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13TH October 2017

Cuba - Culture - Geopolitical - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Timely - Uncategorized

Thank you, Donald 

POTUS, you made Havana mysterious again. (Havana, Cuba) Back in the day, Pan Am brought The Rat pack and friends to Havana for some of the best fun in the sun of the 20th century. Nothing since has come close, until Obama ended 55 years of Castro Curfew in 2015. Havana lit up, out of almost nowhere. Thanks to AirBnB, 497,000 Americans visited Cuba in the following year. Restaurants, music clubs, galleries, and tech began to flourish under the “small entrepreneur” permits. Flights were quick, regular, and cheap. Visas were easy to obtain. The path to progress looked pretty direct. Then, the US embassy staff in Havana was cut by half, Cubans were expelled from Washington, and warnings were made based on a mysterious sonic device. Everyone was totally confused at the […]

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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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01TH October 2017

Cuba - Explorer - Good Story - Incubator - Innovadores Foundation - Timely

What’s up with the Cuba Sonic Mystery?

(Washington, DC) I was at the WaterGate Hotel, the mecca of silly spycraft, just having a burger and catching up with John and Jono of Innovadores fame. The breadth of what their humanitarian accomplishments in two years is pretty amazing, as their regular updates will attest. It has been a breakneck sprint (relatively) since Obama loosened relations with Havana in 2015. The Foundation has sponsored three years of fantastic Cuban entrepreneurs to intern at Grand Central Tech, and everyone has returned to do good things in Cuba. Several have begun to launch businesses, and we stand ready to assist again. But recently, the US Embassy in Havana cut staff 60%, just two years after opening for the first time in 50+ years. Guidelines on doing business- mostly tourism– are expected to further curtail […]

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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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30TH April 2017

Family and Friends - Legends and tales - Parenting - Timeless - Uncategorized

Oh Father, my Father… this is your success.

I looked through some family pictures on my Birthday, and this one made me think of what my father has given me. He’s given me something more permanent than good hair, and more powerful than money. He’s given me values and meaning, though it took me years to discover that. And when I did, I was drawn to the story of what his father gave him. And the father before him, and the father before him, all the way back as far as Spencer legend will go. This is quite far when you are a Spencer, and you don’t let too many facts ruin a good story, which is the what is about to happen here… It is was actually deSpenser to start, which means the steward or butler in French. […]

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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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25TH December 2016

Angel investing - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Grand Central Tech - Leadership - Mobile - Timeless - Timely - Uncategorized - Venture Capital - Vision

Learn, or give it up to the robots

That pretty much sums up most of the 2017 resolutions I have been seeing from my friends and business relationships. Except for my Buddy Mark, who wants me to do 81 reps of different calisthenics before January 31. In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85 % of all photo paper worldwide.  Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.  What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years and, most people won’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on film again? If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” and if […]

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