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About

red right fox is an aron solomon thing

The term "red right fox" is part of the legendary West Coast Offense in football. Key components to the West Coast Offense are precision-timed passing, variable offensive formations, and utilizing the best of each player's skills. This offense takes as its foundation the following realities: the game is fast, we need to be flexible in embracing change, be willing to mix things up, and always (always ALWAYS) play to our strengths.

I see life and business the same way.

So red right fox is an idea, a place for some of my things to reside that will go far beyond the old aronsolomon.com into something newly unfolding. This isn't a business site, nor is it a personal one. Where my old aronsolomon.com site (which I had for very close to a decade) was, I think, a very limited site, red right fox is a space for ideas to seed and grow.

Welcome to red right fox.

what red right fox stands for

At its core, red right fox stands for value and authenticity.

Far too often, businesses spend ridiculous amounts of money creating pointless illusions. What they should be doing is creating much better experiences for the people who use what they make. It's obvious, but I think that if businesses focus on making things that are great, then people will want to keep engaging with their brands.

So, car companies should make safer, more comfortable, cars that we actually love to drive. Schools should offer better quality education that is so interesting that students will want to engage with the school on a deeper level and learn more. And better mousetraps should be built every day that look cool and catch mice with, well, elan. Yeah. Elan.

aron solomon bio (the third-person version)

Techvibes described Aron Solomon in this way: "In building both his career and his image, Solomon has put in his time. He might be one of North America's foremost thinkers in education innovation."

A global strategist, entrepreneur, and advisor, Aron Solomon has close to thirty years of experience at the intersection of education and innovation. Having done much of what one can actually do in education - from teaching and coaching sports to fundraising, student recruitment, institutional strategy, and actually running schools - Aron was awarded a Ford Fellowship in 2003. As his leadership project, he launched the first independent school in-house consulting business, which became profitable in its first year.

Soon after, Aron became COO of a very early global e.learning initiative. In this role, he established and communicated a new online brand throughout the world with a focus on India and China. He was also the CEO and first employee of THINK Global School, the most innovative high school in the world, where students study in three international cities each academic year.

Aron is a serial entrepreneur who has launched everything from the first luxury-branded education pop-up, to a global education design studio, to a thriving innovation consultancy that imparts the attributes, values, and techniques of Silicon Valley to audiences around the world. Aron describes himself, ultimately, as "one who could never even consider doing something that doesn't at least aim at global change."

He holds an undergraduate degree in political theory, a graduate degree and teaching certificate in english and economics, and a juris doctor degree. He has also completed a certificate from the Kellogg School of Management in Chicago - where he had the great good fortune to be taught leadership by Dr. Deepak Chopra - and attended the Master Class from Sweden's Hyper Island.

A final point of note, Aron has traveled 3,000,000 miles in the business of education x innovation, including 55 trips to mainland China. He has accumulated - and used - a lot of Star Alliance airline points and eaten far too many flavorless chicken dishes. 

and the stuff that's very now and very happening (first-person version)

I spend my days as a Senior Advisor at the world's preeminent innovation center - MaRS in Toronto.  There, I play a leadership role in one of the world's largest and most important education technology and innovation practices, which I helped build. Incredibly good luck, being able to work with around 200 EdTech startups. I also work outside the education space daily, advising a wide range of innovators and startups in businesses ranging from pets (I'm a huge dog person), art, mobile, and the internet of things.

Over the past few years, I've been included in some truly amazing and inspirational things. I'm often asked to help with a huge range of initiatives. I have a serious problem in that I find it almost impossible to say no to great things, which include:

  • judging and doing pitch prep at Startup Weekend
  • judging the Milken family foundation/University of Pennsylvania business planning competition
  • judging the $5M North43 startup competition
  • regular engagements at universities around the world to speak about innovation and startups
  • talks on how to start up a startup
  • mentorship at startup accelerators, including FounderFuel, JOLT, and INcubes
  • delivering workshops on innovation for educators at venues such as SXSW
  • a deep commitment to the "rust belt" cities of the US, which will be the key to any economic resurgence
  • regular involvement in the startup communities of Toronto, Montreal, Buffalo, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Beijing

Finally, the main reason the blog here at red right fox is far less active than it once was is because I'm a regular contributor to sites and publications such as Techvibes, Betakit, Medium (where my piece on how Uber does business in a natural disaster was one of the most popular pieces in 2013 with over 100,000 reads), the MaRS blog, and more. And, yes, I'm actually (and very slowly) working towards a book about startups, innovation, and the like.

Work

aron Solomon

I don't like it when people ask me what I do

My professional life is global, diverse, and, in some fundamental ways, I think, at least one paradigm for what more work lives will look like in the future. It's intentional, never boring, and ever-expanding (though the number of hours in a day never seem to expand along with it). It's never easy to explain, which is why I usually answer the "what do you do" query with "I do stuff".

 

alignment

The nuts and bolts of what I do is I'm an advisor, friend, educator, serial entrepreneur, lawyer, confidante, occasional thinker and always doer, among many other things. I'm someone who has become increasingly connected to the idea that when we create opportunities for ourselves, we need to bring others along. There's no greater professional joy for me than building a team and seeing individual and collective confidence grow. It's a life-changing thing for everyone.

