17 minutes | Apr 7, 2017
064 Luis Scull – Paying Airbnb Hosts up Front w/ Payfully
If you are a host on Airbnb, maybe you would like to get paid before your guests arrive. Then you could beautify that room – so that it is worth what you are charging! Two Venezuelan/American friends founded Payfully https://www.payfully.co/, to help you do just that! The early ancestors of Luis Sculls were Quakers from England who came first to America and then later to Cuba. Generations later, when Castro’s communist government took over Cuba, their family with thousands of other Cubans, moved to Venezuela. (No, they did not all come to Miami). Luis Scull grew up in Caracas, Venezuela and came to America to attend college. Soon after, Venezuela descended into chaos under the dictator, Hugo Chavez. Luis entered the hedge fund industry in the Northeast where he thrived, until a Venezuelan friend invited him to bring his financial skills to co-found a ‘factoring’ company. Factoring means, to buy a business owner’s receivables at a small discount. The business owners they focused on were Airbnb hosts. In this episode, Luis talks about The entrepreneurial advantages of coming from a third world country (which Venezuela has become) What he appreciates about New York, and American entrepreneurs. How his immigrant experience/perspective gives him confidence and helps to perceive opportunities or obstacles. And talks to the immigrant with few resources. My favorite question: What he learned from his parents. And more … all in about 17 minutes
29 minutes | Mar 24, 2017
063 Luis Corena – First Village Coffee, Ossining, NY
One of Luis’ favorite television shows when he lived in El Salvador was Beverly Hills. After he arrived at San Francisco airport his uncle drove him around Pacific Heights, where all the elites live. Luis, thinking this was what America was like, kept spotting his house. Then his uncle drove to their actual house at 14th and Woodward in the Mission District, where Luis ended up in a bedroom with his step-brother, 2 sisters, and grandmother. By the time, he was 21 he recognized how hard he would have to work to accomplish his dream and that he would have to take responsibility for his own children’s dream to have a stable family. Today, after working 16 hours per day for many years, Luis is realizing both dreams, a beautiful family and running his own coffee shop – First Village Coffee on 123 Main Street, in Ossining, New York. It’s a beauty, the coffee machinery, the art on the walls. And the welcoming environment is like being at home. The coffee is locally roasted, in fact everything is sourced locally. You can find Luis there at 6am every morning, and likely until 6pm In this podcast, Luis talks about how he built his business, about what it takes to make it successful, what he learned from his mother – who owned a comedore (a small in-house restaurant) in El Salvador, growing up during the war in that country, and his humble advice – never give up. My favorite quote from Luis Corena You can’t stop You can’t let your dreams become just a dream And you have to make your dreams come true Sometimes you go through life just wishing This is it This is the one we have. You know, we either go our whole life just wishing – for something Yeah, I get up every morning I want to stay home with my kids I want to go to my kids’ soccer games I want to go to my kids’ graduation But I know, there are people counting on me right now. Whether it’s a muffin, a coffee, or just a “good morning” I am here. If you set yourself goals, you can achieve – what you want to do So, what advice would I give – “Don’t surrender”.
50 minutes | Mar 1, 2017
062 Otto Berkes – Cofounder of Xbox and CTO at CA Technologies
Otto Berkes is Chief Technology Officer at CA Technologies, a 4 billion company with 13,000 employees in 40 countries. CA Technologies helps companies build software, run their applications, manage their cyber-security, and much more. Today he manages engineering teams, people like himself when he co-founded Xbox, the game console on which 40 million people still play hundreds of games today. Like many engineers, Otto is a curious tinkerer, interested to build, take-apart and put back together again, to not leave a problem alone until he can at least understand it better. He may have had an advantage over other engineers in his determination to grapple with a problem, to persevere – which came from the appreciation of having escaped a totalitarian communist country at ta young age. Otto’s father after seeing the stress to his children as they were indoctrinated at school, and the severe censoring his wife endured as a teacher, carefully planned for years, their escape. Finally, leaving all their possessions behind, they crossed the border to the West, where without language skills, friends or family, they built their lives. Otto began school in Buffalo, New York, and moved around many times as his family tried different ways to succeed. During these years, Otto spent many hours at Radio Shack, learning how to build all kinds of electronic gizmos. And began to think like a programmer. Otto explained how he came to lead the team at Microsoft on Open GL and DirectX: “I joined a team that was working on a graphics standard called Open GL, that was focused on the engineering space to be able to do Cad-Cam. The cost of the hardware technology decreased, so that it became possible to use 3d graphics hardware for games.” Xbox is short for Direct Xbox. WE were looking for a way for some of the technologies that had been developed on the PC, and free it from the constraints of the PC. You put a DC in the den or in your office, but not under a TV. How to resynthesize these technologies in a living-room-friendly environment.” I asked if game developers get to spend much time playing their games? “It’s a little bit of a myth, that developers in the game space, that all they do is play games. When you look at the science, it is hard software development. They either have a bunch of code in front of them or trying to overcome some glitch. It’s serious computer science and hard work. What is an intrepreneur? As an intrepreneur, one drives innovation from within. You’re not starting with a clean slate, and you work inside organizational boundaries. How do you create something totally new in the context of something that already exists? There is not a single right answer, but a common thread is having a strong degree of teamwork. You need to build grass root support, to find people who want to come on board, and exert force as a force multiplier. You must look to the company to fund your investment. Engineering help, to prove out the thing you are trying to build, and executive sponsorship. How did they approach Bill Gates? “Bill Gates has a strong belief in platforms, and Xbox is a strong platform for the living room. Certainly, that was our pitch, but we also pitched the underlying technology. The DirectX graphics, the fact that we were strong with the developer community, and we knew how to build APIs, that is, we had operating systems as a core part of our DNA.” We took a very developer-centric approach. Our core competency was software, which made it easier for developers to create great content. We had an intense focus on the customer. That allowed us to anticipate the rise of the internet-related games in Xbox live. What is he working on today at CA Technologies? Otto created an accelerator, to incubate and fund 10 ideas inside of CA Technologies. They project creators will be funded to focus only on their project. Then those that show promise,
23 minutes | Feb 16, 2017
061 Rebel Girls Create $1 Million Children’s Book – Francesca Cavallo
Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, wrote and published a children’s picture book, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, 100 Tales to Dream Big. And they are creating their own story, moving to America to compose a picture book! That is 220 pages long! That has 60 illustrators! And yes, that made crowdfunding history with well over $1 million in purchases In this interview I asked Francesca not about the technical details of book contracts, and crowdfunding but how she and Elena created their own foundation for over 10 years, Francesca through learning to stand up in theatre, and how Elena created the first children’s magazine for the iPad. Their success came not by luck, but through humility, through focus, even through loneliness…, let’s go Francesca on the influence of being an immigrant entrepreneur. “Living in the country and being exposed to more work, then we realized that we could use the visual culture that we have, the sensibility of European design, but still merge it to Being willing to challenge your assumptions. How we think of European illustration, and how we think of American culture. “You’re in the middle. You are not in your country and you are trying to fit in – but you never you feel you fit in, because that is not the country that you grew up in. So it is a variety of aspects. Buy being in the country that you did not grow up with, you are naturally more focused on the reason why you moved to this country. We spent so many hours per day working on the project. Besides the determination, and the focus, part of it is that you don’t have many friends. You moved to work on this thing, so all you do is work on this thing. “And you are kind of in the middle. You know where you came from. You have a kind of curiosity toward the country that you came to live in, so it allows you to be creative.”
