Archive for julio 2008

En al ultima edicion del Economist aparece un articulo sobre Endeavor, aqui esta la transcripcion.

De paso les comento que el 13 de Agosto es la cena de gala (si alguno quiere ir que me avise que le vendo entradas), y el 14 la conferencia!


Spreading the gospel

From The Economist print edition

An effort to promote entrepreneurship in the developing world is bearing fruit



Spoleto juggles with its strategy

EARLIER this year Mario Chady faced a crucial decision. Having built up Spoleto, his chain of casual Italian restaurants, to 150 outlets in Brazil, and opened in Mexico and Spain, the time had come for Mr Chady, based in Rio de Janeiro, to choose between expanding into America or putting the idea on hold for at least 18 months. To help make up his mind, he asked for help from an organisation called Endeavor, which had chosen him as a potential “high-impact entrepreneur” in 2003.

Endeavor is a non-profit group based in New York dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship in emerging economies. It had already supplied three teams of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help Mr Chady craft a strategy for America. But as he spoke to members of the Endeavor network, ranging from leading Brazilian business tycoons to fellow up-and-coming entrepreneurs, he became convinced that it was the right strategy but the wrong time. Mr Chady decided to concentrate on expanding even faster in Brazil, and leave America for later. “The US economy is not at a very good stage, whereas Brazil is very hot now. Endeavor helped me see this,” he says.

It is routine for entrepreneurs to consult their networks of mentors in Silicon Valley. But in much of the world, such networks are notable by their absence—and so, too, are examples of Silicon Valley-style successful entrepreneurship. Changing this was why Endeavor was created in 1997.

“Why can’t the next Silicon Valley pop up in Cairo or São Paulo or Johannesburg?” asks Linda Rottenberg, who co-founded Endeavor with Peter Kellner, a venture capitalist. Fresh from Yale, she was working in Buenos Aires for Ashoka, an organisation that supports social entrepreneurs—people with innovative, usually non-profit ideas for solving social problems—and concluded that ordinary entrepreneurs needed a similar support system. Much of the difference between countries such as America, where entrepreneurship thrives, and those where it does not is cultural rather than regulatory, she believes. In many emerging economies, business tends to be dominated by a closed elite hostile to new entrepreneurs—and failure is stigmatised, rather than being a badge of honour, as it is in Silicon Valley.

The making of a start-up

Getting Endeavor started required some classic start-up doggedness of its own. At first, the philanthropic foundations Ms Rottenberg courted regarded the project as too elitist. “They complained that we were only trying to build a middle class, not to help the poor, despite all the academic evidence that a strong middle class is essential to prosperity,” she recalls. Eventually Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss industrialist who has given away a large chunk of his fortune in Latin America, was persuaded to provide some seed capital, and Endeavor was up and running, initially in Argentina and Chile. Today it operates in 11 countries, including South Africa, Turkey and, most recently, Jordan.

Endeavor’s magic works most powerfully in its selection process. Entrepreneurs are screened first by a national panel of successful businessmen, and then, if they are short-listed, by an international panel. So far over 18,000 entrepreneurs have been screened but fewer than 400 have been chosen. The aim is to identify those who can succeed on a scale that will make them into national role models, and then provide them with every possible support. But the process is designed to benefit all entrants, by helping them define their visions more clearly.

Endeavor’s national boards are rosters of leading tycoons—the founders of InBev in Brazil, Jennifer Oppenheimer in South Africa and Lorenzo Zambrano, boss of Cemex, in Mexico, for example. The international board, chaired by Edgar Bronfman Jr, boss of Warner Music, is even more august. At a selection meeting in Turkey in June, the panel included Daniel Och, a hedge-fund boss, Naguib Sawiris of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, Brian Swette, the chairman of Burger King, and Ali Koç of Koç Holdings. “It is a lot of fun. You go to all these nice places in the world, find all these young enthusiastic people, who you get to help. Sometimes you invest, maybe make some money,” says Ali Mehmet Babaoglu, a Turkish textile tycoon.

Once the selection process is over, these business figures then become mentors to the entrepreneurs. “Endeavor’s genius has been to get the establishment in these countries together, not to kill these entrepreneurial companies but to support them,” says Bill Sahlman, a professor at Harvard Business School who was recruited as an adviser early on.