I'm also very committed to the idea that what has changed so dramatically in the world over the past decades is the lack of basic decency businesses and people in positions of power far too often show to employees. I love the Swedish term "co-worker" because it conveys a sense that we're in this thing together. I have been known to bemoan the lack of human decency in the workplace, how people are far too often seen as simply as an inanimate commodity. It's not an exaggeration - so much of what we're dealing with in today's global economy is a product of that mindset. I don't consider myself an anything-IST, but I guess that this is a very humanist view that people should be more than things.

So, I think that I have always stood for something greater than just generating revenue for my clients though, fortunately, I'm known to do that exceedingly well. There's always a bigger human picture to consider and balance if a business and the people who work as part of it are to be in alignment.

opinions

I have been fortunate enough to work with Aron on a variety of projects. One of which is our weekly podcast that we co-host together. We've been doing the podcast since July, 2011 and cover start ups and entrepreneurship, among many other topics. There's no doubt Aron is one of the sharpest people I know in that world. Aron has also played an active role in helping me with some of my own endeavors. I have appreciated Aron's help, and really enjoy working with him and hearing his perspective of things. - Mark Rabins, CEO, Mobilogue


Aron has been instrumental in helping me define and refine my path over the last year and a half. His background as an educational entrepreneur, from heading up strategy for Appleby in Canada to launching THINK Global School -- the world's first traveling high school -- is extremely relevant for his work with me. Aron's international perspective is always useful and has helped me understand how I can have the biggest impact on the world.

As an advisor and friend Aron has supported me in hard times and challenged me in high times. He has been with me through tough decisions and provided excellent feedback on negotiating. Aron has given me feedback that has helped me refine my brand and become and internationally known speaker. I've now spoken at conferences like TED 2012 in Long Beach all the way to conferences in Doha, Qatar.
- Dale J. Stephens, Thiel 20 Under 20 Fellow, author, speaker.


Many people have common sense. Aron Solomon has it, too (no shit!). This trait of his, however, is at a level that not many people can ever achieve. His common sense is upgraded to the max, and he is able to exract info from smallest things, to separate truth from the rest. He is a walking Bullshit Detector, if you will.

That is why I find talking to him so full of discoveries. Discoveries about myself, my communications, my ideas, my strategies, my life. He can always tell when something does not sound right, and point it out to you in way that is neither too offensive, nor overly friendly. Straight-Up.

So, thank you very much for directing my flows into the right directions, and helping me see when I am purposely or subconsciously trying to lie to myself or others. World needs more people like you. - Ivan Surnin, Yekatrinburg, Russia and The University of Waterloo


I saw the belief in Aron's eyes when I first described our vision for reforming the way legal help is delivered. His conviction in wanting to help us renewed my own belief that our team had what it took to make it happen. At the same time, Aron never holds back in giving his own views, which, as a founder and CEO, is exactly what I need and have learned to encourage.

His is a passion born from having travelled, seen and felt the needs of people around the world, first hand. His experiences as an educator and mentor to students and entrepreneurs bring color and humanity to all his advice. - Tony K. Lai, Attorney, Oxford University, co-Founder LawGives


I first met up with Aron around 2007, something. Back then, we were both launching new, truly innovative high schools. Since then, we’ve had intense contact over the years regarding issues connected to leadership, global entrepreneurship, branding, marketing, communication and school development. The last couple of years we've had several mutual projects and ideas cooking, as well as a very valuable, ever ongoing-relationship on a advice-giving basis. I have always met a well prepared, highly effective and driven entrepreneur - always focusing on the important questions, smoothly avoiding the much lighter later-to-come details. Aron is world-class Canadian motivator, an idea-driven facilitator and a great coffee-loving edu-visionaire, always making important things move forward. - Hans Renman, CEO, Tänk Om, world-renowned speaker.


Despite Aron's very busy schedule, he always managed to be extremely prompt to our unexpected requests for advice while working at TheGlint. His experience helped us take a more balanced perspective on certain issues we might have otherwise given an undue importance thereby reducing pressure and allowing us to allocate mental resources elsewhere. But what made the biggest impression on me was Aron's ability to listen to your problems and act upon his compassion in moving ways that made you feel valued while motivating you for the emotional roller-coaster rides of entrepreneurial life. - Alexandros Pagidas, Philosopher, Entrepreneur, co-founder, The Glint


Of the many moments Aron has provided insight and expertise there is one I recall with particular fondness. When I needed urgent advice regarding my startup Aron happened to be halfway around the world in Sweden. Yet he immediately responded and was ready for a Skype chat at 7am to help guide me through the challenge.

This openness and availability to others is one of the things I most admire about Aron. Time and time again I have seen Aron open his heart, lend his time, and, most importantly, offer his belief in people who are pursuing their passion to create positive change in the world. - Seth Harris, Project Breaker.


Once every while you reach out to someone you think you should meet. This person has expertise, connections, and a unique skillset at the intersection of law, education, and entrepreneurship. And a talking puppet on his website. This person introduces you to people and ideas that inspire you, challenge you, and help refine your vision for an emerging market.

