Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

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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03TH February 2019

Angel Investor - Entrepreneur - Football - Leadership - sport - Timeless - Uncategorized - Vision

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 […]

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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 September 2018

500 Start Ups - Angel Investor - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Football - Timeless - Uncategorized

Closing? Should be called Opening…

Closing is the most worst name in the financing dictionary. I know, it’s the day or week when money changes hands. Back in the day, Wall Street-ers would hold a dinner and, after the wire went out (or came it) at 4:31pm everyone would head to the bar to celebrate. But the world of start ups, and start up financing is so different! Funnel and Filter – for years, I have had the good fortune of a funnel of opportunities that keep coming my way, and I’m very grateful for every one. I’ve always followed the lead of [Bear Bryant from this epic post]- be nice, be helpful, and be quick about it. When it’s time to apply the filter, I stick to a couple of basic theses described on the […]

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19TH February 2018

Cuba - Entrepreneurs - 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.  

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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.

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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 […]

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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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