Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The complicated world of book publishing

The complicated world of book publishing.

I have just returned to San Juan, from attending the Book Expo America in New York. I left after only one day to Santa Marta, Colombia where I will speak tomorrow. President Alvaro Uribe is also speaking so if there is anything interesting to report, I will cover it in next week’s column.

I must tell you that it is an impressive sight to go into the Book Expo and see hundreds and hundreds of booths from publishers, marketers, authors, public relations people and you name it.

This book fair is among the first three fairs in the world, competing with the London book fair and the Frankfurt, Germany book fair which is huge. For people that like to read or like the book business, this is a most. You can buy a pass for a hundred dollars or so and you can go in to see the fair, although, if you want to really see each booth and you want to take your time, it would take two or three days to be able to do so.

Imagine seeing books that will be published in the fall, right there and in many occasions, you can get a copy of the book because they give them away. I got copies of a few interesting books, one of them is titled “Connected” which is all about how social networks are affecting everyone’s life.

You can also meet many of the authors when they do their book signings at the fair. I had the experience of signing my books in the book fair when it was held in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. It was quite an experience.

Very important point, the fair is a place where you can meet literary agents. Not many people know that it is very difficult, not impossible, but very, very difficult for a major publisher to accept your manuscript. My publisher, Penguin, second largest in the world, won’t deal with authors, only with literary agents. This is the case with most reputable ones, although like everything in life, there are exceptions. Well, there is a section with hundreds of tables, with little signs, and literary agents, some of the best in the country, sitting there meeting with authors. But, they only meet with authors that have appointments. And again, another obstacle is that it is very difficult to get a good literary agent. They won’t talk to you unless you are referred by someone, or unless you are a celebrity or very well known. They don’t like, generally, to deal with first time authors because it is very difficult to sell their manuscripts to a publisher.

That being said, for those people that think, that use creativity and don’t accept being beaten by obstacles, there are ways to meet those agents. I noticed that some agents were seating there waiting for their next appointment, and at that specific moment, someone could approach them and talk to them. And if you are presentable, if you conduct yourself well and you have the skills to say something interesting that will catch their attention, you are in.

Let me give you an example. My literary agent, Dystel and Goderich is a very exclusive and reputable agent. They had a table and I have a very good friend from Germany, Adele Landauer, a best selling author in Germany but unknown in the US, that wants to break into the US market and needed a literary agent in the US. When my agent was alone sitting in the table because her appointment had not arrived, I went to her, warmly said hello and at that point I introduced her to Adele. It was great, because Adele caught her attention and she became interested in Adele’s book. I tell you, there are always ways to get through if you are innovative and have the guts to try.

I have always told everyone that there is a book inside every single person in the face of the earth, no matter how successful or unsuccessful that person has been in life. If the book is written by a successful person, great, that person can share the secrets to his or her success. If it has been written by an unsuccessful person, it would be interesting to know what kept that person from succeeding, what obstacles he or she wasn’t able to overcome. I repeat, every single person, no matter the circumstances, has a very interesting story to tell.

The publishing world is hurting now. There are fewer companies in the business because many have gone bankrupt. Many publishers have had to close although others that have understood that they need to change are doing well.

Can you believe that if we took all the books published in one year and divided them by the number of titles sold, the average number of sales per book is less than 200 copies? That is correct, only 200. This is why publishers are very reluctant to get new authors, because they know that most books won’t sell and they will lose money.

You want to hear something else which is crazy about the book business? When a publisher sends a book to a retailer, say Borders, Barnes and Noble or any other, if the book doesn’t sell within the first three to six months, those retailers will return the books to the publisher and ask for a credit. The publishers are stuck with the book and what they thought was a sale is now a return. Bummer, right?

So, if this is the case, why do I say that everyone should write a book?

Because now, in the moment we are living, is the best time ever to write a book.

In the old days, you needed to be published by a publisher otherwise you book would never see the light of day. Now, there are countless ways to publish the book without the need of a publisher. Now, thanks to technology, there is Print on Demand, which means that you can print one book or one hundred. There are also printers that can print a book for you if you are going to print more than let’s say 500 or 1000 books.

If you want fame, although you can make money if the book becomes a best seller, you should try to have your book published by a traditional publisher. If you want to control the whole process, you are willing to find a distributor and you want to make money, you should self publish. Write your book then decide which route to go.