Endeavor’s entrepreneurs—who collectively now control companies with combined revenues of $2.4 billion and 91,000 employees, earning on average ten times the minimum wage in their country—rarely say they would not have succeeded without Endeavor. But they all believe they got bigger much sooner thanks to its endorsement and support. Leonardo Shapiro of VeriFone, a maker of online credit-card payment systems, describes as “priceless” the advice he got from Pedro Aspe, a former finance minister of Mexico, before he flew to meet a potential American buyer of his firm, and the legal help Endeavor arranged from White & Case, which although not pro bono “was at a very interesting discount, and pay it when you can.”

One of Endeavor’s earliest successes was Wenceslao Casares, who sold Patagon, his Argentine internet brokerage, to Banco Santander for $705m at the peak of the dotcom bubble. He believes Endeavor has started to change cultural attitudes in the countries where it has been active for a while, mostly in Latin America. “When I said I was going to start a business, it was against everyone’s advice, from my family to my university,” he says. “Now, go to the same university and the same professors will tell you that one of their goals is to produce good entrepreneurs.”

Brazil is perhaps most vibrant of all. Endeavor’s successes include Leila Velez, who grew up in a favela and whose beauty salon firm, Beleza Natural, now has revenues of $30m, and Bento Koike, whose wind-turbine-blade manufacturing firm, Tecsis, recently struck a $1 billion deal to supply mighty General Electric.

Going global

Endeavor has “created islands of hope,” says Mr Casares. Now it must find ways to “change continents, not just little islands.” This has been recognised by Endeavor’s global board, which recently adopted an ambitious plan to expand to 25 countries by 2015. Endeavor is confident that it now knows how to adapt its model to new countries, having learnt from early stumbles in Chile, South Africa and Turkey. Fadi Ghandour, the Jordanian boss of Aramex, a logistics firm, believes there is much potential in the Arab world, which is full of young would-be entrepreneurs who have “discovered the new thing, that it pays to have an idea, not rely on land or investing.”

Funding has long been a problem for Endeavor. As a non-profit, it has to rely on donors—many recruited through a glitzy annual gala in New York—which has been tough at times, as in the months after the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. Would it make more sense to be a for-profit operation? Endeavor has struggled constantly with whether to pursue profits, but each time has concluded no, says Ms Rottenberg, who also says she declined the chance to set up a $100m fund focused on emerging-market entrepreneurs. “If Endeavor had been an investor, rather than an independent, objective, non-profit enabler, it would not have been trusted by the business elite, or the entrepreneurs,” she insists. “Trust is everything.”

Happily, Endeavor has high hopes of moving onto a stronger financial footing. In some countries where it operates, starting with Brazil, successful entrepreneurs are signing up to a “give back” programme, donating 2% of their equity to Endeavor. With luck this could soon make the national operations self-sustaining. Moreover, on July 31st Omidyar Network, the philanthropic organisation set up by Pierre Omidyar, who made his money in Silicon Valley by founding eBay, announced a $10m investment to build up the capacity of Endeavor’s global operations. “Endeavor is already having a significant impact,” says Matt Bannick, managing partner at Omidyar Network. “Given capital, it could grow rapidly.” Watch this space.

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Siguiendo nuestras discusiones sobre educacion, (al fin y al cabo todo lo que hablamos en el blog depende de esta no?), justo me llego un mail de Brasil bastante relevante.

No me da para traducirlo, creo que es facil de entender igual:


*Semana passada comprei um produto que custou R$ 1,58. Dei à balconista R$2,00 e peguei na minha carteira 8 centavos, para evitar receber ainda mais moedas. A balconista pegou o dinheiro e ficou olhando para a máquina registradora, aparentemente sem saber o que fazer. Tentei explicar que ela tinha que me dar 50 centavos de troco, mas ela não se convenceu e chamou o gerente para ajudá-la. Ficou com lágrimas nos olhos enquanto o gerente tentava explicar e ela aparentemente continuava sem entender.

Por que estou contando isso?

Porque me dei conta da evolução do ensino de matemática desde 1950, que foi assim:

1. Ensino de matemática em 1950:
Um cortador de lenha vende um carro de lenha por R$ 100,00. O custo de produção desse carro de lenha é igual a 4/5 do preço de venda.
Qual é o lucro?

2. Ensino de matemática em 1970:
Um cortador de lenha vende um carro de lenha por R$ 100,00. O custo de produção desse carro de lenha é igual a 80% do preço de venda.
Qual é o lucro?

3. Ensino de matemática em 1980:
Um cortador de lenha vende um carro de lenha por R$ 100,00. O custo de produção desse carro de lenha é R$ 80,00.
Qual é o lucro?

