Because Intel earnings will evaporate in 2 hours if these notebooks popularity continues to rise. I love them though and I hear that over 5 million have been sold so far. I have 3 of those, one with XP, one with Linux and one with Mac (an Asus turned into a Mac). My 350 euro Asus works as well as the MacBook Air that cost me $1800. It is very small that´s true and I only use it in conferences, planes, or public places but it´s battery life beats any Mac I know. On the negative side the ethernet doesn´t work, sound only works with Bluetooth and the sleep functions that works so well in Macs doesn´t work in the Asus Hackingtosh. I also greatly enjoy the Magalhaes, the Portuguese notebook that competes with the OLPC another favorite.
There’s a quasi civil war going on in Palestine between Fatah and Hamas. The former is in power in the West Bank, and the latter in the Gaza Strip, which are the two parts of Palestine, also known as the Palestinian territories. I have visited Gaza and the West Bank, I have been to Ramallah and I have also met Palestinian ministers and even Ehud Olmert.
To me, the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians does not clearly have good and bad guys. Sometimes it’s the Israelis committing the atrocities, and other times it’s the Palestinians. But the leading Spanish newspaper, “El País”, believes that the Palestinians are the good guys and the Israelis the bad guys. And when a civil war started between the two Palestinian factions breaks out, “El País” didn´t know how to bring “bad” Israel into the picture and published an article like this, in which the Israelis still come off as the bad guys even though they were not part of the dispute.
What I don’t understand is how Spaniards, who have reached a fairly high level of sophistication when it comes to matters of domestic policy and are mostly skeptical about their own political parties, continue to be fairly unsophisticated in matters of foreign policy, and don’t demand more objectivity from the local press.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be resolved when everyone recognizes their mistakes, and changes, and not just when the Israelis do. The Israelis pulled out of Gaza unilaterally Gaza fell into utter chaos. It does not surprise me that the Israelis now believe that if they pull out of the West Bank, the civil war among Palestinians, as well as the attacks on Israel, will only get worse.
If the Palestinians had created a well functioning state in Gaza that provided Israel with some reasonable security, the Israelis would be pulling out of the West Bank, just as they have left the Sinai Peninsula and other previously occupied territories. The majority of Israelis don’t want the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as part of a greater Israel. Those that do constitute an organized and fanatic minority, but that minority was forcefully removed from the Gaza Strip and the results were awful.
With the markets forecasting the mother of all recessions, capital for startups is getting scarce and entrepreneurs find increasingly hard to raise financing for their companies. So I want to congratulate Rafael Casado, founder of Tooio, on raising a €1,5M round with markets in tough conditions.
Tooio is a Spanish startup developing a mobile social network that allows users to know where their friends are, communicate with them and find places and events close to where they are. Features include SMS, mail and instant messaging, events invitations and a proximity-based mobile search engine.
But the paradox is that while they exaggerate on the video and probably make the iPhone run on WiFi they underestimate the difference between between 3G and GPRS since 3G is much more than 2X faster than GPRS.
In our society we are accustomed to grouping people by their age, their gender, their nationality, their profession and their work situation, but there are not many who classify people as being either solitary or gregarious (what’s more, I don’t believe that a word even exists to describe someone’s level on a solitary/gregarious continuum). But if we were to do so, meaning, if we were to create a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is someone who doesn’t talk to anyone throughout the whole day and 10 is someone who lives surrounded by family, friends and coworkers, and is never alone, I would be close to a 10.
In general, I’m only alone when I ride my bike, and even this isn’t very often because mostly I go out with friends (la peña). In my life, there’s always someone at my side, either Nina, my significant other, with whom I also work; one or some of my four children; my friends; other family members; or my coworkers.
When I talk to my non-Spanish friends I discover that my gregarious lifestyle while frequent here, is not so common outside of Spain. For example, it’s normal for my friends from other countries to eat alone in a restaurant, which is something that I don’t do, or for them to go to the movies by themselves, or in many cases, live alone. I even have a friend who loves being alone so much that he tends to celebrate his birthdays by going on adventure vacations by himself. During the last years he has rented a small plane in Namibia and flies solo, or a Ducati and travels all over Italy by himself. I am also a pilot and love adventures, but I do them with my buddies. To me, the idea of taking a vacation by myself is almost painful. As you can read in the autobiography I wrote about being 17 years old, even when I used to do it during my adolescence, I didn’t last very long by myself. This makes me wonder if it was perhaps my dislike of being alone that brought me from USA to Spain. Spain is the most gregarious country I’ve ever lived in with my native Argentina a close second.
