Comments on: Silicon Valley: The rise of the adolescent CEOs


It’s been a while I haven’t talk anything about the self-made millonaire project. Truth is, am a bit out of track… mostly because of a couple of setbacks, but that doesn’t mean am not still looking forward to become one.

Among the elements of the bucket list (please see one of the first posts of this blog), we see points like having big goals or keep up with constant education. This article has a totally different approach, or at least the cases they put here. The article is about a new “breed” of CEO’s in Silicon Valley. They all have things in common:

They all drop school:
At some point or another, some in highscool, some in college, they all put the studies aside to focus full time in their start ups. Unlike Facebook founder, it seems they all drop it AFTER they got the start up already in motion, where Zuckerberg (as far as I remember in the movie “Social Network”) drop Harvard and then work his way to the venture capital.

They all used other people’s money:
They all got serious funding (400KUSD and above), and nobody used what they had in their “piggy bank” or family money either. They also didn’t ask for a bank loan (they couldn’t afford one… all of them). They got fresh risk-free money (meaning, they didn’t have to pay it back if the start up closes).

They’re all UNDER 21 years old!
Yes… as you read it. Before they had a driving license or were allowed to drink, these kids are already handling million dollar companies. One of them sold his company at the age of 16 for 5 million USD!

They all had a great idea:
Well, this is a no brainer from the outside… they were able to start the company because they had an idea, developed it, and run it with the right people. Some of this start ups have some ‘godfathers’ on board, all of them well known people in the .com industry and they all had to take special courses at venture capitalist companies to learn how to handle start ups and how to get funding (where do I sign for a course like that?), so they were spotted as potential candidates by this venture capitalists since the early stages.
But then of course, this same thing of having a great idea, is one of the difficult parts for many people: to come a new idea that has selling potential is just tricky, difficult and sometimes impossible for the common people. This is where many people just can’t get pass through… Seems that for this kids to come up with ideas and put them together in a project, is litteraly their playground. And they can get these new ideas into motion even better than some adults with 10 or 15 years of experience behind them.

The part that they didn’t put money from their pockets or their families was the part that caught my attention. It’s not like I’ve never thought about it. Actually, I’m currently in that process of rising 3 million USD for a mining project I was requested to develop for a mexican company. So, am not saying is not a big deal, but is possible to create a project and then look for investors (Dragon’s Den anybody? lol). The problem is enterpreneurs usually don’t think about it, or think is too complicated or not possible for his/her kind of project. You should just try at least, you may be surprised and get at least part of the money.

What makes this kids so special? I agree with Malcolm Gladwell (author of Outliers and several other books that a set of elements and coincidences of time and place come altogether at the right time:

* The internet bubble bursted long time ago, industry is behaving good, and investors feel confident to bet on start ups again.
* Zuckerberg became billionaire, showing that young CEO’s can handle companies.
* They all live in the USA and most of them close to the San Francisco area.
* Most probably they have very competitive parents that either they are top executives or they run their own companies, giving an example to this children.

Never the less, the motivation within each and every of these kids is amazing, they were lucky to be in the right time and place.

Like the other self-made stories, there’s nothing much to fix (except within ourselves) and rather learn from it. It’s never late to become millionaire. So get that idea into actions, be driven and get that funding!!!

If you have any other ideas of how to become self-made millionaire, let me know!

Comments on: Three Types of Bosses That Should Be Fired

Comments on:
Three Types of Bosses That Should Be Fired
By Steve Tobak

I read this article some time ago, and I really wanted to give my comment on it: thumbs up to Steve Tobak. He goes directly to a sensitive point: self-centered bosses are a cancer to companies and should be treated that way, by extracting them quickly as possible.

These kind of bosses are the kind that want to get to a managerial position for the wrong reasons and boost their egos instead of being the solution provider for their teams. That’s actually asking them to go to the other side of the spectre: think and act for the benefit of everybody else.

I had the luck of having good bosses and bad bosses through 17 years of working experience, and the bad bosses will fall in these types (smartest guy, all about me,has-been) and some other less toxic categories. But in the end they fall in the same mistake of thinking small, in a single individual (themselves of course), instead of aiming high and see the big picture.