4. Ensino de matemática em 1990:
Um cortador de lenha vende um carro de lenha por R$ 100,00. O custo de produção desse carro de lenha é R$ 80,00. Escolha a resposta certa, que indica o lucro:
(  ) R$ 20,00  (  ) R$40,00  (  ) R$60,00  (  ) R$80,00  (  ) R$100,00

5. Ensino de matemática em 2000:
Um cortador de lenha vende um carro de lenha por R$ 100,00. O custo de produção desse carro de lenha é R$ 80,00. O lucro é de R$ 20,00. Está certo?
(  ) Sim  (  ) Não

6. Ensino de matemática em 2008:
Um cortador de lenha vende um carro de lenha por R$100,00. O custo de produção desse carro de lenha é R$ 80,00. Se você conseguir ler, coloque um X no R$ 20,00.
(  ) R$ 20,00  (  ) R$40,00  (  ) R$60,00  (  ) R$80,00  (   ) R$100,00

Não ria! É sério!! *

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Compro iphone GPRS

Se me murio la Treo, lo cual es una buena oportunidad para decidirme y comprarme un iphone.

El unico drama es que el 3G no se si es desbloqueable y ademas hay colas de horas.

Alguien tiene un iphone GPRS que quiera vender por casualidad?

— pablo

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Que pasa con Microsoft?

Mencionale a cualquiera Windows Vista y se le ponen los pelos de punta. Nadie quiere saber nada de Vista. Yo vengo usando Vista hace varios meses (en una maquina nueva y potente, lo admito), y no tengo mayores quejas. El sistema es solido y estable; tiene muchos features que no uso (de hecho hay partes que hasta me dan miedo), pero eso siempre pasa con todos los sistemas operativos nuevos. Al principio asustan, pero despues le vas agarrando la mano y te vas soltando.

Microsoft hizo un experimento interesante: el experimento Mojave. Le muestran a la gente una nueva version de Windows, llamada Windows Mojave (que no es otra cosa que Vista). La gente queda fascinada. Despues les dicen que es Vista, y quedan con la boca abierta. Mas alla de que los videos en el web site son seleccionados (esto es marketing), yo creo que hay un gran nivel de verdad en eso: la gente tiene un horrible preconcepto de Vista.

<< Enciendo proteccion antiputeadas. No se aceptan comentarios al siguiente parrafo>>

Del mismo modo, la gente tiene un preconcepto excesivamente bueno del OSX de Mac. Si comparas objetivamente a los dos sistemas operativos, la diferencia es grande a favor de Vista. OSX hace mucho menos cosas. Puede ser que «it just works», pero hay muchas menos hardware (y software) disponibles, y cada vez es menos cierta la frase.

<< Apago proteccion antiputeadas>>

Tal vez debi dejar la proteccion antiputeadas abierta, el fanatismo de los usuarios de Mac no hace mas que demostrar mi punto.

No se a que se debe, pero creo que trasciende a Vista, y alcanza a todo Microsoft, empezando por MSN. Los productos son mucho mejores de lo que la gente percibe. Es paradojico, ya que Microsoft empezo como una compania con producos inferiores, pero marketing superior. Yo siempre digo que Microsoft es cada dia mas parecido a IBM. De hecho, cuando yo trabajaba en IBM, nos ponia los pelos de punta que el OS/2 2.0 era muy superior a Microsoft Windows, pero en el mercado Windows ganaba lejos.

Algo no anda bien en como MSFT se presenta al publico. Yo no tengo idea de que es. Tal vez es hora de que Bill vuelva…

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Los cambios anunciados en el IRPF van a aumentar significativamente el nivel de empleo en Uruguay. No es por un efecto macroeconomico, ni por un aumento de la actividad, ni ninguna otra yerba del estilo. El motivo es mas prosaico: si yo pago IRPF y mi esposa no trabaja, ahora me va a convenir que mi esposa empiece a trabajar, ganando el sueldo minimo. O, alternativamente, anotarla como si trabajara. Si mi prediccion es correcta, los numeros del 2009 deberian marcar un aumento en el porcentaje de empleo, pero sin un gran cambio en el desempleo. Veremos…

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Jonathan Harris estudio computacion, pero es un artista, que busca conjugar los dos mundos. Uno de sus proyectos (sobre el que presento en Ted) es we feel fine . La idea es buscar en millones de blogs, en tiempo real, la frase «I feel», y tratar de entender lo que viene despues, basicamente ver si es algo positivo o negativo. En base a eso, arma «movimientos» de concepcion artistica, donde cada sentimiento se pinta de un color.