32 minutes | Jan 26, 2017
060 How to Build a Product – Filip Valicia from Czechoslovakia
Filip Valicia develops products for underwater robots and many other applications. He has also painstakingly laid out the process for you to develop your product. You can see this process at his website, The Product Startup. He also helps those crowdfunding a product – which is how I discovered his service. Filip escaped from communist Czechoslovakia, with his mother, when he was six years old. His fate, as a product developer guru was set into motion, when he was in a Greek refugee camp. One day, he found a discarded toy truck, with a missing back axle. He found some other parts, from a discarded toilet and fixed it, pulling the toy truck behind him everywhere to carry his worldly possessions. Filip is a fantastic role model for anyone struggling to find their way in life. Growing up in Houston there was no support system of a Czech community. They didn’t have family or clan to lean on, didn’t have money to even get decent clothes so he could fit in at school, and really, felt like he was a failure even through college. But he kept pushing through, focused on developing a process that works regardless of his circumstances, always keeping the long game in mind. He shares: “All of your failures. All the things that you think you shouldn’t have done. I look at that as a data point. It’s information you can use to make a better decision in the future. You are a wiser person now, than you were a year ago, because of having gone through that. I’ve gone through so much, that there is little that can phase me, because of all the trials that I’ve had to go through. You have to physically experience through that pain, or triumph over that pain. Think of the longer term anyway, and continue plowing forward and it will make you stronger, and it will broaden your skill set. I get super frustrated sometimes because I’m not an expert in any one field, but at the same time, I can be more resilient, and I can act faster because I can do things on my own, and I can have a second or third job doing all sorts of random things, as opposed to people who haven’t made those mistakes as opposed to people who haven’t made those mistakes and haven’t learned those skills.” It starts with understanding who your customer is. He shares his difficulties and the tactics he’s using to continually discover his audience and their needs. For example, his website audience is different than his podcast audience, and different than his live workshop audience. As he strives to make his company succeed, and help his clients, he doesn’t accept any excuses, just like his mother never accepted excuses from him. See the details of Filip’s product development process http://theproductstartup.com/diy-product-development-step-by-step/ * Organizing your ideas * Spotting trends * Designing prototypes * Searching for patents * Getting data on your market and competitors * Advertising * Funding your idea * Finding a manufacturer * Creating an online store * Writing sales sheets * Shipping your product
13 minutes | Jan 11, 2017
059 How Do Immigrant Entrepreneurs Learn?
Poverty is a hard place to be. Many of us, perhaps most of us, as we started out in life, lived for years one paycheck away from poverty, with no savings. Yet people do rise out of poverty each day. According to one my interviewees, poverty is big business. Apparently the various levels of government spend over 900 billion dollars every year, to pay for the food, housing, medical care, and other expenses for the poor. Yet the number of poor is not declining. In 2003 there were 23 million on food stamps and in 2012 there were 46 million on food stamps. Yet immigrant entrepreneurs, most who experienced harsh conditions and poverty, are able to create not just success for themselves, but a pathway, a model for others to follow. Despite language skills, a lack of connections, a lack of credit, or capital, they do break through. So, how do immigrant entrepreneurs break through, how do they rise from zero to hero. The one thing you always hear about, and I talk about it a lot is that they work hard, and work long hours. Gary Vaynerchuk who invited me to his headquarters in New York city twice, for interviews out-works everyone. But what is the work they are doing. Often it is learning. How is Gary Vaynerchuk, who’s family came from the poorest European country of Belarus, able to teach so much about social media to his clients at Vaynermedia. He learned it. How is he able to create such riveting presentations? He studied pubic speaking. How did Elon Musk learn about space rockets? He studied. When Elon first came to Canada from South Africa he got the highest paying job he could find which was cleaning boilers at a lumber mill. Elon said: "You have to put on this hazmat suit and then shimmy through this little tunnel that you can barely fit in," Musk said. "Then, you have a shovel and you take the sand and goop and another residue, which is still steaming hot, and you have to shovel it through the same hole you came through. There is no escape. Someone else on the other side has to shovel it into a wheelbarrow. If you stay in there for more than thirty minutes, you get too hot and die." So how do immigrant entrepreneurs learn They ask important questions. They learn from other cultures. They read books. They pay attention to their experiences. Do you have a big question that drives you? All the time working, Musk thought that the most difficult thing was to be able to come up with the right questions. The questions that would drive him to study, driven him to learn, drive him to work harder than anyone. And drive him to succeed. They learn from different cultures Being from a different country and a different culture makes them more equipped with people’s kills than natives. They