An unforgettable experience of mind over matter

An unforgettable experience of mind over matter.

About a month ago, Maria Rivera contacted radio station WOSO and asked that one of my daily capsules be sent to her. That is easier said that done and when the station gave them my number to see if I could send it to her, I told her that I tape 20 capsules in one recording session and that I have over 500 so I wouldn’t know where to start looking in order to find it.

I felt so bad not being able to help her that I invited her for coffee at Borders in Plaza Las Americas.

While she was talking to me about her life and her work, she casually mentioned that she belongs to a running club named Borinquen Runners. She told me that they were going to be celebrating their 25th anniversary on Sunday May 24th and that for 14 days before that, a few of them were going to walk all around Puerto Rico, a total of 273 miles. They would do ten miles in the morning, go and rest and then do ten miles in the afternoon, for fourteen straight days.
That is a lot of walking to be sure.

She mentioned that they didn’t have a sponsor to donate their T-shirts and after telling me all about it, I decided to help out and offered to sponsor them. The T-shirts would have the Borinquen Logo on the front and Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet with my website on the back. Later I also agreed to sponsor their big sign that would await them at the finish line on Sunday May 24th.

The idea was for me to wait at the finish line that Sunday but I was told that if I wanted to walk the last segment of 13 miles, they would love to have me.

I thought that sponsoring them and then getting involved would be something they would appreciate.

That Saturday the 23rd of May, coming from Orlando stopping in Miami and on to Puerto Rico, my plans were to arrive at 8.30pm. Well, sometimes plans are thrown out of whack by events that you have no control over. Weather is one of them and to make a long story short, I arrived at midnight. Finally got home at around 1 am and went to bed as quickly as I could so that I could at least get a couple of hours of sleep.

With only an hour and a half of sleep, I woke up at 3 in the morning, to be at Central Park at 4am to drop my car, catch the bus that would take all of the runners to Carolina to begin the 13 miles walk at 5.30 am. There were about one hundred of us, but only five had started fourteen days earlier and only 3 had walked every single segment.

I made a terrible mistake. I thought that if I was a tennis player who plays at least twice a week goes to the gym three times a week, walking thirteen miles would be a cinch. It sure wasn’t. Yes, I was able to do it but I thought I would die somewhere in between. My thirty nine year old girl friend whom I convinced to walk with me had to stop and hop into the escort car at mile 5. She rode the rest of the way while I walked my heart out.

We started in Carolina, 65th infantry avenue, on to Baldorioty de Castro, bordering the airport, on to the street where Burger King is where we made a right. Then took a left at Isla Verde Avenue, went on for a while and we took the left fork on to Loiza Street, a right in De Diego, a left in Ashford Avenue all the way to the Dos Hermanos bridge, across it to the road that leads into Central Park.

I must tell you that it is beautiful to walk through a city; you see things that you simply don’t notice when you are in a car. You see the sun come up, the breeze, the different businesses closed on parts of the walk and the opening up early in the morning. People in their cars hunk at you and wave good bye. You talk with the other walkers, laugh, joke, have a good time.

It was for me an unforgettable experience but because I had absolutely no training, a rather difficult one. Don’t ever do it without the proper training.

I would recommend everyone to walk or run on a regular basis. It is good for you, for your heart, it controls your weight and it allows you to meet very nice people. These folks at Borinquen Runners were a great bunch of people. They go everyday to Central Park at 4pm and they walk and walk or run and run until they leave at 8pm. There are about 900 members in this club and they walk not only in Puerto Rico but in many other countries. Their leader, a very nice guy named Mike, who doesn’t have a meniscus in his left knee, has run or walked over 100 marathons having done so in every continent. How he can do that, is beyond me. He knows that if he is operated, there is a possibility he will not even be able to walk again so he decides to face pain, grueling pain, in order to do what he loves to do. His lovely wife is also a runner and she follows him all over the world. They are going to Africa next month to run or walk one of those marathons.

Couples that do projects together, that share experiences of this sort are happier than couples who lead separate lives.

Mike is a leader. He has headed this club for 25 years and he serves as an example to all its members. In a way, he enriches peoples lives, helps them be healthier and what is most important, gives them a reason to work hard, to reach a goal, to have the discipline to never give up.

Maria, my friend, finished the walk and on Tuesday went right back to work at her law office in Hato Rey.

