17 agosto 2007
Credit Cards Dirty Tricks
14 agosto 2007
Lyons hunting a Buffalo?
13 agosto 2007
I have no much time to blog now, but I just want to mention Turkey seems to me a vibrant country. What I saw and lived in Turkey has reconfirmed my previous vision that Turkey is an ideal candidate for ncorporating to the EU in the future. I do not see it an issue (as others do), but a great opportunity to expand the EU's project further. An opportunity to show even more countries that opportunities to join us really exists, and that we are looking forward to it!
Life of Turkey's founding father: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
An article I wrote more than a year ago on the subject of the "European dream" and the possible accession of countries such as Turkey (in Spanish): Sueño Europeo
31 julio 2007
Pricing - New York Times
"Brothers in arms" & Franco's fanaticism
Among other things I have discovered several of my surnames have (potentially or actually) sephardic roots. :-) However I saw a sephardic surnames database and I can assure that virtually every spaniard has one or more jewish-converted surnames... There are Herrero, Pino, Oro, Hierro, but also hugely popular surnames like Sánchez, González or Díaz.
Researching, I also I came across this video:
I am a great fan of dIRE sTRAITS, and I really dislike the utilisation of the song "Brothers in Arms" (my favourite one) in this video.
Mainly I think there is a distortion from the original meaning of the song. The change is so big -and ridiculous- as when Ronald Reagan used Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" as a patriotic anthem in his presidential campaign. It is really sad. I do not think the author of the video has understood the point.
Anyways, if one wants to see some fanatic videos, there is no need to go so far away. Let's see at what this Spanish lady said in 1979*:
I wonder if she still lives, and what they would think right now. Would she be so fanatic yet?
*If you do not understand Spanish, do not worry about. Just imagine from her tone, and you'll get it.
26 julio 2007
Cycling - Dopping - Tour de France
Well I guess you understand how much do I love this sport. I love to practise it, but I do not like to watch it on TV. Simply because professional cycling is a very dirty sport. It is nothing new at all, since I was a child I could listened to stories about dopping (few of them told by my granmother) and I soon became aware of the great distortion existing in this sport. I prefer not to mention names, but it is obvious that most of the greatest "legends" of this sport have achieved their merits packed in drugs. One has only to review the biographies of Tour de France winners to realise that few of them died from diseases related to drug-taking: cardiac problems or stomach cancer for instance.
90% of people is aware of this, so audiences and sponsorship is declining as to put in danger the existence of the sport in a professional manner. This year however, Tour de France's organisation, some media (e.g. German TV), and even the teams have taken very agressive measures to fight dopping. I am writing this post becasuse I just read that Michael Rasmussen, the leader of the Tour, has been withdrawn by his own team (Rabobank), which also self-excluded from the competition, as also have done another two teams, Astana and Cofidis.
I honestly thing that this measures can be the only way to find a solution to the problem. Also I would rise the penalties (now only two years of suspension) and I would freeze blood to carry out tests years later (some dopping sustances are invisible to this year's tests, but not to next year ones) and condition the prizes and honores to passing those delayed tests.
I hope one day I can enjoy -and believe- an Alpe d'Huez climbing as it deserves!
15 julio 2007
They prepared a presentation "about me", you can see it here.
Also they decorated the house with pictures of me. You can see the pictures here.
Miguel and Arturo organised it for weeks. They tried to located friends of mine living in Madrid. They listened carefuly to my conversations, spied my files and emails, and came up with a list of friend to invite them.
I enjoyed it a lot!
Also Emi & Juan rescued a movie of my childhood. I do not have movies like that because thefts broke into my house and stole -among other things- them.... :-(
12 julio 2007
Michael Moore & CCN - Let's make things clear...
10 julio 2007
2 years ago I discovered that one of my closest relatives had Astrocytoma, a benign type of brain tumour that most of the times turns into Glioblastoma, which is a very malignant sort of tumour with very bad prognosis.
Those news where so shocking that several months passed like in a second. One becomes very anxious and nervous so that times flies. I remember that time as the most confusing, stressful, and tiring months of my life. Probably the toughest life's experience I have ever had. Everything becomes relative after it.
One of the things that helped me more was contacting (via Internet or not) other people with similar experiences. So now I think it is time to help others who are passing through the same situation. If you are googling the Internet searching for "Astrocytoma" or "Glioblastoma" are need some information or support, please do not hesitate in contacting me by email (email@example.com) or Skype (franciscohm). I will be more than happy to help.
In summary, as far as I am aware, I would say that Glioblastoma is one of the worst tumours/cancers that exist. In my naive understanding, it is not because of its intrinsic biological nature, but because of being in an organ that is literally irreplaceable. Also brain tumours have been little researched because the prevalence rate was very small. However, after science has come to an end to many previously-deadly tumours/cancer (testicle, breast, etc), and because the higher presence of waves (arguably) have increased the number of cases, a lot of medical research has been put into this disease that normally affects young people (in their thirties).
Those are very good news since one may observe a whole new range of new treatments, few of them showing already good results. So it is important to search for the best options for current patients. We are doing it with my relative and things are going well so far. We are very happy about that and looking forward to keeping it, if possible, forever!
