Let’s pretend none of this ever happened

Walking towards my London Shoreditch office
to meet the Swiss investor and his impeccable suit,
leaving the City bankers’s coffee-holding fast pace behind,
I notice the absence nobody seems to
Where did he go?
His sleeping sack and pillow still on the sidewalk
as annoyingly positioned in the corner as always
But he’s gone
.
I wonder and I worry
his failing body, almost as absent as his lost gaze
with nobody to return it,
had been a constant and silent companion of my daily walk
We never spoke, but we connected
He needed help that I did not offer
but he was also longing for a contact that I did accept
with my eyes and my smile
He fed on that with desperate hunger
but I fear that could not keep his body alive
.
I look for him
Did he finally manage to gather enough crumbs in the form of coins
to enter the new temple of exclusive abundance
and be able to reach for an edible item that might keep him going for one more day?
Or did he perish, vanish, and was removed out of our sight and our path?
In that case they did not remove him from my life, from my heart,
where you all live, far away from me
.
As my gaze, still in the lookout, turns the corner
in the hopes that he’s defacing the wall with his urine,
I see the ultimate social irony:
inside the Bloomberg Space
a neon sign
someone most definitely put up for me today
reading:
“Let’s pretend none of this ever happened”

The romantic poet in me stops there
no more words, no more thoughts,
the insulting irony has spoken, in obvious terms, to nobody
.
But I can not
CAN NOT
let it go
and enraged with fury and disbelief
I go on
determined as I always was
to subvert the system
to penetrate it, hack it, and milk it
for then I will have the dirty tools the system uses to turn our alienation against us
.
And then the day will come when we will see each other as one, and the world will be full of “us”,
as there will no more “them”,
and then I will be gone
for my job will be done
.
I see you
open your eyes
.
35000 decisions a day
this is the one
I’m not hiding
.
Hello Mr. Banker
here’s my soul
give me the tools
to obliterate your world
and free you all

Invited to the Mayor’s International Programme launch at London City Hall

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Yesterday I was invited to attend the official launch of the Mayor’s International Programme at City Hall, London, where I met some of London’s top entrepreneurs, mentors, and the Mayor (who gave a short speech using 007 as a reference).

One of my companies (Kanteron Systems) has been selected as one of the 35 companies forming the initial cohort.

The programme will support high growth businesses from London’s Technology, Life Sciences and Urban sectors to expand their businesses internationally. It is run by London & Partners (supported by the Mayor), partly funded by the European Development Fund and partly by five private sector delivery partners: BDO, Benoy, KPMG, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry & PA Consulting. As members, we will select mentoring, business opportunities, workshops and overseas missions.
#GotoGrow

“Big Bang Data” and “Tintin” exhibitions at Somerset House, London

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Yesterday we went to see a couple exhibitions at Somerset House, in London.

The first exhibition we saw was “TINTIN: Hergé’s Masterpiece”. Basic but obviously appealing, it was too crowded to be enjoyable.

The second one was “Big Bang Data”.

While undoubtedly interesting, especially for someone who works in, teaches, and loves bid data and technology like myself, to me the most interesting aspect of this exhibition is that everyone who was there had already experienced the subject. Even more, we are all part of it. We generate that “big data”, we process it, we benefit from it, and we are abused through it. Furthermore, most of the works exhibited had been featured in mass media outlets. Such as the outdated but nonetheless striking Debtris

So, what’s the role of such a very well curated and exhibited collection of works in today’s world?

Art exhibitions can have many functions and serve many purposes. I won’t talk about it here now, for there are already countless books and debates revolving around such a complex subject. But it is obvious that as digital communications break the physicality barrier, any objectual gathering of non-physical content can be deemed irrelevant.

Romantics, demagogues, luddites, and even some anthropologist will persistently demand a return to material in the age of the digital. Yet, as an evolving organism, shouldn’t we embrace digital in digital form? shouldn’t we adapt our experiential expectations to the possibilities that digital content allows? I completely support Bret Victor’s point of view on the matter.

Food for thought as I look forward to #Utopia2016: celebrating the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s inspirational text. A year of artists, designers, provocateurs and thinkers experimenting with ways we might live, make, work and play.

Flight data as business intelligence

As an international “solo-preneur” you have to be careful about how to invest your time and resources, and what metrics are really key.

My main company (Kanteron Systems) is in the Enterprise Healthcare Software world. Blog posts and books talking about apps, user adoption, and monetization mean nothing to me. Yet most companies in the Enterprise B2B space are big listed multinationals, so their metrics do not exactly apply to me either.

So, apart from the obvious (revenue, cash flow, profits, etc), what other data do I take into account to make my decisions? The most unusual one is flights.

