Medellín, Day 9

IMG_4265Day 9, March 15

Could it possibly be that our program in Colombia has come to its last day?  Today’s last company visit was with Ruta N.  Many had follow up meetings with our start ups, and then free time for the three S’s: shopping, sight seeing, and souveniers.

We officially closed the program with a dinner at Carmen Medellín.

How does your impression of Medellín differ from that of the Zona Cafetera and Bogotá?  What were the take-aways from today’s activities?

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27 Responses to “Medellín, Day 9”

  1. Karen Madera Says:

    The last day we had our presentation with Codiscos. It was a great time getting to learn more about the company and getting a tour of the recording studio. There was good conversation and everyone was very hospitable. We got to meet a guitarist for Juanes as well. Ruta N was a really cool building and great to know that Medellin is putting so much emphasis on entrepreneurship. Medellin was my favorite city; it felt more modern and established than Bogota. I think the coffee region is tough to compare since it is completely rural and a different experience entirely. Overall, it was a great trip!

  2. Brittany Rogers Says:

    Our visit with our consulting company was a really exciting meeting for me. During our company visits, we were acting more as tourists. However, meeting with our consulting project company, Grupo Familia, exposed us more to how business is done between different cultures. The security on the building was tight, security guard confirming out appointment before we stepped onto the property and I commented that the fence looked like Jurassic Park on their corporate headquarters – a testament to the old Medellin I suppose. Just as expected, our visit begin with more informal talk and consisted of us getting to know to each vs. diving straight into business and showing slides. That seems very much an earmark of business in Latin America.

  3. Tyler Hjalmquist Says:

    Today was our final day of the Colombia trip. I experienced my first “Que Pena” as a man at Ruta N tried to get past me. I was insulted at first but later someone had said that in Medellin, Que Pena has a slightly nicer meaning than in Bogota.
    We were given a tour of Ruta N, and were able to see how many small companies and start-ups were able to grow as a result.
    We met with our start-up company, and they definitely enjoyed and learned from our presentation. I finished my day with some swimming at the hotel pool and some shopping at one of the giant malls nearby our hotel. We had dinner at Carmen Medellin, and then proceeded on a ride throughout the city on one of the most ridiculous party buses I have ever been on. While driving through the city at night, we got to see some of the motor cycle racing culture of Medellin as guys raced by our bus at speeds way too fast to be safe. I left Medellin the next day with the impression that I would definitely like to go back there sometime. Unlike Bogota and Zona Cafetera, it really struck me as a place that is modern and entrepreneurial. It also seems like a place that I wouldn’t mind living in one day.

  4. Destin Whitehurst Says:

    Medellin seems to contain a mix of the lush, green coffee region and the modern, urban bustle of Bogota. Ruta N provided an excellent example of this mix, with its natural lighting, plant-based cooling system, and high-tech work stations for local entrepreneurs. I’m inspired by the innovation we saw in Medellin, and can’t help but think of ways to apply what we’ve seen to our own business ventures back in Austin. This relaxing day capped off an educational and busy trip, one that I won’t forget anytime soon!

  5. hannahsierra2016 Says:

    Today we formally met with Demand Frontier after our tour at Ruta N. What I liked most about the environment was the inspiration and creativity running throughout the building. You could feel it in the halls! A great place to be when you’re incubating a start up. Our company was thrilled to hear about our findings and future outputs. It was interesting to have worked with a company that is also a partner of Oracle. It allowed me to bring an intimately familiar perspective to Demand Frontier’s business and provide insight to the team. Juan at DF was a gracious host offering to transport us back from Ruta N to our hotel and then sharing his private driver’s contact information. He truly made us feel welcome and altered my perspective of Colombia in a positive way.

  6. Laura Szymanski Says:

    I felt so free walking around Medellin, something I had not felt in Bogota. The weather was beautiful – sunny, yet breezy. Perfect from our walk back from the Grupo Familia offices. The offices were only a 15 minute walk away from our hotel. Sitting down with the team was exciting for me. Our conversation went well and the insight we were able to bring seemed to impress them. As we learned at the VC firm yesterday, we had a ‘coffee chat’ before the actual presentation that included coffee and water service. We discussed the rise of household pets in Colombia and shared pictures of our cats and dogs. Nothing is more cross cultural than cute fuzzy animals. I am looking forward to finalizing our information for the team knowing we provided real value for them as they seek to build out their healthcare product portfolio and go-to-market strategy.

  7. Ashley C Tisdale Says:

    I enjoyed our visit to Ruta N to see how innovative and modern it was. As it was the day of our presentation with Grupo Familia, Mike and I actually asked to use the workspace within Purdue University who had a location at Ruta N to review our presentation. The presentation with Grupo Familia went very well as we had a chance to obtain more knowledge about the company and their ultimate goal of entering the men’s market. Based on the conversations we had with our clients, they wanted us to explore their current products within stores. Therefore, after our client meeting, we ventured to the mall to explore stores with Grupo Familia’s products so we could analyze their current layout, observe customers that use their products, and think about future marketing ideas for them. Our closing dinner at Carmen was very elegant and I thought it was a great way to end the trip. Out of all the areas within Colombia, I could imagine myself living in Medellin as the environment appeared more diverse with multiple activities to participate in.

