missing any time on wifi while in the air. I should be grateful for that. Meanwhile, in Havana, people struggle to get online for a few minutes, but when they do…  they are transformed. When I compare the two expectations, our and theirs, I recall a great bit from Louis CK about the hardships we “think” we endure, like flying through the air 500 miles and hour, in a chair, surfing the web and doing work.  “New York to SanFran used to take people 30 years, and half the people would die with an arrow in their neck”. Now, if we don’t board priority, we don’t get our luggage in the overhead bins *sigh*. Meanwhile, in Cuba, people take nothing for granted. […]

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04TH May 2016

Adventure - Creative problem Solving - Cuba - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns

I’d like to see what $40k clothes look like…

…Said my favorite designer in Havana yesterday, poignantly nailing the depth of the gulf between Cuban and American cultures. Idania, founder of a Design shop named Clandestina, may have been thinking what I thought; that blouse is like…166 years average salary in Cuba. And she actually said it! Chanel rolled in to Havana yesterday, on the heels of Usher, the Stones, Obama, Conan, and of course the Innovadores. No word yet on Britney or the Kardashians. And while everyone is taking inspiration from Cuban colors and culture, precious few are making something of the same in a way that benefits the Cubans themselves. Obviously, the market for Chanel blouses is a bit thin in Havana, where the average salary is $20.  And while the world has declared Cuba hot hot hot, […]

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