Category Archives: Ramblings


Part of the work of an entrepreneur is to constantly think about new ideas, new projects or the future. You can’t get anywhere if you do not look at the coming months and figure out how you will face those problems that have not even happened. Part of the job is to start worrying about how to fix them when they hit and if they don’t, well, you just spent countless hours for nothing, but now you have the peace of mind that you had an idea of how to fix them.

You might think this is idiotic. I actually think this everyday when I am distracted from my daily duties and I start with my fatalist scenario-thinking. Believe me, it is no fun at the beginning, but like anything in life, you get used to it, and frankly after a while, the fantasizing becomes part of your routine. There comes a time if you do not know if you are working or daydreaming, but let there be no mistake, you are wondering about your future and how to improve it.

For those who have done this, you will not let me lie, that when this happens, you actually start to find answers for some of the currents problems and you start resolving them without even wanting to! At the same time, you think, “why didn’t I think of this before.  If I am always thinking ahead, why didn’t I foresee this.” Well, there are 3 good reasons: 1) You are not the mighty powerful god that you think you are, 2) You can’t tell the future and 3) It did not go as you planned. Whatever the situation, if you had actually guessed it, you would have had a response, since you did not, you had to come up with one. Problems are part of the business and the must be resolved.

It is very similar to cashing a check. You see it one minute, the next minute it is in your account, and the next second you already spent it. (No entrepreneur has readily cash available always, that is a blatant lie, as they are always planning for the next big thing) The point is that when you make a habit out of planning, it becomes second nature and it feels like a regular part of your day. It becomes part of who you are and it is one of the reasons you are probably and entrepreneur,

I will get back to my daydreaming job and to actually finishing what I was doing before I got distracted.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…

Investments and Dreams…

For the longest time I have been saying that Entrepreneurs must be willing to invest in their business.  This is accomplished using a lot of patience and with a deep understanding that this is a long-term play.  Most of the time, even seasoned executives will not accept a project if they can’t see a payoff or an NPV calculation in the near future.

The problem is what psychologists call Anchoring (Yes, Erick Dane, I was not asleep in your class).  What anchoring basically tells you is that you can’t seem to get over the fact that once you set a fair value or a realistic expectation on an event, it is very difficult to accept any other value for it.  So for example, we are so used to seeing a Coke worth 50 cents, that when we see the price in the vending machines go to $1.00 we think we are being ripped-off, as well as if we see a 25-cent Coke can we think it is a deal.  Think Netflix at $9 vs $13 and they had to return to the old pricing.  Well, the same thing happens to seasoned investors when you tell them a project will be taking 1 year before it starts paying off, they think you are crazy.

So the problem is that they are seasoned executives and they are not thinking as Entrepreneurs.  If they were, they would realize that they are dealing with people with ample vision and dreamers.  Dreams do not have constraints and vision is limited only to those that dare not dream.  I have investments in Hispanic Trade that are almost as old as the company and they are still work in progresses, with a large chunk of expenses already dedicated to them, and they are still not giving us income.  I expect them to be there a while more.

So, think like an Entrepreneur and you will not be a slave to the Cash Flow statement, think like an Executive and the Balance Sheet will be your Bible.  Think like both and you will be successful, eventually.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…


Just as you think things start to settle down after your first year, you come to the reality and by the way, a very harsh realization, that challenges are always present and that we need to keep looking at the future in a completely and ever-changing environment.

Entrepreneurship is not for everybody.  We always think it is easy because so many people have their own businesses and are successful. But I want you to know and understand that a lot of the successful ones take a lot of shortcuts.  And a lot of the unsuccessful ones, do not.  We live in a world where ethics are often compromised, and in my point of view, a dollar or a million of them is not worth more than my principles.

So, going back to changes; if you think about the amount of resources, expenses and commitments that could be saved by dancing around the lines vs the ones you actually invest when you do things by the book you get a very good idea of why some companies can’t pass that 2 year mark that is so commonly referred as the “you made it” sign.  And if you think about it on the long run, companies that establish a false expense base are dreaming when they think they can correct it later on, – it will not happen, in fact it will get worse.  The more committed they are to certain results and shortcuts, the stronger they will reinforce them.