Hace 2 años a uno de mis familiares más cercanos le diagnosticaron un Astrocitoma, que es un tumor cerebral benigno que en la mayoría de los casos se convierte en un Glioblastoma, uno de los peores tumores malignos que existen.
Recibir ese tipo de noticias te deja deshecho. Todo se convierte en algo relativo en comparación. El nivel de fatiga, cansancio y confusión son tan grandes que te quedas en el limbo y se te pasan los meses como segundos.
Una de las cosas que más me ayudaron en aquella época fue el poder contactar a otras personas que estuvieran pasando o hubieran pasado una experiencia similar. Ahora siento que soy yo el que tiene que ayudar. Si has llegado a este post buscando cosas por Internet para tu familiar (o para ti) no dudes en contactarme mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org o por skype a franciscohm). Estaré encantado de echar una mano aportando información o aunque sólo sea dando apoyo moral.
Resumiendo diré -en mi opinión de no experto- que a pesar de que el Glioblastoma es uno de los peores tumores que existen, se está progresando significativamente. Son varias las razones para que esto haya sucedido y para que siga sucediendo. La primera es que el tumor en sí no es de lo peor, si no que lo malo es la zona en la que está (el cerebro es un órgano del que no se puede prescindir). la segunda es que ya se han conseguido curas/mejoras significativas en tumores que antiguamente eran necesariamente mortales (testículos, mama, etc), haciendo que este tumor quede un poco en evidencia, sobre todo ahora que su prevalencia -al parecer- está aumentando por el uso de móviles etc. Por último, el hecho de que este tipo de tumor afecte sobre todo a gente joven, es un aspecto importante a la hora de dedicar recursos a la investigación.
Todas estas noticias son importantes puesto que auguran la llegada de muchos nuevos tratamientos, algunos de los cuales ya están aquí y han mostrado resultados prometedores. Es importante por tanto estar al la última y ser capaces de ofrecer la mejor alternativa a nuestros familiares.. nosotros lo estamos haciendo con el nuestro y las cosas nos están yendo bien, mucho mejor de los esperado. Por ahora estamos muy contentos y esperamos que siga así, hasta que so logre una cura definitiva!
29 junio 2007
Happy Euro Pride 2007!
This year Europride is in Madrid, what in my opinion makes little difference since every year the party is the really great.
I have stated several times in this blog that one of the things I am the most proud of my country are their laws relating to same-sex partnerships (gay/lesbian marriages, adoptions,
etc). What is normal in Spain is still a serious political and social issue in many Latin-American countries, in a large part of the USA ,and in "first world countries" such as Poland, where the news regarding their fight against "homosexual propaganda" is something better belonging to any fascist country in eary XXth century*.
Enjoy the weekend! :-)
* With this topic of homosexuality, or for example with their relationship with Germany, I have the feeling Poland is a back-looking society rather than a forward-looking one. I understand Word War II had a tremendous, dramatic impact in today's Poland but, is it worth bringing up the topic every now and then? And conecting it with unrelated things such as the EU?
21 mayo 2007
Erroneous query with consecuences...
16 mayo 2007
Das Leben der Anderen
I really like German movies.This one is simply awesome.
10 mayo 2007
Jesus is Alive! (opensource version)
Now I find that game translated to the web. There are tens of thousands of support forums everywhere in the Internet. I use them very oftenly in order to solve problems related to my opensource websites for example. Over the time I have observed that some of the quickest and kindest forum users (i.e. those that at the end solve your issues) are evangelisers. Few clearly show it with messages like "Jesus has the answers" in their forum profile. Others are hidden and after having helped you they write you an email to build up rapport and later on telling you how good Jesus is.
There are things that never change, they just adapt to the new times!
Languages - An old-fashioned industry still to be reestructured
A year ago I did some research and I could not find anything I consider good. Also I researched Spanish ones (for a foreign friend) and nothing. It is surprising that public institutions like the "Instituto Cervantes", whith about 700 employees and Euro 60 million to promote the Spanish language, have not a powerful online tool.
One day, two young undergrads living in the outskirts of San Francisco would setup that tool, with the aim of getting revenues from advertising, an investment fund would put the bucks, and after a huge success someone in the Spanish press, or a politician would say "We have to have our own free language learning tool"
Maybe I am wrong, but I think there are not good enough tools for learning languages out there, and the advertisement market for that concept would be huge.
09 mayo 2007
Jewish and Arabic heritage in Spain
Also it is very interesting the large presence of Jews ("Sefard" is Spain/Portugal for the Jew, being one of the two main Jewish branches as far as I am concerned) and Arabs (6 centuries of occupation). Although both Jewish and Arabs were officially "expelled" in 1492, that is not completely right: Jewish and Arabic influences were so intricate in the Spanish people that everybody should have abandoned the country if the rule were strict (There are estimations saying 80% of Spanish population have Jewish origins, and I would bet 95% have Arabic origins as well). The thing is that Jews and Arabs left (or at least those who did not want to reconvert into Christians, and had the resources to leave the county, travelling was not something very easy in 1492...), but the Jewish and Arabic influence has remained in Spain since then. It is difficult to left influences behind, specially when thy are for good!
