Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.
Sometimes all at Once.
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 […]
10TH May 2019
Angel Investor - Culture - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Leadership - Uncategorized
Introducing Incredulous… a little show about cultural shifts, discomfort and opportunity.
Over the past few months, I’ve worked with the best PR firm in the nation, Gregory FCA, to develop something we talk about at the dinner table each night. Incredulous is about culture, emerging trends, generational conflict… and some damn silly stuff we get upset about. Sometimes it’s an opportunity. Other times, it’s just something to laugh about. In this flight… For Boomers, the party never ends! Jimmy Buffett opening a Retirement Home Erasing History at Washington & Lee. Is that really what we want to do? Sign of the Times; Giuliani Gets Booed at Yankee Stadium Duh! English Teacher Corrects White House Letter Trumped; Social Media more powerful than White House visit. Teach your parents well. Mom Fired For Kid’s Instagram Antics FOMO built this. Beanie Babies Empire won’t […]
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 […]
08TH February 2019
Family and Friends - Leadership - Legends and tales - Timeless - Uncategorized
Prisoner AT War. Stoic lessons my Dad taught me.
My Father, aka Big Art, loved to teach us about perspective. He could take nearly any situation, and find some lesson, some thread of good in it. And usually a chance to learn and do better next time. He suffered hardships throughout his life, some by his own hand, but never lost that gift of self awareness and the thirst for improvement. The most extreme example he would give was about a man who would become Vice presidential Candidate under Ross Perot- James Stockdale– and the seven years he was held POW in Vietnam. AOM tels it well; Rear Admiral James Stockdale wasn’t a prisoner of war in that prison camp in North Vietnam. He was a prisoner at war. At war with his captors. At war with his own […]
03TH February 2019
Angel Investor - Entrepreneur - Leadership - sport - Timeless - Uncategorized
Communicating with teams in motion
I really enjoy mentoring start-up founders, and I’m happy to call that my avocation these days. Most, but not all, of these founders are young or younger (I took it as a compliment this week when one founder said “we could use some salt and pepper in our founder recipe”). And, with luck and hard work, some of them will grow teams in the hundreds in the coming years, though the majority will not. That’s why I was struck by this interview with LJ Spinnato, a prep school football coach who gives very few interviews, which seems counter-intuitive for a post about communication. But what LJ has done at Choate was inspiring to honing my craft, though most of my kids are a little older and wouldn’t know what “Double […]
19TH February 2018
Cuba - Family and Friends - Food - Havana Culture - Leadership - Timeless - Uncategorized
On Celebrations and Cigars
The most appreciated gift I bring home from Havana is cigars. Wrapped by the best hands in the business, they seem to imply… “party coming soon”. I’m told this by aficionados because I certainly am not one. Usually, the reason to celebrate this way is having a baby, closing a financing, manifesting an exit. Sometimes it’s a personal best that takes a lot of work and has a defined moment worth savoring. They also combine very well with Cuban rum, which isn’t a coincidence either. So here’s my offer: tell me about your recent financing, exit, acquisition, or similar entrepreneur or life triumph in 100 words or less, I’ll send you a box of the best Cohiba’s I have. I’ll do it just for the happy story.
06TH January 2018
Angel Investor - Cuba - Family and Friends - Family Office - Havana Culture - Incubator - 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, […]
01TH January 2018
Cuba - Entrepreneur - Family and Friends - Leadership - Parenting - Timeless - Uncategorized
An Entrepreneur’s Life
Honestly, it’s been hard to understand it [entrepreneurship] myself, let alone explain it to others.
20TH November 2017
Angel Investor - Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Good Story - Leadership - Parenting - 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 […]
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 […]
- 10 Things to ask before Investing with someone
- May 08, 2014
- Angel investing for Family Offices: What if you knew ‘Zuck… back then.
- July 10, 2013
- Now I really want to be like Peter Thiel
- June 11, 2016