For All Ye Faithful, it has been almost a year since we have been meeting like this, and if I can prevail upon you to give me some feedback as to what has worked and what hasn’t in this websayito (blog), I will be in your debt and pledge to take your recommendations under the strictest advisement. Please let me know by whatever vector suits you (WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc) which of the following categories you enjoyed most and which least:
Interviews with FINCA clients in various countries We did Zambia, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan. But I didn’t always have a professional video team with me so the quality was, by my own admission, uneven. Going to school myself to do better in 2012.
Behind-the-lines coverage of the self-described (by Romney) “zany” field of Republican candidates for President If this didn’t work, it’s not for want of unbelievable material.
Don Quixote de la Mancha I took incredible artistic risks here, taking on a 1400 page, 400 year-old tome in the original Castellano whose plot at times advanced with the speed of an ant with five broken legs carrying an anvil through an ocean of congealing superglue. I had hoped to complete it before the end of the year, but I’m only up to page 988.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians I thought I had a real winner here, but my challenge to overtake Kim in Twitter Followers was stymied by the “October Surprise” of her divorce from Kris. Niether he nor I saw it coming. As a result, she will complete the year with 12,054,302 Followers whereas, barring a miracle, I will end with 189.
Zambesi Gorge Jump No, sorry, I am not going to repeat this one. A 150 foot dead drop at the end of a frayed bungi cord is something one should do once in a lifetime, and only when tricked into it by your EA as I was.
Next week we have the board meetings for FINCA International and the Holding Company, so this week the office boils with activity as we prepare our reams of documents and reports for the boards and various committees. Reviewing them, I am always amazed are the sheer extent and scope of the efforts of my brilliant, hardworking team, and silently revel in my good fortune to have attracted such amazing talent. I would never tell them this, of course, as they would probably ask me for more staff and higher compensation. Not that they don’t all deserve it, but in our social enterprise world we have to be perpetually concerned not only with the competitive forces of the marketplace putting downward pressure on our operating costs, but even where these are not so pervasive we have to do our best to keep our prices low and affordable for our clients: the lowest income entrepreneurs on the planet.
So it’s a good thing I keep my people too busy to read websayito entries like this one.
Speaking of compensation, towards the end of Chapter 28 in Part II of DQ, Sancho Panza makes yet another unsuccessful plea for a wage increase, given that fulfillment of his master’s ultimate promise — of making his escudero governor of a small state — appears increasingly remote. Don Quixote hears him out, and, using a common employer tactic, asks Sancho how much he thinks he should get. When Sancho tells him he thinks he is owed 20 years of back wages, Don Quixote laughs and then unleashes a stream of vituperation upon his long suffering servant, who, reduced to tears, begs forgiveness.
Somehow, I don’t think this would work at FINCA.
I finally managed to chop the zambia video into digestible chunks. I will be alternating these with the more conventional pieces so we don’t lose the threads of the other themes, the Middle East, Microfinance, Don Quixote, etc. Some of the camera work is rough, as my wing man, Ben was still working out the technology, but we’ll have it cleaned up in time for Cannes.
..the ribs of Rosinante.”
So spake Che Guevara, on the eve of his departure from Habana, Cuba — land of aromatic cigars, rum and women — to the rat lands of southern Bolivia, where he met an untimely end and, worse, indifference from the local population to his appeals for revolution.
A Social Entrepreneur, Breaking Bad.
Rosinante, you will recall, was the beat up nag of Don Quixote. Don Quixote is one of those awesome novels that everyone knows they should read but — like Ulysses, Rembrance of Things Past, and Goin’ Rogue — you know you never will. Why? It’s long. It’s histrionic. The author, Cervantes, falls back on Deux Ex Machina whenever things get slow. In fact, he does it so much it’s more like Deux Ex Factora, or Deux Ex Industrial Parka.
Thing is, though, as you’ve probably guessed, I AM reading Don Quixote, and in the original Castellano, no less. I am about halfway through it’s 1,400 page girth. Why? Because one of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (100 Years of Solitude) said that you couldn’t consider yourself an educated man until you had. I’m doing it, then, so you don’t have to, and will still be able to claim you are educated.
Marquez also advised the only way to get through it was to put it in the bathroom and read a page a sitting, which is what I’m doing.
It’s not all dull, however. Far from it. One part is based on Cervantes’ own experience as a slave of Islamic pirates in Algeria. Five years after he participated in the battle of Lepanto, the last naval battle employing galley slaves as the main form of locomotion, Cervantes was taken captive by Corsairs and taken to Algiers. Kidnapping for ransom was a popular Business Model back then (how little has changed), and in order to encourage their captives to write home for ransom money the captors would periodically impale one of their captives on a large iron roasting spit. Except they didn’t do it in a civilized way, like “Dracula the Impaler” (I know, you thought he was a vampire) farther up north, but rather inserted the tip of the pole in the “fondo” of the victim, and then pushed it “at times so far it almost came out his mouth”, according to the author. It took them two days to die.
The things you learn, on your path to becoming “an educated man.”