I have stayed in a hostel in Santiago for the last nine days until I found an apartment yesterday. When I went to take a shower the first day, it was great. Nice bathroom, high pressure, plenty of hot water. After 14 hours of traveling, it was exactly what I needed. The next morning, I went to take another shower and everything was great again. After about 5 minutes, the water got cold. Frigid. I had to get out.
Some days, there was no hot water at all and I skipped showering, some days I had the same hot shower as my first day. You never know how good you have it until it’s taken away from you. Luckily for me, I only lost hot water, not something more important like this young Packers fan. Because I knew what it was like to lose hot water, I got really good at washing my hair as quickly as possible. I took my chance to shower with hot water with alacrity. Big word, I know, but my Mom’s been saying that to me since I was 3 to get me to do things, so I had to use it here.
It’s easy to think that you’re living your life to the fullest, but you truly don’t know how good you have it until you lose it. You can try to live like you’re dead as Dave Winer suggests in his yearly Thanksgiving post, but it’s much easier said than done. For me, it’s easier to take a step back every once in awhile and think about all of the things I have: health, great friends/family, ability to travel, flexibility to start my own business, rather than the things I don’t have. If you have a few basic things, you’re pretty much set.
When opportunities come up, seize them. Take the trip, learn the instrument, start your business, go talk to people. What’s the worst that could happen? Live for opportunities and experiences, not things. When you’re looking back, you’ll remember your experiences and the people you made your memories with, not the things that were around you. Control what you can, let the rest roll off your back. If Entrustet‘s taught me anything, it’s that in the long run, we’re all dead. Don’t diminish what you have, because it could be taken away at a moments notice and when you have the opportunity to do something awesome, do it. You won’t regret it.
I’ve been in Santiago for the past five days for Startup Chile and finally had a chance to write down some initial impressions. Jesse and I have been really busy getting our IDs, a bank account and searching for an apartment. The Startup Chile program has helped us cut through all of the red tape that others might have to go through and it’s been super efficient so far. Jesse and I have been walking all over the place, getting a feel for the city. I’ve been really impressed with all of the other entrepreneurs in the program I’ve met so far.
It’s been 70-80 degrees and sunny every single day with low humidity. The weather reminds me of Palo Alto so far. Santiago is a huge city with about 6m residents. It’s in a valley, so there are some problems with smog, but I haven’t had a problem yet. There are a few days when the mountains are a bit obscured, but for whatever reason the smog doesn’t seem to get down into the valley and has not bothered my lungs.
Santiago sort of runs west to east and as a general rule, the farther east you get, the better the neighborhood. We’ve only explored comúnas (districts) Providencia, Las Condes, Vitacura and a bit of Nuñoa and the downtown around our office.
Eastern Santiago very developed and clearly first world. If it weren’t for everyone speaking Spanish, I could be in any other mid to large city in the US or Europe. The center, where our office is located, is a little older and really busy, but still nice. There’s people everywhere during the day. It’s filled with shops, restaurants and businesses. We’re not sure what it’s like at night, but people have told us it can get rough downtown. There’s got to be at least 6-7 universities headlined by Universidad Católica and Universidad de Chile, so there’s lots of young people seemingly everywhere. We haven’t checked out the Western side and everyone’s told us to stay away.
The metro is modern, efficient and cheap. It costs about $1.25 to use it and you can get just about anywhere you want using it. There’s wifi everywhere, probably more than in Madison. There’s public wifi hotspots all over the place. People eat dinner between 830-1030 and go out to bars/clubs at 12-1, which stay open until 6am.
Not many people speak much English, but they love it when we speak Spanish, even if it’s bad. Our goto phrase has been estoy tratando de hablar español, pero hablo como un niño de cinco años, which means I’m trying to speak Spanish, but I speak like a five year old. That usually gets a laugh and then we’re free to practice. I can still understand pretty much everything people are saying, but I’m still struggling to speak quickly. I can tell I’m already getting better though.
Everyone here looks younger than you’d expect and I have a feeling it’s because Santiago is a walking city, the weather is awesome and the food is really healthy. Chilean food uses awesome ingredients, has correct, non American portion sizes, but is sort of bland. We’ve had a bunch of chicken/rice, pork chop/mashed potatoes etc for main courses. There are tons of Peruvian restaurants in Santiago and we’ve found that it’s the place to go for a good meal. It’s like Chilean food, but with more spices. I had some top notch ceviche last night. If you’re in Madison, go to Inka Heritage to get a feel for some of the stuff we’ve been eating.
