Joining the ranks of Belgacom, BT, Softbank of Japan,SFR of France, Comstar of Russia and Zon of Portugal, I would like to welcome Fon’s newest partner: Oi of Brazil.

Today we’re officially launching our partnership with Oi, the largest telco in Brazil and the second largest telco in Latin America. This means that as of today, Fon has entered the Latin American market.  With Fon you share a little WiFi at home and you roam the world for free connecting to other community members.  Fon grows its membership directly by people buying Fon wifi routers known as Foneras at our shop or by becoming ADSL/Cable/Fiber customers of our telecom partners who deliver their routers with Fon inside.

After our partnership announcement with Belgacom in June, this continues to be a successful year for Fon in terms of partnerships, and it is only the beginning of many more partnerships to come that will soon be announced.

Despite the fact that we just launched today, we already have over 100 active Fon Oi hotspots in key locations in Rio de Janeiro’s popular districts, Ipanema and Leblon (which you can find on our hotspot map), giving Brazilians and visitors a flavor of what Oi-Fon will be as it is deployed all over Brazil.

Brazil, and especially Rio, is a great place to start. Just this month I came across this article saying that Brazilians are the world’s most intensive mobile internet users. And smartphone sales are also growing quickly. In addition to that, the millions of tourists visiting Rio each year will find our Oi-Fon hotspot network very useful to stay connected while avoiding to pay high roaming costs. This will come in especially handy in the future, with Brazil hosting important events like the FIFA World Cup in 2014 or the 2016 Summer Olympics. And maybe even the Pope will connect to our network when he visits Rio in 2013 🙂

Our global footprint is increasing at a faster pace every day. We hit our 4 millionth hotspot in May of this year, and now we already have more than 4.5 million hotspots worldwide. And Brazil is only the first step we are taking to spread our hotspot network over many more Latin American countries.  We hope to have more news about partnerships in Latin America soon, a region very dear to my heart as I was born in Argentina and as many Argentines spent many of my childhood vacations in Brazil.

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High School education is obsolete. As I see it high school programs around the world should be modified in different degrees. Some are more advanced than others but all need some of these subjects. On top of the current high school curriculum, there are other relevant subjects that children should be introduced to. The additional subjects that I believe would benefit children most are:
-basic household management, how to live on your own.
-computer science/programming.
-history of science.
-home medicine and disease prevention.
-digital photography/video both capture and editing.
-basic accounting and business law.
-entrepreneurship (business plans and so on)
-statistics and probability.
-home economics, how to file for taxes, basic macroeconomic principles.
-principles of logic, epistemology and ethics (Philosophy)
-sustainable development.
-public speaking (done in UK and US but not continental Europe)
-understanding government
-introduction to engineering, the basic technologies that surround us.
-modern geography/astronomy including all types of digital maps and mapping resources.
-conflict resolution, dispute resolution, introduction to law.I have been editing this post adding the the best suggestions. Thanks for the contributions!

I would like to know how accurate Android voice recognition is for native US speakers. I speak English with an Argentine accent but obviously a very slight accent because it is remarkable how well Android understands my English. Interestingly my wife has a German accent in English and Android cannot understand her at all. Android gets almost every word she says wrong, as if she was speaking another language. But in real life few have problems understanding Nina. Now what I found unusual is that when I choose Argentine Spanish as default and speak in Spanish Android makes the same 10% mistake rate that it makes when I speak in English. Maybe I am not a native speaker of any language anymore or maybe the best Android can hope now is to get things 90% right. Another answer could be that Android has experimented much more in English, has found that a significant part of the US population has a Spanish accent in English and recognizes those.

I have been debating with my Spanish followers on Twitter about why Spain has the highest unemployment rates of all developed nations – 21% for the population as a whole and 46% youth unemployment. To put Spain´s unemployment into perspective,  the EU´s average rate of unemployment is less than half of Spain´s.

In my view, Spain´s high unemployment is as much the product of poor financial/ investment decisions (over investment in real estate) as it is one of the country´s culture.  The main cultural weakness of Spaniards, and indeed Latin Americans in general, is to take little or no ownership of their problems, instead blaming others for their shortcomings. Of course, this kind of culture also has its positive side: countries in which people tend to blame others for their problems usually have low suicide rates and a general positive outlook on life. The flip side is that this attitude is very hard to change and it is not conducive to a country reinventing itself in the face of failed economic strategies. This can help explain why Spain is so much behind the EU when it comes to unemployment. Spain needs to reinvent itself, and in order to do that, a culture of self responsibility is essential.

To me, if Spain has such high unemployment rates, it is because the Spanish government, Spanish entrepreneurs and business leaders and Spanish workers are uncompetitive. I say this after having hired thousands of Spaniards and having built Jazztel, and Fon in Spain.  Yes, there are responsible and hard working Spanish government employees, imaginative and hard driven Spanish entrepreneurs and highly ethical Spanish workers, but they are less common to find than in Germany, for example.

When you talk to Spanish people, they will quickly agree that Spanish politicians are mediocre, that Spanish “empresarios” are “unos chorizos” or scumbags but few would agree that there is something wrong with the way that Spanish people think, organize themselves and work.

