Feb 27

LISTA Strongly Opposes the FCC Decision to Impose Outdated Regulations on the Internet

small listaLatinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association President and CEO Jose A. Marquez today issued the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to regulate broadband under Title II of the “Communications Act”:

LISTA is disheartened by the FCC’s decision to imposing burdensome and outdated regulations on the net. While we share the Commission’s goals of preserving an Open Internet and protecting consumers and innovators online, reclassifying the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act is a bridge too far.

The Clinton-era policies that intentionally avoided utility-style regulation have made the Internet a platform for prosperity for Latino and other underserved communities who depend upon online platforms as a vehicle to the American dream. The FCC’s decision subjects the entire ecosystem to a suffocating level of regulation for the first time, potentially posing a substantial burden on broadband companies and likely instigating a protracted legal process that will be costly in both time and money. Every dollar spent on adhering to new regulations or litigators in court is a dollar not spent on investment to improve speeds and services, especially to underprivileged communities like Latinos.

LISTA urges Congressional leaders to act quickly and advance a bipartisan legislative solution that bolsters the Open Internet and protects consumers without the risks to investment that accompany Title II regulation.” Through Congressional legislative action we can bring fair, new legislation which will include consumer protection while encouraging innovation and investment.    



Feb 21

LISTA Congratulates AT&T on Being Named #1 Telecom Globally in Fortune’s Ranking of Most Admired Companies

att_logo_sharingAT&T* was recognized by FORTUNE magazine as the Most Admired Telecommunications Company in the world in 2015. 

“Being recognized by FORTUNE as the number one telecom company is a testament to our 240,000 employees working hard every day to help customers mobilize their world with fast, highly secure connectivity to everything on the Internet – everywhere and on every device,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. 

Additionally, FORTUNE ranked AT&T #47 among all companies in all industries in its list of the Top 50 Most Admired companies in the world. 

FORTUNE’s Most Admired Companies lists are among the most highly respected indicators of corporate performance and reputation.

To identify the Most Admired Companies, FORTUNE and its partner, the Hay Group, survey top executives and directors from FORTUNE 1000 and Global 500 companies — along with financial analysts — to identify companies that have the strongest reputations both within their own industry and overall. Companies are rated on their ability to attract and retain talented people, quality of products and services, quality of management, innovation, social responsibility, use of corporate assets and long-term investment value.

Learn about AT&T’s commitment to excellence at att.com/CorporateAwards.

FORTUNE’s Most Admired Results: http://fortune.com/worlds-most-admired-companies/

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions of people and businesses around the globe stay connected through leading wireless, high-speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. We’re helping people mobilize their worlds with state-of-the-art communications, entertainment services and amazing innovations like connected cars and devices for homes, offices and points in between. Our U.S. wireless network offers customers the nation’s strongest LTE signal and the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network. We offer the best global wireless coverage*. We’re improving how our customers stay entertained and informed with AT&T U-verse® TV and High Speed Internet services. And businesses worldwide are serving their customers better with AT&T’s mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at http://about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att.

© 2015 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Reliability and signal strength claims based on nationwide carriers’ LTE. Signal strength claim based ONLY on avg. LTE signal strength. LTE not available everywhere. Global coverage claim based on offering voice and data roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier, and offering the most wireless smartphones and tablets that work in the most countries


Feb 19

Comcast Confirms Southeast HQ Expansion in Metro Atlanta; 300+ Jobs

comcast-Comcast will expand its Southeast headquarters in Gwinnett County, Gov.Nathan Deal confirmed Tuesday.

On Feb. 16, Atlanta Business first disclosed details of Tuesday’s announcement. In December, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Comcastwould expand its Southeast headquarters.

Comcast, which employs more than 500 in Gwinnett, will add 150 jobs at its new Southeast headquarters in Peachtree Corners. The four-story, 88,000 square foot building will include a high-tech demonstration lab and a training center.

