Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Political Entrepreneur

We talk a fair amount at home about entrepreneurs. I frequently tell the boys about the entrepreneurs that I meet. Today we spoke about a different kind of entrepreneur from the typical Silicon Valley one. We spoke about our friend Leopoldo Lopez, who came over for dinner last night with his family. Leopoldo is the former mayor of Chacao (a large municipality in Caracas) and the leader of one of the main opposition parties in Venezuela.

We first met Leopoldo, and his wife Lilian, at Crissy Field. Turns out that they are kitesurfers like us. They were visiting San Francisco and a common Venezuelan friend put us in touch. We met at the beach and went kiting under the Golden Gate Bridge. Had a really good time, in spite of the fact that Leopoldo had to be rescued by the Coast Guard after kiting into a wind hole :-).

What makes Leopoldo a political entrepreneur? He has founded or co-founded two political parties (Primera Justicia & Voluntad Popular). This is the equivalent of starting companies rather than joining established ones. His current party did extremely well in last month's elections in Venezuela, taking away 17 cities away from the ruling government party (including in some of the government strongest areas, like Barinas). They achieved this with a strategy and execution that remind me of a Sillicon Valley start-up. They focused on the Venezuelan plains and Leopoldo spent months traveling through the key cities earning the support of their citizens. They tracked their performance analyzing which factors worked and which didn't.

Whatever your passion or your calling, you can be an entrepreneur.

1 comment:

Alejandro J. said...

Wow Ariel

I was very touched by this old post that I just read given everything that has happened since that encounter.

Here's an old venakite picture of Leo and Lilian when they were just novice kiters.