What happened in Latin American tech in 2020

Sun Setting Over a Lake, J. M. W. Turner, 1840

To be honest, I wanted to skip this post. This year took the joy off this recurrent somewhat superfluous reflection. Maybe it is for the better.

Facing a world with unbearable inequalities, can I really talk about the acceleration of technology adoption in Latin America?

When access to a digital world makes people unhappy or unemployed or oppressed, should I discuss the trends in early-stage startup valuations?

When the most celebrated entrepreneur can only dream of escaping our planet rather than saving it from technology, may I discuss my boldest fintech prediction?

When leadership can produce a vaccine in months but cannot convince us to distribute it more equitably around the world, can I cheerfully count the region’s unicorns minted in 2020?

Maybe my time writing, and your time reading that post would be better invested in remembering our dreams and heroes, forever lost the past year.

Today, humanity can land rockets on the moon, fly among millions of connected avatars, grow an ear in a lab, and make Mona Lisa sing pop. Our species just can’t figure out how to pull a billion souls out of poverty, prevent democracies from destroying their people, make healthcare work for the poor, nor protect them from hate and prejudice.

I almost wrote that post, you know.

I was quite proud that my last year’s predictions, a bit general and empty, but surprisingly correct in spite the pandemic. Can I be, however, in a worst position to share this as I seat comfortably in Sand Hill Road looking at bikers and runners take their EarPods for a ride?

Before you get distracted, I do have something to tell you.

Whatever happened in technology only matters if founders and VCs do something truly positive with it. What happened to Bitcoin in 2020 only matters if you build something impactful with your crypto stash. What city you choose to take your smart ass only matters if you inspire someone who feels life has moved away from her. Your overnight fame and flashing wealth only matter if you work the next decades to give it all back.

So yeah, the world went through a hell of a year, unique in history, unique in your story, I am sure. As the world’s problems grew bigger and more dangerous, some of you became more formidable entrepreneurs and investors.

Think about that.

Enough of the vanity and the empty pursuits. Enough of ignoring the majority with your narrow plans. When reading ‘It’s time to build’, some seem to have heard a call to hoard all the money.

Maybe it should have been a call to re-build ourselves, a call to reset our priorities, a call to re-imagine our future.

It’s time to take responsibility and seize your beautiful new powers to save the world. It’s time to help.

Here’s to a happier 2021 with much impact and love.

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I’m a father, investor @all_vp, lecturer @StanfordBiz & marketer. I write sometimes.

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