No, I would never ever try this again without the proper training. From the moment I finished the walk, every single inch of my body hurt and hurt bad. Next day I got up and walked with great difficulty and pain. I did however experience a great feeling, a feeling that comes when you have accomplished something and when even though you wanted to give up, you simply didn’t. Great feeling to have.

The Museum Gala, the good and bad of the event

The Museum gala, the good and bad of the event..

On Saturday May 16th, the Art Museum of Puerto Rico held its yearly event at the San Juan Hotel and Casino in Isla Verde. This was the XII gala and I must say that it was a great party, with great music, great food, beautiful people and very elegant decorations.

They chose a very interesting title for the event: Horizons. Last year, they named it Metamorphosis due to the fact that it implicitly means change and this year’s name was created to communicate new goals for the future.

I have to congratulate the organizing committee for the event and everyone involved in making this gala a very successful one. It is not easy to sell a few hundred tickets at $500.00 each in today’s economic environment and they accepted the challenge and came out ahead of last year. I asked a couple of waiters and they said that there were more tables this year than there were last year. That is a very big accomplishment and I salute them for their efforts.

I was also impressed by the companies in Puerto Rico that are willing to continue supporting such an important institution as the Art Museum of Puerto Rico. Culture is so important in society and the Museum is at the heart of our culture.

These companies, and the people that attended, are so committed to the museum that when they found out that the big draw, the big attraction that was supposed to appear in the party, cancelled his appearance, no one asked for the money to be returned and no one complained.

A few days before the event, the organizers got a call with the news that their main entertainment attraction for the event, the very popular Cheyenne, was cancelling his appearance, for personal reasons. I know that any promoter of any event would panic just at the thought.

But what did the Museum leadership do? They went ahead and looked for a solution. What was the solution? To play a video from Cheyenne during the party explaining why he wasn’t there in person, a very lame reason in fact, but at least an explanation. They didn’t panic, they went ahead with the party believing, and rightly so, that people attending had the welfare of the Museum ahead of their personal feelings and that Cheyenne’s cancellation wasn’t going to affect them. Just made them a little bit unhappy.

I am positive that Cheyenne accepted to be the Gala personality many months ago and to cancel his appearance because of a family event, not an emergency mind you, simply an event, I don’t think is fair to the Museum and its board of directors.

I can’t however judge Cheyenne for his decision. Idon’t know the circumstances in his family and why he chose to abandon the event to stay with his family.

Years ago my daughter Caroline was one of the winners in the yearly US Constitutional Law competition in the US. The award was to be awarded in the US Supreme Court chambers in Washington D.C by a Supreme Court judge. No one in their right mind could have predicted that my daughter’s school was going to beat every single school in the United States. And that is exactly what happened. The finals were held on two days, the exact two days that I had been hired to work with a client in Bogota, Colombia.

There is nothing more important to me than my daughter and when I told her that I had to work in Colombia the same day of her competition, she said that my word was more important than anything else and that she expected me to comply with my commitment and not attend her event. She is such an exceptional and special human being.

On the day of the final competition, my daughter called me at the hotel in Bogota to tell me that one of the team members was having a nervous breakdown and if she didn’t get her act together, they were going to lose. My daughter said to me, “Dad, you are the only one that can get her mind straight so that she doesn’t bring us all down”. This team had made the decision that since this young girl had been working the whole year towards participating in this competition; the team wasn’t going to kick her out because she could affect the whole team. What a lesson in loyalty. The team was willing to sacrifice the final victory because they were not willing to let this girl sit out the competition and not participate.
I spent an hour with this girl on the phone and I was sure I was able to get her out of the panic state she was in. They did win the competition, so obviously my last minute intervention worked. But, I wasn’t there and I missed such an important event because I had made a commitment and your word and your credibility is the most important asset you have.

There is no question that on this occasion Cheyenne let the Museum down and the people of Puerto Rico. What I don’t know is what it meant for his son for him to be there. Lots of fathers miss their children’s events because of work. They place more importance on making money and advancing their careers than spending time with their children. And sometimes, as my daughter would say, “their children need them to be at a play more than they realize”. Men are criticized for putting their family before work and now we have the case where we are criticizing someone for putting his child first, cancelling a very important engagement. Obviously he believed that his son needed him more on this occasion than the 300 guests that paid their money to see him perform at the Museum party.

This is a touchy issue and each man or woman must act the way they see fit, but whatever anyone does, it has consequences and those have to be taken into consideration.