Each and everyone makes their choice on the type of business they will have and how they choose to grow it.  It is not unfair for people to not follow the rules. It is highly unethical and illegal in most cases, but it is their right to choose how straight or crooked their company will be.  Why is it not unfair?  Because those few that make it following all the rules, can count on a future thriving and solid business, those that don’t are set for disappointment and long-run issues. Unfairness, that is only an excuse for yourself in the why you are not being successful in your business, you need to go somewhere else with that trash-thinking, not here.

We are owners of our destinies and the challenges we get are the result of being entrepreneurs, no one else’s. Suck it up, keep working and follow your principles, let’s see where they take us.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…


John Lennon

I am sure you have been in your car and a real cool song comes over the radio and you love this song, you have heard it a thousand times and it’s a classic; what’s better than a John Lennon song.  Full of great lyrics and piano tunes, it is a great symphony of sound and voice.  Then you listen to it like you never have; this was me today and I was so shocked because it was ME all last year!

Watching the wheels

People say I’m crazy
Doing what I’m doing
Well, they give me all kinds of warnings
To save me from ruin
When I say that I’m okay, well they look at me kinda strange
“Surely, you’re not happy now, you no longer play the game”

People say I’m lazy
Dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice
Designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
“Don’t you miss the big time boy, you’re no longer on the ball?”

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people ask me questions
Lost in confusion
Well, I tell them there’s no problem
Only solutions
Well, they shake their heads and they look at me, as if I’ve lost my mind
I tell them there’s no hurry, I’m just sitting here doing time

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round

I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…

Happy Blog-iversary!


Can you believe we have been blogging for a year now?  YES!  One year ago I set out to document the adventure that I was undertaking.  As I mentioned in that blog, my brother gave me the idea to record and share this journey, and man! am I grateful he did; it has been extraordinary and now I have a way to share a lot of memories even if I can’t recall them.

So on to reality, what a year!  Let’s try and remember:

  1. Started the company
  2. Spent 3 months to get a contract for Business Development
  3. Spent 4 months to get a contract for Sales and Marketing
  4. Hired 4 employees during the year of which 2 remain.
  5. Took us over 6 months to get commission checks.
  6. Have not made a salary, will start in January 2017.
  7. Broke as I have never been and with a good-sized debt, almost 6 figures.
  8. Have lost money 11 months out of 12 – this month was different!
  9. Have gained 5 pounds, up to 180.
  10. My bald circle is now about 4 inches wide on the top of my head. I am a lost cause on this one – genetics.
  11. Finished my second Master’s. It was in Analytics. It was hard and very technical.
  12. Improved my golf game by about 8 strokes, not playing much but focusing more. Still a high handicapper, hitting high 90’s.
  13. Am no longer an absent parent, spend much more time with my kids and in their lives. They know we are poor and they do not mind. It is the joke in the family and we are all cool with it.  The other day we went to Wendy’s and they were thrilled as we do not go out much anymore.  How funny!
  14. Am no longer an absent husband. My wife is my partner and we have a wonderful relationship.  We spend a lot of time together and we enjoy every minute of it.  Life is great on that front. Oh… and she is waaaay cute.
  15. Am no longer stressing over others’ decisions – only we control our destiny. The good and bad decisions come from us and we own them. We do not make excuses for someone else, only for our actions.
  16. Am no longer a decision-making robot. When you make decisions for someone else you have to be always looking for their direction and stated best interest, even if they do not agree with yours.  You have a responsibility – moral as well as legal – to fight for them without regards for others.  This I did very well for many years and it won me over a lot of people that do not like me.  They are right to feel this way, because it means I did my job without regard for personal interest.  Loyalty though is hardly admirable when people see you on your own, because they relate you to your actions in the past and that is how they treat you.  I don’t blame them. Did what I had to and that is done.
  17. Am no longer unhappy or frustrated, and this is the real treasure I have found. My life is so great and full of joy because I have made the right choice. My company is growing slowly and I project a great 2017.  Next year’s blog should be full of positive numbers and much more experiences.  For now I will tell you that this whole experience has tested me in a way I never thought. I feel healthy on the inside like I have not felt since I was in high school and I fell as if I was in my first job, working hard to come ahead.  The difference, and for those that know me well, you will like this:
    1. I work about 35-40 hours a week
    2. I have lunch with my wife almost every day
    3. I walk my kids to the bus and to school
    4. I spend more than 2-3 hours per day with my kids now
    5. I have dinner with my family at the table almost every night
    6. My face has not been red in a while
    7. I went to the office in jeans and a t-shirt on Thursday
    8. I wear loafers almost everyday
    9. I am relaxed
    10. I sometimes get bored when my kids get tired of me.

