Archive for category This doesn’t need a category

Idle toughts on a Thursday afternoon

  1. Will Apple kill AppleTV if the iPad lives up to its hype and becomes an important part of the “digital livingroom”?
  2. Will Google kill Google Wave if Buzz in Gmail proves to be the chosen tool for social communication of the average Google user?
  3. I’m definitely no environmental expert, but doesn’t the snowpocalypse kind of deny the whole theory of global warming? UPDATE: I was referring to the catastrophic discourse of global warming, as explained by Bjørn Lomborg. You don’t need to be an environmental expert to know that there’s something wrong with our climate.

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What is a decade?

In these first few hours of the new year I want to write down some thoughts that have been percolating into my mind regarding the extension of time that finished yesterday in the form of a decade. And I reckon that this is the first time in my life that I can acknowledge that a decade has passed in front of my eyes. I can remember when it started and I can recall every year of it (unlike the 90s decade, which resides still a bit blurry in my mind).

So, what is a decade anyway? Well, here are a few facts I’ve come across these last days since I’ve been thinking about this (just the numerological, round aspect of a decade amazes me):

  • A decade is half of the time the Simpsons and Achtung Baby have been around. It’s the time it took the Beatles to reach the peak of their career since they first started playing.
  • As Gladwell describes in Outliers, a decade is roughly what it takes to accumulate 10,000 hours practicing a given discipline, which in turn will make you an expert or erudite in it.
  • A decade is what it took me to complete all the studies that I was destined to do in my life (my first semester in college started exactly 10 years ago and I finished grad school only a few months ago).
  • I can also imagine that a decade is a fair estimate of the time it takes to actually accomplish something significant when working for a single organization. I keep asking myself whether I will be of the “decade type” and in which company will it be. What will be that substantial change that I will steer inside that company? In any case, I hope to find hints of this soon.
  • A decade is a lot of time but it’s also merely one tenth (roughly) of the time we’ll all live.

Today it’s the beginning, which is the end, which is the beginning of a decade. What do you think of it? Of the one past and the one starting? Any decade-ish thoughts?

And FYI, the decade commonly referred to as the “two thousands” ended on December 31st, 2009.

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My Favorite Stuff in 2009

Before this year ends and we embark on our long drive tomorrow from the Rhine-Main area to the Austrian Alps, I want to wrap up this post I had in the oven for some time.

It’s merely a recollection of my favorite stuff in this very significant year in my life. I hope you can start something with it.

  1. YouTube video that I enjoyed watching the most: SOUR ‘日々の音色 (Hibi no neiro)’ is the most creative, complex and entertaining piece of musical footage that I’ve seen. And it’s a crowdsourced video, which made me very happy.
  2. YouTube video that made me laugh the most: We must have watched this poor drunk Mexican (aka “El Canaca”) over a million times and cracked every time we did. Probably overrated in Mexico but we had one helluva time with it.
  3. My favorite song was definitely Lizstomania by Phoenix. Not a lot to say here, just that I absolutely love Phoenix.
  4. On the same note, my favorite album in 2009 was Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.
  5. My favorite movie in 2009 is “Inglourious Basterds” (and I say “is” instead of “was” because it was not only my favorite movie in 2009 but became my favorite movie of all times; Tarantino just keeps raising the bar for me). Here’s a piece I wrote after I saw it. In second place is “Up in the Air”, which I thought it was exquisite and I seriously predict that it will win the Oscar for Best Picture in February.
  6. My favorite tweet in 2009:
  7. The most important tweet in 2009 (and probably the most important one I’ll write in my life):
  8. Favorite picture (taken by myself) this year is this one or this other one. Both were taken during a trip to Cartagena, Colombia. The conference I attended there and the trip in general are also two of the highlights of my year.

Now, on to work on my new year’s resolutions. Post to follow.

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I can still remember the smell of things that morning of August 13th, 2007 when I first entered Olin Hall at Babson. Things were so strange and new, so simple but inexplicably complicated. I had absolutely no idea what I was about to experience, the level I was about to perform at and the people I was destined to meet and engage with in meaningful relationships. I had absolutely no idea where lessons would take me, what take-aways would stick in my mind and what skills I was about to develop. Looking back, having no expectations was a clever thing to do. Babson has literally blown my mind.
Today I wrapped up my MBA. I had my last class, did my last presentation in front of the class, submitted my last self-evaluation. Two years of this deserves a larger report but I reckon that this is a blog post and I use it just to leave a statement, a short testimonial.
On a more personal note, I started the MBA being freshly wed and I finish it being a dad, a husband and an entrepreneur.

