It was only fitting….

An ode to college
And to what lies ahead.
Even to horrible twin size beds.
Here’s to 4 years of debauchery and academic excellence.
4 years of taking tests using only common sense.
Here’s to the memories built 
In a world suspended from reality.
To Monday morning classes
Aka back to banality.
But what more could you ask for?

We’ve gone to Europe, Cancun, Australia and more.
We found friends in this hopeless place.
Studied every Harvard Business case.
We came we saw and we conquered
Exams, hangovers and spring concerts.
When all hope was lost
We managed to boot and rally 
Keeping down salmos chicken patties.
Here’s to Effins and Rentes
DPS and RAs.
To Machtleys and snow days.
To our lasting legacy
Winning every NEC.
To the nights we’ll never forget
And to those we’ll never remember.
Even to those coming back in early September.

To love to health to friendship and wealth,
May we have it all and lack none, 
May we lack all but one. 
Friendship.
So do not look for the right words to say
It’s not goodbye its good-day.
So cheers one more time to the class of twenty fifteen
Rip one more shot of jose or jim beam.
Get your Natty and jacky D
Keystones and twisted tea
Party from Bs to the Ps.
Tonight is for you, carpe diem, carpe your life.
Carry what you’ve learned through success and strife.
Be great, be more than a hire
Go forth … and set the world on fire.

M

‘Twas the night before Spring Weekend….

‘Twas the night before Spring Weekend, when all thru A1 to P2,
Not a student in sight, with nothing to do;
The Dogs were nestled all snug in their bunks,
Eager to wake up at dawn to get drunk;
Too anxious to sleep, their hearts filled with wonder,
Of which among them would be first to chunder;
Salmon shorts hung in the closet with care
In hopes that graduation would soon be there;
And as I settled in for some light springtime snoozin’
To catch a little rest ‘fore a long day of boozin’
When on Jacob Drive there arose such a clatter,
I got up and looked to see what was the matter;
Out the window I saw through a blanket of fog
A man with a beard, at his feet a bulldog;
I dashed out the door, I couldn’t be quicker,
‘Twas ol’ John Bryant, arms laden with liquor!
The bottles, they clinked and the beer cans, they clanked;
His stumbling gait revealed how much he’d drank;
He put on a tank and let out a yell
To be heard from Salmo all the way to row L:
“Now! André, now! Franzia, now! Jack and Jim Beam!
On! Natty, on! Keystone, on! Burnett’s Whipped Cream!
From the Village rooftops to every lecture Hall,
Now drink away! Drink away! Drink away all!”
Then he called me over with a chuckle so hearty
And conjured a vision of the upcoming darty:
There were girls in sundresses splayed out on the lawn;
Freshmen, hunched over toilets, were already gone;
Fischer’s grand clock hands bathed in golden rays
While bros stumbled ‘neath in a deep drunken haze;
When 9ams somehow become optional
And up before noon is no longer possible.
In MRC classrooms, to professors’ chagrin,
Students sipped out of coffee cups filled all with gin;
From Tuesday night rentes and Thursdays at Effins,
Spring week had a many many lessons.
And Townhouse backyards, so dark and so ratty,
Shone with the luster of crushed cans of Natty;
From up in his tower Ron Machtley watched
All his happy Bulldogs, so free and debauched;
And I knew, swaying in the fair April weather,
How liquor and sun brings the whole school together.
But then Tupper gave out a quick bark,
And this glorious vision soon faded to dark;
John Bryant bent down and rubbed the dog’s head,
And before they both vanished, a few words he said;
Grumblin’ and mumblin’ was all that I heard;
He was pretty wasted, his speech was so slurred;
But as to his meaning, well, I have a hunch:
“Happy Spring Weekend to all, to all you drunk bunch!”

Oh the memories.

M

Let us Share – Banco Compartamos

Banco Compartamos was formed in 1990 as a private organization to aid the poor in rural areas of Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico, by providing microloans to the low income population of the region. In 2001, Carlos Danel and Carlos Labarthe, known as “the two Charlies,” took the organization private, and then in 2007 took Compartamos public in an IPO valued at $1.56 billion. Compartamos executives received $150 million of the $450 million in proceeds. Banco Compartamos became one of Mexico’s most successful banks, with an average return on equity of at least 40 percent.