use those different cultures to their advantage. Instead of giving up because they do not know the native language, they use their knowledge from different other cultures and languages they have been exposed to while they were growing up to their advantage. However, it doesn’t end here. They learn the native language and use it to enhance their communication skills which allows them to deal with people from different cultures, ethnicities, and countries with more fluency. Moises Annicchiarico from Teachlr was a French national who was exposed to Italian and Venezuelan culture and languages while growing up and this helped him with his work a lot. They learn from books This is the reason they do not hesitate to read books and lots of them. It helps make up for the street knowledge they lack in the foreign land and makes them understand people and cultures better. Take the example of AJ Rassamni, born in Lebanon, now a serial entrepreneur who came to America at a younger age and worked days and nights to educate himself. He ended up acquiring the very company he worked for. Now not only does he have a company of his own but he has two books to his credit as well. They Learn from experiences
22 minutes | Dec 22, 2016
058 How to Think Like a Philippine Free-Style Wrestler / Entrepreneur – Chiara Cokieng
Chiara Cokieng is a young entrepreneur and copy-writer, in the Philippines who thinks a lot. She told me she wanted to be an entrepreneur many years before she could spell it. She lifted herself up above her environment in two ways – she became a champion free style wrestler, and she began entering math competitions starting locally and then going international. She also wrote at quite a young age, a 100 page sales letter for her first employer, to find out if through a mix of storytelling, empathizing, and reason-why copy-writing, they could double their monthly recurring revenue. They did. I interviewed Chiara because I wanted to understand the thinking of entrepreneurs in emerging markets. She and I are both interested in the intersection of America and Asia startups & adapting Silicon Valley principles to local realities. She’s been inspired by immigrant entrepreneurs like Steli Efti, Hiten Shah and Gary Vaynerchuk, and she reflects on the differences between typical business attitudes in America and those in the Philippines. Interesting for any entrepreneur in an emerging market – especially as she’s created opportunities for herself as a country manager for American based companies. Some highlights: How can immigrant entrepreneurs bring their experience/knowledge back to their countries? The moment an immigrant suddenly realizes: “I’m so fucking rich!” Why you can sell iPhones in the Philippines, where 70% of the people make $100 per month. Why it’s easier for your ideas to persuade someone in America than the Philippines What happens when there is less trust of each other, in your culture. What are the obstacles to that occurring in the Philippines? What to do when you realize you have sense of entitlement? Which is a big problem in all cultures What is and how she learned the entrepreneurial mindset? How attending international math competitions made Chiara recognize that you are the average of the five people closest to you. And why that is the best LIFE HACK Why she loves THE IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEUR And most important. How to really know who your customer is? Chiara’s website: http://chiaracokieng.com/ One of Chiara’s blogs: http://chiaracokieng.com/suffering/ The Immigrant Entrepreneur Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheImmigrantEntrepreneur/
23 minutes | Dec 8, 2016
057 Patience – While Moving at the Speed of Eric Siu
Eric Siu, my guest today, practices patience like a marathon runner. Patience is simply an understanding that there are laws of nature at work. Patience is not an excuse to stop working. Quite the opposite, patience pushes you to not give up, when you don’t see immediate results. This is so valuable for aspiring entrepreneurs and immigrants to add to their understanding of an active patience, a proactive patience, so to speak. Eric Siu produces a seemingly nonstop stream of content. So as I record this introduction, on October 12, 2016, at his Twitter account https://twitter.com/ericosiu he published 30 substantial pieces of marketing advice and news, many of them original. He snapchats more advice at @ericosiugrowth and blogs weekly for Entrepreneur Magazine. He hosts a four times per week podcast Growth Everywhere, and this July he co-founded the Marketing School a 10 minutes per day podcast with guru-status Neil Patel (co-founder of Kissmetrics and Quicksprout). And Eric brings it all together at his digital agency https://www.singlegrain.com/. I was curious, why Neil Patel who as a marketer for 17 years, and a co-founder of Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg and Quick Sprout would pair up with Eric Siu, who has 3 years’ experience. This episode in which Eric shares his energy and insights, provides a clue. In this episode Eric talks about his path to becoming a seen everywhere marketer, and how he has monetized his efforts. He shares about his immigrant perspective as a son of Taiwanese/Hong Kong parents, the stories behind what he learned from his tiger mom, to under promise and over deliver, to not let some else eat your lunch. From his experiences as an immigrant entrepreneur, he learned to be patient, to let things grow naturally. He gives advice to immigrants, entrepreneurs, and to this podcast, The Immigrant Entrepreneur. Thank you so much for listening, and please do visit our website, where you can leave a voicemail or email with your questions and comments. And find instructions and links on how to leave a rate and review and even your questions on iTunes! Thanks!
