Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

25TH July 2019

Family and Friends - Good Story - Legends and tales - Timeless - Uncategorized - Vision

Squaring the Curve – A Quality Life Right Through the Finish…

My father sold life insurance. Actually, people said they bought life insurance from Big Art. He didn’t so much sell it. He did this by asking questions and listening empathetically. How old are you today? Where do you work? Tell me about your family. Does your spouse work? How many kids? Where are they in school. What sports do they play? Do you play with them? What other activities interest you? How much does it cost you to live here? What do you want to be doing later in life? Do you want to retire someday? Where and how? What do you really love about life? And so on and so on. He insisted on doing it at the kitchen table, with life going on all around. That was the […]

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12TH July 2019

culture - Good Story - Timeless - Uncategorized

You can take the boy out of the neighborhood, but never the neighborhood out of the boy…

My boyhood home recently came up for sale. That would be 113 Windy Ghoul Drive in Beaver, PA. Flipping through the pics- which show a house virtually untouched (!) since we sold it in 1974- I was reminded of how much an impact my neighborhood had on me. I could see my bedroom, and the front yard where I played endless baseball. I could see the pool where we swam until our fingers looked like raisins. The wall where my Mom’s lilacs framed the garden that provided us with so many fresh vegetables. The terraced lawns my dad loved and I despised, because half my allowance was dependent on mowing the eastern quarter. The roof where we climbed and played tag. The piano room where my sisters practiced endlessly (and […]

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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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08TH April 2019

Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Food - Good Story - Incredulous - Timeless - Uncategorized

Avocados also come with Values!

Entrepreneurs are mad for Avocados- in shakes, on toast, even guacamole. it’s perfect as protein, and even better as a value reminder. Yes, true! I caught Seth’s Godin mention the Avocado principle recently: it’s a well cited mantra in the Bay and especially at 500 where I learned so many incubator scale tricks. It goes something like this: If you wait until you really want an avocado, the market won’t have any ripe ones. You need to buy them in advance. But… If you eat an avocado that’s not quite ripe, you won’t enjoy it. AND, you won’t have a chance to enjoy it tomorrow, when it would have been perfect if you had only waited. If you live your life based on instant gratification and little planning, you’ll either never have […]

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29TH March 2019

Baseball - culture - Good Story - Parenting - Social - sport - Timeless

Ichiro is Life Well Played.

I like to write about baseball in spring. It reminds me of life and life lessons. Ichiro played a final game in Tokyo this week as the Mariners opened their season in Japan. It was fitting that he got to go out that way, to adoring fans, on the Island where he began his journey. A journey in which he squeezed out of his baseball body and life every ounce that could be squeezed. His dedication and discipline was amazing, but up close, it’s been said he almost looked like a prisoner. He had been playing baseball for 42 of his 45 years. And there’s the rub; he has made no bones about the tortuous training regimen his father forced upon him.. beginning at age three… making him at once […]

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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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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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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 […]

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