Family Mediterranean Cruise Day 6: Palma de Mallorca

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The day at Palma was very nice. We strolled through town, enjoying the Cathedral’s altars (by Gaudi and Barceló), the typical architecture, tried some sobrasada, bought some ensaimada, and went back to the ship feeling at home. After all, I spent many summers in nearby Ibiza and visited Mallorca many times.

Family Mediterranean Cruise Day 5: Tunisia

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Knowing that the organized excursion to Tunisia was going to be exhausting, the kids did not come with us, so we had plenty of time to explore La Goulette, Sidi Bou Saïd, and the National Bardo Museum.

There is no doubt Sidi Bou Saïd is picturesque and nice to visit. Clearly Mediterranean in its colors and folklore, it reminds you of the Greek islands or even Ibiza (the old twon).

But what was really impressive was the incredible Roman mosaic collection at the National Bardo Museum. It brought me vivid memories of the archeological expedition I joined 15 years ago in Van, in the border between Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

Family Mediterranean Cruise Day 4: Palermo

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My visit to Palermo was a brief one, because there is not much of interest for the kids and in any way I prefer the North of Italy to the South: climate, personality, food, culture… so we disembarked, were incessantly approached and solicited by local “tour guides” and other merchants as you would expect in the North of Africa, took a walk – fortunately the seaport is near the city center – and went back to the ship.

Family Mediterranean Cruise Day 3: Rome

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On day 3 of our cruise we stopped in Civitavecchia (Rome).

As a thank you gift to my parents, we had arranged three private minivans with bilingual guides, that picked us up in Civitavecchia and took us to Rome.

Much has been written about Rome, with so many archeological remains, and art, combined with a very lively city life and character.

We did not have much time and the group was large, including kids and a person in a wheelchair, so we started at the Spanish Steps, and went to Villa Borghese, one of Rome’s most famous parks, right above Piazza del Popolo. From Pincio’s large terrace we enjoyed a great panoramic view of the city.

Then we focused on a few highlights like Michelangelo’s “Moses” at the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli, Aventine Hill’s Knights of Malta keyhole view of St. Peter’s, a guided tour of the Colosseum, and Saint Peter’s Square.

Unfortunately, in order not to miss the ship, some of the highlights we had to see from the van, like Victor Emmanuel Monument (Il Vittoriano – Altare della Patria a.k.a. torta nuziale “the wedding cake”, or “the typewriter”), Castel Sant’Angelo, Fontana di Trevi (closed for repairs) or Piazza Navona.

Family Mediterranean Cruise Day 1: Marseille

This summer, for my mother’s birthday, my father invited the whole family (on both sides of the Atlantic) to a 7 night Mediterranean cruise from July 10 to July 17 onboard the MSC Musica. Thank you dad!

Cruise stops

We boarded in Valencia (Spain), and stopped in Marseille (France), Genoa, Rome, and Palermo (Italy), La Goulette (Tunisia), and Palma de Mallorca (Spain), before returning back to Valencia.

Although the ship is a mass market one (you could tell looking at the food, entertainment, and passengers), it was quite nice.

Day 1 we visited Marseille.

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After a short stroll though the port area, its market, and downtown Marseille, we had lunch at Le Relais 50, a very nice traditional Michelin-starred restaurant with great views of the port. We, of course, had a delicious bouillabaisse, and fish. To top it off, we had what it has become my favorite ice-cream at Amorino (I just found out we also have an Amorino a few blocks from my apartment in New York, yeah!).

At night we had a gala dinner on board, and enjoyed the dance and acrobatics show before going to sleep.

My Lego cable management solution

After a month traveling throughout Europe (posts and pictures soon), I returned to New York and I needed to catch up with work. In order to be more productive I had to tackle the “cable jungle” challenge. Quick and easy (and cool) solution? LEGO!

Just attach some velcro to the back of a Lego 2×8, attach it to the edge of your desk, get some of your favorite figures, have them “hold their arms up”, and let them hold the USB and charger cables for you :-)


Innomedyx, one of the companies I co-founded, establishes the Clinical Innovation Center at the Polytechnic University of Valencia

Innomedyx (Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook), a company I’m a co-founder of, has established the Clinical Innovation Center at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain), the best BioTechnology University in Spain according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

Rosa signing

photo © UPV

The Dean of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Francisco Mora, and the general director of Innomedyx Knowledge in Action, Rosa Valenzuela, signed a partnership agreement that formalizes the chair of Clinical Innovation company on July 1st.

This initiative, which will have an initial duration of two years, will drive the study in the biomedical field for clinical application in genomics and personalized medicine. It will also assist in the design and delivery of continuing education programs, organize seminars for technological dissemination and cooperate in research projects. Eventually it will also provide predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, final thesis project awards, seminars and workshops for students.

The Clinical Innovation Center will be part of the Molecular Recognition and Technological Development Center (IDM), a joint unit between the UPV and the University of Valencia whose director is Professor, Department of Chemistry and head of the IDM, Ramon Martinez.

Great job, Rosa!


More details: La Vanguardia, ABCEl Periodic, InformaValencia, UPVNews

From VIP breakfast to party to another party… in a day

Wednesday was a long day.

First I was invited to a VIP breakfast executive briefing and presentation by IBM at 7:45am. The event, in which IBM showcased their Watson technology and three partner companies talked about how they are leveraging NLP capabilities, lasted until 12:30pm, but I stayed for an extra hour for a meeting with an IBM executive.

Then I headed back to the office for 3 conference calls. By 7:00pm I was ready to go to the Social Radar startup launch party Stephanie and I had been invited to. Since it was at Milk Studios in Chelsea, a few blocks from our apartment, we decided to walk although it was raining.

I am sure it was a great party, with all the expected “features” like a DJ, food from Momofuku Milk BarLuke’s Lobster and OddFellows, live painting by No Kings Collective, print-making, a photo booth… but upon arrival, there were two lines, the “regular” line and the “VIP” line. I understand not everybody can get in at the same time, particularly since 1500 people RSVP (which means less than 500 would show up, but still, a lot of people), but really?, so many VIPs that a second line was needed?

It might be NY’s concept of cool and fabulous and glamorous, but I was not up to waiting in line. So we headed to another party we were invited to: The New Museum’s Annual White Party for Members.

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Now, that’s what I call a cool summer fête. The vibe and people attending the party were even cooler than previous editions. More people wearing white, as the theme of the party suggested (attire: white & bling), and more people with artsy outfits, yet no stuffiness and high brows. It was all fun, music, great cocktails, private viewing of the exhibits (Roberto CuoghiCamille Henrot, & Ragnar Kjartansson), DJ sets by Heavenly Beat & TEEN, and even a limited edition print by Quentin Jones. But of course, as always, the best was sharing the awesome views from the Sky Room with my beloved wife.

I could have stayed there all night. Too bad we had to eventually go back home, but a conference call with Singapore, an interview with an analyst in India, and a sales webinar with Colombia meant having to get up really early next morning and having to face another long day. I guess it can’t all be party and fun… yet ;)

VIP pass for Basel art show and Amos Lee concert in Brooklyn

VIP Pass

A friend got me a VIP pass for the 2014 Scope Basel Art Show (thank you, Jorge!). I had it all planned out: since I had a meeting in Stuttgart the day before, I could drive to nearby Basel, attend the VIP opening, and then fly back to New York. But the Stuttgart meeting was cancelled, so I changed my plane ticket, and returned to New York in time to go to the Amos Lee concert in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with my wife.

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Life’s pleasures should always be shared, and there is no shortage of them.