Last time I checked, I noticed I have visited 171 cities

For example, in 2012 I was based in New York (although my company’s HQ are in Valencia – Spain), getting our US subsidiary off the ground, and growing my network in the East Coast of the USA, so I flew very little. 25 flights – 40503 miles to be exact:

2012

But in 2013 sales opportunities started to ramp up in Latin America, so I had to fly there often. In total that year I flew 41 flights – 67 750 miles:

2013

2014 was the year of the introduction of our pioneer and “disruptively innovative” (any more buzz words?) solution, and I took 71 flights, traveling 121704 miles to meet with all kinds of potential customers worldwide:

2014

But in 2015 I spent a lot of time focusing in the European market. So much so that we decided to open a UK subsidiary and I moved with my wife and my son to London, thus reducing the need to cross the pond every other week, limiting my flights to 35 – 65517 miles:

2015

As you can see, all those flights obviously correlate with the location of our customer base:

Customers

So, the flights have spoken:

  • Live in a place that minimizes your need for constant long flights
  • If you want to sell (B2B) you have to go there

5th EU Health Innovation event at Microsoft’s Brussels EBC

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This Tuesday and Wednesday I was invited to participate in Microsoft’s 5th Health Innovation event.

Titled “EmpoweringHealth: the journey towards more personalized, productive, collaborative and predictive health services & systems” it took place at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center in Brussels.

I participated in the round table “Medical Imaging Storage in the Cloud”, moderated by Kelly Limonte (Microsoft UK Healthcare Team), and in the Expert Panel “The future of preventive and predictive health powered by data in the intelligent cloud”, along with:

  • Fredrik Wetterhall – CEO Optolexia
  • Pablo Lapunzina – Head of Genetic Testing Department, Hospital La Paz, Madrid (Spain)
  • Mikko Rotonen – CIO, HUS (Finland)
  • moderated by Vincent Dupont, Director Health Partners, Western Europe – Microsoft.

I also participated in the Exhibition Area, along with 5 other selected partners.

It has been a very interesting event for professional purposes, but, as usual, I did not have a minute to enjoy Brussels.

Chile January 2016

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On Wednesday, January 20th I flew to Miami, on the top floor of a double-decker plane, for a quick meeting at the airport. Unfortunately, and as usual, the delay of the aircraft, together with the immigration queue, and a traffic jam in which my client was caught, made the meeting impossible.
From Miami, I flew all night to Santiago de Chile.Arriving in Santiago, as always my good friend and distributor picked me up from the airport and took me to the hotel to check-in, shower and change to go to the first meeting. But to my surprise, the hotel did not let me check-in, because it was “too early”. Luckily my distributor allowed me to shower in his office, for which I am extremely grateful. What a difference it makes to take a shower before a meeting, having flown all night!

Arriving in Santiago, as always my good friend and distributor picked me up from the airport and took me to the hotel to check-in, shower and change to go to the first meeting. But to my surprise, the hotel did not let me check-in, because it was “too early”. Luckily my distributor allowed me to shower in his office, for which I am extremely grateful. What a difference it makes to take a shower before a meeting, having flown all night!The client meeting took place in the most luxurious office building in the most luxurious street in Santiago, right in front of the Spanish embassy.

The client meeting took place in the most luxurious office building in the most luxurious street in Santiago, right in front of the Spanish embassy.It seemed an exorbitant luxury that my client had the data center on the 18th floor of the building. But these people seem to be very professional and know what they do.

It seemed an exorbitant luxury that my client had the data center on the 18th floor of the building. But these people seem to be very professional and know what they do.The meeting was very good, and I was asked to continue the negotiations the following day.

The meeting was very good, and I was asked to continue the negotiations the following day.At night my friend invited me to dinner with his partners in a lovely restaurant called Ñuñoa, serving Chilean food, but imaginatively prepared and gourmet. I do not remember the name of the dishes or wine I had, but I can still remember the delicious taste of the whole dinner.

At night my friend invited me to dinner with his partners in a lovely restaurant called Ñuñoa, serving Chilean food, but imaginatively prepared and gourmet. I do not remember the name of the dishes or wine I had, but I can still remember the delicious taste of the whole dinner.

The next day, after suffering hours of the slowest hotel wifi connection I have ever endured (a speed test turned out 200kps), we continued the meeting, reaching an agreement of which I’m very proud because it is with the main telemedicine network in Latin America.

In the afternoon, after a series of eventualities with his flight, we met with a prominent doctor who wants to launch a telemedicine initiative with the Chilean Ministry of Health, and is also considering my company to carry out the project.

Another red-eye flight (this time in a brand new B787) led me to Dallas, where I had a lengthy connection (blessed be airport lounges), and then the flight that finally took me back home in London.

