October 25, 2016

By Gonzalo López Martí - Creative director, etc. / LMMiami.com

In heaven, the lovers are French, the cops are British, the food is Italian,
the cars are German, and the whole thing is run by the Swiss.
In hell, the lovers are Swiss, the cops are German, the food is British,
 the cars are French, and the whole thing is run by the Italians.
European aphorism

  • Some 15 years ago, when I was a cocky creative guru gainfully employed by BBDO in Miami, a coworker and good friend of mine told me a peculiar, insightful and, to some extent, sad story that stuck in my mind ever since.*
  • The tale might have been sugarcoated for effect by its protagonists.
  • Nevertheless, it is quite enlightening for us Latinos living on US soil and beyond.
  • It just so happens that the go-to store to buy electronics and appliances in Miami in the late 70s and 80s was called Kaufman & Roberts (back when Amazon didn’t exist and its founder Jeff Bezos was attending high school right here in the 305).
  • It just so happens too that neither Kaufman nor Roberts were living, breathing human beings.
  • They were just figments of the imagination of the company’s founders.
  • The chain, a very successful enterprise for almost two decades should you want to know, had been started from scratch by two Cuban emigrés, husband and wife, who presumed that nobody would buy tech or electronic gadgetry from a store called, say, Sánchez & Pérez.
  • Hence, the astute entrepreneurial couple proceeded to open the phonebook at random and pick two last names with what they considered the appropriate phonetics.**
  • Brilliant marketing?
  • The proverbial resourcefulness of immigrants?
  • Inferiority complex?
  • Self-loathing?
  • Malinchismo?***
  • Methinks it is all of the above.****
  • Cut to 2016.
  • If you follow my weekly tirades, you pro’bly know I have a tendency to kick, scream, bitch and whine about the lack of Latino last names in the rank & file of Silicon Valley.
  • For a number of reasons -some of them self-inflicted- the only entrepreneurs in northern California seem to operate in the landscaping biz.
  • Cut back to the 305.
  • Enter Alexis Fernández and Maurizio Festa Sole.
  • Alexis and Maurizio are the founders of Vyu360, a start-up that designs, manufactures and sells Virtual Reality immersive photo & film cameras with its own iOS and Android app to manipulate and upload the footage to the cloud.
  • The former might ring a bell: he’s a photographer and the star and host of TLC’s reality show Quinceañera.*****
  • The latter used to be director of marketing & industrial design at DDM Brands, a Miami-based manufacturer and marketer of mobile gadgetry.
  • He is not strictly Hispanic -he’s Italian- but he is happily married to a Cuban, so close enough.
  • Vyu360, if you ask me, is a revolutionary concept.
  • Check it out:
  • http://www.vyu360.com/
  • Finally, an affordable and versatile VR camera for the masses.
  • With state-of-the-art social media capabilities.
  • Cuz what’s the point of capturing kick-ass fully immersive footage if you cannot share it ipso facto?
  • As you well know, dear reader, VR is the next frontier of consumer electronics and social media.
  • Mark Zuckerberg is investing billions to herd us all there.
  • The day will come when everyone will be livestreaming everything in 3D, 24/7.
  • Civilians, celebs, cops, soldiers, first responders, white, black, brown, young, old, male, female or otherwise.
  • How cool is it to know that, for a change, there are Latinos leading the charge of a new technological breakthrough?
  • You know the litany in our industry: Latinos overindex in the use of mobile and social.
  • It’s about time that, apart from being users of technology and consumers of content, we begin to be regarded as creators and producers.
  • By the way: Vyu could use some funding.
  • Investors wanted, corporate or otherwise.
  • Wanna pledge some spare change & get a trial product?
  • Check the Kickstarter vid:
  • https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vyu360/vyu360tm-4k-procam
  • The thingy is ready to ship as early as Xmas of this year (with a limited but fully functional inventory).
  • Biz plan available upon request.
  • Very thorough and well thought out.
  • Just whistle and I'll be more than happy to send it your way.
  • Immense riches and Silicon Valley glory await.

*His name is Jaime González-Mir, he was an account director in charge of the Pepsi business back then. These days he calls Austin home (that’d be Texas) and he holds a higher-up job with acclaimed Omnicom agency Latinworks.
**Read more about it here: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1986-06-30/business/8602080444_1_hispan...
*** If you don’t know what “malinchismo” means, click here: http://hispanicad.com/agency/business/are-you-malinche
****Years later, out of sheer chance, I found out that the aforementioned couple, José and Irela, were my next-door neighbors at a landmark building known as The Octagon in the heart of South Beach. They were the sweetest of people but we rarely interacted because I was too busy creating awesome advertising campaigns by day and hitting the town by night.
*****He’s also heir and top manager of Miami-based family-owned company Bella Quinces, a chain of stores that provides everything a Latina girl worth her salt needs to plan and throw her big bash: themed photo shoots, music videos, dresses, you name it. Check them out here: http://bellaquinces.com/about-us/

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