Dear Ecuadorian founder,
I decided it was time for me to share a couple things I've learned over the years with you. I've helped a bit on startup ecosystems, and I've tried some research commercialization before. Hopefully, this letter might help you broaden your horizon.
When you go out and about with your startup, there are things you might start asking yourself probably sooner than later:
What happens though, is that these are hard tasks.
In the past, some leaders burned up, others ended up working for someone that slightly aligned to their ideals.
The answer? You need to trust your instincts and bet. If you're honest and hardworking, eventually you'll be rewarded with a radar. An "hangurrientómetro", if you will.
It interests me how the international press likes to put any sign of progress in developing economies in hopeful notes. Ecuador is often listed as one of the best places to retire, while All You Need Is Ecuador ads show up in TVs all over the world.
Underdogs have high likeability; And thus, unbelievably, we're on the world's lens. Yet, the press is veiled. Reality is different.
Ecuador is still a rough place for startups to get started. Our culture is our biggest threat. As you might know:
As much as I'd like to say otherwise, if your idea is really globally oriented, you must not aim for your own country. You must think globally. If not, you might end up poor.
The good news are that you can start from home, and there are routes across the jungle that didn't exist a year ago.
Google the following, and add your nearest city:
Startup Weekend, Lean Startup Machine, IDEA Network, EC Startups.
These are great ways to get started.
Attend to these events, gather know-how and connections, validate your hypotheses, then get your butt to work. Constant delivery must be the strategy.
You'll note real entrepreneurs can defy the system. They believe in their capacity to change their reality, regardless of governments, bureaucrats, restrictive policies, and corruption. They don't give a damn. They strategize their way around these obstacles.
They can't always attend meetups, press events, or cocktails. They're hidden from public sight, don't find much value in local incubators, yet are internationally competitive.
They, unlike what you may usually attest, don't leverage on their relatives in politics or industry, nor owe favors to mafia. And, surprisingly, they see the above problems as local opportunities for growth.
These entrepreneurs have high moral integrity, are beacons of hard work over blabber, and are the ones to build our entrepreneurial ecosystem.
For their protection, I can only say they are real, and have key stoned their talent with international acclaim.
If you are like me, are an Ecuadorian entrepreneur with global scope, disgusted of local smoke and thievery: just know success stories exist, and that entrepreneurial success and international scale is possible.
This letter is to tell you it will be a horrible, long road. Your family and friends might not get it, your relationships might not last, people will try to screw you or cling to you, and your pocket cash will run out.
But heck, that 1% chance of accomplishment is worth it.
Others have succeeded. If you're willing, you can follow suit.
Best of Luck,
ArcadeMe Inc, IDEA Network Ecuador
Here's some posts I've written elsewhere in both English and Spanish.
You can find my musings on Startup Nations, Matador Network, Medium, and Cowbird.
Thanks for stopping by!