The Philadelphia-based media and technology company will also expand its Alpharetta call center, adding about 150 jobs.

“Our new regional headquarters in Peachtree Corners puts us in a larger, more contemporary environment, allowing us to better meet the needs of our customers across our service area,” Comcast Regional Senior Vice President Doug Guthrie said in a statement.

The Southern headquarters covers eight markets, including South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana , Arkansas Tennessee and Virginia.

“Atlanta is the largest market we serve in this region and a priority market for us,” Comcast spokesman Alex Horwitz said in December.

Comcast currently occupies about 90,000 square feet at Courtyards Drive in Norcross. An additional 27,000 square feet is being marketed for lease, according to commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.

Comcast employs more than 4,200 employees in Georgia, including 2,300 in metro Atlanta. Statewide employment has grown nearly 60 percent over the past five years.

In 2015, Comcast expects to hire “several hundred employees” around the Southeastern region, including in Atlanta, as it invests in new technology infrastructure and services, Horwitz said earlier. The new jobs include administrative employees, engineers, technicians and customer service and enterprise sales reps.

“Comcast continues to focus heavily on innovation in the Southeastern region — with a strong focus on Atlanta,” Horwitz said.

Read More Tech Flash 


Staff Writer-Atlanta Business Chronicle

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Feb 18

Antiquated 20th Century Rules Will Hinder Latino Growth in 21 Century HiTech Sector.


listalogoRecently, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced his plan to use antiquated, 20th Century telephone rules to help protect Internet openness in the 21st Century. The move puts at risk some of the crucial policy initiatives that Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association and organizations have championed for years: increasing broadband adoption and digital literacy in Latino households, promoting continued investment in broadband technologies and creating high-tech business

opportunities for Latino entrepreneurs in emerging fields like “Big Data and Health Technology” that rely on advanced broadband technology.

Hispanic households have been closing the Digital Divide in terms of home broadband adoption in recent years, and that’s a good sign. But now is not the time to put those gains in jeopardy by implementing policies that threaten to impact the price of broadband service, which for years has ranked among the most affordable in the developed world. By reclassifying Internet service as a utility-style telecommunications service, as Chairman Wheeler proposes, the FCC will be doing exactly that. For starters, reclassification threatens to force the cost of all future networks upgrades onto consumers, permitting online video giants like Netflix (companies with abysmal records on workforce diversity) to get consumer-subsidized bandwidth for their increasingly massive amounts of Web traffic. But more directly, as reclassification supporters as well as independent think tanks like the Progressive Policy Institute have agreed, the FCC’s proposal could subject broadband customers to a whole host of new regulatory fees on their monthly bills, costing us billions of dollars every year. For families that spent the last few years pinching every penny, this is a rate hike they can do without.

Reclassification also calls into question the future of investment in broadband networks. The NAACP reports that Internet Service Providers account for more than 80% of all Internet sector investments, and these companies also hire three times as many Latino employees as companies like Facebook and LinkedIn. But according to a recent American Enterprise Institute/Sonecon study, reclassification could lead to as much as a $45 billion reduction in broadband investment over the next five years. This would be a stunning reversal considering that Internet Service Providers have been among the top investors in America, flooding $70 billion each year into networks and equipment and, admirably, $250 billion during the Great Recession while other industries hoarded their cash. President Obama even praised the industry for this leadership in a 2013 report.

Finally, the opportunities for Latino entrepreneurs in the new markets that the Internet has enabled are a direct result of these investments. If reclassification stymies that investment then the Internet’s robust foundation for new services and products begins to wither. Imagine where we would be without the broadband investment that has enabled the “App Economy” that has made wealthy entrepreneurs of people willing to learn to code and created 750,000 jobs since 2007?

Protecting the Internet as an open environment for communication, collaboration and commerce is the noblest of tech policy goals. How we achieve that goal is equally important, however, and I fear that the FCC’s proposal has taken us two steps backward.