18 minutes | Nov 24, 2016
056 How to Start Where You Are – Advice from Amel, Steli, Jose and Garyvee
Immigrant refugees appear every day. A dictator claims more power, an invasion occurs, discrimination grows. Nations that could do something, do nothing. Some of the people in those countries decide to take their chances on a new land. When they arrive in that new land, some of them are welcome, some are unwelcome, but mostly they are ignored, left to their own devices – that is to say, they must start making a new foundation, and quickly, where they are. This episode is dedicated to two refugees among the 120,000 Venezuelans who fled to their neighboring country of Colombia, South America over the last month, to seek food, medicine, and safety, which followed more than 1.5 million Venezuelans who fled over the last 10 years. These two refugees, Katherine and Alexander, written about in the Miami Herald, said that back in Venezuela they could either work, he as an engineer, she in a bank, or they could wait in a line all day to get food, but you could not do both. So they arrived to the streets of Bogota, Colombia, with $250. Alexander could not apply for work as an engineer because he was illegal, and besides they had to eat today. For the same reasons, Katherine could not apply for a job or a loan to start a business.. So as you listen to this in September, 2016, they took their $250 and bought some corn flour and oil and a little stove, and began selling corn tortillas on the streets of Bogota. This episode is dedicated to this young couple starting where they arrived, standing on the street, in the rain, in a city that is not their own. Dedicated to the 1.6 million other Venezuelans who started over in some other land over the last 10 years, and dedicated to you, dear listener, whether or not you are an immigrant – after all, aren’t we all immigrants to this world – as you start over – as you begin some part of your life standing right now, where you are. The lessons I’d like to focus on from four of my past guests are: Have the courage to imagine that you have power to change your condition. (Amel Derragui) Identify your natural talent – and strengthen it. (Steli Efti) Trust your family. Trust your ability to persevere. Trust the little that you have. (Jose Prendes) Outwork others. (Gary Vaynerchuk) Please visit our website, www.theimmigrantentrepreneur.com, to see links to their companies and read the transcript of this episode. The first is Amel Derragui a serial entrepreneur, who today creates opportunities for others here in New York, with her two companies Blink and C, as well as Tandem Nomads. Amel moved frequently in her life. In fact, she grew up in three warzones. Listen to her amazing story in episode 26. Here she speaks of her experience as 14-year-old in Uganda, with the overflow of refugees from the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsis. Many immigrants are children, who have power; the power to imagine that they can better their condition AMEL DERRAGUI And then after that I went to Uganda where it was right in the middle of the genocides issues between the Tutsis and the Hutus and I was in a school, in the French school at that time, and a lot of kids that were refugees ended up in that school. The courtyard, where the kids would play during the break, it was like a warzone too; it was crazy because you had kids from every country but also from every ethnic group like Hutus, Tutsis, and thy would just fight. I heard black people insulting white people, I heard white people insulting black people, I heard kids saying to people who were black and white, ‘you are not white, you are not black, you are nothing’. And then you would hear Hutus and Tutsis fighting on their ethnic groups; like, what’s happening here? I was really shocked and this was like the third experience in my life on the road with issues, society issues and human issues at the end of the day. I started really thinking, ‘what can I do here?’.
38 minutes | Nov 10, 2016
055 Interior Design Can Change Your Life . Jaime Gonzalez . The Man Home
Listeners - Please rate, review and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Google Play. ((Instructions are on the right side of home page). Thanks! Entrepreneurs often spend hours each day working in their home office. Why not enjoy better interior design and make it a positive place! Especially if the design fee is a low, fixed price! Jaime Gonzalez and his online interior design company, The Man Home (Listen for his discount for you, toward the end of this podcast!) may be able to help you. Their target market fits the straight-forward business model and pricing: single guys who can use ‘a little help’ in how their apartment looks and feels. (That would probably be about 100% of single guys). The service works smoothly. Clients upload photos of their rooms and photos of the any furniture they wish to keep. Clients also fill out a survey on their design preferences. Designers do not visit the client's home. The designs are delivered online, for a low fixed-price, per room. Jaime’s story is of growing up poor in Latin America’s poorest Spanish speaking country. His family’s properties had been confiscated, and his grandfather was kidnapped. Jaime only had his guitar and mostly by teaching himself, earned full music scholarships to two top American universities, Loyola in New Orleans and The University of Southern California. After college he survived for five years, playing music in restaurants around Los Angeles. He did not earn much but he learned much, especially how to engage customers, and how to hustle. Every day he studied to build up his knowledge of finance and insurance which allowed him to start a successful insurance consulting firm – that today, funds this latest startup The Man Home! In this episode - Jaime talks about the imagination of an immigrant, teaching yourself when there are no teachers, finding the world in books, and the value of charm. Don’t forget to sign up for your big discount Jaime offered during the episode! And if you love this podcast - please subscribe, rate and review. Doing so will keep us highly ranked which will allow more people to listen. Thanks!
18 minutes | Oct 20, 2016
054 How To Get Lucky! (Hat Tip to Howard Marks) – Bonus episode
Welcome IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEUR listeners to this bonus episode. Over the last year I have published podcasts every other Thursday. Because the number of listeners has increased, I’m considering to publish weekly. In the meantime, please enjoy these bonus episodes. I have interviewed one hundred successful business people – some for this podcast and some for magazines. Some run major corporations – last month I interviewed a female CEO of a company with 90,000 employees – while others work solo. I wanted to talk about what these successful people have in common. You might think in a podcast about immigrant entrepreneurs, that the common factor is hustling, innovating, persevering, which all are crucial to becoming successful. But it’s something different and at least equally important. As hustling and hardworking Gary Vaynerchuk is, and as much as he talks about those traits, he equally acknowledges this factor common to successful business people. What do they have in common? They got lucky. The question is - how did they get lucky? Did they win the lottery? Did they make their own luck? Now, not everyone believes in luck. In fact, maybe you don’t. You may think that you can plan out and execute every part of your life. To unpack this let’s turn to Howard Marks, a gentleman I interviewed this year, who in 2014, took the time to detail the many ways he encountered luck in his life. He included those details in a well-known essay he wrote, Getting Lucky. Now Howard Marks has the right to feel lucky, because the company he founded, Oaktree Capital, has $100 billion under management, as a global alternative investment management firm. But he also has the right to feel he made his own way in life, because he’s always worked hard and he is one of the world’s highly skilled investors. In fact, Warren Buffet wrote: “When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they're the first thing I open and read. I always learn something." His essay, Getting Lucky, is long, but I encourage you to read it. I’ll include a link to it in my show notes. One type of luck he talks about is ‘demographic luck” meaning