After having travelled and lived in other countries (and met/live with Arabs and Jews) I could identify some general traits of the Jewish and Arabic cultures and recognised it in the Spanish culture. The most important influence I would say is from Arabs; Spanish people
are well known for it openness to others and for their sensibility toward the disadvantaged (we are one of the countries in the World -if not the #1- with the highest ratio of organ donations, or adoptions per capita for instance), I would say those "traits" are related to the "brotherhood" by which the Muslim religion is based.
Regarding the Jewish, I would point out two things. First, it has been demonstrated that several Spanish, pagan parties are indeed Jewish holy days that had to reconvert due to the Holy Inquisition "requirements". Over the centuries those holidays have remained although people do not even know their origin. A second thing I guess we have inherited from Jews is our passion for trading and finance. For example, retail financial services is one of the key industries of the country.
During Franco's dictatorship in the XXth century (and for a long time before) the rulers of the country tried to hide our mixed origins. Everybody should behave like an Spaniard, an Spaniard like the ones Franco's wanted. It seemed (Note: I was born when Franco still was ruling the country) that Arabs and Jews (and many others like Duchs and Germans) had been to Spain for tourism, departing from the country without leaving anything behind. It seemed that the different regional sensibilities of Spain never existed. Well, I guess that any fascist dictator would have being done the same...
However, when Spain became a democracy again, Spaniards had the determination of reversing the path (40 years of dictatorship was a good moment to think about...). First, national identities were recognised, not only constitutionally, but in people's hearts. People learned that feeling a Catalonian, a Galician, or a Basque is another way of been a Spaniard. During the last 25 years Spaniards have learned to understand each other's sensibilities, and we are still learning to do so.
Now -after that first reencountering with ourselves- I am feeling that Spain is somehow reconciling to its Jewish and Arabic origins as well. As a token I would say that now there is a growing concern about converting Cordoba's mosque into a real mosque (it was transformed into a cathedral few centuries ago). Being that building a mosque again is the way many of us find to recover the truth of our history, It is not a matter of making new
Spanish-Muslims happier (there are other places to build mosques), but a matter of being loyal to our real history.
Regarding Jews the main "reconciling behaviour" I have observed is that related to the surnames. It turns out that in Spain we use two surnames: the first corresponds to the first surname of one's father, and the second corresponds to the first surname of one's mother. Although now Spaniards say this costume is explained by the fact that we do not want to miss out the surname of our beloved moms, the real origins of this surname structure is another one less known and nastier: people after 1492 had to preserve their surnames in order to prove they had no Jewish surnames... So thanks to our peculiar surname structure we can tell others 5-10 of our surnames, denoting clearly our origins; by your surnames anyone can realise what part of the country you are from, if you come from a "noble" family or not, and if you... have Jewish origins or not!! After 1492 Jewish surnames sort of disappeared... many of those surnames emigrated with their owners, but for those who remained in Spain the surnames were "reconverted" into another ones, typically names of stones or trees (Gold, Silver, etc). So now what happens is that many Spanish people are proud of identifying a Jewish surname among their surnames. The surname structure which was once designed to fight Jewish surnames, serves now to let people show-off about their Jewish origins. Isn't that interesting?
Note: Many of the statements I make in this post are highly subjective, and therefore a good target for comments...
05 mayo 2007
I have not followed what each candidate propose for France, however I really like Ségolène's personality. I like she is a female leader who does not behave like a man to succeed, which is the norm, especially in countries like the USA. Ségolène's style is really unique, and that denotes she can do original things for France, and not follow traditional patterns.
She is a woman who behaves like a woman, and she pays a price for that. People overcritizise women that behave as women. If she gets anger or nervious in the presidential debate, it seems she is not suitable for President of France. However if Nicolas Sarkozy is angry or nervious, people and the media do not take it that much into account.
The first time I discover we (incluided women) have those sort of machist biases was when
Angela Merkel run for German chancelor. It took several months in office to people (and media) realise how great a leader she really is (for me the best European leader as of today).
At any point of time we always think we are not machist, racist or ..., but 10 years later we find out we indeed were!
01 mayo 2007
Let's turn Fridays bank holidays
Isn't it better working 4*10 rarther than 4*8. And if one works afterhours, does it really matter if fridays are bank holidays or not?
23 abril 2007
Chicago's Spire and change fear
Santiago Calatrava is one of my favourite
contemporary architects. It is not because he is Spanish, it is just because he is special. He is an architect and an engineer, what indeed influences his way of designing bridges, public spaces, and buildings. I got trapped into Calatrava's work after seeing a documentary in Spanish TV station "La2" many many years ago (I was a kid and he was beginning to be popular).
That documentary was indeed carried out by himself, who kindly explained his projects and how he came up with them. However, what made me realise this person is a genius was his proposed project of the refurbishment of St. John's the Divine Cathedral in NYC.
Now Santiago Calatrava is pushing his project "Spire Tower" in Chicago. It would be located just few minutes far away from where I used to live in Chicago. The Spire tower would be the tallest building in North America and of course... there are people who oppose it because they say it breaks Chicago's skyline.
