Antonio Altamirano

Antonio has managed engineering, product and marketing teams at Fortune 500 companies and Silicon Valley startups, for more than ten years. He is the founder and CEO of Tangelo and cofounder of Daemonic Labs, Inc. Daemonic Labs, Inc. is a venture- backed technology startup with offices in San Francisco and Buenos Aires. Tangelo designs and develops software for mobile platforms and is based in the Silicon Valley and Buenos Aires.

Website URL: http://www.altamirano.org

The Latinos Of Silicon Valley

A great article by Giovanni Rodriguez in Forbes (The Latinos Of Silicon Valley) describes with ease the role that Latinos are playing in the Silicon Valley.  He mentions Rebecca and I as emerging leaders. We’re thrilled to see a community of new leaders emerging in the Silicon Valley and to be considered among them. But truly, our team makes all of this possible.

I wanted to expand on the article with my point of view and explain why his article matters so much.

The Latinos of Silicon Valley –– We are about technology. We are like a startup. We are about the world. (Giovanni Rodriguez in a Forbes article dated May 11th 2013)

We’ve been in the Silicon Valley for well over a decade. We came directly to Stanford after a full year of traveling abroad.  Over the years, we’ve learned that the Valley can be fun, unpredictable, exciting, rewarding and sometimes even heartbreaking. There’s a reason why people from all over the world come here –– it all boils down to an insatiable feeling of curiosity and the unstoppable need to create something, to put a ding in the universe, as Steve Jobs would say.

I’ve always been curious about the most random things. As a kid I wondered what would happen if I used my dad’s computer. I reformatted the hard drive and it took him hours to restore it. It was thrilling and scary at the same time.   I wondered about luck and class differences. As a kid I was acutely aware of the socioeconomic differences we had to face as a family. I think experiencing that and being aware of it has helped me strive for something better throughout my life.  I was part of the have-nots and though it was tough, I enjoyed being the underdog and rising above it –– and still do.

I wanted to know more but I didn’t know where to start. My mom was pivotal, as she implanted the seed of curiosity by filling the gaps of knowledge with new and mesmerizing facts and stories about far away lands. Even though I had a great coach, after a while the oppressive environment with a revolving door of presidents and coups brought me down, so I stopped looking and I became a follower. But thankfully not for long. It was hard because it meant being completely aloof and putting my head down, which has never been one of my strengths, so I started looking again.

When I arrived to the Silicon Valley, everything changed –– not overnight but it was a pretty fast transition. I took up computer science, though I’d never programmed in my life and I was lucky enough to get an internship at Sun Microsystems. I didn’t know anyone but as things happen here, we met a super cool guy who happened to be a director of marketing at Sun and he happened to be looking for interns. Plus I happened to be persistent. I worked Saturdays and Sundays at the office. I was thankful that they would let me come to the office on the weekend and also surprised that not many people did, except the director.

My family’s emphasis on education, hard work and risk-taking was a great platform where to stand. Then I came here, to the Silicon Valley, as an outsider and now I feel part of the fabric of it. The platform my family built helped me stand tall and face challenges, accept failure and to always strive to be better. I believe we have a big responsibility to open up doors and to build up our presence in business, technology and innovation.

As Giovanni said in his article, we  “expect others — Latinos and non-Latinos alike — to begin investing.  For one of the most remarkable things about Silicon Valley is that it is fast emerging as one of the world’s new melting pots.”

 

Live in the future, then build what’s missing — Paul Graham Entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley go to work every day to build products for that demographic –– which is usually homogeneous. Many  technology startups in the Silicon Valley go after the not-so-mythical tech savvy urban hipster. Although Silicon Valley is well known across the world…

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The market is a summary of the current standing of 50 million Americans that are undervalued. The second point deals with why big brands are confused when targeting this market and the success of Yahoo! US Hispanics. The short answer is that they have folks who understand the general market but do not know how to deal with a differentiated market. We need more people who can relate to the market and evolve with it. Next we deal with how to fix it and why The US Latino Market Needs A Better Elevator Pitch. We analyze the fact that Latinos In Power Have A Responsibility and we are falling behind. We need to band together and claim our rightful place in the new and more colorful America. To do this I argue, that we need to focus in business and not so much in politics. Last but not least, I urge you to believe and then act.…

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The capitalization table is key to a startup and should be understood and managed accordingly. To understand what a cap table is and how to build it, please read my post below which explains some the basics. Also read Brad Feld’s introductory post on cap tables. Gust has some great resources as well to understand how to value your technology startup.

