Silicon Valley, the world's tech hub, a place every techie must have on their bucket list. We share with you a quick interview with Uruguay's Council in SF, Ignacio Gonzalez, where he describes the relationship between this giant machine of ever spitting innovative startups to life, and a small but, nevertheless, beautiful and thriving corner of the world.
Huge thanks to Ignacio for sharing his experience and learning on his journey, not only through the Golden Gate but through the bridge he is building himself between the USA and Uruguay in the tech industry.
What is your role and how did you get there?
I'm the Consul General of Uruguay in San Francisco, I was appointed in 2019 to open the Uruguayan Consulate in SF (we didn't have one), and managed to achieve this just in time before COVID struck.
How are Silicon Valley and its entrepreneurship environment evolving?
That's the right word, evolving, change is constant and from the time I got here to this day we have seen lots of changes, some due to the pandemic and others just as an evolution of previous developments. From remote work as the norm to cryptocurrencies and NFT's lots of things have happened in this past year. Some things will return back to normal others will just change for good.
What are your thoughts about other growing tech hubs in the US?
It's a great thing, the word we have heard the most this past year was decentralized. Creativity may come from different places and I just wouldn't say tech hubs in the US, there are many places around the world that can easily claim that title. More and more we see cities wanting to become tech hubs, yet not all of them may be ready for that; there are certain conditions to be met, such as talent, infrastructure, and capital.
What would you tell American companies/startups about Uruguay if they were thinking about outsourcing software development?
Trust and delivery are keywords that all American companies should think of when thinking about outsourcing their software development to Uruguay. Uruguayan software companies have decades of experience in working with the US market and have some natural advantages amongst others: the use of the English language, time zone, cultural affinity, and the willingness to go the extra mile. I'd say these are the common features that you may find in the software development landscape in Uruguay.
How can Uruguayan software agencies promote their service to the US market?
Engage and commit. As good as you might be, you cannot expect some company in a foreign country to trust in your capabilities without having ever heard of you. Make yourself part of the local landscape, it's easier said than done but if you speak their language, talk about what's going on in their world, and engage in their community you will become a part of their environment. This engagement has to be genuine and you must be willing to work together to help them in their quest to achieve their goals, not just sell your service and vanish. Sometimes this involves doing things that may not report a direct benefit to you or your company.
What message would you give to Uruguayan entrepreneurs who are seeking to scale their products in the US market?
Prepare yourselves, read, study and try to share your idea with lots of people. You also have to be honest and ask yourself if you have the drive and will to stand the sacrifices and risks you need to take in order to achieve your goals. The US market is not for halfhearted efforts, you need to go all in.