Meeting the NHS in Liverpool and Microsoft Research in Cambridge January 2016

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Monday the 18 of January I went to Liverpool for a business meeting. The first one in a very large project with England’s National Health System.

It was a quick trip, that started off the right way, with a “Game of Thrones” chair made out of electric guitars at the station, and Virgin giving me an upgrade to First Class. I usually can care less about traveling in first class for short train rides. But it was nice to have eggs florentine for breakfast, and wifi, nonetheless.

When I arrived at the hospital where my meeting took place, I loved the initiative they had implemented: a fresh produce vendor at the main entrance, with excellent produce and really affordable prices (although I guess coming from London any price seems affordable).

It has always amazed me how in many hospitals, especially in the USA, they will only have the worst food available, whether in the cafeteria or the vending machines.

The following day I went to Cambridge to meet lead researchers and the director of the awesome Microsoft Research Center.

The “healthy-fresh-local” food catering we were served for lunch in the giant meeting room, proves that large institutions are starting to change their attitude towards health and consumption.

Being under NDA as I am, I cannot mention what we discussed during that long meeting, but let’s say I was very pleasantly surprised to see the very interesting research projects they showed me, and I assume they liked what we do at my company because some of those researchers are coming to a workshop in our offices in Spain next month. Who would have thought, a few years ago, that I would be collaborating with Microsoft? But I am happy to see that it is them that have changed their attitude towards free software and open source, and not me. “I won” – we all win.

Moraira and Javea January 3, 2016

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On January 3 I took my wife, along with my parents, to visit one of my childhood “safe places”: Moraira and Javea, in Alicante’s White Coast.

Alongside Ibiza, always my favorite, Moraira’s beaches have a very special place in my memory.

While it has grown a lot in population and housing developments, being a “prime real estate” area (and therefore rich town), they have made a pretty good job keeping it nice and beautiful.

After a walk in the marina, a visit to my beloved Portet beach, and going to the cliffy Cumbres del Sol, we ended the day trip by having a delicious artichoke and squid paella by the beach in Javea.

Definitely it is the water, that transparent Mediterranean water, with yellow sand beaches, what makes it special (the Mediterranean pine trees don’t hurt, though ;-). A water depleted of the explosion of marine life that I experienced snorkeling as a kid. A water that, at the rate we are going, will not stay crystal clear and beautiful for too many decades.

Environmentalism: so much talk and so little action. Yet, instead of waiting for governments to “do something”, it’s all up to us. From overfishing to waste dumping, it all happens because we allow it either as direct actors looking the other way, or as indirect consumers.

Let’s save the lakes and mountains, the beaches and forests… or we will be depriving future generations of resources and, most importantly, of beauty. Because who wants to live in an ugly world? Who can find luxury in the dessert?

Blue Christmas in Valencia

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For almost a month between mid-December and mid-January we escaped London’s grey sky and went to Valencia (Spain) to meet my team for some strategic sessions, and to be with the family.

The first thing we did was to behave like tourists, craving serrano ham, freshly squeezed orange juice, paella, or walks on the beach.

It’s easy to see how clichés are formed, being nothing else than the brain’s reductionist tendencies at play.

It was a very enjoyable month, a truly warm Christmas, made even sweeter with the kids and the kittens running around.

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More adorable memories to hold dear for years to come: the whole family in the kitchen preparing the dinner we enjoyed so much selecting from Valencia’s excellent Central Market, cooking the company’s traditional Christmas Lunch, my wife and daughter dancing in a competition judged by my son, the kids “programming robot-daddy”, my son creating a virtual world so the whole family can play together in our LAN game, walking on the beach in January, enjoying home-made marzipan, attending my daughter’s first piano recital, beating the crowd to an amazing cup of dense chocolate with churros and buñuelos at Santa Catalina right before going to the movies, taking the kids to a classical music concert… magical memories.

Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy

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On December 4 I was lucky enough to be invited to visit Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at the Royal Academy.

I knew I would enjoy it since Ai Weiwei is one of my favourite artists. I knew even my son, my wife and my mother-in-law would enjoy it, since Ai Weiwei’s art is highly figurative and symbolic, even to the point of being obvious with his latest works (which makes its appeal that more far-reaching if slightly less elitist). On top of that, the Royal Academy put together a comprehensive and accessible multimedia guide that offered explanations by the show’s curator Adrian Locke.

But I was not anticipating to like it so much. It was awesome.

After that, to make the day even better, we stopped at Minamoto Kitchoan to buy some delicious Japanese wagashi. We got maccha senbei (wafers), okoicha baumkuchen (green roll cake), dorayaki, hakuto mochi (peach), and yuzu-flavored bunny-shaped ayashirabe, but they were out of chocolat mochi maccha, and shimizuhakuto jelly (peach jelly). Now we have an excuse to go back soon!

^_^