Many great buildings were severely opposed at the time they were proposed: Eiffel tower, Liberty statue, the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, etc. The general explanation for this sort of opposition is that people are "averse to change".
My explanation is more specific: there are people whose lives are so boring and even insignificant that the only way they find to feel important is opposing a great project such as
this one. It is their strange way of feeling loved. My personal experience is that smart, happy, self-realised people almost always support challenges such as Calatrava's building in Chicago, because it rocks and pushes ahead a world-class city like Chicago.
Calatrava's official webpage: http://www.calatrava.com
04 abril 2007
28 marzo 2007
An idea that has been spinning in my head for the last years is “Peoplecracy”. I prefer to unveil the details of this idea because I am sure I am not going to pursue it in at least 3-5 years. Disclosing my vision could help others to refine theirs. And if anyone wants to set-up a project based on this idea, I can participate part-time (Saturdays basically).
I have called this concept “Peoplecracy” (and registered peoplecracy.org), as a renewed way of understanding democracy in developed countries (after reading this post you will realise why it applies better for developed countries). Peoplecracy is based in the following ideas:
- The most developed societies in the world are almost always those where democracy is in its most advanced state (e.g.
Californiaor ). There is a clear correlation between democracy and development, being democracy understood as the cause. Switzerland
- If there is political consensus, fostering democracy is relatively cheap compared to its huge benefits.
- Politicians are intrinsically not motivated to improve democracy, especially if the are in power, and if a better democracy is for their country (because that means a higher level of control).
- There is a general “complacency spirit” about democracy. Romans had the feeling their society was really a democracy because there was a “senator for life” representing each area. The British think theirs is a very developed democracy but they have a chamber plenty of hereditary chairs. The American people think their democracy is the most advanced in the world but in the last 20 years 2 families have occupied in the White house, with Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush as clear candidates for 2007/2011… etc. I think there is quite a lot of room for improvement in our model of democracy, and people should be aware of it.
- People are more educated and informed nowadays than at anytime in history. Barely a century ago, the gap between the educational level of a country’s politicians, and its citizens was huge (what lies under the justification of the “elites model”), now it is not. Now nobody better than the citizens can take decisions for their country, there is no educational or informational gap anymore.
- Societies are incredibly more dynamic now than few decades ago. 4 years (or 5 or even 7 such as
’s presidential elections) is an endless period of time where many key decisions for a country have to be taken. Decisions that in many cases were not included in an electoral debate because at that time that issue hadn’t arisen yet. France
- Technology has improved significantly and makes “real time democracy” feasible: Internet, Phone Messages, Automated call-centres can easily take the opinion of most part of the population.
- Democracy is a free good: once a model is developed or refined, it can be adopted and used by others for free.
- Democracy is a cool word for getting more votes: Politicians are –in general- not very worried about this issue but once a new model is developed, they would run to join it; it has always been that way.
- Developing a new model is not easy. Technology is an issue yes, but I think the most difficult part is defining the process of selecting issues to submit for voting, and the process of being sure that there is no fraud or technological problems. Trust is a key success factor.
- A community should be created. Similarly to the Open Source model, where thousands of people reflect and help to improve a software tool, Peoplecracy should set up a webpage and create mechanisms to absorb people’s ideas and concerns. Peoplecracy should be developed democratically.
The way I see Peoplecracy taking form is by an open source software that a major, the president of a political party, or a head of state (hopefully) can install with the help of an IT provider. Once installed it would manage the Internet, SMS and phone votes. This system should be accessible by third parties who supervise the process, and also but the voters that can check what they voted in the past and complain if there is anything missing or wrong.
So if at one time there is one or more issues subject to popular opinion (i.e. a referendum) the people of the town, state or country can vote over a period of time (e.g. 2 weeks) logging-in the corresponding webpage (using their certified account), sending an SMS (using a registered mobile phone), calling the call-centre (from a registered phone landline) or voting physically in the corresponding place (for people with no access to technology: impaired, elderly, etc, voting locations could be only a few).
The first users of the system would be “crazy, innovative majors” willing to bring fresh air to their towns. Those first experiences should serve to help to improve the tool and to create a climate of new democracy that could eventually make the concept grow to larger cities, then states, and nobody knows if even some countries. Everything depends on how the project is managed and how its leaders are able to engage people.
Peoplecracy could be used for very different public spaces, event for parties’ primary elections. Peoplecracy could actually enhance people’s participation in a country’s decision making.
4 years of “blank check” for one of the 2 candidates for presidency is not enough democracy. People can, have the right, and should influence a governor’s politics in the shorter term. That's peoplecracy.
21 marzo 2007
EU 50 years
Happy Birthday European Union, the largest country integration experience in history using only peaceful means.
If I have to recommend an article about it, let’s see at Tom Peter’s blog:
12 marzo 2007
Musicracy.com FOR SALE
Also I would be happy to discuss an agent contract to sell it.
08 marzo 2007
finanyou.com FOR SALE
It is a nice play with words that may be interesting to catch the potential customer attention.
