I’ve written extensively about doing business in Chile, and since Argentina, the country next door, has been making a lot of noise, I decided to write up an overview of opportunities in Argentina. Argentina has the third largest economy in Latin America (after Brazil and Mexico), and the 2nd highest GDP per capita in the region in PPP terms (after Chile).
You may have heard the saying, “As rich as an Argentine,” a phrase that was coined to describe Argentina’s wealth and prosperity in the 1800s-1929. Argentina had the 4th highest GDP per capita and was one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Between 1890 and 1930, the capital city of Buenos Aires transformed from a colonial town to the sprawling, mammoth of a city it still is today.
Unfortunately, the Great Depression followed all of that prosperity and then decades of political turmoil. Over the next few decades, Argentina borrowed from foreign banks and ran hefty budget deficits. In the 1970s, Argentina’s credit rating dropped so low that leaders resorted to printing more currency, leading to the Argentinian Peso’s steady decline.
My year end review is always one of my favorite posts to write each year (2009, 2010, 2000-2010). So without further ado, here’s what I did in 2011.
2011 was an amazing yet tumultuous year. I rung in 2011 in Pasadena, CA at the Rose Bowl with my family and friends. Although the Badgers lost, I got to see a friend I hadn’t seen in three years and had a great time. The next week, I did an hour long interview for NPR for the first time while San Francisco for Entrustet. I returned to Chile with Jesse to continue working on Entrustet in the Startup Chile program. As 2011 rolled on, I got closer to my new friends from Startup Chile and now consider them some of my closest friends in the world.
2011 was a banner year for Wisconsin sports. Although the Badgers lost in the Rose Bowl to start the year, they were in the National Title hunt for most of 2011 and I find myself going back to Cali (Cali), for another new year. The Packers went on an improbable run to win the Super Bowl from the sixth seed. I watched with an international group of friends in Santiago as the mostly pro steelers crowd changed “roth-leeees-bour-geeer” over and over. The Brewers had their best regular season ever, winning 96 games and getting within two games of the World Series. The Packers are 14-1 and are favorites to repeat for the Super Bowl. 2011 might well be the golden year for Wisconsin sports.
Entrustet continued to grow, but slowly. We continued to get press and were mentioned in over 125 publications in 2011. We continued to sign up lawyers and work with insurance companies to try to help people protect their digital assets. Jesse presented at South by Southwest and I moderated at panel on the Chilean Startup Scene. We even had our first user pass away, proving that our system really works.
On a personal level, I learned Spanish, made some amazing new friends and really grew a ton living outside my comfort zone abroad. I have a new appreciation for the simple things in life like being able to coast through mundane life situations and watching as things come easily for me. I traveled back for Friendsgiving, the annual gathering of my best friends from college. It was amazing to see all my friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I saw some great music in 2011, going to Lollapalooza Chile, South by Southwest in Austin and many others and I ended my time with Startup Chile by giving a speech to the President of Chile, completely in Spanish.
Looking back, 2011 has been the year of big changes. I left Madison, traveled all over, continued to be an entrepreneur, found myself growing and changing, loving, making new friends. If 2012 can match how much I enjoyed 2011, I know I’m doing something right. I have no doubt it will.