Thank you so much for 1 year of reading my stories.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…



One of the main drawbacks of being an entrepreneur is that every decision is on you. You are responsible for your success and you are responsible for your failure. No pressure, right? It is evident in my point of view that this is cause for stress in most of us, including me. Whether you accept it or not, when you work for a company, whether it is small or large, you can rely on someone else setting the strategy and taking charge of the decisions at some point in time. Maybe you decide 95% of the time, but that 5% may be the most critical decisions of all and someone has to carry them.

Needless to say, but I will, it also has its risks. You make a wrong decision or a good decision which leads to a bad result, you have only yourself to blame. We call it independence and we value it wholly. It is your right to make your choices on how you will run your business and it is your prerogative on what you you choose to do and how to approach it. Nobody can force you to do anything you do not want to do, unless you believe it is good for your future. If you do not perceive it to bring benefit to your overall plan, even if it brings you income, then the best thing is to be honest and decline.

Sometimes your decisions, even if you really want to make them, walk on the narrow line of ethical ambiguity. You want to make sure that you decide and take into account all factors and relationships and make sure that even if the pot of gold is in front of you, you are careful not to stir it with the wrong spoon. Respect your principals and be honest with your customers, even if it means walking away from good business.

That was this week’s dilemma, let’s see how it turn out in the long run.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…

The Organ Donor…

So I was talking to my teenage son who is real excited as he is about to apply for his driver’s permit. That is a big step in any young man’s life. It is a prelude to a Driver’s License. The power to cruise around, without parent supervision, and obey the rules of the road, while, very carefully, not speed. Or maybe the power to go look for girls and blast the stereo, I think that is his motivation; oh, to be young and have hair again.

Anyway, as I was talking to him and I could not stop laughing, I thought about the fact that in business, just as in life, we have to be very careful in our instructions and how we request things. Case in point is the following. We are reviewing his application which took him about 30 minutes to complete – you know he does not want to get one wrong because then I will be on top of him letting him know he is not ready to drive; that is the fun cruelty of being a dad.

As we are looking down at the list we get to the question and one of them states, Do you want to be an organ donor? He crossed no. It startled me I must admit it because all of us at home that drive are organ donors. So I ask him, why don’t you want to be an organ donor? He looks at me with his face in disgust and fear at the same time, and he says: “no way man, not me” I said, why not, it is a good thing, he defiantly gets up and paces around the table and tells me, “nope. not gonna happen, not me, nope”. I must admit I am baffled and disappointed. How could this young man not want to donate organs to those in need if he is not going to need them. And then it hits me…. wait for it. I tell him, you do realize you will be dead when they take them, and then, I see his expression change and relief possesses him with skepticism and he replies, “are you sure, I need you to be sure”…

I could not take it anymore and I laughed until I cried a little. If we do not explain things well to a young man that has never filled out his form, and did not explain what the procedure consists of, who is wrong: us or him. Well, I think we all share the blame a little. I am happy to report that he changed his answer and he is now a proud organ donor. I am also proud to report that I did not have to convince him. I am sad to report that I will rub it in until he is an old man and this story has just become public knowledge. Kids are great, hopefully we as entrepreneurs give out instructions clearly to those who work with us if not we can expect horrified looks as well.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…

One door closes, two doors open…

So I am sure you have experienced the event I am describing. There is an opportunity that closes on your face. You have been working long and hard behind it, and just when you think it is there, it closes up on you, almost taking your nose in the process. This happens to all of us, but somehow, it is that nose thing that really hurts the most. I guess you can smell it and it is not for you. Oh, well the life of entrepreneur continues and it will probably be the same always.

