Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

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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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 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 […]

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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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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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30TH April 2016

Creative problem Solving - Cuba - culture - Geopolitical - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns - Timeless

What Cuban Iconic Cars actually say about the culture

One image that seems to always make it into most reports about Cuba are the restored ’50’s cars. To anyone that hasn’t been, everyone rides around in these things, always. It’s a 24/7 joyride, in every sense of the word. Truth is, reality is the experience after five minutes is quite more gritty, and that often rhymes with sh*tty. But that’s not so bad: here’s why. The first thing you have to understand about Cuba and their iconic cars is how incredibly resourceful these people are. Yes, paint covers a lot of evils, and classic chassis cover the rest. When I asked Vincente about how long it takes for spare parts for a 50’s Jag he just laughed and said “spare parts? there are no spare parts”.  This was his […]

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21TH April 2016

Cuba - Geopolitical - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns

Havana inspires a Pittsburgher to Appeciate Art…

I have a tenuous relationship with art, but Cuba is changing all of that. My dark period – art wise- was 13~ years in Beaver, PA. It wasn’t for lack of options- Pittsburgh is home to both Warhol and Frick, but we did more Pirates and Steelers). My grandfather carved reliefs of trophy deer on copper, mainly becuase he couldn’t shoot them anymore. Now, I have a few friends that make more than a living at it, mon grand ami Eric Mourlot being one. I have probably absorbed more from him in one cocktail hour than any other time in my life, combined. Until I landed in Havana almost a year ago, where I’ve been inundated. As I see it, artists are a permitted (tolerated?) special class enabled to practice some form of enterprise, a good […]

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30TH March 2016

Adventure - Cuba - culture - Entrepreneur - Geopolitical - Good Story - Grand Central Tech - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns

Innovadores Foundation, not of Langley LOL

Sometimes you hit it with a name. Often, you don’t. After much thought, we decided to rename our recently named CAA Foundation as the “Innovadores Foundation” . This was to not to confuse ourselves further with the CIA when dealing with an island nation whose last fifty years were spent not exactly loving that branch of our government. Seems prudent, no? We often would get looks in official meetings, and my partner John would spend too much time, in diplomatic Spanish, explaining the Choate T-Shirt of yesteryear to Cuban officials. My gaffes can be comical, in an idiotic kind of way. It kind of reminds me of when it took us eight years of paddling our kayaks south for KFAC that we got smart and paddled north into the greatest party […]

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18TH August 2015

Cuba - culture - Entrepreneur - Grand Central Tech - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns - Uncategorized

Innovadores de Cuba – Chapter One

We said goodbye to our three interns- Gabriel, Gabriella, and Raul a few hours ago after touring AAAS in Washington DC. If all goes well, they will touch down in Havana in 24 hours, totally transformed by their time here. At lunch today I was impressed with how humble and smart these kids are. They were literally plucked from Havana six weeks ago, became media sensations the second day at GCT, absorbed everything at the office, and outside the office, and in the moment they were called on to deliver at their Innovation Night, they killed it. There haven’t been this many tears at the Goldman auditorium since Greenspan retired. I was asked at one point today how long I had been thinking of Cuba. Truth is, in January it was […]

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