Road MX 2012

It’s been said several times that Guadalajara is the Mexican Silicon Valley. During the mid 90’s this was just starting out to be a catch-phrase for foreign investment in the city. It was nicknamed so because large companies like IBM and HP had settled here instead of Mexico City. Still the phrase “Mexican Silicon Valley” was something that was out of reach for the majority of the people living in the city. It was just reserved for people working at any one of these large companies.

However, thanks to technology and of course fast pace investment, this phrase is now a reality to many people, reachable for anyone with an interest in the field. It is now also called the Start Up culture. Of course, the international mecca of start ups resides and will reside for time to come in Silicon Valley itself, in California. The whole of the Bay area is to thank for this lifestyle. Yes, I call it lifestyle because not only does it affect the work place, but your whole life in a very positive way.

Today, the Start up culture is on the rise in this city. So much so, that many more start ups based in California are setting up shop here. Even better, many of the start ups created here are setting shop in California! It’s a two way process. For example, OVIA [now Wowzer] was co founded by a group of former students from ITESO who started their HR company here and then established their commercial office in Mountain View, California.

These developments have created a community of Start up junkies here in the city. Which is why “Start ups on the Road MX” was created. It has had more and more visitors and participants thanks overtime. This year, it was held at the Hilton Hotel. Created by a non profit community called Suma Valley, the event had several important speakers like Bismarck Lepe from Ooyala, Gris Cuevas from Linked in and Rodrigo Martínez from Wowzer itself.

Community Management Done Right - by Gris Cuevas
Community Management Done Right – by Gris Cuevas

Gris Cuevas’ presentation in particular was of special interest to me. She spoke about the importance of every entrepreneur and business to be aware of their community and to tend to it. Thus, Community Management isn’t just about posting on Facebook and Twitter. It’s about so much more than that. [Ask me about her PDF presentation]

Interesting talks by interesting people in a very very interesting community. Good thing the Start up culture is on the rise.

What 1 Billion Represents for Instagram & Facebook

The number “One Billion” means two key things for both Instagram and Facebook. We’ve all seen how in the past days, a company that had no defined Business Model went from zero to a $1 Billion USD worth in under 18 months. This past sentence rises several questions, so let’s take one at a time.

  • How did Instagram survive 18 months without a monetized mobile business?
Instagram has had several rounds of funding that have fed the company and its multiple developments. This is the most basic piece of information according to Crunch Base. The company has had a rather small staff, and its product has been rather attractive to investors, SO MUCH that well, Facebook just bought it.
  • Why did Facebook pay $1 Billion dollars for a company that offers an entirely free service with no monetization?
After several valuations, the company has risen its value overtime. But it’s not just about what Instagram is worth alone, but how much Facebook can take advantage of. This price tag is really more about what Facebook can do with Instagram’s product. Although they have clarified that Instagram will remain as an independent app from Facebook, with separate functionality, Facebook is in for a gold mine of data.
To further grow its databases, Facebook can sell better advertisement placements and targeting with an expanded data base. Instagram can provide Facebook with particular tastes of niche users with very peculiar activities.
  • Where is Facebook standing in terms of number of users right now?

Facebook has 901 million users at the moment, with predictions of it reaching 1 billion users before the year ends. The largest social network is still at a growing stage definitely. More numbers, more power to them.

Overall, many have protested about Instagram’s purchase, threatening to close their accounts (or have closed them altogether). Which makes sense given that it’s human nature to reject change. However, Instagram also grew 40% in number of users in a period of 30 days, give or take. In any case, the world still spins, and two great companies now operate under the same umbrella.

TEDx Zapopan, Independently Organized

My dedication to watch TED talks started at an Innovation course when I was in college. The main idea behind these talks (even mentioned in their logo) is to share ideas worth spreading. All kinds of speakers with different backgrounds, topics and fields of study have spoken here. Anything from religion, to innovation; from ancient history to modern and advanced technology. The beauty of these talks is that it recognized work done by thousands of people around the globe.

Adalberto Flores - Director of Operations Ooyala Mexico

TED started out being specially organized conferences that had tremendous logistics and organization. However, many people around the world felt like they needed such an event to be close to them, to be hosted in their cities and countries. Thus, TED developed TEDx – Independently organized events.

Darius Lau - My Ex classmate and CISCO prize winner

One of my former teachers from college, Daniel Pandza, decided to go forth with this independent license here in Guadalajara (or Zapopan, the neighboring county). At first it seemed to be a longshot project. But like all things innovative, there was disbelief at the start and complete confidence in the end.