But it wasn't until after I'd met with Aron Solomon that I learned the real reason you want to meet him. You want to meet Aron Solomon because he's a mensch. He has integrity, he's wicked smart, and he cares about learning, young people, and the sort of entrepreneurship that will make their world a better place. You'll be glad you had coffee with him. - Dr. David Preston


Aron is a great support in all of my ventures, always with valuable feedback and advice. On a personal level I find Aron a true inspiration who always gives me energy to continue to to grow as an individual and entrepreneur. - Petter Palander, CEO and Founder, ambadoo

Speaking

in the education field, I speak about:

  • How to build great private and charter school brands.
  • Creating new revenue streams for your school through consulting and innovation.
  • Motivating and training the leaders of today and tomorrow.

in the corporate field, I speak about:

  • Change management in its various shapes and textures.
  • The new world of work and how to build and lead a global team.
  • Team building and motivation through personal challenge and incentives.

here is a clip of my TEDxAtlanta talk - please advance to 10:30 to view my section:                          

here is an excerpt from a June 2012 talk I gave to a group of community leaders and entrepreneurs in Chicago:

Blog

most recent post

The Path to Del Rey

BY Aron Solomon

On January 14, 2012, American singer Lana Del Rey took to the stage of Saturday Night Live to perform two songs from her debut release, “Born to Die.”

An internet meme soon emerged that it did not go well.

A meme is like a virus. It is a social idea or packet of culture that passes quickly from one person to another. Here, Ms. Del Rey was performing on a famous international television show two weeks before the release of her debut, major-label album.

The vast majority of Saturday Night Live viewers in mid-January 2012 were unfamiliar with Ms. Del Rey’s work, history, style of performance, and vocal abilities. The meme emerged that she was a terrible singer and performer and became, at least in part, the reason she postponed a planned tour for that winter.

The reality is that many, including this author, believe Ms. Del Rey to be one of the most unique, creative, and talented individuals of this relatively new millennium. She can, in fact, sing. Live. Very well. Her performance on SNL was seen by a minority of people (+1 here) as brilliant, deeply stylized, definitively cool, and different from the canned detritus that 95% of SNL musical guests bring to the evening.

But that vocal minority were dismissed as apologists and became victims of what memes do best.

Around the same time as Ms. Del Rey’s debut, a meme was born around a quasi-private social network that was built a year before. It was named Path and allowed users to post photos of people, places, and things and, if they so desired, make these available on open social networks such as Twitter and The Facebook. Path itself is closed, accessible only by inviting friends, who must accept in order to see your Path stream, and vice-versa.

In an era of open, Path is closed. Yet it has managed to become a wildly popular application.

Or has it?

Path was founded by Dave Morin who, in the most rational light, might be viewed as the antithesis of Ms.Del Rey. An alumni of the relatively relatively early Facebook crowd, Mr. Morin has been superb fodder for techno-cultural pundits, who have opined that he has a propensity to be arrogantdesperate, and borderline deranged.

So the story of Ms. Del Rey and Mr. Morin is one of two fictive cultural memes, using the vehicle of the internet, pointing in opposite directions, obviating reality, and propagating byte-sized digestible packets.

And that’s a very dangerous thing. It’s dangerous because its greatest application is far outside the space where one person invents a type of mobile video game while another sings about them. We live in an era where the paucity of truth is weighed on the same scale as the plenty of deception. Shifty data mining, wars based on illusion, and social sharing devices with nefarious geneses and scarier potential applications are the stuff of memes today.

Perhaps the memes we can identify are propagated to divert our attention from the true nature of things. We immerse ourselves in ideas planned to divert us from a deeper reality, whether that is the talent of an entertainer, the success of an application, or, in many cases, the stagnation in the direction, fabric, and intention of a culture.

10 most recent posts

Coffee

I'm crazy about coffee. And I have these odd coffee rules that I follow (or they follow me - not sure):

1. While I probably sip from 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day, my total consumption is one full cup. Okay, it would be a pretty big cup. I estimate that I actually consume 16-18 ounces of coffee in a given day.

2. I don't eat pastries, donuts, and the like with my coffee. While those may be wonderful things (to some people), I like my coffee solo. And black. And strong.

2(a). There is one thing I've always loved with coffee but never consume it with others because it's not readily available in coffee shops. That is herring. If we are good friends, you may see this happen one day. Be prepared.

3. Sitting in a great (or even good) cafe and drinking a cup of coffee is one of the few opportunities in a day or week to spend time with me when my head isn't buried in like six things at once.

4. I don't charge you money to have coffee with me. I know people who charge for coffee. I think that's seriously messed up. If I don't want to have coffee with you (and vice-versa) then we won't. If I do, why would I want money?

5. One recent caveat. I used to have more time for coffee. My schedule these days pretty much books up like a month in advance. That said, I'm as open as always to the right meeting - we just might need a little more time to schedule it.

So, please scroll down just a bit to the "say hi" section and send me an email.

Say Hi

I'm actually remarkably friendly.