What I Learned from George Cadena


Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote,”every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” It’s one of my favorite quotes. This post is the seventh in a series that highlight some of the awesome people I’ve had the privilege to learn from.

I learned the power of enthuseasim from George Cadena.

I met George two years ago in a hostel in Santiago, Chile. We’d both just arrived to be part of the startup Chile pilot round and didn’t really know what to expect. The first thing I noticed, other than his dog and cat, was his enthusiasm. For Chile. For his solar project. For partying. For music. For life. It was infectious.

George is an extremely talented engineer. He’s done some amazing things. But when I first met him, he was a first time entrepreneur coming from the academic and big company world who wanted to build something of his own. He lacked certain knowledge that nearly every first time entrepreneur lacks. But what he lacked in knowledge he made up in enthusiasm. He was so excited about his solar energy startup, for the chance to sell, to make deals, to meet interesting people. His enthusiasm rubbed off on others. He was the first startup chile entrepreneur to hire a chilean intern. He set meetings with big name business people. He met with the press. And he motivated other entrepreneurs with his limitless positive energy.

I really saw this up close and personal when we started to talk about staring a side project together. He pitched me on the idea and within a few minutes, I was really interested. I get lots of pitches each week, but something stood out. Even though I wasn’t really passionate about his business idea, he infused his passion and excitement into the project.

We started working on the project and I was amazed to see the quality of people George brought on board. His enthusiasm for his project attracted people like a moth to a light. Although he was short on details and experience, he was able to get a great team together to begin working on his idea. Two years later, I’m watching from the sidelines as an investor and advisor while he continues to work full time on his project. He’s learned a ton of lessons and gained incredible amounts of experience as an entrepreneur. But what holds it all together is his belief, his boundless, sometimes unfounded, enthusiasm.

I’m generally more reserved, but I’ve seen how well showing your passion about your project works to get others to join you. Although it’s generally against my nature, I’ve tried to incorporate George’s enthusiasm  into my leadership abilities and my businesses and I’ve started to see some success. George taught me the value of enthusiasm and it’s made me a better entrepreneur.