I had the chance to be a boss as well both in Mexico and in China, where (I hope) I didn’t fall in these types. It makes more sense to me to supply my team with the tools to work and remove hazards from the road so they can go smoothly and do what they do best, rather than make them do their job plus deal with management stuff plus deal with my I-know-better crap.

Now, we have a real challenge here: how would you fix it?

A boss will always have an advantage… well… he’s the boss right? and sometimes is the owner of the company and he/she can see that the company/department is not moving forward, and the only thing they do is to blame others and to fire some others.
How can these bosses be fired as Steve Tobak suggests in his article?

So, once again… how would you fix it?

link to the note:

The cornflake complexity

A few months ago I went back to Mexico for a family visit and a business trip. I had to take my flight from the Beijing Airport (terminal 2, not the new massive, phoenix shaped one), and since we arrived on time, my friend and I decided to have a quick goodbye breakfast. Biiig mistake.
We looked for a coffee shop, nothing fancy and chose a place since it was kind of empty and had ok prices for an airport restaurant. my order: muesli (multi grain cereal) and milk (from a given menu) and coffee (plain black americano, no mocha latte machiato or such today). Linda ordered a sweet bread and same kind of coffee. Is something quick and simple right? Well, not for these people.
After 10 minutes of great conversation, we realized they haven’t bring anything yet. We ask them if they can hurry and a few minutes later they bring the coffee. Still with an empty restaurant (even a waitress is asleep at a table, a classic view in China.) they cant bring muesli and bread. Finally, like 5 minutes later they arrived with the embarrassing news: we don’t have muesli. “OK! cornflakes is fine! bring them quick please I have a flight to catch. after almost 30 minutes they bring breakfast: a tiny glass of milk, a joke of cereal in a bowl (around 30 flakes, give or take), a toast, not really toasted, with butter on a side, but no jam.

Me: “Can u bring some jam please? and what about her breakfast?”
Waitress: “Hers? she ask for one?”

Linda starts loosing it and asks again for her bread and coffee. this time they are quicker and 5 minutes later they bring a Chinese breakfast!

Linda: “Why you bring these?”
Waitress: “You are Chinese, so we thought you wanted a Chinese breakfast.”
Me: “Whatever!!! Linda, just take this and that’s OK. is getting late now. -to the waitress- and can you bring a real glass of COLD milk? the other one doesn’t have enough milk for the 30 flakes in my bowl. They bring my glass of milk amazingly quick, and with lots of ice in it. well I wanted cold milk right?

At this point is getting late so we ask for the bill. when they bring it, Linda just looses it: breakfasts didn’t include the americano’s, and each has the same price as a breakfast, and the ice with milk (you read right: ice with a splash of milk) is even more expensive. An argument between Linda and the waitress was inevitable.

I don’t know which is the toughest part here: either the “I can’t do anything” classic attitude of the waitress or the smile of the amused hostess, which seems to be the highest rank in the coffee shop.
Either way, beyond a “duibuqi” and “buhaoyisi” (apologize and sorry for it in mandarin) we got nothing. although Linda refused to pay for the milk and got away with it hehe.

Apart of the expensive prices, the real problem to fix is the service. This went even worse than the regular bad service you get in China (no breaking news here).
How can a restaurant can get away with such a terrible service, lousy food and charge a lot for it?
My guess, like Donald Trump will say, “location location location”. Being at the airport gives any company the “right” to charge high and gives you a large flow of a great type of customer: the one time customer.

So no matter how much they suck, and they really do, they have fresh customers to annoy all the time.

From my point of view either they close or they make drastic changes in the management, because they just mess a lot with customers timings (I lost my flight by the way, had to reschedule my flight, but that’s another story).

So: how would you fix it?

Comments on: Reward Value, Not Face Time

Comments on
Reward Value, Not Face Time
by Tony Schwartz

Finally, this idea is getting through…

Recently I discovered this author while in Linkedin (if you don’t have your resume here, you’re like out of the loop) and the Harvard Business Review (where I wish one day I will get published). His company and his literature focuses in HR and how to improve both the efficiency and the satisfaction of the employee.

For centuries we’ve been carrying the idea that the only benefit a worker should get is money. Eventually in the 20th century other benefits were given away, but is until the 2nd half of the 20th century (gosh! sounds so far away when you say it that way hehe) that companies really started to care about how the employees feel for the work.

