BROTHERS AND BUSINESS PARTNERS
Eddy Prado is known as the jokester in the family. His brother, Jorge, is eight years older and is known as the sales guy. Together, they're on a mission to do big things in business. Jorge says he knew it would happen, even back when they were kids growing up in their native Venezuela.
WELCOME TO MIAMI
Today, the brothers call Florida home and are breaking through in Miami's burgeoning tech scene. They're the founders of Fastmind, a tech and digital marketing company that started out in gaming. Fastmind specializes in creating landing pages for businesses, including some Fortune 500 companies, to increase digital ad conversion. The Prado brothers' profiles rose even more when they were chosen in a competition to participate in Endeavor Miami's accelerator program for entrepreneurs.
STARTED BUSINESS: November 2017
LATINO CONNECTION: Born in Venezuela
Jorge: IESA (Caracas, Venezuela) - Master's degree in Finance & Universidad Rafael Urdaneta (Maracaibo, Venezuela) - Bachelor's degree in Telecommunications Engineering
Eddy: Universidad Metropolitana (Caracas, Venezuela) - Bachelor's degree in Systems Engineering
DREAM JOB AS A KID:
Eddy: Detective (like Sherlock Holmes)
BIGGEST GOAL YET:
Jorge & Eddy: Build one of the largest mobile games in the world in the trivia category
"FROM EXTREME EXCITEMENT TO COMBAT MODE"
But the duo already had experience surviving an entrepreneurial rollercoaster ride. And it happened in a span of just a few hours. When Eddy and Jorge started out in mobile gaming, they launched a digital trivia game that had a popular feature for sharing progress among players. Eddy says, the tool became so popular that players began to feverishly tweet about it. The brothers were ecstatic watching the tweeting take off like wildfire. And then, just like that, it turned into a crisis for them.
Jorge remembers the day well. He'd just finished his last cup of coffee. He saw the stats on all the tweeting and got excited. But within a matter of two minutes, boom! Suddenly, no one was sharing it on Twitter. Things went from piping hot to ice cold.
It turns out that Twitter had blocked them, accusing them of spamming or using bots. Jorge says they went "from extreme excitement to combat mode." They were trying to find someone - really anyone - at Twitter so they could explain that it wasn't spam and that bots weren't behind it.
CHALLENGES ARE OPPORTUNITIES
After a frantic "all hands on deck" effort by their team, finally, they were able to set the record straight. Four hours later, Twitter removed the ban. But they were closely watched for weeks. Still, they were able to recover. Eddy says, in the end, "out of something potentially disastrous, we ended up being a success." They got through the crisis and came out stronger because of it. They focused on learning from the experience. The brothers regrouped and went right back at it. And that's the key to entrepreneurship: to transform challenges into opportunities.
NEVER FORGET YOUR "FIRST"
Jorge adds that it's also critical to never forget the thrill of making that connection with your first user. He says it's "like having a new baby." Your first paying customer gives you "that fuel...that excitement." To him, "that love is incomparable" and feeds the momentum. And so they conscientiously strive to keep that exhilaration going.
BURN THE BRIDGE - GO WITH "PLAN A" ALL THE WAY
But here's the thing with these brothers: they don't create a "plan B" or "plan C", for that matter. They go with "plan A" all the way. Their M-O is to "execute, learn or fail as fast as we can." Jorge says, they'll "burn the bridge." They figure, if it doesn't work out, the best thing to do is to just come up with a new "plan A."
According to Eddy, "When you don't know if it's hard or easy, you don't question yourself." And that's why he recommends other entrepreneurs don't stop to overthink things.
Eddy says they also don't wait till the end to learn. They learn along the way, "every single day, every single minute."
ABOUT THAT BIRTHDAY WISH
These days, as the brothers work on the next big thing, Jorge tells me that it really all goes back to Eddy's birthdays when they were kids. He says, he had a tradition. Every year, on Eddy's special day, without fail, Jorge would whisper the same thing in Eddy's ear. He would tell him, "You'll have an idea that will make us billions." And Jorge firmly believes that idea is now "either one we're building or the one that's coming."
THE TIP JAR (tips passed out courtesy of Jorge Prado and Eddy Prado)
Jorge encourages new or aspiring tech entrepreneurs to "be as lean as you can, until you validate your product."
Eddy adds to that by saying, you need far fewer resources than you think.
STEEPED IN SKILLS (mid-career):
Eddy says, "Learn how to ask for help. Listen and use your networks."
Jorge: "Increase your team size, expanding your vision and learning how to sell."