Jorge Sánchez - Agencia Espacial Mexicana

Finally, twenty speakers from all of Mexico were gathered under one roof at Tec de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara (my alma mater) to speak about their struggle in life, and how they followed their passion to become who they are now. Every speaker that went by just made the event more and more interesting. It was as if like the passion fever was spreading from one person to the next.

Rodo Padilla - Mexican Sculptor and Designer

The room was filled with an entrepreneurial audience (yours truly included). I met many of my old classmates (it was like a mini reunion after graduation), I met with other entrepreneurs from the area, and even former co-workers. All of them had but one thing in common, passion for what they do.

Patricia García Torres - Steinway Artist

Although the event started at a little past 5pm, I was there earlier to help out with the logistics and get a bit of an inside scoop behind the scenes. One by one, the speakers came in and were redirected to the make up room (yes, believe it or not, they also have their make up privileges). I spoke with a few of them and was amazed at their current projects (many of which were not exactly spoken about during their talks).

And so, the event was a complete success and ended until 10pm. An event that we usually saw in class through the Internet, one that seemed so far away, was finally here and I was part of it. Here are some of the speakers who were present at the conference, and you can watch the entire talk here. Cheers!

The Perks of a Tech Start Up

Every industry has a particular characteristic, one that predefines what your lifestyle will be like; Wall Street has coronaries, Hollywood has endless parties and Silicon Valley has its ping pong tables. How did I know which one to pick? As much as I’ve become a ping pong lover, it wasn’t the blue table that got me hooked.

It was a slow process to be honest. I’ve always had a way to understand technology, mostly because my generation was the first one to grow up surrounded by computers. Remember the dial up connection? It meant a portal to my nickelodeon.com once upon a time. But then I was just a regular kid surfing the net for her favorite cartoons. What was the extra umph?

It wasn’t really after my year abroad that I became geek-e-fied. I started downloading apps instead of programs, more tech savvy, more industry savvy, my blog became a priority and an amateur criticism of the industry. I got fans and people debating on my ideas, I became a technorati writer and behold! The ultimate happening: Silicon Valley.

But most of all, what it was really taught me more than just fiber optics and web strategy, it has been analytical skills. How the market moves, how to judge new products and make out a respectable forecast of what will happen. It’s my career.

Once submerged in the intangibles, you look around and find that this is indeed a profitable scene; one that allows for delights to have room in your life. Truth be told? A recommended lifestyle.

Team Work: On and Off Site

Henry Ford’s individualist and task based model has been long left in the past. Today, team work is the way the modern business world goes round. Countless books have been written about working styles and interaction within a professional team in the workspace. But leaving text aside, how do you know when a team really works as such?

Many would answer by saying that if results are met, then absolutely, the team is functional. Others would prefer the good relationships coexisting within a group. Now, if both can be met, then jackpot! You’ve got a Golden Team.

But how do you personally know when your team is working? Well here go my two cents: I feel at my best when not only is my team working out nicely in the workspace, but off site as well.

That is why recreational activities outside the office, involving team members, are so important. If you can have a few laughs, share stories and generally be easy going as human beings first, then you can work much easier on site.

So far, so good. So yes, even though this may feel like a sequel to the previous article in this blog “A Working Culture Apart“, it was still important enough for me to mention. Wouldn’t you perform better knowing that on the other side of that computer or the person next to you is just as human as you are?

Google + as a Job Finder

Article first published as Google + as a Job Finder on Technorati.

Being able to interact with Opinion Leaders was never easier than it is today. Twitter started it all by allowing people to follow verified accounts of celebrities, politicians, religious personalities, and so many important people around the world. As you read your Twitter feed, you know that if you follow someone of that stature, he or she is the very person who typed that message (at least most of the time), especially if they reply to one of your tweets.

In a deeper way, the same thing happens on Google +. However, instead of micro-blogging your message you can actually have a conversation. So what are the perks more than just being able to talk directly to big names? If the conversation gets interesting enough, it will be more meaningful than linking your electronic résumé with a network of people. Potential employers or business partners can get to know you personally; know your level of knowledge and skills simply by interacting with you no matter where you are.

However, do keep in mind that not everyone can find their dream job through this channel. Not just because you still need to get invited to be part of Google +, but because certain industries just don’t get their main stream information or interaction from a social network as mentioned on MSNBC.

The article also mentions this magnificent approach of getting your voice heard as a great advantage over mutual acceptance through a social network. Both Twitter and Google + allow you to follow someone without them having to follow back. Even if it is a “one-sided conversation” you can still be seen, read and heard by that person.

Google + can really be used however you want: it can be a purely personal network, a professional one or both. Circles make it possible for you to use it for several things at the same time without them stepping on each other’s toes. So are you ready to find your dream job while you post your weekend-at-the-beach pics?

