Although I started 2012 in the exact same place I started 2011, LA to see the Badgers in the Rose Bowl, it was a year of big changes, a year in flux. Jesse and I were on the verge of selling Entrustet and I was trying to decide what I wanted to do next. I knew I wasn’t ready to start something new, so in January, I moved back to Chile with the goal of finding a job in a startup that would force me to learn spanish and give me the chance to really get to know how the markets work in the rest of Latin America.
After a month long search, I ended up working with Welcu, a fast growing Chilean Startup. Nico, Carito and Seba had the honor of being my first bosses since I worked for a law firm over the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college. At Welcu, I was forced to really learn Spanish, got to see how Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Chile’s business culture from the inside out and made some great friends. I also got to be a part of a startup that grew from 6 people in Chile to over 40 in four countries. It was a fun ride.
In April, Entrustet was acquired by SecureSafe and we were featured in tons of international press. My three favorites were being quoted in The Economist, interviewed on Australian national radio and being featured Japan’s national news that went out to more than 10 million people. It felt great to sell a second company and I know I want to start something new again soon.
By October, I’d reconfirmed what I already knew: I am made to be my own boss and decided to off on my own again. Between tinkering with side projects and doing research into new ideas, I wrote a book, Startup Chile 101, about everything you’d want to know about living, working and doing business in Chile and put it on Amazon. It’s been great to hear from people who’ve bought it and see that it’s actually helping them. I also did some consulting work for prospective Startup Chile teams, helping them improve their applications so they’d have a better chance at getting into the program.
On a personal level, I learned more about myself in 2012 than in any year since 2005 when I first went to university. Between being in a foreign country, selling a company, working for someone else, learning spanish, being away from my family, making new friends, going into and out of relationships and generally trying to figure out what I wanted to work on and where I wanted to live, pretty much everything was open for self study and self improvement.
Because I never knew how long I was going to be staying in Chile, I lived in 8 different apartments for short amounts of time. In 2013, that’s going to have to change. I found that although I love flexibility, it’s worth the extra money and potential risk to have a place to call your own. 2012 really drove home how lucky I am to have a great family and an incredible group of friends. Being away from them for 11 months straight, the longest streak in my life, really put it all in perspective. It was too much and I won’t let it happen again if I can help it.
I didn’t travel as much as I would have liked in 2012. I’ll make the excuse that I had a job, but in reality, I let myself down. In the small amount of travel I was able to do, I made it to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Buenos Aires, New York, Colombia and back to Wisconsin. Colombia and Buenos Aires were special trips because in Colombia I got closer to a group of Chilean friends that I’d know for a long time and Buenos Aires because my friend Jesse came to visit from Wisconsin. When I got back to the US in November, I arrived for the 8th annual friendsgiving with all of my university friends. I’m so glad we’ve kept this tradition going even though we’re on three continents and seven states.
I didn’t read as many books as I have in previous years, but really enjoyed Freedom, The Monk and the Riddle, Antifragile, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, Thunderstruck, Unbroken and Steve Jobs’ biography. I also missed riding my road bike in 2012. That’s something I need to get back in 2013. I also didn’t blog as much as I have in previous years and went through multiple droughts of weeks at a time. I think I might have had writer’s block from my first winter in over two years.
In 2013, I’ll be starting the year back in Chile getting ready to teach entrepreneurship at two Chilean universities, while at the same time continuing to develop multiple ideas that I think could be very interesting. In 2012, I eliminated a ton of things that I don’t want to do. I have a feeling 2013 will be the year that my next project becomes apparent to me.
Favorite Posts from 2012
The entire What I Learned series