If anyone wants to sale it in my name I would be willing to sign a contract and share the sale price. Just drop me an email
03 marzo 2007
Your Internet Connection Speed
09 febrero 2007
More Erich Fromm
"Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies"
15 enero 2007
Country side versus the city
Nations’ history is plenty of examples of conflicts and wars that have on the one side the people from the countryside, and on the other side the people from the urban areas. It has been so in the Spanish and
Countryside interests were mainly those of the landowners (and slave-owners sometimes) and their workers while urban interests were mainly those of freedom and liberalism. The countryside wants to keep their model running while the urban areas yearn for reforms that trigger prosperity, inspired to a great extent by the amount of information and thought available in the cities.
In my opinion in all those conflicts the urban side was mainly right, while the country side was not. For me the French and the Americans were lucky to get the urban side winning their conflicts, whereas the Spanish, Russian and Germans were no so lucky in having the country side taking over the power.
However I feel that the pattern I am describing here no longer works. Information and communication is now the same available both in urban and rural areas so that I hope these sort of conflicts would be less and less frequent.
The Arrogance of Power - Senator J.W. Fulbright
I have to say this book is a little jewel for me, it is among the best thigs I have ever read. So good that I have finished reading the book, something that happens with less than 10% of the books I begin reading.
Written in 1966 I find it great the revission Senator Fulbright does of Latin America and specially of China (It has opened my eyes about Chinese history and why they behave as they do now). Also I like it very much Fulbright's visionary ideas such as the International Tax System and the advocacy of mulitaleralism instead of biletarism (Senator Fulbright would be really happy about the European Union in its current stage should he be alive).
After reading Fulbright's book now I understand why I get on so well with most of the Fulbright scholars I know here in Spain (both Spaniards and Americans studying here). I really like to attend their monthly gathering and I wish I had a Fulbright Scholarship so that I could belong to their community. I did not apply to the Fulbright program because I was going to the UK, and I am extremely happy with the foundations that financed my studies abroad (and their Alumni communities), but Fulbright is definitely the pioneer and the best scholarship program in the world.
Note: In some reviews about Fulbright's life it is said that he was for racial segregation. Something it is diffecult to believe for me after reading his thoughts. If you have any more information about it please let me know. I am still "schocked" but this negative point in his trajectoty.
13 enero 2007
Strange ways of learning about a society
Learning is not a matter of books and academics exclusively, especially when trying to learn about people. There are many ways of learning about a society. One I discovered recently was a newsletter from The New York Times that every month sends the most viewed articles of its online newspaper. Today I have received year 2006’s ranking:
10 MOST VIEWED ARTICLES OF 2006 – New York Times
1. What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage
2. The 10 Best Books of 2006
3. Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying
4. Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
5. Colliding With Death at 37,000 Feet, and Living
6. What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?
7. Lure of Great Wealth Affects Career Choices
8. Yankee Dies in Plane Crash, Official Says
9. A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749
10. A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears
Can you see any article about the Middle East conflict or
In Spain I guess the priorities would be more or less the same, or not?
12 enero 2007
Attention Deficit Disorder and Entrepreneurship.
One of the most interesting facts about entrepreneurship I have ever read was a study (sorry no references) that stated that more that 50% of entrepreneurs suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity. Taking into account that the prevalence of this neurological disorder is of about 5%, that’s an interesting correlation!
There are list on the web speculating about people with ADD. Apart from entrepreneurs it seems to be a high number of actors and artists. One list I encounter mentions:
Bill Clinton; Richard Branson; Pablo Picasso; Bill Gates; Rojas Marcos; Albert Einstein; Galileo; Mozart; Wright Brothers; Leonardo da Vinci; Cher; Bruce Jenner; Tom Cruise; Charles Schwab; Henry Winkler; Danny Glover; Walt Disney; John Lennon; Greg Louganis; Winston Churchill; Henry Ford; Stephen Hawkings; Jules Verne; Alexander Graham Bell; Woodrow Wilson; Hans Christian Anderson; Nelson Rockefeller; Thomas Edison; Gen. George Patton; Agatha Christie; John F. Kennedy; Whoopi Goldberg; Rodin; Thomas Thoreau; David H. Murdock; Dustin Hoffman; Pete Rose; Russell White; Jason Kidd; Russell Varian;
…. and millions of “normal” citizens…
ADD is frequently associated with dyslexia. To know more about ADD:
11 noviembre 2006
US Presidential Speeches Tag Cloud
That is simple cool:
Excellent to compare US president’s political strategies.
10 noviembre 2006
Time names Enzo Ferrari one of last 60 years' heroes
27 octubre 2006
Anita Roddick - Commerce with a Conscience: Can business deliver social change?
If you are in
Commerce with a Conscience: Can business deliver social change?
Anita Roddick (The Body Shop founder)
22 octubre 2006
Don't buy stuff you can't afford!
19 octubre 2006
Your language, my language
I speak two languages, Spanish and English (I can also read and understand somehow Italian, Portuguese and Catalonian).
