Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Absolute Desert

Chile, by nature of its length, has an astounding variety of extreme terrain and temperatures. To the north, it is home to the 2nd driest stretch of land in the world – the Atacama Desert. There are parts of this desert where rain has never been recorded….well at least that’s what the Accountants say.

The other weekend, Linda and I took our first out-of-Santiago adventure to this rugged terrain for a truly unforgettable experience.

Some background about the Atacama and what makes it so remarkable:

  • Atacama is made up of salt basins, sand and lava flows. The terrain includes lagoons and salt crust (technically speaking) where water has evaporated leaving behind concentrated nitrates and sodium. The pressure and heat from underground magma creates spectacular geyser-filled plains and hot springs. As uninhabitable as this region is, flocks of flamingos come here to feed on the red algae that grow in these salt lakes.
  • The sky in Atacama is unparalleled in clarity making it one of the World’s foremost astronomical research hubs. In 2013, the Desert will be home to ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array or Soul in Spanish). ALMA is the largest land-based observatory ever built and will have telescopic capability more powerful than even the Hubble telescope. Seeing this sky and taking an observatory tour with a professional Astronomer was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Any X-Files fan would agree.
  • The Atacama landscape is so desolate that people often equate it to lunar terrain. Scientists have found that the soil quality in the Desert is similar to that on Mars and equally unlikely of producing life (so we better be nicer to the planet we’ve got).
  • Atacama is so dry that nothing rots there – not even human remains. The oldest examples of artificially mummified human remains – the Chinchorro mummies – were found here and date back to ~7020 BC. To provide some perspective, the oldest mummy found in Egypt dates ~3000 BC. ¡Increíble!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip but don’t be fooled. These photos make it seem like the desert is very wet and much warmer than it actually was. Temperatures fluctuated from +/- 70°F in the day to +/- 20°F at night so, if you go, be prepared!

Categories: Chronicles of Chile, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week 1 @ Prey

Week one as a CR Fellow at Prey Project has not just surpassed my expectations, it’s blown them out of the stratosphere. In one week, I managed to get to know a fantastic Company and inspiring group of people, be interviewed on one of Latin America’s most popular tech sites and have my photo taken with the President of Chile!! I’m not sure if I’m a victim of the best dumb luck ever or if there is something deeper going on here….

I arrived at Prey on Monday and was immediately swept up in the creativity and innovation flowing through this place. This is the kind of company where you work your tail off but never take yourself too seriously. After a warm welcome from the Prey team, we got right down to business. The first few days were filled with discussion and collaboration as I poured over their existing financials, performance indicators and market research. I was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Prey’s software works and had some honest conversations about the Company’s goals and vision for the future.  The key takeaway: These guys are BUSY!!!

This small team does it all and they are doing it and doing it and doing it well! It’s no wonder they’ve been collecting some great press and recognition. Some of the highlights and most newsworthy moments of the semana include:

2012 Small Business Award Winner (PREMIO PYME 2012): Today the President of Chile awarded Prey the Chilean Small Business of the Year in the category of Innovation. The entire Prey team – including yours truly – attended the ceremony at La Moneda Palace (the equivalent of the White House). During the event, the President made some spot on remarks on the role of entrepreneurs (namely small & mid-size companies) in creating jobs and advancing the quality of life for a nation’s people.

Live WebTV cast on Mejorando.la: On Thursday, Prey was the featured guest on Mejorando – one of Latin America’s premier tech review and education sites. Due to some truly dumb luck, I was able to participate in the show and share some information on the Corporate Responsibility Program and what working with Prey has been like thus far. This site has a hardcore international following and it was a blast connecting with them!

WRAL Segment on Prey: For those of you who may not still understand what Prey does or how it’s useful to anyone looking to minimize the burden of theft/loss of your tech devices, this segment on WRAL really lays it out! The story goes into detail on how Prey solved a burglary that took place at a North Carolina home while the couple was on their honeymoon. Check it out!

I can safely say that this week has officially made it to the hit list of “best weeks ever.”

Categories: Get to Business!, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

And the adventure begins…

Day 1 in Santiago was a major success. Linda (my fantastic co-Fellow who will be working with another Chilean entrepreneur) and I made it safely to our apartments in the neighborhood of Providencia. This part of Santiago is hip and lively with no shortage of things to do or see. We enjoyed an authentic late afternoon lunch, wandered the neighborhood, got some essentials from the local market and finished the day with pisco sours at a local watering hole. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Santiago!

Categories: Chronicles of Chile, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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