for example where one is born, or perhaps how wealthy one’s family is. However, Mr. Marks is not lucky because he was born rich. He grew up in Queens, New York, and was the first generation in his family to attend college. His luck was that he was born in America, the son of immigrants. (I wish I would have known that when I interviewed him, I would have asked him about his story, and asked to use it for this podcast. I did ask him about his youth. He said: “I learned to work. I always had jobs.” That sounds like a young immigrant entrepreneur!) In his essay, Marks writes about his response to comments made by Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, who said: "Success is never accidental. No accidents, just planning; no luck, only strategy, no randomness, just perfect logic". Mark’s response: "That's all it took to get my juices flowing. I believe a great many things contribute to success. Some are our own doing, while many others are beyond our control. There’s no doubt that hard work, planning, and persistence are essential for repeated success. These are among the contributors that Twitter’s Dorsey is talking about. But even the hardest workers and best decision makers among us will fail to succeed consistently without luck.” “What are the components of luck? They range from accidents of birth and genetics, to chance meetings and fortuitous choices, and even to perhaps-random but certainly unforeseeable events that cause decisions to turn out right.” One of my interviewees, in episode 30, looked back in his luck in life. When Parviz Parvizi and his family escaped a war, 35 years ago, in the middle of the night, on horseback, through the mountains of Iran, they didn't know if luck would be with them. And even, when his family finally made it to America, there was no ticker tape parade welcoming them,
33 minutes | Oct 5, 2016
053 Reducing the Cost of Visas – Jonathan Moyal of Oliver.ai
Jonathan Moyal cofounded Oliver.ai, to reduce the cost and stress for those applying for a visa to the United States, a problem many of their friends had faced. They promote themselves as The easiest and most secure way to get your visa for the United States. Jonathan’s ancestry is so global, Moroccan, Jewish, French, American, with a Spanish last name, that he can have empathy for almost any tourist, student, or immigrant trying to navigate the visa system. Their service is combination of software – which checks the applicants’ paperwork for errors or potential problems – and personal service which sets up appointments and guides the applicant through the process. Although he comes from generations of old world entrepreneurs, famous for trading, his secret skill is in building his network of exchange. He explains exactly how his ‘favor bank’ works. “If you go as a tourist to the old city, to this day, in Marrakesh, and you want to buy a pair of shoes, and he doesn’t have your size. He’s going to say sorry, hold on hold on, and he’s going to bicycle to the other end of the market, to someone who should be his competitor. And he’s going to grab a pair of shoes and sell them to you. So there is this network of exchange, largely based on trust, based on favors. I realized that I’ve created a similar network of support in the investor community, the entrepreneurial community, and in the not-at-all entrepreneurial community – so that’s my secret sauce. When I look at my success today – we just raised a round, it will be in the news soon – as compared to when I started out – I started out very alone. It’s not networking. My mother calls it the favor bank. When people need something, they come to me and I give it to them, I don’t ask why. If I have the right contact for you and you are someone that I trust, I will not hesitate a second and will give it to you. Inevitably over time, it’s not that people owe you one, it’s that people trust you, so when you need something, you don’t need to feel ashamed to go ask. That network has been invaluable to me over the years, and continues to grow.” That’s why he wants to help you! He also shares valuable advice he receive from his dad, who arrived in the US with about two dimes in his pocket. I asked him if the French were really the way Americans perceive them. As a board member on La French Tech, he was the perfect person for me to ask. Guess what. The French tech scene in New York, is a lot bigger that you imagine.
33 minutes | Sep 21, 2016
052 Bonus! TEACHLR – Enseñanza De Aquellos Que Quieren Aprender En Línea – Moises Annicchiarico
See Episdoe 50 for my interivew in English with Moises Annicchiarico Also see translation of this episode in the transcript below. Moises Annicchiarico es el CEO y co-fundador de el popular Teachlr punto com, una comunidad, de cursos online, y clases en vivo online, y mucho más. Está creciendo mucho, y está ayudando a tanta gente alrededor del mundo. Tambien tiene plataforma para companies y universades. Algunos destacados de la entrevista En Teachlr.com Teachlr.com es un mercado de conocimiento. Es un lugar donde cualquier persona que tenga alguna idea de algún conocimiento del cual se sienta experto y pueda compartirlo con otras personas del mundo, tiene la oportunidad de crear el curso en línea. Por otro lado, nosotros conectamos las personas que quieren aprender con las personas que quieren enseñar creando un mercado de cursos en línea con Teachlr.com En Teachlr Organization …permite tener una plataforma de e-learning totalmente personalizada. Esto es un software-as-a-service, una plataforma lista para que la personalices y la utilices a tu medida: puedes crear cursos, crear grupos, asignar esos cursos a las personas, asignar personas a grupos; puedes gestionar todo lo que es el porcentaje de avance, las evaluaciones, cómo vas entregando el contenido y entregar una certificación final. También tenemos clientes cómo consultoras y centros de formación que están entrenando a otros a través de su propia universidad o su propia escuela en línea de Teachlr. Cómo ganarse la confianza …si haces un delivery de una clase en vivo tiene que ser mejor que un Skype; si haces un delivery de un video tiene que ser igual o mejor que YouTube. Entonces, tienes unos retos que debes enfrentar para que esos usuarios tengan confianza en ti y así des un servicio de calidad. Eso es algo que se trabaja día a día y que no se consigue al principio. Pero si desde el principio estás trabajando con la idea de hacer algo que funcione bien, así sea lo que llaman un MVP (un producto muy pequeño, mínimo viable), pero que funcione bastante bien, pues por supuesto que puedes crear la confianza si estás atacando la necesidad de una forma correcta. Constryendo el Equipo A partir de ahí empezamos a conversar y a convencer a amigos y a personas cercanas a que nos apoyaran de alguna forma. En ese momento no teníamos ningún tipo de capital y era muy complicado. Lo bueno era que estábamos tan entusiasmados con la idea que era muy fácil atraer a personas para que nos ayudaran. Realmente, el primer equipo que creamos era de personas que simplemente nos estaban ayudando y prácticamente no nos estaban cobrando. Después, empezamos a construir un equipo de desarrollo ya con la idea llevada a cabo parcialmente; por supuesto, no teníamos un Beta, pero teníamos algo que podíamos mostrar. Los beneficios para iniciar y hacer crecer un negocio en un país donde hay retos. También tiene que ver con el ojo con el que mires las cosas porque si nos ponemos a observar los factores negativos de Venezuela o de Latinoamérica, podemos ponernos tristes en algunas cosas; por eso también es cuestión de cómo se mire. Eso es lo que tiene que diferenciar la mentalidad de un emprendedor: tiene que ser una persona visionaria que puede encontrarse problemas en el camino, pero eso no tiene que limitarlo a empezar. También tiene que ser una persona que ve las oportunidades que se le puedan presentar en el escenario en que se encuentre. Al final se trata de adaptarse. En lo que debe hacer un emprendedor. Al final, todo depende de la forma como el emprendedor o el fundador interactúa con el resto de las personas para tener éxito. Hay emprendedores cuyo producto no tiene mucho valor, digámoslo así, pero logran tener éxito porque en dos o tres reuniones cierran buenos contratos y logran arrancar su empresa. Como digo siempre: hay una gran carga en los fundadores y los emprendedores de romper esa gran barrera de crear un producto y crear una demanda y hace...