Feb 13

TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association Announces Emerging Tech Leaders Summit..

small listaTheir 6th Annual Emerging Tech Leadership Summit Series Kickoff and National TechLatino Achievers Award.

TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) announced today the LISTA 8th Annual Emerging Technology Leadership Summit Series Kickoff and National Latino Technology Achievers Awards will be hosted in Sacramento California by the LISTA NorCal TechLatino Council. 

LISTA’s 8th Annual Emerging Technology Leadership Summit Series and National Latino Technology Achievers Awards will take place in Sacramento Ca, on March 31st and April 1st at the Magnificent Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel and will feature notable guest speakers, such as Secretary of State the honorable Alex Padilla and California State CIO Carlos Ramos, and other government and procurement officials. The summit will host expert panels on tech trends, leadership, diversity and inclusion, security, social media, education, startups cultivation and business expo throughout the day.

Jose Marquez, National President of LISTA, stated, “As we continue to address the issues of diversity and inclusion and the lack of Latinas in Technology into the forefront, we are proud to have Secretary of State Padilla and State CIO Ramos join us for our LISTA 8th Annual Emerging Technology Leadership Summit Series Kickoff in Sacramento and be awarded LISTA Government Beacon awards at our National TechLatino Achievers Award. Their leadership in diversity and inclusion, business, technology and community advocacy has been right on.” 

Now in its 16th year, LISTA’s commitment to the Latino community is unparalleled and unwavering. It is through organizations like LISTA, that change can truly happen,” said Mr. Jorge Avila, President of LISTA NorCal TechLatino Council. “The summit this year will bring another layer to LISTA’s empowerment activities; the summit will deliver new and thought provoking ideas to our community and our country.

The Emerging Technology Leadership Summit series will feature workshops and panel discussions which will focus on CIO Panel, Doing Business with California, Diversity and Inclusion, Digital divide, Cultural Competence, The Bottom line, Brand Building and relationship strengthening, through the use of social media and strategic leadership in high technology where is the Latino community going in Silicon Valley?

11th Annual National TechLatino Achievers Awards

Latinas Tech Leaders Power Luncheon – 2013

ETLS  Power Luncheon – 2014

The Nominations are in and the committee has casted their votes, the anxiety has begun…who will be LISTA’s National Chief Executive, Chief Information Officer, Chief Diversity Officer and the National Latino Technology Achievers of the year 2015.

LISTA will recognize an important group of Latino Technology Leaders/Business Trendsetters who have shown through their commitment to excellence that the American Dream is still alive for the Latino community in the United States. These awards are given to individuals who have demonstrated by their actions, a commitment to the empowerment of the Latino community and for the strides they have made to further their careers.

These awards honor and recognize Technology professionals, who happen to be Latino for their exemplary efforts, commitment and dedication to Corporate America and the Latino Community. Over 500 attendees are expected including technology professionals leaders of businesses, corporate America and government officials.

“We look forward to a great event as we celebrate Latino Technology excellence across America, said Jose A Marquez-Leon.”  



What: LISTA 8th Annual Emerging Technology Leadership Summit and National TechLatino Achievers Award

Where: The Magnificent Melia Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel 1230 J Street, 13th and J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

When: March 31st and April 1st 2015

For more information visit: https://www.listaemergingtechleaderssummit.splashthat.com

Register Today: https://www.listaemergingtechleaderssummit.splashthat.com

About TechLatino: Latino in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) (www.a-lista.org ) is a 501c3 that promotes the utilization of the technology sectors for the empowerment of the Latino community. We are an organization that is committed to bringing various elements of Technology under one central hub to facilitate our partners, members and the community with the leverage and education they need to succeed in a highly advanced technologically driven society.

Follow the Conversation on Twitter #Techlatino or @lista1

For Sponsorship and Ticket information:

Contact:  Yvette Moise

VP, Membership and Corporate Relations



Feb 05

LISTA Statement on FCC Chair’s Net Neutrality Proposal

Net Neutrality will harm hispanic This week FCC Chairman Wheeler proposed to heavy handedly regulate the internet as a Title 2 public utility. This proposal could have a spoiler effect by threatening the growth of Latino small tech businesses that rely on the internet.  

“TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA)  believes the FCC’s decision to vote on Title II regulations is entirely the wrong approach to maintaining an open Internet.  These antiquated and burdensome rules will discourage much needed investment in broadband and lead to years of legal battles and frozen investment in Internet networks.  In order for the Hispanic community, especially Latino and Latina small businesses in the tech industry, as well as consumers everywhere to continue benefiting from all that today’s Internet has to offer, we need light-touch regulations that will help spark innovation and expand high quality broadband services to every corner of the country.”

Feb 03

FCC won’t release Open Internet Details Ahead of Feb. 26 Vote.

maxresdefaultThe Federal Communications Commission will not publicly release Internet regulations before they are voted on later this month. 

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday formally denied a request from congressional Republicans to release the text of those net neutrality rules when they are circulated among the commissioners later this week. 

Releasing the draft rules early “runs contrary” to past FCC procedure under Democratic and Republican leadership, Wheeler asserted. 

“If decades of precedent are to be changed, the there must be an opportunity for thoughtful review in the lead up to any change,” Wheeler wrote in the letter to Republicans. 

The letter was addressed to Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and House Communications and Technology subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.). 

GOP leaders had pressed Wheeler to release the rules early, noting the increased public attention surrounding them. They specifically cited an existing FCC rule that would permit the early release. 

Wheeler is expected to circulate the rules among commissioners on Thursday, with a vote scheduled for Feb. 26. The FCC typically releases the broad details of orders early, but does not unveil the exact text until after a vote. The chairman described it as commonplace for federal agencies. 

He related the process to an appeals court deliberation, where judges are able to discuss the proposal in confidence before making a final decision. 

The text of the order is expected to be hundreds of pages. But the FCC is expected to release a fact sheet on Thursday and also brief reporters on the details of the plans.  

In his letter, Wheeler asserted the yearlong net neutrality rulemaking process has been one of the most transparent to date. He cited the numerous roundtables, the hundreds of meetings and the nearly 4 million public comments on the issue. 

The rules are expected to reclassify broadband Internet under regulations governing traditional telephones. The strict regulations are meant to enforce rules that would prevent Internet service providers from interfering with traffic to any website.

The rules are also expected to ban service providers from negotiating deals with websites for faster service in exchange for a fee. 

President Obama and other advocates have called for the reclassification, but Republicans and service providers have cautioned that the change could slow innovation by subjecting the Internet to an outdated regulatory framework.

By Mario Trujillo

Jan 20

Building on the Legacy of Dr. King with Tech. As seen on Kapor Center Blog

doug-menuez_mitch-kapor-e1417721435945As our country celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King, we are reminded of the work he and his fellow organizers did to advance social justice in their time. From civil rights to poverty, Dr. King led the charge to address the inequalities that plagued our nation. Half a century later, we face our own battles for social justice. While few possess the ability to inspire as King did, many have embraced his mantle of advocacy through the use of tech.

The adoption of social media technology has changed the way communities organize.  During the 1950s and 60s, organizers like Dr. King, Bayard Rustin, Diane Nash, Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong and Caesar Chavez spent weeks and months to connect with the hundreds of thousands of activists around the country to effect change.  Today, social media tools allow organizers to reach millions of people around the world — nearly instantaneously — to deliver a uniform message of advocacy.  Moreover, this new platform allows activists to bypass traditional media outlets, which have often been accused of overlooking social justice issues for underrepresented communities.  From Troy Davis and Renisha McBride to Michael Brown and Eric Garner, we have seen the ability of social media to quickly raise awareness of an issue on a grand scale, organize communities for direct actions and influence key decision makers.