Looking forward to what the next months have in store for me.


Google’s Design Mantra

Writing a paper on Google and Innovation (I know, what a strange combination, right?) I find myself continuously amazed by how the company lives by the following 2 rules when it comes to product design and development and how positive it turns out every time:

  1. “Ubiquity first, revenues later”
  2. “Usefulness first, usability later”

Love it.


2009 Resolutions

The taxi left us on the wrong end of the Piazza Navona. We would have the decadent 14-course final dinner of the year and we would celebrate the beginning of 2009 at the restaurant “4 Collone”, which was on the south end of the piazza. As we strolled through the magnificent place, my wife and I took the opportunity to reflect upon the ending year and our resolutions for the new one, the highly anticipated 2009.
Here a brief summary on the things I’m planning to accomplish during this starting year:

  • blog more
  • eat less carbs
  • come May, get that perfect job that I would do even without a paycheck
  • spend all the time I possibly can with my son
  • read much more
  • travel more by car
  • go to the opera 
  • finish a great last semester at Babson
  • do more finance-related stuff
  • get tickets for the South Africa WorldCup in 2010 

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208 and 168 days

Mondays nights are usually the nights I end up dreaming and speaking in my sleep about numbers and balance sheets after a late class of Entrepreneurial Finance. The takeaway from that class is always very straightforward: Entrepreneurs don’t have to be accountants in order to see financial statements from arms-length and be able to perceive uses, sources and status of capital and hence be able to conclude what’s wrong or right about the business. Our faculty for this course insists on neglecting the use of spreadsheets and calculators, he wants common and rapid sense when looking at numbers in financial statements. Gut-driven entrepreneurial finance. Love it.

So Mondays are always days filled with numbers and today was not the exception: I received 2 emails that had a number in the first sentence and that together give a simple summary of my life these days: 208 days until graduation and 168 days until my wife’s due date (the latter arrived in my inbox from The former was from the Center for Career Development of Babson, sharing with us all the open positions and job-seeking resources that are available to us…and scaring the crap out of the entire Class of 2009 at the same time. The second email, I must say, provided comfort, excitement and joy. I can’t wait until the cold New England winter is over and I can greet my son/daughter into this world.

In case you were wondering, in my own scared-to-death-because-of-the-economic-meltdown job search process, things are progressing. At least I know where my passion is inclining me to apply: Apple, Facebook, Google, Digg, AT&T and Netflix are on my list as of today. Let’s see what happens.

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This is literally the first “Hello World” post I’ve written in my life. And it comes to life to start this blogging effort that will let me capture what it is that is happening in this very important phase of my life (and hopefully capture many readers in the process also).

In spite of the fact that my mother tongue is Spanish and I’m a Mexican citizen (quite proudly), I’ll mostly blog in English for three reasons: First, I live in the US right now and the people that are likely to read me don’t necessarily speak Spanish. Second, the Spanish-speakers that are most likely to end up reading this stuff are likely fluent in English and it’ll do them good to read more English. Finally, I need to get up to speed with my written English because the grades of my second year as an MBA will greatly depend on final papers and long deliverables.

Eso no quita que de vez en cuando postee algo en español que tenga interés específico para hispano-parlantes o mexicanos (al grito de guerra). Especialmente sobre asuntos de la “blogosfera” o de la política latinoamericana.

You’ll notice that the headings in this site are in English, Spanish and German. This is to stress the fact that I speak all three languages and that I grew up learning from all three cultures and idiosyncrasies. I’m a proud tri-cultural being that everyday embraces all three languages, weltanschauungs and cultures. It is less likely, however, that I’ll blog in German…sometimes I’ll link to stories in German or throw in a quote like this one:

Man muß einfach reden, aber kompliziert denken – nicht umgekehrt -Franz Josef Strauß

I hope that you will find something of interest in this set of words and online situations. 

Yours in blogging innovation,