Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

07TH March 2019

AppTaris - Baseball - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneurs - Family and Friends - Legends and tales - Uncategorized

Working from Home has its rewards.

Working from Home today… LOL I was working in Tampa last week, visiting a dear friend and successful founder (same guy). Naturally, we chose to meet at the Yankee game. Double bonus- I got to see my hometown Pirates play. Two things struck me as worth mentioning (the score was not one of them). It’s amazing to me how much Hope there is at the beginning. Spring training is a great example of that. Pitchers and catchers report in mid-March, fully expecting to make the team and to make a difference. Teams are there a week or two later, and scrimmages and spring games begin shortly after- probably too shortly thereafter. The weather is great, players smile and joke around. Veterans grab gloves and hats for rookies stranded at second and run them […]

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08TH February 2019

Creative problem Solving - Family and Friends - Good Story - Race to the Bottom - Social - Timeless - Uncategorized

QED and the Bottom Line

I really can’t tell this story any better, and if I did, I would ignore the lesson that the story teaches. So here it is: Near the end of the Eisenhower Administration, the speechwriter James C. Humes was asked to help the president write a short address. After submitting a draft, Humes was called to Eisenhower’s office to discuss. As soon as he stepped into the room, he could tell that Eisenhower had a problem with what he’d written. “What’s the QED* of this speech?” Eisenhower said to him with only a little patience. Humes was confused. “QED,” he said, “what’s that?” “Quod Erat Demonstrandum,” Eisenhower barked. “Don’t you remember your geometry? What’s the bottom line? In one sentence!” Eisenhower was a brilliant man, but a simple and a straightforward one […]

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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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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: […]

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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 […]

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11TH August 2017

Angel Investor - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Platforms - Portfolio - The Way - Timeless - Uncategorized

Vaux Founder Profiles: Brandon DuFour of SHRPR

(Watertown, CT) Today I am talking with Brandon DuFour of SHRPR, fka Next Street, a tech platform for in-person learning driven by personal improvement and curiosity. He also invented the verb “decal-ing”… This is part of an ongoing series of rambling interviews loosely with Founders in the Vaux portfolio structured as five questions. Don’t miss Lilly B. from Fashion Snoops and Tom O’Reilly of Aptaris. Question #1; The Entrepreneur’s DNA Miles: So Brandon, I’m really interested in how you grew up as a kid in your formative years, and what DNA you had in your family or in your neighborhood that contributed to you wanting to be an entrepreneur. Brandon:  So it’s in my blood and in my DNA on both sides of my family. So on my father’s side, […]

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07TH August 2017

Angel Investor - AppTaris - Creative problem Solving - Family Office - Good Story - Leadership - Legends and tales - Portfolio - Timeless - Timely

Founder Profile #3 – Tom O’Reilly of Aptaris

(Tampa, FL) My sit-down with Lilly from Fashion Snoops was so much fun I decided to continue with more; it’s one of the most rewarding parts of my work because I believe the talent is in there, somewhere, and it’s just my job to ask questions that bring it to the surface. In the case of Tom O’Reilly, we have an epic story of a scrappy entrepreneur just figuring out how to literally rebuild an airplane while he was flying it. Literally, another story of “Hold my beer, I got this”. So how did it happen? Well, he stuck to the values he learned as a little boy; use the tools of the day to stay in close contact with your customers. Here are Tom’s 5 Questions Question #1; Where’s the DNA from? Miles: Tom, […]

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23TH June 2017

Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Fashion Snoops - Timely - Uncategorized

Founder Profiles- Lilly B.- Fashion Snoops

As an angel/operator (new nomenclature, old practice) I (happily) spend a LOT of my time mentoring CEO’s in the Vaux portfolio; it is truly one of the most rewarding parts of my work. I often say the talent is in there, somewhere, and it’s just my job to ask questions that bring it to the surface. With Lilly Berelovich, the talent doesn’t hide much. I sat down with her recently to talk about the mega-trend in our industry, a/k/a “the retail apocalypse”. Because even as creative destruction wreaks havoc, it builds new leaders. Fashion Snoops is emerging as one of them. Here’s a great video of Lilly to explain all that, and here are my five questions for Lilly: Question #1: Is the educated consumer is now the scary-educated consumer? Miles: […]

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16TH May 2017

Creative problem Solving - Fashion Snoops - Timely - Uncategorized

Opportunity and the Retail Apocalypse

Alexa- I need to reorder my shirts. Make it so. No more chilling words could be spoken to an outdated- one might say outmoded- industry. It might as well be a eulogy to Fashion Avenue. Vaya con Dios, Garmentos. You had flair. There have been nine retail bankruptcies in 2017—as many as all of 2016. J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears have each announced more than 100 store closures. Sports Authority has liquidated, and Payless has filed for bankruptcy. Last week, several apparel companies’ stocks hit new multi-year lows, including Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle, and Ralph Lauren announced that it is closing its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, one of the several brands to abandon that iconic thoroughfare. From what I see, it happened in five subtle steps. Here […]

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25TH December 2016

Angel investing - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Grand Central Tech - Leadership - Mobile - Timeless - Timely - Uncategorized - Venture Capital - Vision

Learn, or give it up to the robots

That pretty much sums up most of the 2017 resolutions I have been seeing from my friends and business relationships. Except for my Buddy Mark, who wants me to do 81 reps of different calisthenics before January 31. In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85 % of all photo paper worldwide.  Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.  What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years and, most people won’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on film again? If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” and if […]

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