However, it is critical to note that social media is a tool to enhance social justice organizing, not a replacement for it. Social media lacks the personal influence honed by trained organizers.  Additionally, as the technology has evolved so has the bar needed to reach critical mass.  Given the relative ease of “liking” a post or retweeting, the numbers needed to influence those in power has increased exponentially.

Fortunately, organizers have become adept at using these new tools in their efforts. A decade ago, both Voto Latino and Color of Change were  founded with a focus on online organizing and activism. Additionally, the DREAMer movement has demonstrated immense success with social media. By reviving strategies and tactics of the past and merging them with tech tools, this coalition of youth immigrant activists led a movement that reshaped national immigration policy.

In addition to serving as a tool for organizing, tech has also helped to directly minimize exploitation. The app Pigeonly provides a low-cost alternative to exceptionally expensive phone calls, ensuring that low-income family members can afford to stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones. And thanks to the ubiquity of cameras on smartphones,  apps like Five-0, created by three teenagers, and the ACLU’s Stop & Frisk Watch can serve as an instant reporting tools to document potential police abuses, so that police are more accountable for their interactions with the community.

As important as the tech itself, new tech training programs for underrepresented communities have the potential to become a tool to address income and employment inequality.  Research indicates that jobs in tech are some of the best paying in the country. Unfortunately, diversity in the tech arena is minimal, leaving people from underrepresented communities out of the tech pipeline.  That is why groups like the Level Playing Field Institute and Code for Progress have created programs to teach the next generation from these communities the skills they need to succeed in the thrive in the global tech ecosystem.

Dr. King created an unshakable foundation for social justice that we all stand firmly on.  Today we honor his legacy by building on his efforts with the assistance of tech so that we can one day see his dream become a reality.

Jan 14

TechLatino Spotlight: LinkAmerica CEO Andrés Ruzo Doesn’t Know How To Quit as reported by www.LatinPost.com

RuzoRuzo is the founder and CEO of LinkAmerica, an international, warehouse logistics, IT services and solutions company based in Texas with revenues projected to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars – and the distinction of being one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

In 2012, HispanicBusiness awarded it the No. 1 spot on its Fastest-Growing 100 list. But for Ruzo, a Latino immigrant and self-made entrepreneur, business hasn’t always been booming.

In fact, the road to success for him was long and full of unexpected ups and downs, booms and busts, new starts, disappointments, reinventions and a lot of hard work.

Jack-of-All-Trades and “Serial Entrepreneur”

Born in Lima, Peru in the early 1960′s and growing up during a tumultuous period political and economic uncertainty, Ruzo came to the U.S. in 1980 to study engineering at Texas A&M. He was intent on staying in the U.S. and making it after graduation.

He quickly found that staying in the country after college would require an openness to stretching himself beyond his chosen field of study.

“I’m an industrial engineer by trade. … But I have done everything,” Ruzo told Latin Post in conversation. “You name it — from being a secretary to shipping to sales to being a trader to marketing.”

That’s not to say his degree wasn’t useful. Ruzo said skills from his engineering background were applicable in many situations, from critical thinking to figuring out systems and how to improve them, to basic problem solving.

“Part of being an industrial engineer is that you’re a jack of all trades.”

But for Ruzo as a young entrepreneur with few resources, self-reliance was also key.

“When you have no people, that’s what you need to do,” said Ruzo, whoby Fortune Magazine’s count, attempted a total of 17 start-ups before finding success in the 1990s with his ultimate venture, LinkAmerica.  

Read about Andre Ruzo and Much More visit:  http://www.latinpost.com/articles/31622/20150114/marketplace-linkamerica-ceo-andr%C3%A9s-ruzo-doesnt-know-quit.htm

Ruzo seemingly did do everything. After college, he got a short-term visa for practical training, which precluded him from working at conventional jobs. So, he sold his car and bought a partnership in Sabwor International, an oil exploration startup.

A $50 per week paycheck meant being awarded an H-1B visa and thus a pathway to stay in the U.S. for work. But Sabwor failed after a couple of years, so Ruzo became a partner in a Latin American food import startup and later began his own trading startup. Meanwhile, Ruzo got a certification and worked as a real estate agent for a stint, among other jobs, many of which he created for himself. 