35 minutes | Sep 7, 2016
051 You Can Pick Me Up and Drop Me Off Anywhere in The World – Sasibai Kimis of Earth Heir
Sasibai Kimis has a good heart, lots of courage, and a wonderful laugh. Perhaps those are the ingredients to make one adaptable, which is Sasi’s secret power. I asked her about her greatest skill that she could offer to listeners: “I would say that I think my greatest skill that I’ve built over the years is adaptability. I remember telling an employer once: ‘You can pick me up and drop me off anywhere you want around the world, and I’ll find my way.’ As long as you are smart, street smart, and you’re not afraid, you can try to make something work, and find what you need. I’m not sure what made me say that, I think it’s because of my experience in Ghana. When I went to Ghana, I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t even have a place to stay. I just arrived with a suitcase and I wanted to do this internship with the United Nations. …. I think that I grew up in Malaysia with ‘the other’ and ‘being the other’. I always felt no matter where I went, I was not afraid of being ‘the other’. Sasi’s company, Earth Heir is located in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Earth Heir, works with craftspeople in Malaysia and the region using their traditional skills, but creates contemporary design pieces and corporate/customized gifts with social impact. These contemporary crafts and gifts are sold at the Earth Heir studio in KL and online. Earth Heir is focusing more on the corporate gifts market, which allows for larger purchases, and thus a bigger and positive impact on their artisans. Sasi shares her moving immigrant story of her family to Malaysia, her grandfather was an indentured laborer, from India, and her immigrant journey from Malaysia to the West. She could have left her Malaysia behind. She succeeded at the elite Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, in the US. And she succeeded on Wall Street: “Truly, my experience in the U.S. was the most affirming and confidence building experience in my life. It gave me the tenacity to believe that I could do things, I could achieve things. While I was at the University of Pennsylvania, I could take classes in pottery and acting and courses unrelated to my business degree, and met people from so many backgrounds. It boosted my confidence as a person. That really helped me tremendously in my life. After Wharton I didn’t know what to do, so I did the typical thing, investment banking. I worked at Lehman Brothers, and I was the only international person in the team. Everyone else was white. I was the only Indian. But I never felt different! I was never made to feel less because I was Indian. It was like, – hey – you passed our interviews, you did well, we’ll give you the job. It was so great, I felt, at least in America, I was rewarded based on merit." And she excelled at Cambridge University in England, where she studied sustainable development. However, Sasi wanted to re-immigrate back to a country to create an ecosystem for social entrepreneurs. “We wanted [Earth Heir] to stay in Malaysia because this region needs champions, that are making a difference. It would be very easy for me to move back to the US, and do what I’m doing here. But I felt that if I move, then who will be here to help change the landscape. We’re not the only ones doing this here. But I feel like you need a nucleus of people who are doing something. That’s how change happens.” There was so much in this interview, I had to cut out so much, to keep it under 35 minutes, which I prefer. Perhaps I will make a second episode."
28 minutes | Aug 18, 2016
050 TEACHLR – Teaching Those Who Want to Learn in Latin America
Sometimes I wonder, what about those talented entrepreneurs who stay in their emerging-market country? In this episode we meet an entrepreneur in Venezuela, an emerging market - and one of the most challenging places to live and work today. Moises Annicchiarico, co-founder of Teachlr.com, has visited America and other countries, but is proud to have started and grown Teachlr in Caracas, Venezuela. In this episode he shares his business and talks about some of the advantages and struggles of starting a company in a challenging environment. Moises and his cofounder Ruben Benarroch, created Teachlr.com, in order to teach practical skills online, to people all over the world. Here are some key points of Teachlr: Popular courses include Excel, Adobe, many computer programming languages, Project Management, and yes, How to Teach a Course Online! Many courses are FREE, and the average price for the course is $19.00. Students love that they can directly communicate with their instructor, and can keep the content. Some course are one hour and others are over one hundred hours. Their most popular markets are students in Mexico, Spain, Columbia, Argentina, and the United States. If you have an expertise, you can teach your content there also? Over 400,000 students have taken courses at TEACHLR. Their second business, called TEACHLR ORGANIZATIONS, serves companies and universities. It provides secure platforms for organizations to place their private content online, where they can teach their employees. Some of their high profile clients are: Avianca, pwc, and Telefonica! So what are those fantastic advantages to starting your company in a difficult environment: You may be the only one providing a particular service. You may have access to larger customers You may have less competition for top talent to help you grow. You may be helping your country, and even poor people throughout your continent. Moises explains how TEACHLR enjoys these advantages. I’m so inspired by Moises, in whom you can see the roots of an immigrant entrepreneur. Watch in the coming weeks for this interview in Spanish!
