Sunday, November 16, 2008

Global Entrepreneurship Week

It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week and all over the world, people are moving their minds, hearts, and pockets to find a common goal: create wealth.

I learned about entrepreneurship and creating wealth at Babson College. Its founder, Roger Babson, wanted to create a distinctive way of thinking and acting that would lead to what Jeffry Timmons later called “the Silent Revolution.” I had the privilege of graduating from Babson’s MBA class and meeting and discussing many ideas with Jeff, whose legacy expands beyond his life. I would like to dedicate this wealth drop to Roger and Jeff.

The concept of creating wealth is fantastic because there is no way to create prosperity without sharing it. Thus, governments are quite keen on exploring this topic, and along with them investors, yes, even in today’s financial situation!. The Global Entrepreneurship Week represents an amazing international effort, led by large corporations who see a bright future ahead, and supported with enthusiasm around the globe. What a refreshing thought, so different from the distressing news about the financial markets and the crisis!

I’ve always seen my future bright and interesting, although sometimes I have seen it through a dark tunnel that I know I have to walk. Ouch!

It has always paid off. I just realized that I don’t deal with depressed people because entrepreneurs and inventors create. They are too busy discovering ways of doing things to worry about dramas or to feel victims of other’s actions. In most cases, it turns out in a different way than we plan or expected, but the use of our energy to create positive worries is much healthier than to share misery and to feel that we are like seaweed in the ocean, at the mercy of the tide. No way!

As most of my work involves Global Entrepreneurship, I want to share with you the four critical success factors of Born Global Firms:

1. Global Vision: It’s all about the people who create the vision.
People involved in the Strategic Intent of the Firm have a pre-conceived notion of globalization. They know it is possible because they’ve done it.
Experience, Knowledge, Connections are firmly rooted in the managers or founder’s previous global experiences.
As simple as: I’ve seen that before or I’ve done that before!

2. Global appeal: Offerings cross over cultural barriers.
Global Firms make no adaptation to their offerings: Products, services, marketing, etc
They have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that appeals to consumers regardless of culture and location.
BONUS! Having the same offering provides a systematic approach that minimizes mistakes, improves efficiencies, and provides clear message.

3. Global reach: Reach customers rapidly, effectively and at low cost.
They collaborate in local markets.
They compete in global markets.
Change of mindset from smaller economies: more is less (100% of 10 is 10), less is more (10% of 1000 is 100). Everybody wins.

4. Global Implementation: Find ideal partners. It requires a mindset to collaborate and think about your best fit.
- What do you need
- What do you require
- What is your negotiating range and what are the deal breakers?
- What is the (aligned) reward system
- How to take the dip and cut loses
- How to establish elegant ways out
Don’t depend on legal frameworks, the best contract is never reinforced. What ifs…

I could not think of better times to go global. With suppliers and part time employees and clients in almost all continents, we have system that works smoothly around the globe. There are very few barriers to global entrepreneurship, if you are reading this, you have none.

Enjoy the celebration,


Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's all about sharing

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Bali for the first time. Besides the fascination with the lush vegetation and the vast amounts of offerings, I was delighted to meet a very special person, and through her, a hidden are in the island. She runs an organization that supports children in various forms “I’m an angel” ( Viebeke, the founder and major organizer, explained their philosophy: “we don’t give, we share.” I found it especially appealing as I don’t believe in the traditional form of charity. When I give, I received. It’s never about money, it’s always about value. Simple as that.

Sharing is a natural part of human kind, we share the wealth we create, and likewise we share poverty; we share happiness, and we equally share dramas. We share more worries than anything else. In these days of financial crisis, everyone is worried, yet, every crisis opens doors to opportunities, and few people are talking about that, much less taking action. Because I’ve lost a ton of money, I have slowed down and enjoyed life more. You can do the same, it is a healthier alternative than worrying. For example, now that the holidays are approaching, you can make a gift; I mean, make it, instead of buy it… and by the way, studies have shown that the best gifts, the ones that stay with us longer in memory, are shared moments. I actually remember more the time spent cooking than the presents we opened.

Sharing forces us to take action. I love the term. When we share we imply that we are useful to others, in a way that is more horizontal than vertical. We are not the giver, we are the sharer… and our counterpart is not the receiver but the other part of the sharer. I had the opportunity to experience it when I visited the North East coast of Bali, an area that has been greatly affected by drought. Amongst other things, “I’m an angel” has a program that provides protein twice a week to school children, one egg and one glass of milk, costing cents... A tiny effort with a huge impact on their health. In one day, we touched 506 young children in a joyful celebration: we were sharing. The cost was less than US$130 dollars. How could I not share?

I am glad I made the decision to get out and do something different, instead of worrying. My friend Sylma hosted a prelaunch conversation of the book "Falling in love with your life", and I decided to donate the launching profits to “I’m an angel.”

When you think about sharing, you can act differently. You share your time with your employer, your employer shares the wealth you all create with clients, employees, suppliers, investors, and the list goes on and on… it is refreshing.

Sharing is also a great way to rethink investment opportunities. Several days ago, I was on a Venture Capital panel. The entrepreneurs were concerned about the financial crisis: yes, fewer deals get funding, but Venture Capital Funds need great deals, the money needs to be invested, but invested wisely. At the end, we all benefit when great deals get funded and when lousy deals don’t get funded. We share the wealth we create.

Maybe I am being too naïve to think that we all share for the best. The financial crisis was also part of our sharing: our need to maximize profits, or, to some extent, our greed.

So, what are you sharing?


Oh... bummer

Political parties aside, the world saw a great come back in history with the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the US. I did not vote on the American elections but I would have voted for either him or Hilary. It was time for unconventional wisdom. As a Hispanic woman having lived in the US three times, it is so refreshing to see the many colors of the American dream. Actually, nowadays, there are no geographic boundaries to dreams.

I find gender or discrimination issues boring. Only a person who has feel discriminated against can understand what it means. I was lucky to grow in a place where I felt who I was was more important that my circumstances over which I had no control. Thus, when I connect with a person, I am more interested in the essence than the race, age, gender, religion, political affiliation, nationality, sexual orientation... and I think most people are the same way or want to be that way. As I age and notice discrimination around me (or towards me), I have an increase admiration for people who stand up and shake it off. That is the beauty of Obama's triumph...

Last year, my daughter became a foster mother to four biracial children. In Venezuela, my home country, we say we are all coffee and milk... some people have more coffee, others have more milk. I noticed then with great sadness the ill effect of discrimination in these cappuccino children's self esteem. I can only imagine what Desire is thinking now, when being black is not an excuse... I am happy for these children, as I am happy for the milky ones that will grow in a world where we embrace diversity.

I am happy to be living a time where dreams come true... and I wanted to share this with you, wherever you are...

Across the globe, inspiration flows.... It was a triumph of the American people, simply because people moved to the center stage and took action... as Obama said on his election speech: "I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you."

and it is a reminder that yes, even when the economy is a mess, there is something we can do about it.

Now, the real work begins ... the attitude and the empowerment is there... it is time to go beyond the cappuccino to see the real stuff ... In the mean time, I'll celebrate the dream with immense joy... Oh bummer...

here is to your dreams,