Ever since I started writing here, I’ve done a year end post summarizing what I’ve done in the past year. These posts are mostly for me, so that I can look back and remember what I did, what I was thinking and what was important to me each year. Previous versions (2000s, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Here’s what I did in 2016.
2016 followed on from 2015’s main two themes: focus and growth. In 2015, I started the process of eliminating distractions from Magma Partners and Andes Property and in 2016 I focused even more. I took Derek Sivers’ mantra of Hell Yeah! or No! that I started to implement at the end of 2015 to heart and said no to things that I wasn’t 100% excited about.
I not only implemented this framework for deciding to invest in new Magma portfolio companies, but also for speaking engagements, events, press opportunities, writing opportunities and more. Along the same lines, Tim Urban’s Your Life in Weeks helped me revalidate that time is my most precious resource. Thanks Derek and Tim.
I spent ~5 months in Chile, ~1 in other Latin American countries and the rest in the US. 6 months is the most I’ve spent in the US since 2010. It was good to be back more than a few months per year and I really enjoyed getting back to doing more business in the US. It was also great to see my family and friends more than I have for the past few years. My Mom finished a book project she’d been working on for multiple years and I was happy to be able to help her get it designed, edited and printed.
We solidified our investment thesis: investing in the best B2B companies in Latin American and the best startups with their tech teams in Latin American but whose primary market is the US. We invested in 7 new companies in 2016, brining the total to 28.
As I focused more on connecting Latin American startups with US networks, clients and investors, I saw higher returns for our entrepreneurs, Magma and me personally. It’s been rewarding (not to mention fun!) to help top Latin American entrepreneurs play at the highest level. After three years, we’re now able to validate that we’ve found the right mix for helping Latin American entrepreneurs, while using 100% private capital and generating interesting returns.
Andes keeps chugging along. Our team of four full and part time employees continue to help hundreds of foreigners buy or rent apartments in Chile and other parts of Latin America. I’ve been able to take a step back from day to day operations as our team has gotten better and more experienced.
I spent more time on airplanes than I ever have in 2016. The longest I was in one place was 4 weeks (Chile twice). Since September 2015, I’ve mostly lived out of a single carry on suitcase. It was tiring, but rewarding. I spent time in Medellin, Bogota, Cartagena, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Lima, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Phoenix, and more time in Wisconsin than I did over the past 6 years. I also convinced more of my friends and family to travel with me and meet me places, which makes changing cities every few weeks more interesting. I met up with friends in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Texas, and California.
Although I didn’t take any long vacations in 2016, I was able to extend nearly all of my business trips 1-3 days to combine them with meeting friends and seeing new places.
I continued my tradition of seeing as many interesting soccer games as possible. I took my parents to a Chile/Argentina world cup qualifier in Santiago, made the pilgrimage to Estadio Azteca for a Mexico/Honduras world cup qualifier, saw Cruz Azul and Club America in a 4-3 thriller which made me a Liga MX fan, and went to two Copa America matches in the US. I made it back to Chile just in time to see Chile become “bicampeones” over Argentina with a group of fanatic Chilean friends.
I’m excited to see what 2017 will bring.
Favorite 2016 Podcasts
This being so, so what? – Jerry Colonna
Tony Robbins on the Tim Ferriss Show
Common Sense and Hardcore History – Dan Carlin
Kiernan Dougherty on Jocko Podcast
Cal Fussman on Tim Ferriss – Cal’s previous appearance
Invest in Being Yourself – Jerry Colona
DHH on Tim Ferriss #2 and DHH on Tim Ferris #1
Derek Sivers 1 and 2 on Tim Ferriss
Favorite 2016 Books
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
Tribe: Homecoming and Belonging – Sebastian Junger
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania – Erik Larson
Hillbilly Elegy: A memoir of a family and a culture in crisis – JD Vance. Interview with Vance.
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Favorite 2016 Blog Posts
Inequality in the Internet Age
Eight part series on AI, the pace of change and how the future might look.
Four part series on Latin American VC: Chilean Venture Capital, Peru Venture Capital, Colombia Venture Capital, and Mexico Venture Capital Overviews
Populist Revolt: Draining the swamp and refilling it with old swamp water and Understanding Donald Trump and his Supporters in Order to Stop Him
How to Identify and Recruit Latin American Talent for Startups
Doing Business and Raising Money in Latin America (video of my talk, original blog post)
Colombia’s Transformation and the Medellin Miracle
Photo Credit: inefekt69
Sounds like a solid year, Tools of Titans has been on the to-do list but seeing it here is good motivation to starting it now. Out of curiosity, are you in the habit of putting together resolutions for the coming year?
It’s worth reading…make sure you skip through stuff that’s not interesting to you, its a long book! I do some resolutions, but I try to make them be systems based, not goal based. For example “spend time and money on healthy food” vs. “lose 10 pounds” or “get in shape”. I try to pick things that I’ll be able to stick to, as even moderate improvement over a full year is better than trying something for a week and then quitting because it was too hard to stick to it.