Two doors open all of it sudden and like a movie, you start smiling and running towards it. We are imagining ourselves hugging and kissing our opportunity, because it is so good and it feels so right… but you never know, it might hit you in the nose again.

I guess that as I explained some months back, you have to be emotionally ready to succeed and to fail as well. When you succeed all is excitement and positive, when you fail, negativism rules. The best thing is always to be leveled, even in the best of times and the worst of times. When you do this, you can actually inject reality into your emotions and your actions most importantly, whether it is a good or bad situation.

I am telling you, I am always grounded, except when I write this blog, I get silly! Anyway, please be sure to look out for the doors swinging back at you and remember that most doors that close will also open back up, you just have to wait a little.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…

Looking ahead…

As changes take effect soon, we continue to plow ahead in search of long-term opportunities.  We have had several projects that highly interest us in the past few months, but good things take time and you should not rush things.  Let them run their course and if you are in its path then so be it, if not another one will materialize.

As good part of an entrepreneur’s life is that you get to control a lot of your time when you are not busy.  You choose the time that you are busy as well and you pick your spots basically.  A big thing for me has been the ability to spend more time with my children.  I think I know my kids much better than before.

In the last few weeks I have given my 4 kids an opportunity to look into what is it that we do. Something very simple but that will let them understand more or less in what we spend our time out from home.  I think they have seen that work is difficult, specially when you start projects from scratch.  It is easy to tell someone, “Oh, I work for Kellogs or I sell Snapple”, those brand are already built.  But when you explain I do this product and they have no clue what it is, then it becomes a harder challenge.  Kids are kind of understanding that.

Well, it works the same with clients.  Isn’t funny that if I tell someone I am a consultant with Snapple or I merchandise Kellogs they immediately relate you to the big companies?, even if your role is non consequential in the growth of the brand, but if you tell them “Oh, we are developing this line for these people” they look at you with blank stares. Funny, but it is human nature and we have to live with it.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…

Hard decisions…

I did not write last week because I was not sure to write about.  We have been having challenging weeks here at HT. As honesty and humbleness are part of the mission of this blog, I must share with you that things are not going as they are supposed to. You measure your business on many aspects: Growth, Sales, Prospects and a myriad of other indicators. Ultimately, though, you have to take into account the profitability of the business and if it really is a business.

Well, this business was started 10 months ago and it is doing very well in certain aspects. Those are projects for the future, established accounts, revenue stream established, but they are not sufficient to sustain the amount of expenses that I chose to include in the business. The easy thing is to say I was mistaken in establishing a high structure of expenses from the get-go. Anyone with a good sense will tell you that is just stupid. I can choose to be stubborn or prideful and tell you that I did it because of XYZ reasons, and in my head, I still hold those reasons to be valid. (Stubborn, I guess)

Well, the reality of it is that I think I made a wrong choice.  I should have waited to get more established cash flows in. My idealism got the best of me and so I move on. But, what to do, well the only thing to do when you measure your business is to make changes in your expense base, and I will have to do that. My timing was off in hindsight, I believed that we would be able to close more contracts and established a better base by now, but the truth is we have not.

Although there are lines which are doing well and we have a few projects that should close within days, they could be weeks or months before we see cash flow coming in, and that is the unfortunate situation. I have put into this business more money than I wanted to originally, and I can’t do that anymore. You can’t throw more money into it, even if you know it is going to work, if all you are doing is supporting expenses which are not justified. If they are justified, then go for it.

So, after weeks of deliberating, I do it and as I fall down and express my gratitude to a couple of co-workers, I push myself off the ground, dust off and continue in this hard journey of entrepreneurship.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…