Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

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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 The Way

(Watertown, CT) Today I am talking with Brandon DuFour of The Way, 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 […]

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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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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 No more chilling words could be spoken to an outdated- one might say outmoded- industry.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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07TH March 2017

Good Story - Leadership - Legends and tales - Timeless - Uncategorized

Gladiator is a love story

I like to write about being a man’s man, maybe because I think it’s a lost art today, and it shouldn’t be. Charlemagne had it. So did Bonaparte, despite his complex. Robert E. Lee makes the list. Winston Churchill for sure. But examples of this behavior are so singular today they deserve calling out, even if they only lived on a screen and 17 years ago at that. I remember seeing the movie in Ohio with a friend, and it was so impactful. Which is why today I write about Maximus… “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife… (you know the rest) […]

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11TH June 2016

Entrepreneur - Good Story - Leadership - Race to the Bottom - Timely - Uncategorized

Now I really want to be like Peter Thiel

I’ve taken a moment to think about the gawker/Hulk Hogan verdict, and the much bigger message behind it. Here’s my take on the backstory… If being gay means…demonstrating that actions have consequences, then I’m with Peter. I have experienced so much of this in the past five years, and it nearly make me sick up, as TEL would say. After a morally bankrupt act is committed, the refrain “that wasn’t the intent” , or “you’re being too sensitive” seems to follow in lock step. Thiel seems to have once again linked the intent and the impact such that the perp could not escape the consequences. And I love it. If being gay means… “when you have, give”…  then I want to be as gay as Peter. Call it the digital […]

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02TH June 2016

Creative problem Solving - Culture - Timely - Vision

My Buddies from the Future, Snoops

Ok, most of my jeans are cuffed and I often show off some hot socks or bare ankles, depending on the season. Where did that all come from? Well, I recently found out. I have often said, when asked what I do, “I try to visit the future, and build what’s missing”. This ends up just confusing most people. And the fact I am more often wrong than right, statistically, doesn’t help much. But recently, I was introduced to Lilly & the team at Fashion Snoops by a dear friend (I credit the connection to my two year old). I’m in heaven, up ’til now anyways. Snoops (it’s not just about fashion anymore- it’s cars, kids, sports, hotel lobbies) culls the inputs of hundreds of “snoops” spread across the globe, looking for trends […]

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20TH May 2016

Cuba - Culture - Havana Culture - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Timely

Oh, the things we take for granted…

I flew to San Fran this week, and back, hardly missing any time on wifi while in the air. I should be grateful for that. Meanwhile, in Havana, people struggle to get online for a few minutes, but when they do…  they are transformed. When I compare the two expectations, our and theirs, I recall a great bit from Louis CK about the hardships we “think” we endure, like flying through the air 500 miles and hour, in a chair, surfing the web and doing work.  “New York to SanFran used to take people 30 years, and half the people would die with an arrow in their neck”. Now, if we don’t board priority, we don’t get our luggage in the overhead bins *sigh*. Meanwhile, in Cuba, people take nothing for granted. […]

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04TH May 2016

Creative problem Solving - Cuba - Explorer - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns

I’d like to see what $40k clothes look like…

…Said my favorite designer in Havana yesterday, poignantly nailing the depth of the gulf between Cuban and American cultures. Idania, founder of a Design shop named Clandestina, may have been thinking what I thought; that blouse is like…166 years average salary in Cuba. And she actually said it! Chanel rolled in to Havana yesterday, on the heels of Usher, the Stones, Obama, Conan, and of course the Innovadores. No word yet on Britney or the Kardashians. And while everyone is taking inspiration from Cuban colors and culture, precious few are making something of the same in a way that benefits the Cubans themselves. Obviously, the market for Chanel blouses is a bit thin in Havana, where the average salary is $20.  And while the world has declared Cuba hot hot hot, […]

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