“I’m a serial entrepreneur by nature,” Ruzo said. “I’m not going to work for somebody” — which sums up his professional creed since the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey. 

LinkAmerica: From Boom to (Almost) Bust

In 1994, Ruzo founded LinkAmerica, which would become his life’s work.

LinkAmerica began as basically a telecommunications technology resale company, specializing in refurbishing network hardware purchased from large telecommunications firms and reselling it to small phone companies.

With the fast pace of technological change in the 90s and large profit margins, business was good.

“I characterize the first seven years of business from 1994 to 2001 was my ‘fat cows,’” Ruzo said, referencing the biblical proverb. Within a few short years of its founding, LinkAmerica was making millions.

But things were about to change drastically after one of his biggest investments happened to coincide with a monumental downshift in the economy. In other words, the lean years were on the way.

“In 2001, I bought a company from Siemens,” Ruzo said, “which had [telecommunications] switches and channel banks and cabinets,” emphasizing the size of the investment. “So I buy all the intellectual property and all the manufacturing rights with all the inventory.

“Then the market takes a dive.”

That dive was the dot-com bust, and with 9/11 and the shaky economics of the early 2000s following shortly behind, Ruzo’s investment and a shrinking market began dragging the company down.

During the following years, LinkAmerica eventually went from having 100 people on the payroll to five. By 2007, finances were stretched so thin Ruzo took a six-month pay break to keep his struggling company running and out of bankruptcy.

Reinventing LinkAmerica for the 21st Century

Bad luck and an economic downturn may have put LinkAmerica in trouble, but paying attention to where technology was going at the time helped Ruzo find a way to reinvent and save his company.

“Things start to change, and it was really complicated, that change.” Most of his clients were going bankrupt or being acquired, as the burgeoning Internet began to make more and more 1990s-era physical telecommunications systems obsolete.

And with manufacturing moving overseas to China and other countries, Ruzo sold the entire lot of his Siemens purchase to a telecom engineering company called CDTI. Meanwhile (around the time the “Web 2.0″ was emerging) Ruzo saw growing potential in the nonphysical side of technology — product management, services and support.

So Ruzo decided to rebuild LinkAmerica into a full-service company for the telecommunications industry, and when he showed CTDI his new business plan, the company invested $1 million in cash plus more in credit in LinkAmerica in 2008.

“I went from manufacturing and a lot of physical stuff to services. Now we’re a 100 percent service company. We manufacture nothing,” Ruzo said.

The rebirth worked. Within two years, LinkAmerica was back, building a new client base around services, and ready for expansion into the 21st century software, services and support market.

The New Mantra: Connecting and Serving

LinkAmerica now works in several non-hardware IT domains, including providing support for first responder radio networks, warehouse management solutions and network engineering, and managing service and software solutions for big telecoms.

The future in the cloud — beyond hardware — is bright, according to Ruzo, whose company has grown from those lean years into making over $200 million annually.

“Look at the value of the companies that are non-atomic,” Ruzo said, referring to some of the tech giants of today that deal entirely in software, services and innovation. “Look at Facebook — humongous — Twitter, Instagram … companies that have really no physical assets, but are valued at billions of dollars.

“LinkAmerica had to transform. That’s why I sold my assets on manufacturing and devoted 100 percent to services–because I was following the money,” he continued.

That money is in services, according to Ruzo, and not so much in the physical in part because the hardware side is already so developed. The majority of the valuable work still needed to be done — the big problems and systemic inefficiencies just waiting for an entrepreneur with an engineer’s disposition to solve — involve software, services and other less physically tangible aspects of modern technology.

“If you don’t reinvent yourself to drive customer experience effectively … you don’t have a very good model,” for your business in the modern software experience-driven marketplace, according to Ruzo.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about the network. … When you use an application on your phone, you don’t care about the system delivering it. You just want it to work!”