Mas alla del valor artistico (a mi me parece que lo tiene, pero para salvaguardar mi matrimonio no lo voy a discutir), hay un tema de fondo muy conceptual. Podemos tomarle el pulso al publico en base a los blogs? Ya se han hecho algunos estudios. Por ejemplo, recuerdo haber leido de alguien que mapeaba el estado de animo por ubicacion geografica contra el estado del clima.

Esto se puede llevar mas alla aun. Podemos deducir del estado de animo de los blogs, como viene el estado de animo de las masas? Podemos usarlo para predecir recesiones, el futuro de la bolsa de valores, o resultados politicos?

Yo creo que si, y me parece un tema fascinante. Alguien tiene ganas de meterse?

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La caida del Dow de hoy

«July 28 (Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks fell and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 200 points for the second time in three days after the International Monetary Fund said there is no end in sight to the housing slump.»

Buenas noticias! Hay alguien que aun escucha al FMI !  Quien hubiera dicho que en una epoca en la que nadie quiere saber del FMI, seria justo Wall Street el que le daria bola, y con una no-noticia como esa.

El FMI esta complicado porque no tiene a quien prestarle plata (un banco que no presta plata esta frito). Tal vez encontró finalmente alguien que este dispuesto a aceptar su dinero, y además escuchar sus malas noticias. Quien sabe, por ahi hasta estan dispuestos a aceptarle consejos.

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Google lanzo el beta de Knol. La idea es algo asi como una enciclopedia, pero tiene varias diferencias con Wikipedia. En realidad, mas que una enciclopedia es una compliacion de guias de expertos. A diferencia de Wikipedia, puede haber varios articulos de un mismo tema. Google pone publicidad, y permite al autor monetizar los articulos.

Puede haber una oportunidad en algunos temas, vale la pena estudiarlo. Ah, y para SEO no sirve de mucho, ya que tiene NOFOLLOW (es un indicador para los buscadores que dice no des bola a los links). Yo ya tuve una mala experiencia tratando de usar Wikipedia para SEO: no solo me pusieron el NOFOLLOW, sino que mis competidores editaron la pagina, y el articulo de Wikipedia rankeo mejor que mi pagina (es casi imposible ganarle a Wikipedia en rankeo).

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Cuanto cuesta la obesidad?

A las aerolineas americanas, mucho. El peso del pasajero medio subio 5kg entre el 1990 y el 2000. Traducido en costos de combustible, en el 2000 levantar el peso extra costo 275 millones de dolares. Y eso era con el petroleo a $20.

Como esta el peso del combustible, dentro de poco nos van a pesar antes de vendernos un pasaje.

Los datos los vi en The Economist. Este articulo trae algun detalle mas.

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Joseph Needham quien se especializo como sinologo en investigar sobre temas de ciencia y sus aplicaciones en China habia planteado una  cuestion interesante : Por que con los antecedentes  de las invenciones variadas  que tuvieron como la imprenta, ceramica, explosivos , los puentes colgantes , el estribo , el abaco ,  la brujula, la cadena de transmision, la navegacion  entre otros no fueron capaces de mantener una continuidad en la industrializacion como si lo pudo hacer Europa

Que los detuvo en su momento y que factores incidieron para el despegue que se vive en los tiempos actuales?

Needham observo algunos factores que habrian puesto un freno a la corriente creadora que dio lugar a toda la innovacion precedente : el  no desarrollo de una clase mercantil que le diera un canal a la invencion tecnologica,   asi como  que la meta,  en su momento,  de todo joven brillante era hacerse   burocrata   lo que habria derivado en un fagocite del empuje creador

El libro,  recientemente publicado,  «The Man Who loved China» (Simon Winchester) da cuenta de los estudios que hizo Needham sobre la ciencia en China asi como relata pormenores curiosos de este profesor bioquimico, comunista,  de Cambridge  cuya amante Lu Gwei- Djen debe haber incidido en su interes por los temas del gigante oriental. Sin dejar de mencionar que el triangulo junto a Dorothy , esposa de Needham, funcionaba en buena forma ya que solian tomar el five o`clock tea en forma conjunta

Los trabajos de  Needham , algunos junto a Lu Gwei- Djen terminaron constituyendo 18 volumenes ampliamente abarcativos publicados por Cambridge University Press

Poner el ojo en el enorme desarrollo tecnologico y el estancamiento posterior  de aquellos orientales, asi como su resurgir reciente , puede dar alguna pista de por donde  encarar temas para los orientales del rio Uruguay

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