Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

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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05TH April 2019

Angel Investor - Incubator - Leftovers - Social - Timeless - Uncategorized

Happy Collisions are actually a Developers Mantra

I don’t write about real estate much- I don’t invest there. But I wanted to write about Clay Fowler and Spinnaker, who have another project going up, along the I-95 corridor in Norwalk- you can’t miss it. I completely love his philosophy of design and space, where he goes out of his way to encourage interesting, curious people from different walks of life to have space for “happy collisions” on a regular basis. I’ve lived and done business in his buildings- which have done a lot to make Sono the cool place it has been for… 20+ years. And each time I return there, I find something new and different. A bakery inspired by Martha’s kitchen. A pool table in the lobby of an office building. A rooftop with community […]

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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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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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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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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 […]

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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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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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