Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

15TH August 2021

Culture - Entrepreneur - Family and Friends - Geopolitical - Legends and tales - Uncategorized

Five Fantastic Qualities of Russell Kagan

A dear friend and confident passed awhile back named Russell Kagan. I always favored calling him Russ, but one walk down the Croissette in Cannes changed all that as people on every block yelled his name, in every accent known to man… “KAGAN!” It was 1998 and the dot.com boom was in full swing. Media properties began to realize content could go multiple places…. and be sold multiple times. This was manna for Russ, a consummate deal maker/salesman in TV distribution throughout Europe and Asia. Of course everyone flocked to the south of France twice a year to shop for media content and enjoy the lifestyle, but Russ was already there waiting. And that’s where the true magic of Russ’ investment in mankind payed off. He was Kind. Russ didn’t seem to […]

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10TH February 2021

Geopolitical - Mobile - Timely

Holy War

Apple is a tool. Facebook is a distraction. Or so says Tim Cook, rather elegantly, in his recent speech in Brussels for International Data Privacy Day… which BTW sounds like a wonderful holiday! No doubt, the fortunes of Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon have been tightly woven together since the iPhone launched. They all existed before 2008, but having devices in hand rather than at a desk was wildly disruptive in how people spent their computing time- and where. But let’s think about each company- and their products- in terms of one ratio; utility vs. distraction. Apple seems the handiest, a really useful tool. Why does one pick up an Apple device? Aside from Phone, Facetime, text and music? For the… Camera- if I want to record events from laundry […]

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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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23TH April 2020

Adventure - Cuba - Culture - Geopolitical - Timeless - Timely

Back to Havana – wrapping up

So that was 32,000 words about visiting Havana, for those that may not have seen it yet. The Table of Contents is here, BTW. In the time I was there, I met a lot of memorable people. I also learned a lot of the amazing history of the Island; some from my friend and partner John Caulfield, some from the seminal book Havana Nocturna, and plenty from just casually observing the place that hasn’t changed much in 60 years. It is as close to the “Land that Time Forgot” as anything I have ever visited. The idea for time travel came from a lunch at 304 O’Reilly. While everyone at the table wanted to imagine what the future of Cuba held, we all agreed that it would be much more […]

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20TH May 2019

Geopolitical - Good Story - Social - Timeless - Uncategorized

Hold my Beer #7- Riley Howell

Look, I don’t even know if Riley Howell would have a beer. But his actions inspired me to add to this collection of courageous people. He was exactly what the moment needed, even if that moment meant it was one of his last. In an alert that flashed across computer and phone screens all over the UNC- Charlotte campus, the instructions were spare but urgent: “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately.” Riley had everything to lose; a long future, a wonderful relationship, friends, family. There’s no way to know what went through his mind. No way to know if he paused and asked “why me? why now?”. He tackled the gunman and curtailed the carnage that was about to ensue. However it came down, the result was embodied in the […]

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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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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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11TH March 2019

Adventure - Geopolitical - Good Story - Legends and tales - Timeless - Uncategorized

Hold my beer #6- for Woman’s Day- Freddie Oversteegen

Freddie vs. the Nazis “Life is 10% what happens, and 90% what you do about it” … Art Spencer would tell me that every day of my life, and among Stoics this seems to be the popular mantra these days as well. No hold-my-beer series would be complete without at least one undercover operative fighting for what they believed right at the time, and what in time, proved so right. All while having no control over the war, only what she did to react to it… Freddie Oversteegen was born in Haarlem, near Amsterdam on September 6, 1925.. then, in her teens, when the Nazi’s rolled into town, Freddie, her older sister Truus and their friend Hannie Schaft, blew up bridges and railway tracks with dynamite, smuggled Jewish children out […]

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03TH February 2019

Adventure - Creative problem Solving - Geopolitical - Good Story - Legends and tales - Social - Timeless - Uncategorized

Hold my Beer #5- Joachim Ronneberg

With Tom Brady back in the Super Bowl, and Alex Honnold making the rounds with Ted Talks and FreeSolo, I was reminded to add to my collection of men among men who have done amazing things, and thought relatively little of it, or of themselves, for it. Joachim Ronnenberg deserves his spot. He was just 23 when he was recruited – it doesn’t say why or what qualifications he had, aside from being young and alive in Norway in 1943. The mission, run by the Special Operations Executive, or SOE — Britain’s wartime intelligence gathering and sabotage unit — was to destroy parts of the heavily guarded heavy water (nuclear) plant in Telemark, Norway. They set out – m0re like dropped in- during February, in Norway. God, that’s cold. Rønneberg […]

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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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