19 minutes | Aug 3, 2016
049 BONUS EPISODE – Snips from Gary Vaynerchuk, Hiten Shah & Due Quach – To Introduce The Immigrant Entrepreneur
Welcome to The Immigrant Entrepreneur. This is a bonus episode. Two days ago we were listed #4 on iTunes New and Noteworthy, and #16 in the business category of PodcastChart.com. I want to give you new listeners a flavor of The Immigrant Entrepreneur by sharing snips of several awesome episodes. A flavor of what makes immigrant entrepreneurs overcome all obstacles to create 1/3 of Silicon Valley startups, 27% of all business in this country. What is the immigrant story behind Gary Vaynerchuk working in the back of his dad’s liquor store when he was 14? What allowed Due Quach to a Vietnamese boat baby, who did not talk until she was 7 years old, to attend Harvard, then Wharton, and return to the inner city to teach meditation. What’s behind serial entrepreneur and investor Hiten Shah’s drive to help people? To introduce to our vision that immigrant entrepreneurs can be a bridge between the world they came to and the worlds they came from. And between those succeeding and struggling because they have been both places. I’m your host Kent Trabing Our website is http://TheImmigrantEntrepreneur.com where you can subscribe, and find links, show notes, regarding each episode. Our email address is TheImmigrantEntrepreneur@Gmail.com. I’d love to receive your comments and questions, as well as your story. In my next episode I’ll be interviewing 2 entrepreneurs living and creating in Caracas Venezuela, who are going to talk about how to educate entrepreneurs in emerging market countries. Adios!
32 minutes | Jul 27, 2016
048 How to Be the Person You Dreamed of Becoming! Emily Filloramo!
Why is it important that you do the work you have chosen to do, and not someone else? How can you break through to the next level? How do you get out of your own way? How do you overcome negative self-talk? Emily Filloramo lives to help her clients answers these questions. Emily shares about the the decision to become an entrepreneur. After a successful 27-year career at Pfizer, Inc., one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, she simply decided to do what she loved. That is not what happened! Emily was laid off in October, 2011. She panicked, for maybe a day, and then tried for five months to find a new job. Then she did what many successful entrepreneurs do. She identified her own problem, and worked on solving it, in the belief that others face the same dilemma. Today, Emily's clients call her a Be More Extraordinary MAGICIAN because of the transformation she helps them bring-about in their professional and personal lives. She helps them to get unstuck, unleashed, and be the woman or man they dreamed of becoming. Emily performed magic on herself. Coming from Taiwan at the age of nine, she spoke no English. She grew up poor in Queens, New York, with as many problems at home as at school. Through hard work to get herself out of her circumstances, she attended Cornell University, and after graduating, joined Pfizer, Inc., but she kept inside herself a lot of unresolved issues. You can read about Emily’s journey in her excellent book: "How to PERMANENTLY Erase Negative Self-Talk So You Can Be Extraordinary After being laid off, and unable to find new work, Emily invested in herself by training in a problem-solving approach called: Internal Family Systems. In our interview she talks about gaining her first client, and the dramatic positive changes she was able to effect in his life. After that she was off on her entrepreneurial adventure. She remembers: “You have to figure out, what is the real reason why you actually want to do this. Why? Why? That reason has to be bigger than the money The money will follow if you’re in alignment.” “When you believe in yourself, then take the first step. That first step is going to reveal the subsequent steps. As long as you have the goal plugged into your GPS, you don’t have to know how you are going to get there. There are going to be a lot of twists and turns, this is not a straight line. You’re going to get rejected. Humiliated. I’ve done all of those things.” “The reason I’ve been able to manifest these big speaking opportunities, is because I kept taking steps. It’s not like I just called someone and said, “You need a great speaker – can I speak there. There are a lot of twists and turns before you get to speak.” Emily’s advice for immigrants or those with a difficult childhood: “You don’t have to live in a box that mom and dad put you in. Some immigrants have shy parts, that don’t allow them to speak their truth. I know that they have a charismatic part, a confident part of them that can come out of them, and express themselves. I want to encourage them with my story. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I came here at the age of nine without a word of English and what do I do now. I speak on big stages to inspire them. Whatever you put your mind to, as long as you do the inner work of understanding who you are and erase that negative self-talk, then you can become unstuck, unleashed and become the man or woman you always dreamed of becoming.
25 minutes | Jul 16, 2016
047 “It Kind of Breaks My Heart”– Sheila Pakdaman
Sheila Pakdaman, demonstrates that the power of gratitude is in paying attention to the details, paying attention to the nuances of the stories that surround you, from your parents, from the sacrifices others have made, to the needs of others. She demonstrates that gratitude is about being fully alive. Sheila was educated in global medicine and biology and has published research on health issues, from the Masai in Kenya to chemical addictions in Los Angeles. But in the course of her research, she discovered another need, for people to lift themselves up through education. She founded iTutorU, LLC, http://www.itutoru.org. Her team of experts, tutors a wide range of subjects, advanced placement calculus, statistics, chemistry, physics, writing skills, and many more – to school children up to graduate students. She shares how her multiple degrees in science prepared her to teach in a similar way that scientists solve problems. With her attentive gratitude she realizes the opportunities she’s had in life were a gift. Her parents came to America, from Iran. Her father before the 1979 revolution and her mother in 1984, when it was both difficult to come out and come in. “I do hear stories from people who are still in Iran. They would do anything to be here in America. They are trying to get a student visa, to come here and study. It kind of breaks my heart in a way. I didn’t have to do anything. My parents did that for me. Their struggle became my opportunity.” In this episode Sheila shares her story, how she prepared her business, and her hope for entrepreneurs around the world. She shares about the benefits of her years studying science: Patience in creating the micro-steps to starting and growing her tutoring business. Discipline to run her business, in developing good study methods from her students, Recognizing that just as multiple and different approaches are needed to solve a science problem, her tutors can’t stop after just one or even several attempts to help students learn, and that students learn differently! Sheila also shares about her Persian-American secret sauce We always have the push to do better. Whatever you want to be, just be the best at it. So I thought, okay – I don’t have to go into medicine or law. I want to push to do something to help others .... I remember the conversations we would around the dinner table. Be somebody. Do something good in this world." When I asked about her thoughts on entrepreneurs in emerging markets, Sheila shared. “Believe in whatever you are trying to accomplish – continuously remind yourself why you are striving.” “Find the problem that needs a solution.” And my favorite quote from her: “Maybe making, especially for women, making business something more welcoming for them. And, what I mean by that is something they feel like they can do, that they can achieve by starting their own business. It doesn’t need to be something that’s impossible to do. Especially this speaks true to women who may already have families and children.” To find out more of Sheila’s company, please visit www.itutoru.org
