Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.
Sometimes all at Once.
05TH April 2020
Havana Culture - Timeless - Timely
Shelter(ed) Day 5- Back to Havana
Chapter 5- The Riviera Pool Illustration- Finn, Nat, William card playing with Riviera dive in background- Ermitas Blanco Despite the late night, Finn was up early. The four-bedroom suite atop the Habana Riviera was worthy of anything he had seen in Europe or the States. And the coffee was better. Much better. With his coffee came steaming hot croissants from the Riviera bakery- yes they had their own- and a decent plate of fresh fruit. He almost didn’t want to open the paper tucked under the tray. He looked out over the Malecon to the strait and Key West over the horizon, just 90 miles away. Just a few deep-sea fishing boats on the water, but that wasn’t a giveway for either era. The cars on the Malecon were definitely […]
04TH April 2020
Adventure - Cuba - Good Story - Legends and tales - Timeless - Timely - Uncategorized
Shelter(ed) Day 4- Back to Havana
Chapter 4- The Tropicana Tables Illustration by Ermitas Blanco- Action at table five. Havana, Cuba. Sal had been sitting at the bar for awhile, when Snowball finally joined him. The “Trop” was always slow as hell between when the showgirls ended their afternoon rehearsal and the Special guests began to arrive for late dinner. That suited Sal just fine. His investigative style was “laid back nice guy,” who preferred to chum up his marks and ply them with liquor or women, while getting more information than any waterboarding had ever managed to do. He’d trained in Tampa directly under the head of the FBI Interrogation Unit before heading down to Havana on a minor assignment for the gaming commission. Turned out, he had Cuban roots in the family, but they […]
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 […]
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 […]
21TH May 2019
Cuba - Social - Timeless - Uncategorized
Old. White. Male.
I think this will become the pejorative term of the 2020 election, if not commentary on our shifting cultural landscape itself. Outside of tech, finance, and maybe horse racing, is it possible for an Old White Male to “get it” anymore? Can they even see, let alone appreciate the needs and aspirations of the rising younger masses? Can they be trusted to represent the interests of the nation’s growing youth, let alone how they think and what they prioritize? The difference may lie in maintaining a youthful outlook. When I look at some of the current front runners in the US 2020 race, I see an average age of 77. You can add Congresspersons Pelosi (79) and McConnell (77) to this list of “spring chickens- not”. Bernie Sanders – (77) […]
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 […]
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 […]
18TH April 2019
Angel Investor - Business Tricks - Family and Friends - Timeless - Uncategorized
Busy could, sometimes, just be BS
We’ve been talking an awful lot about work norms. Goldman Sachs no longer requires suits. IBM allows flex time. MasterCard permits video attendance at weekly touch base calls. This is all terribly progressive, and probably helps with attracting, retaining, and motivating A Players. But one thing remains a fallacy; the common safe place called “being busy”. Maybe it’s the old puritan work ethic. Maybe it’s from back in the days when people- most- billed by the hour. Those warriors who worked on weekends. Brought files along on vacations. Always had a conference call, or a reason to burn the midnight oil. How impressive. What a workhorse. Such a team player. An animal. We gave you a pass because you were full on, all day. Frantically moving from one thing to […]
13TH April 2019
Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Leftovers - Platforms - Timeless - Uncategorized
We are the Factory
I’ve spent the last two years super optimized on one platform- I can’t believe the increased efficiency, and the decreased anxiety of this move. I credit Don Dalrymple. First, about my work: I mentor startup founders, and I am quite active in that role. Which means I have to be able to plug and play into their systems seamlessly. I do not, hell I can not dictate which conference line to use, which product management tool, which crm, etc. I have to adapt, quickly, to whatever they choose. It used to be maddening, but I flipped that; now I enjoy the challenge of learning how they communicate by diving in quickly, so we can get to the real stuff. Which meant my stuff had to be super organized. It wasn’t. […]
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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