Finally in the past decades a tendency for understanding two important things about your team work is making a change in the life of organizations and the people in general.

People don’t need full-time supervision
Employees don’t have to be under the eye of the manager or supervisor to do their tasks, this is not only demanding… but a total waste of time for both of them… I mean… you hired the person to perform an activity and has the skills to do it… let him do it! If people get to understand that they can be evaluated over their results, they will eventually and by themselves do what they have to do to achieve the goal. You don’t need face-time as the article says. Workers around the world prove they can do work from home or with minimum supervision… and that makes anyone feel better.

People are smart…
And smart people need constant satisfaction from their accomplishments. If they don’t, they wear off really quick. In other words, the classic phrase “time flies…” when you’re doing something you like apply for work as well. When you’re fully satisfied with what you’re doing is important for you to keep up with the job in the long term.

I know the topic is not new at all. Still, is a necessary one. I like the idea that in 2012 is a topic for reading, duscussing and changing companies, but I DESLIKE it as well (wish FB had that button). Why I deslike something I’ve been saying is so good and necessary? Because I just CAN’T BELIEVE companies these days have to be reminded about it!!!!

What’s the people in high and mid management thinking of? there are hundreds of cases around the world proving that a well designed plan for working from home and/or working with minimal supervision work to give not only good but even outstanding results.

Why does every part of the company has to change… except the guys that should change who sometimes are the same guys saying outloud “oh yes… our corporation is catching up with trends and technologies” while at the same time want daily reports, can’t imagine a salesman working from home or an accounting department located outside the HQ’s?

How come managers keep saying they are flexible and they understand their team’s needs and even take seminars… while they act like the classic assh**e seargent that oversees every step you take? Where do this guys learned how to be managers in the first place?

Maybe I was lucky for the teachings I had at home and at my university, where management is a whole different idea.For me a manager, or any other kind of team leader (nowadays there are more names for manager than noble titles in the 17th century), has two real tasks: to solve and to encourage.

You’re there to make things easier to your team, NOT THE WAY AROUND. The ones that think that their teams are minions who have to make him/her shine in front of the boss see things THE WRONG WAY.

You SOLVE. You make sure your team has everything to perform properly, either it’s the electricity for their computers, a nice working environment, or 5 minutes of your time to tell him: “hey… I know you can do better, is everything ok?”.

You ENCOURAGE. You have to know them, so you can get from each and every one of them their best performance, and keep them motivated. Some of them need no supervision, some need a lot (but that’s for character, not for lack of skills), some need a palm on the back… everyone is different.

It was a long post… I know, but really IT MAKES ME ANGRY to see that experts need to keep talking about this because they’re far from puting this to work.

I just want to finish quoting Tony Schwartz with a phrase that simplifies the whole idea:
The job of a leader or a manager,…it’s to free, fuel and inspire them to bring the best of themselves to work every day.

and you? how would you fix it?


Coming back for more!

Hi everybody! I am back… it’s not like the first try was the best one, or left a big footprint… but I’ve always said that always says: “If I get knock down 10 times, I will get up 10 times!”
I will do my best to keep true to my word. I am planning to retake this blog, although there maybe some changes.
The main topic is and it will still be How would you fix it? Referring to the classic problems you face in everyday in the business world. But I have a problem. I’m not in the corporate world for the moment, am a freelancer. That puts me a bit far away from first-hand experiences.
So, I will still be talking about business management, but with more perspectives: comments on other writers and other people’s experiences.
The self-made mill will keep it’s own course… during this time I picked up some stories I would like to share. Hope you like them and you find them useful/inspirational as they are for me.

I want to give special thanks to the cutest girl in England, who happens to be the smartest as well… she kept telling me to get back to the blog and write again… can I dare to say… I have a fan? 🙂 Thanks Hannah for teasing every chance you had for writing again.

My opinion on “Why Google+ Is Poised To Fail by Chunka Mui”

Why Google+ Is Poised To Fail – Chunka Mui – Devil’s Advocate – Forbes.