Linking the Americas

As the nonphysical part of the modern technology economy continues to expand, Ruzo sees Latin America as one the next big places for innovation and development — and LinkAmerica’s expansion.

“It’s not ‘LinkChina’ or ‘LinkIndia.’ … It’s LinkAmerica,” he said, chuckling. “My vision is to connect the Americas from [the] North to the South. … Innovation is happening in the U.S., and it’s trickling down to Latin America … sometimes not fast enough.”

For Ruzo, the main development he hopes will accelerate in Latin America is more connectivity with the U.S., more innovation and service-driven economies and a shift away from the domination of “factor-driven” economies — those based on agriculture, natural resources, cheap labor and other 20th century physical goods that have less sustainable growth potential in the long run.

From his own experience, Ruzo’s point mirrors the difference between the short-lived “seven years of fat cows” for LinkAmerica in an economic niche based on physical products and the greater, long-term growth it has achieved based on innovation, services and other nonphysical assets.

“Part of my goal as an entrepreneur and a leader in the global economy is to raise awareness in the Latin American countries that there’s more than being a factor-driven economy,” Ruzo said. Latin America needs to start preparing the next generation, he said, to thrive in the networked, bilingual, technology and service-driven 21st century. He said he believes they can make that shift as soon as the next 10 years.

“How?” he said. “By providing services North/South — instead of East/West.”

For an example, it’s the difference between U.S. companies sourcing software support and management through cheap, distant centers (think technical support call centers in India) and instead using cost-effective “nearshore” hubs in Latin America. For example, LinkAmerica provides device support, application monitoring and other IT services through centers in locations like Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia.

Besides having the advantage of being in the same time zones as the U.S., it’s more fiscally sustainable in the long run, according to Ruzo, who cited lower attrition rates and shorter training times among some of the practical advantages.

Plus, Latin America already shares a strong cultural, religious and historic background with the U.S., so the empowering economic relationship for Latin America works both ways and translates to more business for U.S. companies.

“South American guys love Polo shirts and Levi’s jeans and Nike tennis shoes and American movies,” Ruzo said. “The value proposition is to export their minds to serve the U.S. and drive success that way,” creating a virtuous cycle for both sides of the marketplace.

“Technology levels the playing field. … It transcends boarders seamlessly.”

Andrés Ruzo: Linking Immigrant and Entrepreneurial Ethics

Ruzo’s passion for connecting Latin America and the U.S. comes from a deep affection for both cultures and a professional and personal life that embodies linking the two.

“Even though I’ve been a U.S. citizen for the last 25 years, I still consider myself an immigrant in the way I think, I act and I work,” Ruzo said. “Immigrants don’t take anything for granted. Nothing.”

Ruzo emphasized, even now after all his success, he will never lose that drive he holds in common with other first-generation Latinos: “We come here to work. … I don’t know any of the 12 million immigrants in the U.S. that are not working their a****s off every day.”

After 17 start-ups, huge success followed by a devastating setback, a complete reinvention and finally a new path toward stunning growth, it’s not hard to see how Ruzo’s unremitting immigrant ethic and belief in the American Dream translated into his “never say die” entrepreneurial tenacity.

And for young entrepreneurs looking to blaze their own path in the complex, technologically driven, fast-changing modern marketplace, Ruzo offered some advice from his years of experience.

“The first is never, never, never give up,” Ruzo said. “You stay in the game. If you give up the game? You’re done. … You’d better find a job.

“The second thing is that entrepreneurship – emprendimiento, like they call it in Latin America — is not for everybody.”

He likened it to piloting a boat in open water: Clear skies and a party-cruise atmosphere with all of your friends aboard never guarantees the waters won’t suddenly turn against you. In those turbulent times, you might lose some friends overboard. But in business, of course, you’re the one that decides who goes.

“It’s hard,” he said. “Entrepreneurship is making the hard decisions at the right time.”