Knowing both languages is great; I can communicate with billions of people around the word. I can have a talk either with a stock trader in
I specially remember my conversations with a Bolivian who was trying to refinance her unpaid mortgage in
So I started to make calls to
That suddenly brought me about the real differences between us. Talking the same language really denotes the differences between the poor and the rich. What is a simple infection in
Your language, my language. Your problems, my problems.
I have added a news link in my site. At the bottom of each page you will find a selection of ten news that I have chosen. It is simply that every morning I read hundreds of headlines and tens of news, and then I share those I find interesting. That news appears automatically in my blog. The IT tool I use is Google Reader.
Leonardo - Charles
Of all things I can be labelled, the one I prefer –by far- is “Engineer”. It sounds pretty much old-fashioned, but day after day I feel more in line with engineers that with anyone else, I love their ingenuity, their passion, and their drive to pursue impossible goals. The Inventor of engineering was –by most views- Leonardo Da Vinci. I discovered Leonardo’s work at the Italian exhibition in
However, Leonardo is not my most favourite historical figure. It is British scientist Charles Darwin, whose evolution’s theory has incredible implications not only in natural sciences, but also in social sciences and –of course- in business. Now a new website has been opened, it contains the largest collection of his writings. Discover it here: http://darwin-online.org.uk/
This paragraph is so good as Jamón Jabugo:
“Google's most successful search advertisers are those who methodically experiment with multiple messages. Sometimes they try thousands of combinations of different texts displayed in response to various search keywords, quickly - often in hours - eliminating those that don't attract the clicks of users and refining those that do, until they arrive at the ideal combination of message and keyword.”
16 octubre 2006
Poverty reduction in the World - very Interesting animated graph.
For those still sceptical about how globalisation helps to reduce poverty, please click here.
13 octubre 2006
2006 Nobel Peace Prize
I am extraordinary happy of learning that Muhammad Yunus-Grameen Bank have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for their development of the concept of Micro-Loan.
As I have mentioned in several previous posts, I volunteer for a NGO, helping in the micro-loan program for newly Latin-American women in
A second thing I really like of that award is that Muhammad Yunus is a real entrepreneur, a very innovative entrepreneur.
A second thing I really like of that award is that Muhammad Yunus is a real entrepreneur, a very innovative entrepreneur.
"It's not people who aren't credit-worthy. It's banks that aren't people worthy." - Muhammad Yunus
07 octubre 2006
Innovation, Innovation & Innovation
We pretend to be an extremely innovative channel for distributing all shorts of financial products (let’s see if we get it!). That’s our job. Financial Institutions have –on their side- the task of being truly innovative on their product development. Norwich Union seems to be there. See why here:
21 septiembre 2006
Next Crisalia client?
It is not a matter of smartnesss, it is simply mortgages are comlex and dealing with banks tough.
19 septiembre 2006
Everybody loves kiss
08 septiembre 2006
Why I am an entrepreneur
03 septiembre 2006
Sale: Japanese flats 50% off
For those who think housing prices will never drop in
30 agosto 2006
Hundreds of newspaper frontpages every day
29 agosto 2006
Last Sunday I spent the day in Tangier (
Yesterday I heard in the news that last Sunday a teenager died in the Tangier harbour apparently due to police punching after being arrested for trying to cross the border.
I do not know if it is the same boy or not. The tragedy is the same.
22 agosto 2006
I really like that page and its service. http://www.bubbleshare.com/
A week ago I “discovered” Google Analytics. I signed up and entered an HTML tag in my blog template. It took me less than 5 minutes. Yesterday I entered again to see the statistics. I have to say I am very impressed about the great deal of information I can gather about my blog: most visited pages, pages where people leave the blog, cities where I am visited, etc. Since I love data and information (information = data + analysis), I love Google Analytics. Simply try it!
However data can scare people. What about if I told you I had 40 visitors this week? That maybe does not annoy you. And if I say I would like to thank the visitor from
Yes, data sometimes scares…
15 agosto 2006
Acceptance of Evolution Theory
13 agosto 2006
One Sunday night I thought about bringing a Cuban dissident called Oswaldo Payá, so I wrote an email to his brother, whom I had known in Madrid a year earlier. On Monday morning he called me saying that his brother was awarded the Sajarov Human Rights prize (awarded by the European Union) and that Fidel Castro was forced to let him get out of Cuba to get the prize in Brussels. He was ready to come to London.
So in 7 days my Mexican friend Ana Claudia and I organised a conference of Oswaldo for the London Business School and London School of Economics students, a lunch with several Human Rights NGO such as Amnesty International, etc, a visit to the British Human Rights Minister, etc. etc. Also we had to get his visa, the flights, the residence, the media...
It was simply an amazing experience. It was very human. Oswaldo had never got out of Cuba, excepting a brief trip to Miami to see a relative dying. Oswaldo was very surprised when he saw the double-decker red London buses, he was permanently asking me about the Spanish transition with Adolfo Suárez and the King of Spain, and also he asked a very funny question that summarises what he (and I) lived those days; when watching an Asian woman in Piccadilly Circus he asked me "Are all chinese communist here in London?".