Chileans excel at making sandwiches. They use really good, fresh bread, avocado, tomato, fresh wet cheeses, lime mayo and all sorts of fresh goodness. If I wanted, I could survive on the diverse array of Chilean sandwiches.
The fresh fruit and veggies are awesome and cheap. I bought medio kilo (1lb) of fresh strawberries for about $1.25 from a fruit stand and really flavorful avocados cost between $.10 and $.20. It makes buying a much worse quality avocado for $1-$1.5 seem insane in the US. I can’t wait to start cooking with these ingredients once we get an apartment.
I’m not a fan of fruit juice in the US, but the juice here is unreal, cheap and is sold everywhere. So far, my favorite is frambuesa (raspberry), followed closely by frutilla (strawberry) and piña (pineapple). It costs about $.50 for a really big glass. The raspberry juice tastes like the fresh raspberries we used to get out of my grandma’s garden and put on top of schaum torte. My family probably only gets this part, but you’ll have to take my word for it.
Dominó is how fast food should be. They are everywhere here and always busy. They sell sandwiches and hotdogs, but use really fresh, good ingredients. It’s still cheap and fast, but it doesn’t taste like fast food. Dominó would do really well on any college campus in the US. My favorite thing from Dominó so far is a hotdog with crushed avocado, tomato, cheese and a little mayo.
I’m much less hungry here than I was in the US. Part of it is that it’s warm, so my body needs less food, but I think another part of it is that all of the food is very healthy and therefore more filling than in the US. I bought an orange soda yesterday and there were only four ingredients: carbonated water, sugar (not high fructose corn syrup), orange juice and I forget the last one. Even being here a week, I already feel healthier.
I’ll have more blog posts coming about the Startup Chile program and some of the interesting people we’ve met so far. I promise my next post will have lots more pictures. I had problems with my iPhone for a few days, so I’ll be sure to put more in next time.
I get asked to connect people all the time. I also ask others to connect me to people every single day. Getting introductions is an incredibly powerful way to get to know people who can help you with your business or in your personal life. It’s also great to be able to give an introduction to two people who will mutually benefit from knowing each other. Email introductions are the most common intros these days, so it’s important to know how to both introduce two people and respond to introductions.
Introducing Two People
I like to keep it really simple. Here’s a mock introduction between my business partner Jesse Davis and our friend/Madison entrepreneur Steve Faulkner of Real Time Txts.
Steve, meet Jesse Davis. Jesse is the cofounder of Entrustet, a website that allows you to decide if you’d like your digital assets transferred to heirs or deleted when you die. He is also active in the Madison startup scene and Capital Entrepreneurs and writes a great entrepreneurship blog. Jesse is interested in connecting with you to see if there is a potential partnership for Real Time Txts and Entrustet.
I wanted to connect you guys so you could figure out how to make it happen. I’ll let you take it from here.
Key Points to Remember
Use the format above to introduce both people to each other
Include links to each person’s business, unless the person is well known
Include a sentence at the end to say why you’re connecting both people to each other
Include a sentence that tells the two people you’ve just introduced that it’s up to them to take it farther
Responding to an Introduction
It’s fairly straight forward. Click reply all and thank the introducer for making the intro. Introduce yourself to the other person and go from there. It’s important to include the introducer in the first reply so that they know that you’ve actually responded. If I’ve taken the time to introduce two people, I want to know that they’ve actually taken the next step to connect. After the first email, feel free to leave the introducer off further conversations. Here’s a sample reply:
To: Jesse Davis, Nathan Lustig
From: Steve Faulkner
Nathan, Thanks for intro.
Jesse, many people have told me that we should meet as well. As Nate said, I’m the founder of Real Time Txts, a service that sends people texts about free drinks at Madison area bars. Do you have some time this week to chat via phone or meet up for coffee so we can discuss a potential partnership?
I hope this helps! What do you think? Do you use this format or do you have a different format that works well for you?
One of the best things we’ve done with Entrustet this summer is hire 9 interns from the University of Wisconsin. They’ve been a huge help to us and hopefully Jesse and I have taught them a few things too. As the summer winds down, most will be heading back to school, so we wanted to do something fun heading into the last few weeks. Here’s what they came up with:
Introducing the Entrustet music video “What My Assets Will Become” a cover of All the Things I’ve Done by The Killers. Daniel Thompson plays the piano and with Rob Howard on the camera. I hope you enjoy…I know we all had a ton of fun with it.