I just called my daughter and asked her opinion and she made an excellent point. She said that if Cheyenne is a good father who regularly attends his son’s events, he can explain the situation and the son will surely understand. She says that is what I did with her.
This is what I call the emotional bank account, an account where all the good you do for a person is stored and then when you ask for a favor or you make a withdrawal, it won’t hurt the relationship.

I rarely missed my daughter’s events. Sometimes I declined contracts in order to be with her. Never, though, did I fail to honor a contract that I had already signed.

When you commit to something, especially such an important commitment, you must keep your word, whether it hurts you or not.
Luckily, that failure on Cheyenne’s part wasn’t enough to ruin a wonderful gala, a marvelous night with great music, great dancing, great food and lots of fun. Kudos to the board of directors and everyone involved for making it happen with or without Cheyenne.

Padre Alberto: A leadership crisis or opportunity

Padre Alberto: A leadership crisis or an opportunity?

I have just returned from a quick trip to Miami to visit my mother and my daughter who gave birth to a beautiful, blue eyed little boy six months ago. The kid will only be allowed to call me papa, not grandpa and sometimes I will refer to him as my nephew instead of my grandchild, for obvious ego reasons. My daughter really gets a laugh out of all this.
Padre Alberto is all that Miami is talking about, to a lesser extent Puerto Rico, and because of the communications environment we live in, the whole world as well.
It is definitely bad news for the church that he was photographed touching and kissing a very pretty lady on the beach, not far from the church he delivers his sermons on how to live a moral life so that you can then go to heaven.
But for him personally, money can’t buy the amount of publicity he has received and due to the fact that he is not only a priest, but also an author, I suspect that his book will sell a lot more than what it has sold in the past. And if he decides to leave the church and become a motivational speaker, I can assure you he will be very successful and will get very high fees.
Former president Bill Clinton, who was almost kicked out of office is now one of the best paid speakers in the world. Until recently he was the highest paid, but he just lost out to none other than Tony Blair who got paid $250,000 for one speech.
Some years ago, Padre Alberto invited me to his television program to discuss religion, the humanist movement in the world and other interesting topics. During that debate the subject of celibacy came up and he defended it very strongly if I recall correctly.
The good news is that Padre Alberto was with a woman and not with another priest or what would have been a disaster for the church, an altar boy or a minor.
Given the very sad situations the church has been involved in recent years, it should be viewed as a positive that the church’s most famous Hispanic priest was indeed caught with a woman, and a very attractive one if I may say. This was not a misdemeanor or a felony although we are very sure that he was not confessing the young lady either.
After the photos came to light a few days ago, Padre Alberto has apologized to the whole world but hasn’t said he will never do it again or that he is ready to stop the relationship with the young woman. On the contrary, he maintains that he is in love with her. He asked to be removed from his job at St. Francis de Sales church in Miami Beach not fired as some media has reported. Keep in mind that this is so at the time I am writing this article. By now you know that things change rather fast.
There is no doubt that his actions have upset many parishioners although the overwhelming majority of them are backing him up, at least in his own church. The problem for the church is that this has opened Pandora’s Box and the debate over the celibacy vow is now in front of the whole world. This is a crisis for the church but as I have said before in my columns, it could also be an opportunity.
There is no doubt that thousands of intelligent and decent candidates for the priesthood have been deterred from becoming priests because of that musty rule, established more than 400 years after the death of Christ, that prohibits marriage or even sexual relations with any human being.
You can look at the statistics and you will realize that the number of active priests in the Catholic Church has been decreasing at an alarming rate for years and the church is ravenous for candidates. My late aunt, a nun her whole life in a monastery in Bogota, Colombia when I visited her once a year to do a motivational talk to all the nuns, would tell me how difficult it was for the church to attract nuns and priests.
We must accept that Father Alberto was wrong and his actions leave a lot to be desired. A vow is a vow and if you are not willing to live by it, then you should not be getting up every day to offer mass, confess parishioners or give advice you are not living yourself. That is an act of hypocrisy and it is simply not right. I am not putting him down, I myself have been guilty of this, I have paid dearly because of it and I have accepted the well deserved criticism. The flesh, no question about it, is weak.
On the other hand, he has helped thousands of people, he serves as an inspiration to millions all over the world and he has been an asset, a very valuable asset for the Catholic Church. I have done exactly the same not in the world of religion but in the world of human behavior.
If I had to defend this young man, I would have lots of arguments to do so. He is forty years old, a good looking guy and his church is located in Miami Beach, where the most attractive models in the world walk up and down South Beach all day and all night long. It is like leaving a marshmallow inside a classroom of kindergarten children when it is time to go to lunch.
We all know that what happened to Padre Alberto and now to Fernando Lugo, the President of Paraguay, is very common. President Lugo has just admitted that he fathered a child when he was still a Roman Catholic Bishop. Two other women are also declaring that Mr. Lugo is the father of their children and Paraguay is turned upside down. President Lugo has said he doesn’t know if they are his children or not which leads us to believe that he had relations with those young women.
President Lugo quit the priesthood so that he could run for President, but Padre Alberto is still an active priest. What has the church done in cases like these? They ship the priest to another church as far away as possible. In the past, very wrongly, it has done so with priests that have committed criminal acts but now with the public outcry, and the civil suites the church has had to settle, it is not happening as often.
To fire a priest as popular as Padre Alberto, with such a large following world wide would be a huge mistake by the church. Episcopal, Methodists, Lutherans and other Christian denominations are salivating over the possibility that they could attract Padre Alberto to their camp. These other public servants are free to marry or date any woman they want and that doesn’t seem to affect their effectiveness in serving their parishioners.
For the Catholic Church losing Padre Alberto to any of these other denominations would be like the Cleveland Cavaliers losing Lebron James to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Unfortunately, it is my feeling that the present Catholic Church leadership will not change its position on celibacy.
I find this very ironic since a few of the original Apostles were indeed married, including one of their luminaries named Peter. He indeed became the first Pope and he didn’t get rid of his wife when he took office. I also don’t think there is historical evidence that would prove that being married affected in any way his holy duties.
Change happens, and it happens everywhere, including the Catholic Church. I know that there are valid arguments on either side but it is my opinion that the Church would be better off if it gave serious consideration to allowing priests to marry. They would attract more candidates and they wouldn’t lose so many priests. Now is the perfect time for this pope to show some leadership. If he doesn’t, you can be sure that the next one, or the next one, will.