However, after the IPO many criticized that Compartamos no longer benefitted the people but more so worked for its shareholders, a disservice to the world of microfinance. Many in this field saw such a successful and model microfinancing bank completely sell out to the world of big banks. There was also a worry in Compartamos’ social mission being lost.  With the 27.1 price to earnings ratio Compartamos had after the IPO, it was harder to reduce rates if need be in the future, and this indicated high profit expectations which meant tending to the needs of the shareholders was going to be high on the priority list. This new dimension to the company is exactly what made others believe Compartamos had lost their way and was taking the wrong path. This IPO also meant rapid growth in the front office, which meant spending more money to catch up the back office with management info systems, a huge fear in the world of microfinancing.

In weighing their options, the two Charlies considered a private sale of the company, but saw that a private sale had biggest threat to company because it would threaten the current mission and strategy if it were to be under new management. Another option was to continue looking for private investors, which is not only time consuming but demands higher returns and raises less capital than a public offering. Therefore a public offering seemed to be the only viable option under a couple conditions. Some of the conditions ran along the lines of no more than 30% of shares could be sold and no single investor could own more than 10%, to avoid one investor becoming too powerful. With enough leverage, the two Charlies could still run the company their way with their mission.

The IPO proved to be very successful, bringing in $1.56 billion in capital, selling at around $40 per share. Such a figure could have never been raised by non-commercial investors. However, this money had now made an almost impossible goal of 1 million clients, attainable now. A goal that they had set back “in the NGO days,” was a reason they saw themselves still on the right path. The capital now allowed them to expand to more clients and allowed them to offer different products other than their GDI. Among these two were many other opportunities of expansion. The cost of setting up a bank prior to the IPO was around $50,000, to build a new branch now that complied with banking standards cost around $200,000. So even though the new capital allowed expansion, it was almost relatively the same. The two Charlies also mention advice that made them consider what they had done from Luis Velazco saying, “Strategy drives finance and not the other way around.” Velazco’s words resonated in them as they wondered if their method of financing was really a medium to carry out their mission and strategy or not.

As the CEO of Compartamos I would have been against the IPO. I would have been against it because I believe it has distracted the company. It has brought another dimension that needs attention and thus removing administrative attention from their mission and purpose. The company had clearly been successful up until that point, with ridiculous returns on investment; I don’t see how hard it actually would have been to find more investors. The IPO simply juiced up all their operations but when their goal is to reach 1 million clients and the cost of a new branch is amplified four fold then they’re relatively in the same place. In addition to all the regulations, standards, quarterly reports and critizing by the financial world of Wall Street they must deal with now. If anything I believe if the company’s purpose is to provide low income financing, it should do that and grow at its own pace, especially if it has been so successful thus far. If the two Charlies had other ambitions, they should have made a separate company or entity to run alongside their private bank. Running the same programs but for profit and then going public would have been the more rational thing, as long as they kept one of the entities fully dedicated to its purpose of microfinancing.

Tomatoes & Onions

A little piece of work I wrote senior year of high school for English Lang & Comp. AP.

 

 I am a tomato, and my problem is everyone else is an onion. I discovered this from observing the grown-ups when I was young. Whenever we went out to a restaurant or to the movies, I would notice things about their behavior around others. Grown-ups are so different, but oddly enough, they all seem to act the same way. Adults are onions, protected by a layer of skin so that no one could see who they really were. And I was an infant tomato, as fragile and new to the world as could be. The slightest touch left an imprint on my mind, whether it was an insinuation or an insult. So I started thinking about this situation.