I just read this article in Forbes where the author suggests basically that the new Social Network created by Google, called Google+ is missing a fundamental to really compete with Facebook and become attractive to the people online. The missing part is that in Facebook is much easier to connect and relate with people, either you know them or not (friends, fan pages, online games and so on). In Google+, having privacy and security as a priority, you choose with whom and for what you connect within your network.

I still haven’t started using Google+, although I was invited, since the government of the country I live has some “issues” with Google and blocked the site, so I can’t tell you at this point how easy or difficult is in fact to socialize here. I was only able to watch the demo. But here are some thoughts, from a management point of view:

Right Now…

Google+ is in a Beta stage: In Google standards that means the present product works almost 100% (very few glitches and bugs) and that a second wave is coming with something totally new and really customer oriented. This is just a “taste” of what’s coming and to see how attractive it’s for the people. By the way, they reached 10,000,000 users in their 2nd week after being released.

Google had to do this: Because of who they are, they’re on the line of fire of many markets and industries, and their stockholders are expecting them to react, after all, is a multi-billion dollar market where facebook is taking all for himself.

What’s next…

A classic battle of “am the best” and “mine is bigger than yours” is just around the corner. People will start using both platforms, then choosing one, while both companies will struggle in getting new features and keeping/gaining more users to their site. This will both benefit and give headaches to the user, since the services will improve and we will have to “choose sides” (just a few would really would like to keep updating 2 networks all the time).

The ecosystem will get bigger and harmonize. Probably some new player will try to get into the battle (Apple maybe?) and eventually, they will have to live along, just like other platforms are doing today: messenger services (Y!, msn, fb and so on), or sms services by phone (bb, android, iPhone), giving more freedom to the users to keep one or move to the other.

So? Where’s the problem?

Google+ has a huge challenge if they want to win the war against facebook, who has 7 years of experience, 10+ the number of users, 10+ the number of app’s for the platform and a LOT of cash to spend (fb present value is around 26Bill and Mark Z fortune is aprox 18Bill).

How would you fix it?

What are the steps that google should take in order to become leader in this industry, just like they did for search engines and smartphone’s OS?

A little bit of afterlunch knowledge

This post was already written in my facebook notes some time ago. Still, I think is quite interesting and I would love to know your opinion. Thanks!

A little bit of afterlunch knowledge
by Paco Silva (DXM)  on Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 5:17pm

For all of you out there that don’t know it… I recently got a job in China…. a real one… no more DJ, Actor, Teaching, bla bla stuff. I went back to the corporate world in the IT business… Back to my stuff escentialy.
It’s a small (1,000 staff) multi national company based mainly in China and USA, but with operations and clients all around the world. Was born 15 years ago and seems that even with the 2008 financial crisis (sounds of thunder in the background)… they are doing good. They even had a space for a mexican guy in a multinational team -that’s me-.
Today we were invited by the company to have lunch and just for luck one of the co-founders (CF) decided to join us. Chinese -cantonese- guy who lives in USA now, and 15 years ago decided to leave his steady job at IBM to join this startup that now turn him into a millionaire. After lunch, walking back to our building, decided to approach and… interview him? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but just started asking… how he made it? Thought I could learn something from him… after all the idea of becoming a millionaire sounds interesting to me.

I had very little time, so I just had time to ask two questions. Here are they:
In this 15 year adventure, what’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Passion: if you don’t have passion, if you don’t believe in what you’re doing you will have a terrible time doing anything you want to do.
Focus: you need to focus, settle one goal and work towards it. If you don’t focus, you go with “maybe this or maybe this or maybe that” you will have a very difficult time to achieve results
Capital: this is a basic thing, it’s mostly sure you project won’t work if you don’t have it, you need funding. So it’s a basic thing to go out and look for it.
Cashflow: It’s also really important, otherwise, you won’t be able to go on…

The company values (Mission, Vision, etc.) they talk over and over about innovation….
Yes, it’s a priority for the company…
But how does the company tries to get this innovation and creativity from it’s people?
Oh! It comes within you…. for example, remember the project with the japanese in the USA? Every night our people had to make a report of everything during the day… really long, could take 2 or 3 hours just making the report, everybody had to stay late everyday. One of the engineers, who is now your manager, created a tool to make reports easier and faster, during his free time. When it was finish, they could make the reports in 20 or 30 minutes at the most.The japanese were jaw-dropped, told us they wanted to buy the tool, knowing that it was built in the engineers free time. We said no, it was ours. It was our people’s innovation, made for them, by them.