36 minutes | Jun 30, 2016
046 How to Measure Your Customer’s Success – Alexander Kesler
As an immigrant entrepreneur, who founded a successful digital marketing agency, Alexander Kesler gives back many ways One way is to uplift his 25 Romanian employees who are on rotation to work with his 25 Boston employees at his digital marketing agency – They say that their lives are changed forever. Regular listeners know that this podcast seeks to “encourage entrepreneurship in emerging markets”. I regularly ask guests for their input on how to accomplish that. A pragmatic answer I receive is: ‘Yes, in developing countries, there is corruption and red tape, but what can be done right now is to focus on teaching people how to practice business better. Alexander Kesler, my guest today, has been doing exactly that for over 3 years. His family emigrated from Russia, right after high school, to avoid persecution and to find better opportunities here. He attended college at Babson, in Massachusetts, His current company InSegment, and Inc. 5000 Company, provides the full suite of digital marketing services, enjoys a large roster of impressive clients. I’m excited through this interview to discover how others can learn from his unique perspective and business success. For example: At InSegment they serve customers faster and more creatively, by having his employees in the same room. They can quickly resolve the issues for multiple clients, rather than relying on Skype or virtual calls. Plus, they like the camaraderie of working in a team, with all its help and support. “At the end of the day”, Alexander says: “we are human beings.” Alexander grew up in Moscow, with wonderful memories of attending plays there every week, a tradition he tries to keep, until today. After he graduated from a physics and mathematics high school in Russia, at the age of 16, his family came to America. He credits his upbringing in Moscow for giving him his extreme work ethic. He learned mathematics from his father, an engineer, and the love of arts from his mom. From his grandparents he learned, what was good and what was not good, they could answer all of the questions that a young boy has. Alexander puts a strong emphasis on ethics for his company, which services a large number of impressive clients in New England. How does he work with clients: “Clients want to know what’s going on, how to fix a problem? We’re look at everything all the tracking, cost per lead, cost per conversion, cost per sale, and cost per opportunity. Then we come back and say: “okay here is what is going on “and here is how to fix it. Here is how to implement it, and here’s what you can expect once it’s implemented. Then we have another client for many years?” “With ourselves and with our clients, we always stay with the truth. If they ask us to use a metric that would misrepresent their performance, we tell them ‘No, we don’t live in a made-up world!’” I asked Alexander, if you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it? “I want to give talented people who don't have access to resources help to realize their potential. I would provide them with high quality distance learning and a marketplace for businesses to connect to talent - to meet individuals that would typically be beyond their geographic or socio-economic reach.” TRANSCRIPT I assure you that the people that are working with us in Romania are forever changed. We spread our culture, our work ethic, our principles, our rules and best practices right into all of the elements of their work. (0:26-0:49 Introduction) Alexander Kesler founded a digital marketing agency, inSegment, in Boston 9 years ago. The agency is growing because Alexander’s 50 employees insist on majoring how their work benefits their customers. Both customers and employees speak of Alexander as someone who truly cares about technology, about being a good partner and about them. He was born and raised in Moscow,
24 minutes | Jun 16, 2016
045 Making Internet Available 24/7 in the Philippines – Dennis Mendiola
Dennis Mendiola loves to build bridges. Tens of millions of bridges. Between Filipinos overseas and at home Between computers and mobile phones Bridging online users and offline mobile subscribers Between those wanting to share prepaid credits In the year 2000, he co-founded Chikka Text Messenger, a messaging app used by tens of millions throughout the world. The instant messaging application supports free SMS or text messaging between online users and offline mobile subscribers. It was the world's first commercially successful integration of web and mobile utilities. Dennis filed a number of technology patents, (he says probably the most infringed-upon Philippine patents worldwide) and continues to imagine and create new communications solutions. Today he is working on how to make the internet available 24/7 to the Philippines – in bite sized chunks. Dennis was born in America, grew up in the Philippines, returned to the US to attend the Wharton School of Business. After graduating, while working at McKinsey & Company, a preeminent consulting firm, Dennis visited the Philippines and was asked to volunteer as a key executive to revive Subic Bay Metropolitan Area. 40,000 jobs had recently been lost, partially due to a volcano dumping ash in the region. He thought, ‘If I want to make a difference, then this would be the time to make a difference’. Dennis remembers “We did give lots of jobs to people.” The successful volunteer effort brought him closer to his roots, and gave him confidence that he could develop a technology company in the Philippines. He remembers: “Before the year 2000 we lived in a divided world of texting. The Philippines is a country which still today has one of the slowest internet, and at that time was even slower, so people used texting to communicate. But millions of Filipinos living outside, especially those living in North America, could not text to the Philippines. At Chikka, we decided to address this, let them communicate via text on their PC to Filipinos using their phones (or PCs) back home.” Actually Chikka began as a way to send gifts from overseas back home. Then they discovered that people did not want to send gifts, they wanted to communicate. It’s all about bridging the digital divide. That led them to creating the first person-to-person digital debit card. And today he develops ways to bite-size the internet – so users can choose those applications on the internet, without having to pay for everything else. When I asked about how he continues to innovate he has two responses: Encounter daily problems and be conscious about it – at the same time be aware of the technologies available – and keep a hard core team of Silicon Valley grade engineers. Don’t try to solve first world problems (I’m going to be the Amazon of the Philippines, the Blue Apron of the Philippines) – we are not even getting minimal connectivity in the Philippines (true – we had to reset our interview 3 times because the call kept dropping). Instead he solves the problem in front of him. Here is a wonderful video of Dennis with one of his co-founders, Chito Bustamante