Read more: http://technorati.com/business/article/google-as-a-job-finder/#ixzz1TmxaIIhF

The 100,000,000th

Indeed we know that different social networks are at different stages on their product/service life cycle. Several videos have even suggested the idea that if Facebook were a nation, it’d be the third largest in the world with over five hundred million users. But then again, the most famous social networks are mainly used for personal relationships, personal information, friendly connections and just an informal way of being. The personal more relaxed way of being. However, it isn’t always the case.

Linked in is a professional social network born in May 2003. The eight year old network has just reached its hundred millionth user yesterday. How can we compare that number to Facebook’s unparalleled growth? I am going to go ahead and say that is much much easier for people to expose their true selves with personal relationships, pictures, information, and the like as it is for them to trust the Internet for professional interests (yes, in this day and age the evidence points to that conclusion). Or perhaps is it because Facebook has more flexibility than Linked in does?

Anyway, Linked in, in my personal opinion, offers reliable information of employees, employers and companies at large. There are several locks to make sure that the people you connect with, actually know you. When you send out a “friend” request (which actually would be colleague request) the system asks you how you know that person; you can choose that you’ve met him or her in college, an educational program, a colleague in the same company, at a conference or at the very least, to spell out their e-mail address. If and when you fail to give out the nature of your relationship, then you won’t be allowed to connect with that person. Good! Just imagine if you found Mark Zuckerberg or Carlos Slim on Linked in, everyone would be “friends” with them.

As far as results go, I’ve had plenty. I have met colleagues and business opportunities through that network. I’ve promoted this blog, my twitter account and my online resume in a more detailed manner than in my regular one-paged version for give outs. So yes, the growth may not be as crazy as Facebook’s, but in the last 2 years it has doubled what it built in the first six. More than half its growth is international (outside the US) being Brazil & Mexico with the most users in it. (Read here for full Infographic & Article http://mashable.com/2011/03/22/linkedin-surpasses-100-million-users-infographic/ )

Just think about it, what REAL business opportunities can this network bring you GLOBALLY?

 

Hedonism: The New Marriage Profile

There has certainly been a major change in lifestyles during the very young twenty first century. We all know the usuals, the visibles: working couples, house chores taken over by technology and so more time to specialize in other things. In other words, since you have more time in your hands as a couple (an educated couple that is) you become much more productive.

According to Mr. Wolfers’ opinion in the NY times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/opinion/13wolfers.html, marriage has become a luxury, and only a choice to be taken because you share tastes and hobbies with that other someone, so naturally you would want to be together per secula seculorum. He also comments that people without a college degree, although still living together as a couple, choose not to marry because it implies a long (economic) commitment. One that they have not the luxury of getting themselves into.

It makes sense if you put it under the tastes and income perspective, but still, it is a lifetime choice that has many more factors than those. Nevertheless, it is most definitely a trend that we should keep an eye on. Because, if truly marriage is the new form of hedonism, how will we adapt?

Sponsoring Nature… or the other Way Around?

When we think of sponsorships, immediately we think 2 things: some kind of scholarship or a sports/cultural event being supported by some major company or brand. For the purposes of this entry, let’s stick to the latter. Gatorade, Coca Cola, Beer Brands, etc they are always present at major events, but most of them, sporting events. It’s actually unusual now to see a big sports event without a sponsor. So, it would be safe to say that just like TV, radio, newspapers, billboards and such, sporting events are now a mass media; a cluttered media.

So what has been the new trend to try to go around all that clutter? BTL (Below The Line) advertising or promotion, even though young, has also been a great hit for the ad world. It’s “more pure” if you will. However, although there are striking examples that amaze people with the creativity invested in them (for example these: http://fiveprime.org/hivemind/Tags/advertising,btl), it’s also getting cluttered rather quickly. Time to get around that again, but how?

Recently, a paper brand has done something differently. It’s still sponsorship, but not of sports. It’s still BTL, but not some over-the-top installation somewhere. Instead, it’s something far simpler. Marcal Small Steps is sponsoring autumn leaves. Yes. You read it right, Autumn leaves; you know, the kind that fall down from trees during the Fall season (see article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/business/media/13adco.html?ref=todayspaper). Is this taking the concept of branding, advertising or marketing too far?  Actually, no.

What the brand is doing is recognizing its raw material. In fact, the brand, though sponsoring leaves, it’s also saying to be sponsored by the leaves. It’s actually a vicious circle, well, an Eco-friendly one (ring a bell to the circling arrows of recycle?) That’s the type of creativity that’s staring at us in the face, but we rarely ever see. That’s a way to “unclutter”. Sometimes the best ideas or solutions, are the simplest ones.