At this point my small interview had to finish cause he had a meeting… or he just wanted to run away from me….. either way… I think I learned a couple of things:

1. The 4 points of the 1st question are not new, not ground breaking, but they are real and simple. Anybody can follow them, if they have enough will and intelligence.

2. He state them backwards…. Even though this are very well known concepts…  At least in my case they taught me aaaaall about raising capital, the importance of cashflow and how to manage -wish I hadn’t slept at that class though- and building strategies, define procedures, markets, demographics bla bla bla. But at school they just forgot about passion, about focusing, not in paper, but in your mind…
And why I think they’re important? Because that’s what you take every day to your office AND you nourish it there as well. No matter if it’s your company or you have a boss, if you just go there for your paycheck, that becomes sad, that’s when people in companies become bitter, sad and work far below their performance. That’s not a way of living your life…. I think… better yet…. that’s what I feel.

3. About innovation…. well I think it goes along with my feeling in point 2. If you have passion for what you do, your mind finds easy to explore new ideas, to do things better, innovation is a huuuuge topic, but the important thing of what he told me is that, no matter how much you write on the walls about innovation, YOU have to bring it out from your mind and heart. And if you do it, and if the company is paying attention… huge things can happen.

Do you agree? Passion and Innovation comes within a job and it´s performance
You disagree? Not passion nor Innovation are required to go 9 to 6 or start a business and it´s performance

Cultural Crash

My life in China has been one of learning and plenty of experiences. I’ll do my best to explain this one, and hopefully someone can tell me how would you fix it.

I recently separated from my last job. Although based in China, the company is European, all the CO’s are French and besides of a VP who comes from India, all the High Management comes from Europe. This brings advantages, disadvantages… and in my case… a Cultural Crash.

I already realized the strong differences between Asian and western cultures (and still learning), but between western-western culture, never thought about it. This time it was European-Latin contrasts. But problems, little subtle ones, started since the beginning. I’ll try to name them as many as I can recall.

Since day one my office was -for me- almost creepy: Perfect silence, no one talking, you could listen a pin falling on the carpet. It’s suppose to help you keep your concentration and of course, not to interrupt the others with whatever you are doing. Even communications inside the room are made through emails, long conversations should happen only in the meeting room, not occasionally at your place. That’s the European way of work (at least in that office).
Latins are well known for being noisy. This is not a stereotype, is the truth. And the office is not an exception. We have a question and we either turn around and ask the one next to us or speak out loud and say: “Hey! who knows the address for Google Maps?”. Another thing we need to do is have breaks from time to time. Spanish have a small snack at 11am, Mexicans go for junk food downstairs, Italians have a coffee and so on so for, and out loud conversations go along the way. It may reduce productivity at first look, I agree. But on the other hand we put our heads together (without a meeting) to get a solution or a common agreement.
Eventually a small group of Latins (European Latins) were hired as well and that made the room “noisy” (alive is more accurate). I was happy, but apparently the now “others” didn’t.

Goals and Tasks
Despite of Europeans being known as organized and well planned, this office, due to the fast growth and ambitious goals (a we-go-for-every-deal thing), the chain of command and the duties of every person were dissolved at some point and everybody became multi-task. Is an exciting environment… but when you’re new and no one takes time to tell you what are the tasks, it gets tricky. At least that was my feeling and my issue. Until today I feel this is a cultural issue, every time I explain to a Latin this issue, they will say something like: “and? how are you suppose to achieve anything?” whether Europeans will say something like: “well you look how to make things”. In other words, Latins need some sort of starting point, or goal set (once the CEO shared with us the big view, although no numbers or specific goals were mentioned after 4 hours of explanations). This made my start a little bumpy… I wasn’t happy, and neither were the “others”.
Eventually time and experience helped things turn around and I start giving good results, both in tasks given to me (getting involved in projects) or taken on my own (proposing new projects).