Puerto Rico: Our people, our challenges, our opportunities and the moment of truth

Puerto Rico: Our people, our challenges, our opportunities and the moment of truth

I have just returned from doing a speech in the Naval Base in San Diego, California. From there I flew to Purchase College in New York to do a speech there then flew back to San Juan. Last night I was invited to be part of a project which must remain a secret until it is unveiled within the next couple of months.

Let’s start with San Diego. I spoke to the Association of Naval Service Officers, composed of Hispanics officers in the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. There were Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Cubans, Colombians and I am sure other Latin American nationalities I didn’t get to meet.

I was impressed by their professionalism. They were well groomed, well behaved, very courteous, on time for all their meetings and activities, in fact, undistinguishable from their Anglo counterparts. Some were Generals or Admirals, very high ranking in the armed forces. Some spoke perfect English, others had an accent but their English was flawless. All were very proud of being American Citizens and they were looking forward to continue serving the country and retiring when their time came.

It is the first time in my career that I speak to an Association and after my speech; they award me a free membership in their association, so now I am officially a member of the Association of Naval Service Officers, and besides the ROTC in the University of Puerto Rico, first time that I belong to a military association.

Then I go to New York to speak to the Latinos Unidos organization in Purchase College. That college is located right across the world headquarters of Pepsi Cola in Purchase New York. I thought it was going to be a little college in a small American town, and I was surprised by its facilities,( they were excellent) and by the beauty of their campus. They have close to 4,000 students and about 8% are Hispanics. Even so, I was told that the most active student association in the college is Latinos Unidos. The day started with my keynote speech and then they broke off to attend different workshops. The whole conference was a two day event.
My speech was about leadership. Some of the other workshops were titled:
HIV/AIDS, the Real Deal, to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS among college students.
The Afro Cuban Connection, although it should have been titled the Afro Latin Connection: Their theory was that in matters of race in the US, the African American and Latino communities act as separate “racial” entities although they are grouped as minorities and this categorization connects both communities.
The Zapatistas: They talked about the struggle for land rights in Mexico.
Making Change through Community Organizing: I suspect that what they discussed was about ways of getting together and serving the community in one way or another. The program they distributed had another session description under that workshop. In other words, a mistake no one caught when they printed the program.
Market Yourself: A workshop about how to manage yourself and lead by example.
Are you a Young Lord? : A look at the history of that movement and what they wanted to accomplish

Finally, Viva Latina: A discussion of Latina Women and the Sex Industry. They focused on all aspects of the sex industry including but not limited to pornography, sex trafficking in the US and other Latino Countries, nude modeling and prostitution. What makes Latinas so susceptible to getting involved in the sex industry? What is it about Latinas that makes them desirable in such an industry?