In Spain, it seems like cities are designed to keep anybody from ever being alone. If you leave Madrid and go for a bike ride, as I do, it’s very clear, for example, where San Agustín de Guadalix ends and the countryside begins. There is an unmistakable difference: town, countryside, city, countryside. But in the States the city gradually morphs into the countryside. First the buildings, then the houses, later the country houses, the farmhouses, the little fields, the open fields, the ranches. Spaniards seem to be like magnets who are always attracted by other Spaniards and the urban planning of this country reflects this. Americans instead seem to be like reversed magnets and as soon as they can afford it they tend to move to bigger and bigger properties as away as possible from neighbors. The US real estate agent used to go like “you don´t even hear the neighbors” the Spanish real estate agent is more like “hay buen rollo en la urba” (in this neighborhood people really get along).
From what I’ve seen in the 13 years that I’ve lived in Spain, Spaniards seek comfort in each other. As they grow old you can see this in how hard it is for children to separate from their parents. If the Spanish were marsupials they would carry their baby kangaroos in their pouches for decades. Actually, three decades to be exact, because Spain is the country where children take the longest to leave their parents’ home. This happens on the average at 30! I believe this is because partly due to expensive housing prices but mostly because neither parents nor children like to be alone. As difficult as those relationship can be they prefer to put up with each other. People in Spain go from living with their parents to living with a loved one, not for religious reasons, but in order to avoid being by themselves.
From what I’ve seen, my Spanish friends have a lot of contact with their extended families as well, and although they have few children, they have many cousins, and other relatives whom they see often. And then there are friends. Spaniards cultivate friendship like the French seduction. Loyalty among friends is very strong, even among coworkers. The businesses that I founded in Spain, Jazztel, Ya.com (http://www.ya.com) and now Fon, are like families. The Jazztel coworkers from 2000 still have parties together. The American alternative as I see it from start ups I built in the States is to accept a friendship….in Facebook and occasionally to poke somebody. Friends in Spain mostly hang out. Friendships rarely have a theme. In NYC things were different, you tagged friends. Tags went something like “he´s my squash buddy”.
With this whole business of always being surrounded by people, sometimes my friends from other countries ask me about whether I would like to spend more time alone. But my answer is a resounding no. I’m happy when there’s some commotion in my house, when my children show up with their friends and we have big dinner parties. I have frequent visits from friends from the States (last night it was Jimmy Wales founder of Wikipedia) and I greatly enjoy them. Generally they propose to meet at a restaurant but I manage to convince them to dine with my family at home. After wondering if it is not too much of an intrusion (yes Americans have that concept which makes no sense in the land of permanent intrusion) they seem to like it. To me a night alone means a night in which just Nina and I are alone. I couldn´t imagine telling everyone that I just want to be alone, completely alone. And even when I write my blog or work I like to know that Nina or the kids are around.
My three oldest children were born in the United States, where I lived for 18 years, but when I started to see how relationships between people of different generations were over there, I decided to move to Spain. First for a year and now it´s been 13 and I have no intention of moving. My apartment in NYC and my farm in Sagaponack are still there. Two great places. And Bush will soon be gone. But so far I stay on this side of the ocean. America is for me the most intellectually stimulating country in the world. The Mecca of entrepreneurship. The country that is willing to experiment all things new. But when it gets to friendships somehow old is better than new. My American friends are inspiring to say the least. But while America is about freedom, Spain is about ties. And I used to think I loved freedom. But now I realized that ties, especially close ties…feel great. And I stay on.
Here´s an OECD report that says that US economy will grow 1.4% this year and contract 1% next year. Still stocks are down 50% or so depending on the day (volatility is gigantic). So either the financial markets are wrong big time, and what we are seeing now is prices that reflect panic selling and not future earnings of companies, or economists are wrong big time and USA and the global economy will shrink much more. If the markets are right it should take take until 2014 to reach the levels of economic activity that we had in 2008 and earnings will evaporate for a while. Only time will tell but this time I am more with the economists than the markets. Still this is the first time in my life that I see such enormous discrepancy between economic data and financial markets behavior.
Spain´s leading newspaper El Pais runs a poll today in which they ask readers if they believe that religion plays an exagerated role in society an 88% answered positively. Moreover 46% of young people in Spain declared themselves non religious (atheists, agnostics or indifferent to religion). And in the rest of Europe things seem to be moving in the same direction. Here´s the Atheist Bus Campaign according to The Guardian.
The bad news about falling oil prices is that all alternative energy sources including the ones I invest with become less competitive. The good news about falling oil prices is that all those dictators or semi dictators who run oil exporting nations will have a hard time staying in power. Because as we know, other than Norway we don´t seem to have nations that combine oil exporting with non corrupt, well managed democratic systems.
Reading Gizmodo I am surprised how people who write about WiFi on airplanes don´t say that we had WiFi on airplanes for years. Lufthansa had it til recently and so did other airlines. WiFi on airplanes failed in the past because few gadgets had WiFi and because it was too expensive to offer. WiFi on airplanes will succeed this time. Or is it that writers in the States write about something as new because to them nothing is new until it´s used in America?
This evening in Madrid, back from BA where I spent a week hanging out with friends and family and meeting presidential contenders, I relaxed with my kids watching 5 episodes of Big Bang Theory. I recommend it. Perfect TV series for geeks.