Jorge says, "The faster you understand it's a bumpy road, the easier the road will be. Otherwise, keep doing whatever you're doing." Eddy offers this advice: "Stay hungry. Stay curious. Be an avid learner."
I'LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN:
Eddy: I will never take more than two to four weeks to launch a product." The reason? He doesn't want to overbuild a product.
Jorge says he'll "never try to hold on to an employee who doesn't fit the company culture", no matter how good their tech or sales skills are.
AT ANY AGE:
Jorge: If you go to a tech conference [or any conference, for that matter] and listen to a speaker, write to them right after the event. Tell them you saw their speech and would love to have their advice. "You'd be surprised. They'll give you a few minutes of top-level advice."
Eddy: Go to Google or YouTube and ask the right questions, the counter-intuitive ones, such as the following:
"How do I get into business without money?"
"How do I build an app without being a software developer?"
"How do I build an app in one weekend?"
Eddy, just like Jorge says, you'd be surprised at the answers you'll get.
BEST ADVICE FROM "LA CASA": This section of this newsletter is inspired from being "en la lucha" (translation: in the battle). That's my dad's answer whenever I ask him how things are going, plus my mom's advice for everyday living: "Keep smiling!"
Eddy wanted to share advice from his dad: "Primero, escucha. Y luego, escucha un poco más."
Translation: First listen. After that, listen some more.
Eddy's practical application: "Always listen. And when you think you're listening, stop your listening and listen more. Listen, not only in a sense to understand the words, but also to read between the lines."
Jorge went with their mom's advice: "Lo más importante es la familia."
Translation: The most important thing is family.
Jorge's practical application: You need to understand your values. As an entrepreneur, you can get so obsessed with work. In the end, he says, "You're going to enjoy success or cry with your family. The most important people are the ones who love you."
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE:
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE (Because we can all use a helping hand):
Ok, you've been wanting to start a business. But you need financing and think you could stand to learn more about business and personal credit. The FSBDC (Florida Small Business Development Center - Hillsborough County) is offering an online class to walk you through the basics of credit, credit scores and, most importantly, how it all relates to helping you finance a business. Here's more info on the FREE interactive workshop:
Email the Organizer: FSBDCEntrepreneurServices@hillsboroughcounty.org
Friday, August 20, 2021
10 a.m. EDT - 12 p.m. EDT
HELP IN SPANISH:
If you learn better in Spanish, here's a class that SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) Miami Dade is offering. It's called "Comience su negocio: ¡Pruebe la viabilidad! ("Start Your Business: Test its Viability"). This FREE online class will not only discuss the basics of starting a business, but it will help you figure out if your business idea is feasible or not. You'll learn things like the difference between a strategic plan and a business plan and find out if you have the skills and experience needed to become a small business owner.
U.S. Small Business Administration - SCORE Miami Dade Virtual Workshop
"Comience su negocio: ¡Pruebe la viabilidad!
August 19, 2021
6 p.m. - 7 p.m. EST
WORKING ON THE INSIDE (Because, let's face it, we could do a better job in our culture of encouraging people to ask for help):
We all face challenges at different points in our life. Being a business owner or working on your goal of business ownership can add an extra layer of pressure. I found this list of 10 tools from the Mental Health Association super handy. It can help you face the day and meet those challenges with more optimism, while improving your physical and overall well-being. They may seem basic. But, if you're like me, you sometimes forget to do the basics. Download or print this list (I did) and tack it up on your desk as a reminder of little and big things you can do to take on the day with zest, purpose and a positive attitude. Don't forget to click on each tool to get specific, actionable tips from the Mental Health Association on how to make it happen!
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THIS ISSUE:
Latinos encourage a deep sense of family and family connection. I remember that while growing up, my mom frequently became alarmed whenever my sisters and I fought. It didn't matter if it was a tiff or a big argument. To her, it was really upsetting and had to be stopped immediately. So, pretty quickly, my sisters and I figured out it wasn't worth it. We rarely fought.
It's not surprising that many Latino siblings form a strong bond and decide to go into business together.
While we often hear about that happening in the restaurant industry, I wanted to find an example in a more modern sector, the digital space. Couple that with the growing buzz about Miami serving as a hot new tech hub, I knew I wanted to feature some tech entrepreneurs who are related. That's when I found the Prado brothers. And even though there's an eight-year age difference between them, I noticed that Eddy and Jorge didn't try to outshine each other during the interview. Both brothers seemed really proud of their sibling and gave each other the space to answer my questions. It's a bond I recognized as an enduring and beautiful part of our Latino culture that can only help as more Latino tech entrepreneurs incorporate that into their work families.