The style of management is what gives a company it’s personality. Just as people, personality dictates whether you think things through, you take group decisions or act quick without to much thinking or many others. This company’s personality was like the last one: act fast, fix on the go. So, if the project team leader or the CEO says on a Monday: I need it by Wednesday, what he/she means (and happens) is that they want something to put their eyes on in the next 4 hours, a rough rough draft and from there the document works it’s way to what it’s suppose to be (a proposal, presentation, etc.). I learn to do things differently, both at home and in my university that if you have a task, you have to understand it, if not, you ask, then work on it and deliver a document on time.
With this, I am not saying that one style is better than the other, or that one works and the other doesn’t. As I said, they’re only styles of work. And again, we didn’t match.

Eventually I left the company within a situation with many contrasts: I enjoyed what I was doing and all the potential of new project, coworkers thought I was both delivering great products and solutions and saw potential within the company, but in the other hand High Management thought I was a person that needed too much guidance and even though I was delivering good things, not in the way the wanted.

So, to summarize:

  • Europeans are quiet | Latins are noisy
  • Europeans don’t need guidance | Latins need guidance
  • That Office Personality act fast, fix on the go | My Working Personality understand, deliver right and on time.

How would this cultural crash can be overcome, because if I have done this, I will still be in a job I really liked and the company would have an interesting asset among their ranks? So… my big question is: How would you fix it?

A first look at Self Made Millonaires Tips

The Self-Made Millonaire bucket list:
As I’ve been reading documents about self-made millonaires, I keep reading about the “tips&secrets” “must-have habits” to become one of them. After reading so many, I also started to loose track of all these recommendations. The idea of this post is to put them all togehter. The post will come back over and over as I will update every chance I have.

To keep the list short and focus I think are the most valuable ones, or if in its basic context is the same (i.e. “educate yourself” and “develop your knowledge in a specific topic”) I will just keep one of them. I will also split it in two categories:
must-have habits

Of course, if you disagree, or you think am missing something in this list, Please fix it! And tell me what and specially why it should be in the list. After all, I want to become a self-made millonaire… don’t you?

So here you go! The first batch of the bucket:


  • Set your sights on where you’re going: Set goals and go for them. The bigger the better.
  • Educate yourself: if you don’t know how to handle money, either accounting or investing… LEARN!
  • Passion pays off: If you find something that you really love to do, find the way to profit from it.
  • Grow your money: Every time you get extra unexpected or out of the paycheck money, look for ways for invest it, not in buying a new TV.
  • No guts, no glory: If you see an opportunity, go for it and work for it.

must-have habits

  • Stop spending: Live with what you have, not how you want.
  • Treat investment like a bill: Just as you pay rent, leasing, or whatever, first pay the investment bill, then squeeze the rest of the money left. (this one is actually working for me really well, much more easier to handle my saving like that!)

All the points of my bucket were taken from:
5 Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires
A Simple Way to Become Wealthy

As I keep finding more, I will add them to this bucket.

So? You agree? You disagree? How would you fix it?

How would you fix it?

Humans… we love to complain, and is so easy to see the mistakes, what is everybody doing wrong and even why the problem came up! But just a few come up with answers (usually those are the guys that write books lately).

How would you fix it? is about giving your suggestion to change something in the working life (or even personal life, afterall today are more connected than ever) and start improving things…. one “mistake” at a time. Who’s with me?

I want to listen how would you fix it in two different topics:

How would you fix it? MANAGEMENT
As a large number of people around the world, I’ve been working in middle management for many years (16 if you count both my time in Mexico and in China). A thing I’ve seen over an over through years, companies, and even continents is that we, the middle management, always find weird/dumb the actions and decisions that the high management sometimes do. We have to let them know we have good answers!!! We’re in the field, we’re “out there” (even though some of our jobs are 100% in the office) and we can bring something to the table
Am not alone in this idea/crusade, one of the first crusaders was and still is Dilbert, for which I am a huge fan, and from who’s website I will take some cartoon from time to time and post about it.

How would you fix it? SELF-MADE MILLONAIRE
Again, as most of the people in the planet, am not a millonaire… yet. I want to change that, and I know there are some things I should be doing and some I shouldn’t to get there. This is a topic where business and personal life get connected, as for achieving the first (money) you need to change your habits (personal).

This is my very first entry in my very first blog, I wanted to share the main idea behind it, before getting really into it. You think is interesting? You think we should be talking about fixing something else?