Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

24TH September 2018

Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Good Story - Parenting - Timeless - Uncategorized

The Sharpless Method: We suffer more in imagination than in reality

The title quote is from Seneca. I grew up with a different phrase, but it still worked for me: “80% of the sh*t we spend time worrying about never happen anyways” ~Herbert “Sharpless” Spencer And it’s not that these guys were fearless. Rather, they broke down those fears, those worries, those paralyzing doubts and categorized them in bite sized pieces. My grandfather was a rifleman in WW-I; life expectancy in the trench wasn’t too good. But he survived to marry, to have and to raise twelve kids, to send some to college, and to comb the hair of his grandchildren… which numbered like [33] by the time he passed away. This was his system for dealing with worry and anxiety: Name each fear that keeps you up in explicit terms: […]

Continue Reading



20TH November 2017

Angel Investor - Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Good Story - Leadership - Parenting - Portfolio - Timely - Uncategorized

Vaux Founder Profile- Theresa Claire of “Mixed Emotions”

Today, I couldn’t be happier to feature Theresa Claire, Founder of the Mixed Emotions Game. In her first pitch to me, even on the first slide, she told me all the reasons I should not get involved… I’m a solo entrepreneur- and Mom! I’m not the first mover. I don’t have a PhD. to my name. I need a side hustle to make this all work. To which I responded; so what. I tested the game with my kids, their friends, their parents, their teachers… and it totally rocked! Which is not the first reaction you would expect when discussing the subject of card games that teach kids emotional awareness. But here we are, launching a Kickstarter less than a month later and crushing it on social media. Because it […]

Continue Reading



23TH October 2014

500 Start Ups - Business Tricks - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized

Where did you come from, where did you go

  I was at dinner with 80 or so batchmates from 500 Startups last night, and with half of them coming from overseas the discussion turned to “IS America still great”. While that’s pretty subjective, the consensus was that.. “it is still better than where I came from”. And I thought about that a bit. If talent is evenly disbursed all over the world, (let alone the US) then bringing them to places that could accelerate that talent is a great arb. Dave McClure knows this well, and GOAP seeks out talent from the most crazy places. My batch ten buddies included great entreprneurs from Jordan (Silk Road), Thailand (Yoga Trail), Tomsk Russia (Promolta). I came from Pittsburgh, and my Dad was a coal miner from Clearfield. Taking a look […]

Continue Reading



29TH September 2014

500 Start Ups - Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Mobile - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized

The 500 Start Ups Dogfood: Try it!

Part of the experience of 500 Start Ups is discovering new ideas and processes that other batchmates have blazed the trail on. And yes, after 30 years of being an entrepreneur and an investor, I still learn new stuff every day. Herewith, my list of favorite shortcuts: Founder wall is a great hack for short terms memory people like me- pictures, faces and logos there on the wall just before meeting someone. Open the door with lockitron. It’s just so cool to walk into the ante room, put the phone up to your head and presto, something opens. The batch 10 email blaster is for founders with challenges- any challenges. And it rocks! We have solved for everything from free lance graphics to interviewing coders. (sorry-internal) Ping board is an in […]

Continue Reading



19TH September 2014

Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Uncategorized

Start up hack: Clothing

Uniqlo is a great start up hack: it like a closet in every major city that can make you look good, or at least warm for like… no money. I first caught on in SoHo last winter, when I was freezing cold and spilled Starbucks on myself en route to an investor pitch. I ducked in, found a pull over and …problem solved. But the cheap pullover was anything but cheap: I kept wearing it. And liking it . To the point where I went back. A lot. They have these reasonably priced, well-made,  mildly stylish solutions for a lot of looks. I use their light down vests, their chinos, their linens shirts, and their swill overs in high rotation. (I am a step and repeat dresser- I find what […]

Continue Reading



19TH May 2014

Business Tricks - Choate - culture - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Leadership - Mojiva - Timeless - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized - Venture Capital

