The Latin America Startup Blog (LASB) has now been in operation for almost a year. I started it in my spare time on a free platform to track what was going on in the startup community in Latin America, and the response so far has been overwhelming. Everyone has been very welcoming of the initiative, and, uncharacteristically for teh Intarwebs, I’ve heard very little in the way of negative comments. It really is very gratifying to know that this humble initiative is filling a needed gap. And while change is hard, sometimes it’s necessary.
It’s time to take it to the next level.
So starting today, there are going to be a number of changes on LASB, beginning with the name. I’ve been unhappy with the name for quite a while. It’s long, cumbersome, has little in the way of “punch” and besides all that it’s in English. Seems to me it should be something that conveys urgency but at the same time is short, memorable, and accessible. Trouble is, it’s hard to think of names that fulfill all of those criteria and aren’t “taken” as domain names. So for the moment I’m staying with the current name, but shortening it in most communications to LASB. We’ll see how that goes.
…and now a word from our sponsor
Longtime readers of the blog will know that up to this point there haven’t been any advertisements to speak of. Well, that changes today. Not because I hope to get rich from the ads, because, to be honest, while the blog has a good amount of pageviews, it’s nowhere near what is needed to make it an ad-supported blog. No, I made the difficult decision to put ads on the site because I am hoping to defray hosting and other administrative costs. Additionally, my personal belief is that, while we all say we hate ads, the absence of them actually sends a subconscious signal that the endeavor is somehow not “serious.” Well, the LASB is serious.
I’ve decided to use Amazon to serve ads because I believe the company provides real value to its customers and I buy from them myself; in fact last year I went ahead and took the plunge on a Prime membership, which I haven’t regretted. Moreover, because I am able to tailor the ad delivery to some extent, I have deliberately chosen to show products that I believe will be of interest to readers of the blog. I’m not going to give you a hard sales pitch — buy from Amazon or don’t. But please do continue to visit and read the blog!
Se habla Español
I’ve also come to the conclusion that, in order to provide the kind of support to the Latin America startup community I want to, this blog has to also have content — preferably in equal measure — in Spanish. A lot of people in the region speak very good English, but as I’ve read Spanish-language blogs about the community, I’ve decided that no matter how well you speak a foreign language, you always prefer to read in your native language. At some point I would like to implement a Portuguese subdomain as well.
You’ll note that the new Spanish-language domain, espanol.latamstartupblog.com, is still in Beta. This is because I don’t have a Spanish-language writer yet. I’m hoping to remedy that situation soon. Until then, I regret to inform my Spanish-speaking readers that the content will be machine-translated. Not everything works properly on the subdomain, but I’m trying to fix that. I hope you will bear with me, and I will let you know when it’s Ready For Prime Time. Until then, it’s not an optimal solution — consider it a Minimum Viable Product.
You may also notice some other cosmetic changes to the site. I’ve completely revamped the layout, for instance. In addition to liking it on Facebook, commenting on it, tweeting it, and plus-one’ing it, you can now assign a star rating to each and every post. I will be curious to see whether readers consider this a valuable feature. Additionally, if you read the site on your iPhone or iPad, you will see that I have implemented a modest home screen icon. Finally, I’ve implemented a little favicon.
There will likely be other changes, and I have some other plans up my sleeve that will share at a later date. Thanks as always for reading.