Finally, for Ruzo, he connects his success and the values he holds that lead to it with a solid foundation for which he thanked his Latino background.

“It’s my faith,” he said. “Working hard, taking nothing for granted, turning over every stone I find, and at the same time praying for guidance — because it comes together.

“When you put purpose with passion, you get your vocation,” Ruzo added. “And my vocation is to leave this world a better world.” 

Found this article interesting there is more where this came from.

Read more on http://www.latinpost.com/tech

By Robert Schoon r.schoon@latinpost.com

Jan 14

Are Latinos Tech’s Next Tycoons?

Cesar_11-300x199There comes a time when the word “minority” loses its context, where one group surpasses its status in population and influence, crossing over into a new mainstream community of Americans. When I first arrived in Silicon Valley to work for Apple in the 1980s, I felt like a minority. I entered a world with circles of influence that looked and felt foreign to me. When it came time to start my own technology company, I didn’t choose Silicon Valley. I chose Miami, because of its rich Hispanic heritage and opportunity for growing a Hispanic-owned business. But I don’t feel that way anymore. America is changing rapidly, and so is our technology community. So while Hispanic Americans have been a minority in the U.S. technology inner circle — as low as 3% of top executives, according to some — that time is changing rapidly. I believe that Latinos can comprise a new type of technology entrepreneur; one that can leverage this rising tide of national Hispanic influence and create a number of great new American technology brands. Here’s why:


Latinos are profoundly shaping the changing demographic of America. At 56 million, they currently comprise 18% of the total U.S. population, including the largest ethnic group in the state of California. More importantly, they’re enrolling in school at a higher rate than other ethnicities. Starting last year, racial and ethnic minorities now make up the majority of enrollees in public schools. In 2013, a higher percentage of Hispanic high school graduates enrolled in college than non-Hispanic whites. This is a population that’s growing, educated and active — the future impact will be felt in fields that require a high level of education.


Because of their relative youth and higher education rates, Latinos are our country’s most tech-savvy and digitally connected group of consumers. According to Nielsen, Latinos are native second-screen viewers, watching 62% more digital video than non-Latinos. Latinos are 24% more likely than other ethnicities to purchase a smartphone, 8% more likely to be the first to purchase tablets and 6% more likely to purchase 3D televisions. This means that behaviors and technologies shaping consumers can transcend to the business community as well. It’s natural to enter an industry that aligns with your interests. And if a greater portion of Latinos are interested in technology, this will manifest itself in the careers they choose to pursue.

Entrepreneurial culture

Latinos are also more likely than other ethnicity to start and grow their own businesses. Last year, we projected that the total number of Hispanic-owned businesses to reach 3.22 million in 2014, an increase of 43% since 2007. This total is more than twice the rate of all U.S. businesses, which increased 18% during the same period. Latinos have shown that they’re willing to work to make their own opportunities, a trait that aligns well with technological innovation. When I look at my peers in the technology community, I’m beginning to see a growing number of faces like my own. I look at business leaders such as Marcelo Claure, who took over as CEO of Sprint last year or my friend and mentor Sol Trujillo, former CEO of US West, Orange and Telstra. I see the progress we’re making with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce providing mentoring programs to Latinos in business, and providing aspiring entrepreneurs with better access to growth capital. One of the main reasons that I went into technology was to help improve the world with systems and principles that I strongly believe in. And I now see a point in American history where this dream can take a huge step forward. I see a confluence of education, culture and connectivity that opens the door for Latinos to have a greater impact in our U.S. technology industry. As more Latino youths see themselves as participants in our innovation future, their contributions will be enjoyed by larger numbers of Americans and global citizens. Their contributions to technology and innovation are bound to change all of our lives for the better. This article was written by Cesar Melgoza and published by USA Today on January 12, 2015. César M. Melgoza is founder and chief executive officer of Geoscape, a business intelligence company that creates automated systems, data, analytics and research focused on high-growth consumer segments in North America and Europe.

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