It’s been a tough week for LATISM. We’ve been accused of not knowing what a real blogger is, of reporting inaccurate numbers, of taking commission money from a company, of intentionally keeping silent in front of attacks and false associations for the sake of private gain, of receiving undeserved praises since we’re not really influencers after wall, of allowing illicit use of the LATISM brand, and on goes the list. To me the worst part is that some of our community members have been asked to chose alliance in the spirit of “with me or against me” old crap from the 50s like it used to happen with the mafias.
My initial reaction was to ignore everything. In the end, my style has always been “A palabras necias, oidos sordos” (help me translate that in English, but it’s the equivalent of ignoring provoking statements). However my LATISM compadres have demanded that I make an official statement with clarifications about the rumors. I still don’t think I need to since actions speak louder than words and everyone who counts in the Latino sphere knows about LATISM, who we are, what we do, what is our mission.
I do feel the need to call for Latinos Unidos. Whenever we start these cheap fights in public it only damages our image as a community. There is nothing wrong with healthy competition. That was the main reason why many of us ended up in this country. For the freedom of expression and the opportunity to take a piece of the pie. However we kill our businesses and organizations with lies, accusations and fights. That is totally against entrepreneurism, against community building and against professionalism.
We’ve looked like a circus lately in some pretty important platforms.
The minute we learn to show a united front, we will empower our respective businesses, causes and ideas. This doesn’t mean that now everyone has to merge, hug and kiss. Not at all. This means that we must treat each other with respect and professionalism. That we must emphasize our strengths and unique differential advantage without the need to trash or spit someone else’s work.
I have received many calls from brands about this issue. My excuse tends to be that we are a young community, that the entrepreneurs at stake are young and just getting started in their business, that they are rushing to make things happen fast thus the reason to literally copy cat ideas, names and concepts, and so forth. But, entre nosotros, se me cae la cara de verguenza.
(between us, I’m totally embarrassed). I can’t understand how those who promote division and hatred can’t realize that they’re only hurting their own image and brand, certainly not the ones they are accusing.
You all know that I’m not a marketer. As a developer I’m not used to this type of fiercely, backhanded competition. The IT sector tends to be very black and white about business ethics. You never know when you will need a competitor to win a bid or to get a project so you try your best to build strategic alliances. The typical approach is “hoy por ti y manana por mi” (today for you and tomorrow for me). Quality is our way to stand out. Never backstabbing since that would totally remove us from a circle of trust. There are fights, yes, big ones. But they remain internal and they are only a strong sign of a desire to collaborate (if not we just ignore each other and move on). You can then imagine my asombro in front of this bochinche de patio. I’ve been told that this is normal in the marketing world. I’m sorry, I don’t think that’s a justification. I know many marketers who are super professional and talented in their work. Regardless of the industry, this is WRONG.
I beg everyone to make an effort to push for unity. Don’t say about your brother what you wouldn’t want to hear about yourself. And if someone comes to you with a bad rumor, please stop it right there. You don’t even know if the rumor has been motivated by a misunderstanding or by a hidden agenda. So why pass it around? Remember that what comes around goes around. Let’s BUILD a healthy Latino business spirit. Let’s BUILD a strong Latino industry of professionals that can make everyone proud. Let’s BUILD more businesses and welcome competition. Let’s BUILD more organizations and support one another. Let’s BUILD more partnerships. Let’s BUILD more alliances. Let’s BUILD AND NOT DESTROY.
I know it’s harder, I know it takes longer, I know it’s not as fun and spicy sometimes. But only by BUILDING a United Latino Front we can make a difference in this country. Take a look at the Jewish community. Why can’t we take their example? See how they support each other, defend their businesses and take pride in each other’s success. Maybe internally they kill each other, but for the world, they are ONE. Let’s build a collaborative approach. I have no doubt that we can make it happen. If our previous generation didn’t succeed in this, I know for sure that this digital generation can and will foster a smarter and more positive spirit.
For the record, LATISM is not affiliated with any for-profit organization. We are an independent 501 (c) 4 nonprofit organization. Which means, literally, we’re not in this environment to make profits. Our mission is to help and empower our community. We do take sponsors, and the money goes directly to fund our initiatives such as giving scholarships, funding community projects and paying for the organization and administration of our conferences and Tweetups. Our board members are all volunteers who graciously give their time and efforts to make things happen for the benefit of all. In fact, many times, we put down our own money to finance projects. Why? Because we have all come to realize the power our community has and the amazing things we can do when we can channel its beautiful energy into projects that leave a positive, lasting mark in the community. We own the financial freedom to say no (which we have done many times) to any brand or organization that doesn’t value the basic human rights of our Latino community. We are very very selective with whom we partner. And I will make sure they’re all clearly listed on this page within the week. That way we avoid further confusions.
Case in point, and on a separate note, a big hug and huge thanks to each of the 7,200 blogueros and blogueras who have completed our Blogosphere survey. Our goal was to reach 5,000 and, as always, you have exceeded our expectations. The results will be amazing: showing the power and scope of our community, backing it up with TRUE NUMBERS can benefit all of us, regardless of the field we are in.
To give you a quick peek, when we asked the Latino influencers: “If you were the President what would be your #1 priority?” 73.7% has selected “Education” – followed by “Jobs” then “Health” and “Immigration” – the least popular was “Tax Cuts.”
It’s not too late to add your granito de arena and join this survey which will be The Largest Voice of Influential Latino(a)s. We have until May 10th to welcome new participants. So please join and apply for scholarships to the different social media conferences we have partnered with throughout the year.
I am particularly moved by those of you who are making donations to the scholarship funds. You are a real inspiration since I know many of you personally and I know that the donations you are making represent a sacrifice. This leads me to believe that, even if there will always be chismes and “growing pains” within our community, when we unite we can do beautiful things together. You are the reason why we keep going. You are the living example of the LATINOS UNIDOS! Thank You.