I suspect that was a very interesting session but I had to go to the airport to catch my flight back to San Juan and I missed it. Darn!

In contrasting both organizations, ANSO and Latinos Unidos, we see a tremendous difference. One is quite disciplined, very orderly with a very well defined set of values. The other one is very college like, a little disorganized (room was not set up when I arrived, program had mistakes in it, etc.) but very friendly and very proud of their Latin roots. The ANSO group was very pro American; the Latinos Unidos had all kinds of political shades. In fact, and this is the beauty of living in a free country, one of the speakers was a Puerto Rican young man that got his masters degree in Havana so as you can imagine, his talk was very anti American even though through a slip of his tongue, he mentioned that Cuba was not a free society. He also wore a black beret, had a beard and dressed in what could be described as “unconventional” clothing.
The President of Latinos Unidos and two of the members of the board of directors were Puerto Rican and they are wonderful kids with very clear plans for their future and the willingness to sacrifice to reach their goals.

My point here is that it is the environment that is different, the nationalities are the same, and they were all Hispanics. We can conclude that provided with the right environment, Puerto Ricans and for that matter, any nationality can excel and be very productive.

Last night I attended a meeting in Hato Rey with 20 outstanding citizens of this community. There were entrepreneurs, multi millionaires, college professors, television producers, famous entertainment personalities, motivational speakers, best selling authors, heads and former heads of government departments, a whole representation of our society. Well, not a whole representation because everyone there was successful. Some had the most humble origins but through sacrifice and hard work made it to where they are now.

The whole purpose of the meeting was how to change the direction Puerto Rico is going. How to take advantage of the enormous talent in this society and put it to work for the benefit of the whole community. These people had no need to be meeting from 7pm to 10.30pm to discuss these issues, they were there because they have a strong sense of duty towards this community and they feel very proud to be part of it. One common thread is that they have faith in Puerto Rico. They think that they can totally change society and teach people how to be self reliant, how to make a good living and how to help the community. In the future you will hear more about it, at this point, I am not in liberty to disclose more details. They want to create a movement to change the culture. One of the participants said that because of welfare, we have become a lazy society where people don’t want to work and sacrifice. Most people want the easy way out without much ambition. So, the challenge is, how to reach their hearts and get them out of the comfort zone.

It is very important to understand that we have great talent and intelligence in this island. I regularly have lunch at the Bankers Club and I hear my friend MAF a guy who is a financial genius, talk about solutions to our problems that if implemented could have a tremendous effect in our society. My friend FR is a director for a big bank and was president of his company for years, he understands the psychology of Puerto Ricans and how to make people productive. JB reads a book a week and is always well informed, GB is a also a financial wizard, BB is an accomplished lawyer, RR is the oldest in the group, retired, but one of the most successful business executives in the island and he is still goes to his office every day. ER is a prominent lawyer who jumped into the fray when he had to in order to save an important Puerto Rican institution, MP is a technology genius, an expert problem solver that I have come to believe, can solve any problem he is faced with. I don’t have space to mention more buddies of mine who are exceptional individuals who could have a huge impact in our society. These people don’t care if you are blue, red, green or orange, they only care about what results you produce and how can you help the island.

All these people I have mentioned in this article are the people that need to sit in a room with our governor and politicians to brainstorm some ideas and then assign people to follow up to make sure these ideas are implemented.

We have to stop fighting over stupidities, and we need to unite in order to face the challenges we are facing right now. For goodness sake, the NPP is divided, the Popular party is divided, and there are even ideological differences among the PIP.

The world doesn’t care about our divisions and our internal fights. The world only cares about what we produce as a nation (or whatever you want to call us) what industries we attract, how we handle the pharmaceutical industry, what other industries we can attract, how we compete with other nations and how we treat our tourists.

Talent, intelligence, motivation, there is plenty in Puerto Rico. What we need to do is change the environment, maybe even change the culture. Otherwise, there will be very sad years in our future and we will lose some of the most important competitive battles in the future.