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 Startup Weekend is now a global success taking place in major cities and now is entering smaller communities and becoming a lot more diverse. Santa Maria Startup Weekend is a great example of this. Communities that have entrepreneurial potential that needs to be unlocked.  I will be one the speakers. The coaches are great and the judges come from very diverse backgrounds. The event promises to be exciting and dynamic.  There are only a few seats left, so make sure to register.

We’ve all gotten that “aha” moment, when we’ve realized that a product or service can be much better than it is today or that a brand new service can help people be more efficient.  We have that little voice inside our heads that suggests solutions to problems we are experiencing in our daily lives. A brand new idea or an improvement to an existing product that could make our lives much better. These ideas are a mixed bag –– sometimes they are inspired and unique and some others they are, well a bit too thin. But none of them are worthless. All the creative process serves a purpose. A “thin” idea is the first step you take to form a well thought out and worthwhile idea.

Unfortunately these ideas stay at an empirical level. Friends of mine often see the task of creating something new as a monumental task devoted to the geniuses of design and engineering.  This is where Startup Weekend comes in. It helps you realize that you can create things and that your dreams can become a reality much faster than what you thought.

I attended one of the first Startup Weekends in San Francisco and San Jose and the events were amazing. It changed my point of view in terms of what a person can accomplish. Before Startup Weekend I had already started Tangelo, my own services company (clients include: Intuit, Padnos, Zuberance, etc.) and was trying out the entrepreneurial path. It was my first year and it was tough. I went to a Startup Weekend not knowing what to expect. What I found was amazing –– a group of people with the drive to do something big. Every single one of them emanated great entrepreneurial energy. I learned that I didn’t know much but that it didn’t really matter because we were there to figure it out together. I learned that you need to continue to improve because this group will be supportive but that you need to keep up with the pace. I learned that Startup Weekend is more about the people you meet that the idea that you bring in.

There are very few startups that have gotten funding or that have continued after Startup Weekend. FoodSpotting (acquired by OpenTable) and InDinero (financial services for small businesses) are the ones that people usually refer to. This should not stop you from going. The purpose of Startup Weekend is to open your mind and to light your entrepreneurial fire. To meet folks entrepreneurs and investors that could help you at the event but most likely in the future.

Come with an open mind and all the energy you can muster.

I’m very excited to communicate that Interesante for iPhone has an update available in the App Store. There are a few big things that makes this update something that you should check out and download now.

The user interface has been revamped – More swipe gestures to make the experience more natural for the user. We did this so that our users are more comfortable when interacting with the features we’ve just released. Also, we believe that the UI should get out of the way of the user and be measured by its ability to deliver the highest value to the user and not by simply aesthetic beauty. We, however, are shooting for both and striving to achieve a balance of function and beauty. Also, there’s a new gaming component. Every time that there you use Interesante and you press “Interesante”, we track that and rank you against other active users. We do this daily, so if you are dropping in the rankings and want to be #1, you can always try the next day. This is only on the iPhone app. Check it out and let us know what you think.…

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We’re happy to announce that the Interesante team presented at Google Developer Live. It was a live event but you can see the recording above.  Jochen Kumm, our Chief Scientist, Pablo Gamba, our Chief Technology Officer and myself, will be talking about our integration with the YouTube API.  This integration enables Interesante to improve the discovery of relevant videos.

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Interesante is our way to bring Latinos into the spotlight. We are building a service where Latinos come together, share and discover what’s relevant to them. We believe that combining culture, language and common interests with top notch engineering and world class design, will foster a collaborative environment where Latinos can create, share and discover new interests. Latinos, for us, are the one and only priority.

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