Next Stop: Grand Central

My Mom used to answer the phone at our house : GRAND CENTRAL !@#$%^ STATION. It was nuts with activity; cats sleeping with dogs, kids not sleeping at all, random neighbors, dangerous art projects, three legged bunnies, ninja turtles- with real num-chucks, 1,000 ping pong balls, 60 foot tree swings, snakes in sleeping bags and ill-advised science experiments. It was an incubator of sorts, but all she was able to raise was a bunch of crazy kids and a few Estes Rockets (with pet mice aboard no doubt). The fact that four of us survived to adulthood was testament to her unique no-helicopter policies ( I am not sure how many she started with). To cry about anything short of a compound fracture was simply bad form. Cuts without stitches […]

Continue Reading



19TH June 2013

Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Good Story - Leadership - Mobile - Mojiva - Race to the Bottom - Timely - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized

I am shocked, shocked that there is big data going on in this Establishment

So, the NSA has been snooping the data at most of the big Silicon Valley tech titans, who snoop the data of most of the planet. The former is looking for bad guys, the latter are looking for customers. What’s the diff? What cracks me up is the outrage. It reminds me of Captain Renault’s great line outside Rick’s Cafe the night he shut it down. How did we get to this place? Data used to be such a hard and fast thing. Name, address, and social security was plenty to get a verification going. It worked well for high stakes actions like getting a mortgage, a car loan, a college education… and it still does. The titans of big data and credit have built tremendous businesses based primarily on […]

Continue Reading



07TH May 2013

Angel investing - Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Food - Leadership - Leftovers - Mojiva - Operative - Timeless - Trust Cloud - Venture Capital

An Entrepreneur’s Diet: Ramen & PBJ

Being an entrepreneur is a lumpy business at best. And while I’ve written extensively about the mortality rate (95%), I’ve never written about how hard it is along the way for those 5% destined for greatness. It ain’t easy, and it ain’t easy on everyone. This is a basket of Ramen Noodles and Peanut Butter, presented on my Birthday by a very appropriate, thoughtful entrepreneur I backed; Xin Chung. Xin certainly has the moral authority to present the gift: he was liberated from Saigon as a child, spent time in an internment camp, and grew up in Valdez Alaska before settling into SoCal and pursuing his dreams as an entrepreneur. He is now Founder and CEO of TrustCloud which has emerged from a “walk in the wilderness” with 10k passionate users and a growing […]

Continue Reading



12TH April 2013

Business Tricks - culture - Entrepreneur - Good Story - Leadership - Race to the Bottom - Timeless - Uncategorized

On Youthful Exuberance, Candles and Start-Ups: Breakfast is at 8

The shots of DC mornings have been rolling in from friends this week with cherry blossoms in full bloom. Got me thinking. I once had a great mentor in Washington DC who simply adored Johnny Walker Red. Pounded the stuff, well into his seventies and deep into the night. Though we were 50 years his junior, we tried to keep up while he showed us around the social scene of DC in the 80’s: big ballrooms full of taffeta gowns, art auctions with amazing numbers, crazy black gas guzzling limos. We made a lot of noise. Thankfully, he paid. But, he had one rule: breakfast is at 8. Now matter how late the night went, no matter how far we walked with Johnny Walker the night before, we all got […]

Continue Reading



05TH April 2013

Business Tricks - culture - Entrepreneur - Family and Friends - Leadership - Race to the Bottom - Timeless - Uncategorized

On Mentoring and Trust / When Someone looks up to you

I recently read “On Raising Boys” and it brought out some very interesting points that I think apply to start-ups as well. One of the three key phases to development for a boy is having mentors in his teen years that are outside their main family unit, that have perspective, and come with authority in some field.  He can rely on this guidance to make important decisions outside of his direct family unit while building interdependence and confidence on his own. Same goes for mentoring entrepreneurs. I recently wrote about my mantra of Discover. Develop. Deliver. Which in very broad terms means I am always looking for young-at-heart entrepreneurs with fresh ideas. But equally important is the willingness to develop themselves  their product, the message, etc. So here are some experiences I have […]

Continue Reading



Featured Tags

miles spencer blog Miles Spencer entrepreneur angel investor Vaux les Ventures Vaux digital media globalism creative destruction leadership