I do not share part of Oswaldo's thought, especially regarding his "Christian" way of seeing politics. Indeed I understand it a little bit... His movement is called "Christian Liberation Movement" and at the same time is defined as "non-religious" (!) because in Cuba Catholic religion can -to some extent- protect dissidents from government’s repression. It is very similar to Lech Walesa's movement in Poland. I attended Lech Walesa´s conference in Madrid few months ago and I felt that the "Catholic label" was just a tool for succeeding in his movement. Both in Cuba and in Poland pope John Paul II played an important role in supporting those "fake-catholic" groups in order to achieve freedom. I think it was one of the best merits of JP II.
I think Oswaldo is an incredible human and political example. He has struggled all his life against Fidel Castro's dictatorship, refusing to go to the USA or Spain in exile, where most of his family is. Fidel Castro once offered him to escape, but Oswaldo preferred to stay in Cuba with his people. Also, Oswaldo is very genuine; he is not supported by any powerful group (such as Mas Canosa is) and he just relies in peaceful fight. His personality is well reflected in his main achievement so far: the "Varela project".
Basically what Oswaldo was able to do is finding a loophole in Cuban laws and pushing Castro's regime. Oswaldo was able to collect tens of thousands of signatures and therefore the "Cuban parliament" was forced to discuss his "Varela Project” that talks about setting a democracy in Cuba.
The Varela project failed (of course, the parliament rejected it), but Oswaldo's movement succeeded because all Cuban knew about it. For his courage the EU awarded him a prize, and he was also candidate to the Prince of Asturias Human Rights prize, and the peace Nobel prize.
Few months after the Varela project was turned down by the Cuban establishment, there were raids and most of Oswaldo’s fellowmates were put in jail with sentences averaging 15-20 years. Fortunately enough Oswaldo was not arrested because by that time he was very popular both among Cuban population, and among the international human right’s community.
Now Fidel Castro is apparently very ill. I hope Cuba finds its way to achieve democracy in a peaceful way. In 1999 I was in Cuba and I got three conclusions:
1. Fidel Castro’s revolution was positive. After learning the situation in Cuba in 1958 I think a quick change was needed, and Fidel Castro represented a very interesting project by that time, far from American or Spanish colonialism (either direct or indirectly).
2. Fidel Castro’s regime should have given way to democracy in his first years. There was no reason to hold that regime for more than 3-5 years, not to mention almost 50!
3. Cubans are probably the smartest people I have met in my live. Should democracy touch that island, I am sure they will thrive immediately. They deserve it!
Good luck Oswaldo and other dissidents!
Good luck Cuba!
My favourite Ferrari model is the 288 GTO. I never saw a comparable beauty over the earth. In second place I like the Ferrari Enzo.
Here you can see Top Gear guys testing Nick Mason's Enzo. I really like that!
1. Villeneuve-Arnoux (GP France 79)
2. Senna-Mansell (GP Monaco 92)
3. Alonso-Rest of the world (GP Hungary 06)
07 agosto 2006
Jon Stewart - Is Israels Response Disproportionate?
Note for non-USAers: Jon Stewart's is the presenter of one of the most popular TV shows in the USA, "Comedy Central".
Steve Jobs Graduation Speech (2005) at Stanford
That was great! At McKinsey almost all Business Analysts (like him or me) were preparing the admision into an MBA program. Conversely to Juan, if you asked anyone what his/her favourite University was, you could spend and hour and you did not get the name, responses were vague and nobody would give you a ranking. People were conservative because if they failed, it would be evident.
I rather prefer someone honest that states clearly his/her ambitions without achieving them that someone "reserved". And of course I prefer people who explicit their ambitions and achive them, like Juan. He got admission at Stanford and graduated in 2005. I think his honesty and clearness was not actually a handicap but indeed a real advantadge for him. He truly believed in what he was pursuing.
After Juan and Emi (my cousin... yes they got married and now Juan and I are relatives!) returned to Spain from California we met and I asked him about his experience. I remember he spent quite a long time speaking about the graduation ceremony. While talking Juan had the same bright in his eyes I saw when I met him for the first time. He was specially delighted by the guest speaker of his graduation ceremony and his speech: It was Steve Jobs.
In my opinion this is one of the most inspiring speeches I have ever seen.
04 agosto 2006
Wikipedia on the One Laptop Per Child Project ($100 computers)
The Wiki Foundation rocks…
01 agosto 2006
Stop the killings now!
We have to stop Israel from acomplishing such a dispproportionate punishment over civil population. Terrorism is not reason enough to do this.
Martin Luther King Jr.
28 julio 2006
Response to Posner and Becker (Economics Nobel prize) posts
Dear Becker-Posner interesting blog,
I much more agree with Professor Becker’s analysis.