            We are all born tomatoes. By age eleven, the change to onion-hood is already underway. That vibrant red skin starts to fade and thicken and lose its sweetness, turning into a sour, hard coating. The whole process is very subtle, and it is seldom thought about.  It begins with authority figures, any of the major influences in a child’s life: parents, friends, school, and television. In order to feel accepted by these figures, children have to adapt to certain rules. Girls try to be thin. Guys try to impress girls. Everyone tries to get the right answer at school. And if they fail to meet any of these criteria, they get embarrassed. This is the new  “red onion” phase, halfway between tomato-hood and onion-hood.

            However, soon enough, “kids” begin inventing ways to escape criticism. The girls can choose not to eat or they can pretend that they do not care.  The “guys” can choose to imitate someone famous or they can pretend that they hate girls. The students who usually get the right answers at school find ways to seem like they always get the right answers, and the “kids” who rarely get the right answers find ways to show that they do not care. This is the skin of the onion developing. And by the beginning of high school, the mature onion has formed. With time, its skin grows thicker. As that skin grows thicker the people lose themselves along the way. They lose their sense of authenticity and become what the world molds them to be, no longer “Made in USA”. Of course, there are some people that even realize that they are onions, but are hesitant to peel their skin for fear of losing their sense of security.

            Occasionally, I will catch myself onionizing, especially if something really bothers me. Beginning of my high school freshman year, I was scared that I would not make any friends so I convinced myself I was the loner type. Since I was going to a high school where none of my friends were going, I knew there was no way I would find others to somehow replace my old friends. For months, I refused to meet anybody because I had already decided that I would not get along with any new friend.  I felt awful, until I realized I had abandoned being a tomato. I could not avoid confronting it any longer. I knew that my fear was going to leave a bruise, but that was fine because it was better than covering up my problem. Once I opened up, I had an easier time meeting people than I would have ever imagined. That is the wonder of tomatoes.  “Tomatoes” never try to hide who we are or how we think and never take the easy way out.

            College a mix of tomatoes and onions, where one learns to question the status quo, seems like it would be the perfect place for a tomato living in an onion’s world. Yet I recognize that the challenging time will be to continue being a tomato– continue to discover. I will be confronting new ideas, new situations, along with new fears, and will have to assimilate these experiences without changing the fabric of my mind. I will have to keep my vision of the world fresh and open, and not succumb to the hardening of established ideas, or onionizing, which I see happening around me all the time.

            In the end, it is possible that tomatoes and onions do have something in common: a comfort in the usual way of doing things, a resistance towards change. The change in these next four years will be a novelty for me, as I explore new intellectual realms as my mind continues to mature — although I will never stop being a tomato, I hope that college will at least help me to ripen a bit.

 

Unfortunately it did not make the cut for my college essay in my applications.

Better late than never, but never late is better.

I take a moment this evening to let this blog continue. Update you a little about the things I been through.

 

I have brought too felines into my life, unfortunately left at home. They brought another dimension of caring into my life. Not of just material and familial ties but rather one of choice and complete unconditional care. Interesting. The collegiate journey has resumed. With the eventual goal of ultimately never having to do what those who have come before me have. I have, not yet officially, accomplished something I have put so much time, effort, and mental work into. This simple thing I’ve been doing my whole life, over these last few days has strangely made me realize a wealth of things. Things I had been told years ago, but finally make any practical sense at all.

Be all you can be.

Sounded so damn dumb….Yeah go out and do everything….”Okay you jackass” 

 

But its not dumb and its not go out and do everything. What I have developed it to mean to me is follow your ambitions until they lead to dead ends. Follow your every desire, ambition, and ideas until there is nothing else you can do to feel accomplished. Whether you succeed or fail is for most, never the outcome,  but the fact that you never gave in, never folded and did do all you could, is more than whoever failed.

By what I believe has only been luck alone and thanks to how I was raised, I have succeeded.

 

Always with so much to write but no idea how to formulate it. I sit in complete hypocrisy, philosophizing. I hate philosophizing people who do nothing but fuck up in life but somehow have all the words and wisdom. Yet they have no pot to piss in and no life long ambitions. 

 

In the end I only hope to change the lives of the people who I meet and make a difference. And maybe crack a joke or two in the meantime. Hope the true & few who read enjoy.

 

Please comment, add or shit on.

 

Cheers. 10/4