Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

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

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

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 - Entrepreneurs - 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 - Race to the Bottom - 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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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 […]

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13TH October 2017

culture - Geopolitical - Good Story - Leadership - Timeless - Timely

Hold my Beer- Jacques DeMolay

  On the way to dinner, with Cuban entrepreneurs no less, we got into a discussion of the hex of Friday the 13th, and no one knew the origin. It’s actually an 800-year-old entry in the “Hold my Beer” Series: the name is Jacques De Moulay, last of the Knights Templar. [French King] Philip wanted the Templars arrested and their possessions confiscated to incorporate their wealth into the Royal Treasury and to be free of the enormous debt he owed the Templar Order. Molay was in Paris on 12 October, where he was a pallbearer at the funeral of Catherine of Courtenay, wife of Count Charles of Valois, and sister-in-law of King Philip. In a dawn raid on Friday, 13 October 1307, Molay and sixty of his Templar brother knights were arrested. Philip then had the […]

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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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