General comment to both: I do not agree entirely using the example of the employer (and the parents) as collective punishment. Punishing the employer (or the parent) is not the same as punishing the collective. You may argue that at the end the employees suffer the punishment indirectly, but I would say “maybe not” since they can change to another job (generally speaking). But the Lebanese can not change its country so easily. The analogy to the employer example would have been –indeed- killing the president of
In my opinion Professor’s Postner analysis has –from an analytical point of view- an important pitfall: It does not take into account the other side’s reaction, I miss the strategic component in his analysis. One may argue that punishing the collective can provoke less harm than the benefit obtained by that action. This might work in the short-term, however in the longer-term the hate caused by the injustice (the punishment over the innocent part of the collective) lead to more violence, and more punishment… and we keep turning the violence wheel time after time. From a “mathematical point of view” we should understand if the series converges into a value or –conversely- grows indefinitely. I would bet most of the time it grows indefinitely, and the Israeli-Palestinian-Lebanese conflict proves it. (Note: and in the case the series converge into a single value, that value would probably be much higher that any single component of the series, which is what Postner probably would take as measurement in his analysis)
Getting out of the analytical point of view, there is another comment I would like to make: the “punishment-final balance” argumentation is exactly the same that most terrorists use. When a terrorist justify his or her actions, they usually say that the harm of innocent people caused by the terrorist attack is nothing compared to the benefit of solving the situation that justify its terrorist war, therefore it is worthwhile and one should keep going that way. Getting independence over
I rather believe in positive actions. That’s why most conflicts are solved.
"An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind." Mahatma Gandhi
"War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace." - Thomas Mann
13 julio 2006
0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 ....
I love you!
Yes, it's true. Try it...
Esta expresión es cierta, intenta demostrarlo, es sencillo...
16 mayo 2006
I just saw a very interesting posting at Martín Varsavsky´s blog and I posted such a long response I consider it is worth publishing it here as well:
I specially liked the idea of parents exercising children’s vote. Also I would implement innovative voting channels. How? Internet, ATM, 1-800 (
Why is "online democracy" so important? It is not a matter of translating democracy into the virtual world: it is something else. Today ideologies are not that defining as they used to be. Having a "strong view” of the world that applies to almost every aspect of citizen's life is not on fashion because it actually does not solve problems. One may observe different parties with very similar polices or even right-wing parties who behave like left-wing (PP party in
What’s the problem then? Imaging a country where there are 10 relevant policies that matters to the citizenship. In an “old-fashioned democracy”, there are 2 options (well, maybe three), and 2 political parties. So everyone is more or less happy with the choice. However, in current democracies, the real set of possibilities is –let’s assume there are 2 alternatives per policy- 2 over 10, that is 1024 policies (that’s a “Mega-policy”, J) . Is there 1024 political parties? No.
Parties over time evolve to find sets of polices that please the electorate, of course. However, the process is slow and there is a very nasty, subtle, and pernicious political tactic underlying that process. When a party is doing well and have enough advantage, they usually change one of the policies that conforms its “political basket” into an alternative worse-off for the country (for whatever reason: corruption, wrong view, friends, not behaving like the opposite party, etc). The party in power knows that it is wrong but they do not care, they know the have “enough credit” to lose.
Let’s mention two examples of this behaviour:
-Spanish PP under Aznar’s presidency: Doing very well in economy and other areas, but they decided to go for
-Spanish Socialist Party, now on power: Doing very well in minority rights, international policies and even the economy, but they decided to block
The most advanced societies in the world are those which can give their citizens voice and vote in non-electoral periods. Two great historical examples are the state of California and Switzerland, where people can sign acts and force the political class to behave in one or another way (California examples: destitution of governor Davis, approval of stem-cell research despite federal rules, etc.). Many countries in the world imitate those procedures, but indeed they do not work.
“Online Democracy” would be a huge boost of democracy. An American citizen voting if he/she wants to begin a war against
P.D.: My response is so long I have published it in my blog as well: http:/francisco.hernandezmarcos.net
23 febrero 2006
This blog is mainly written in Spanish. However I am going to write more articles in English. If you want to translate an article from Spanish to English you can use an automatic translation provided by Google. Comments:
- Some sentences become meaningless.
- The Translation engine stops to translate after few words. What I recommend you is to follow the link of an article (orange “#” at the bottom of each post) and therefore you would see it translated thoroughly.
Go to the English version. Good luck with the translation!
To read those posts originally written in English click here.
24 octubre 2005
To finance his studies abroad Francisco was awarded two scholarships: Caixa-British Council (2001) and Fundación Rafael del Pino (2003). In 2004 he graduates as MBA (Maj: Finance) at the London Business School, having exchanged a term at University of Chicago and having worked as Summer Intern at Dutch Bank ABN-AMRO (Investment Banking BU). Additionally, Francisco has been awarded with a PriceWaterhouseCoopers scholarship to course a master program in e-commerce at University of Navarra (declined) and a Fundación Caja Madrid scholarship to attend a seminar about European Finance and Banking at the London School of Economics.
After graduating Francisco founded Crisalia Servicios Financieros, a financial services broker for particulars specialised in mortgage products.
Francisco was elected student representative at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, co-chair of the Spanish Club at the London Business School, and representative of Fundación Rafael del Pino Scholars Association. Currently he spends part of his time interviewing candidates for the London Business School, managing a micro-loan program for immigrants (Caritas Madrid), and coordinating an entrepreneurship forum called suscipe.net.
In his free time, Francisco enjoys mountain-biking, supports Scudería Ferrari in F1, or watches good, independent movies, especially if they are Argentinean.
My news / Mis noticias
© 2005-2007 Francisco Hernández Marcos