Unfortunately, the average politician, businessperson and employee are all to blame for Spain´s poor economic condition. They are to blame as a group, as a culture.  This is a nation where one in five are out of work and where one out of three young people have no future – this needs to be fixed. But this can’t be fixed if the average Spanish person does not realize that they are both part of the problem and an essential part of the solution.  What is common here is to believe that Spain is the way it is because of a few who have somehow kidnapped the country into perennial underperformance in terms of unemployment.

Spain is a country with huge potential, but low entrepreneurship. The average Spaniard focuses energy and attention on old, ailing industries like infrastructure and real estate, and banks tend to only lend for these activities. Spaniards don’t see the risk in borrowing the equivalent to five times their annual salary to buy a home. This means that many are tied to mortgages that will sink them into debt for life, because of this, they can´t even move to where there is work.

Spaniards are among the Europeans who live the longest lives, yet they are the ones who call in sick to work the most.  In Spain there is a yet to be measured but enormous underground economy, with a very large number of workers who collect both unemployment insurance and a regular salary.  Tax cheating is rampant.  Moreover,  Spaniards love colossal and useless infrastructure projects. They vote for politicians who give them something, even if it has no practical use. These are the same politicians who approved colossal public works like the T4 terminal, a $10bn project. They spent public money building airports that no one uses and roads that nobody takes. Take the Castellón Airport, for example, built at a cost of $213m but that still hasn´t received a single flight. Meanwhile, Germany and other European countries gave Spain gifts of billions through the EU and a lot of this undeserved money was misused.

Will Spain´s problems be fixed?  I certainly hope so.  I am an immigrant to this country, by now a Spanish citizen who built three significant companies here and have five Spanish children.  Spaniards are now saying: “el problema no es la crisis, es el sistema”  or, the problem is not the crisis, it’s the system.  But this “system” works for the Netherlands, Germany and many other new EU countries such as Poland.  My answer is, “el problema no es el sistema, somos nosotros.”  The problem is not the system, we are the problem.

I am a father of 5. I also built 5 companies. Building 5 companies of which 4 did very well is a very rare accomplishment. Yet having 5 children is something that many more people could do if they wanted to..

If I have to compare, what gave me more satisfaction in life, as much as I have enjoyed building my companies and I now enjoy being CEO of Fon, being a father is just another level of enjoyment and satisfaction. Alexa, Isa, Tom, Leo and Mia they make me happy every day of my life. Parenting has tough moments but overall it is the best thing I have ever done. I am not recommending that everyone has 5 children. But many people I know have none. In Spain where I live, the native population is shrinking. Even having 3 children is very rare and most couples have one or two. People say having children is expensive but health care is free, education up to university level is free and these are the two biggest costs in USA where people have more children. To me it’s a mystery why people have such few children in this country. I still hope to have my 6th one. When I was growing up we were also 6. Our home was an ongoing party.

Filipinos don’t speak Spanish anymore but they speak English with a Spanish accent. Spaniards are not practicing Catholics but they live life with a Catholic accent. Spaniards are not pious anymore but they have an obsession with being humble. On Twitter, Tumblr, here,  I frequently get accused of not being humilde enough, not humble enough. It’s as if I was a sinner of some kind. In Spain you can’t build a company and say that you are so proud of your work. Say that in Spain and you will be frowned upon. When people ask me why is it that unemployment is so high in Spain at 21% I say: there aren’t enough people here who want to build companies and be proud of their work. There aren’t enough people who want to do whatever it takes to be successful.

Here’s Evo Morales taxing all of his citizens and then using their money to give out laptops to teachers for free with his image.

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The kind of intelligence that you need to succeed in business goes mostly undetected at school. Its a sense of leadership and strategy that is not what teachers reward. Entrepreneurs tend to antagonize teachers, they are in class wishing they were in charge and teachers hate that. That’s why so many drop out or do poorly at university only to thrive in real life.

Last Friday was the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan invasion. Why we are there is beyond my comprehension. We have killed so many innocent people, both our own soldiers who we sent to a hopeless war and countless innocent victims of our bombardments. We are at fault, both Europe and USA. Why did we stay in Iraq beyond overthrowing Saddam and in Afghanistan beyond overthrowing the Taliban? EU and USA are not meant to invade countries for decades and try to administer them. Why did we not wait until they had their Arab uprising as so many other countries? I can understand the use of military force in Libya, to tilt the balance without invading, to provide air support. But to invade, police, stay for a decade, be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, accomplish nothing and waste trillions of our own savings is barbaric.

Nationalism and religion have a lot in common. Yet nationalists and religious people will quickly deny this. But both nationalism and religion are about tribal rituals, members and not members, ours vs theirs, inclusion vs exclusion. A gene pool vs a non gene pool. I know this. I am Jewish but I am not religious, still I am a “member of the tribe”.

Religion and God most likely have nothing in common. This is because most likely God does not exist and should something like God exist it is extremely unlikely that somehow this God would belong to a single religion and not other. Religion, which is a form of nationalism, which is a form of tribalism.

Here’s an article that I wrote about what happens when a country gives up religion as Spain mostly did.

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