  8. Curtis Davis Says:

    Last day in Colombia. I was very sad to be leaving this amazing country. After the Ruta N tour, I had to rush back to the hotel to pack and prepare for my flight to Chile. It’s hard to pick one city we visited as better than the rest. Bogota is larger and more diverse but Medellin is very innovative and fun. I think I would most look forward to visiting Medellin again because of how short our time was there. In a bizarre twist of fate, one of the employees from our Ruta N consulting company was sitting next to me on my flight to Bogota.

  9. Jessica Jozwiak Says:

    My impression of Medellin was that it was a city who has not forgotten its dark past, but has definitely risen above it to develop into a thriving, vibrant community of business, art, and sport. Futbol fields are everywhere. Ruta N is home to any start up business looking to help people through technology. Art murals line the streets. And let’s not forget the namesake of being the “city of eternal spring” – the weather here rocks! I had a great night walking around outside after our farewell dinner at Carmen.

  10. David H Chung Says:

    Visiting Ruta N, I was impressed again, how their effort to entice foreign entrepreneurs make actual results. I could see a part of successful achievement that Medellin’s municipal government and people are making to innovate their governance. I asked Susana, a guide who gave us a tour inside Ruta N, that how much they are paying to get an office in Ruta N. I do not exactly remember the price, but it was definitely very cheap and competitive, in perspective of the US price standard.

    I discussed with several people how they are like to work as an entrepreneur in this facility. Some of us loved it, while others didn’t. Our final schedule was meeting managers at Panter Codiscos, who develops and designs creative contents for kids and musicians. We looked around the facilities and discussed about our project.

    Throughout the trip I could be interested in everything about Colombia. I really enjoyed the business, people, great city view, and nature. Although it is unsure that I am going to work in Colombia for professional purposes, I definitely became involved in this country’s business and political effort to innovate themselves, and wanted to learn more about the country, which might lead to potential business opportunity.

  11. carlisland Says:

    After meeting with our client yesterday I had all of today to explore the city. While shopping for gifts to take home I ended up in la zona rosa again. from asking around folks had told me that Carrera 37 and Carrera 35 where the places to go to pick up boutique apparel for my girlfriend.

    Shopping in Colombia is strange. The second you walk into the store you are shadowed by friendly workers looking to assist you. Even once it became apparent that there was a language gap between myself an these workers they insisted to stay by my side as I explored the store.

    While the clothing trends seemed different from the US, I was able to find some great leather bags with very reasonable prices. I remembered hearing that Colombian leather could be bought for a steal, but that message didn’t set in until I explored the shops of Medellin.

  12. Bryan Benson Says:

    Medellin seems much more progressive than Bogota or Zona Cafetera. My perception may be biased due to the Ruta N tour, but there seems to be a greater impetus on small business growth for the city. Getting around Medellin also seemed much more seamless than the other two spots. Medellin was my favorite stop on the trip because all of our activities supported the central theme that the city is trying to better itself. Between the escalators and community centers in Communa 13, Ruta N, and our groups interactions with our consulting client company, I got the sense that Medellin is the city that is spearheading the push to bring Colombia into 21st century and make it a prominent power in South America.

  13. Kyle Gabb Says:

    Today was mostly a free day for me. Our company representative was out of the city and could not meet today. I slept in and then did a bit of shopping.

    I really like Medellin overall. It felt closer to an Austin or San Fransisco type vibe whereas Bogota was more of a New York or Dallas type feel to it. From the way people dress for work, to the climate, to the types of businesses – the cities are very different. I believe that Medellin is still trying to recover from the its association with Pablo Escobar. The inhabitants, local officials, and companies are trying to rebuild the cities image as an innovative, forward looking city that helps out the poor. I hope the city continues this trends as many of the people we talked to love living in Medellin.

  14. Yeony Bae Says:

    After the visit to Ruta N, I could definitely see that Medellin is the center of innovation in Colombia. There were a lot of start ups scene going on in the city, and the municipal government was very active supporting those venture firms including Ruta N space itself. I could also see a lot more foreign people there, working on new businesses in Colombia. I hoped the strong initiative keeps going on and spread to nation-wide and see more Colombia-driven innovation in global market sometime soon.

  15. Ivo Fink Says:

    We started off the last day of our Colombia trip with a tour through Ruta N, then moved on to present the findings of our analysis to one of the startup companies in the complex, which we had worked with over the previous months, Demand Frontier. Once again I was astonished by the massive transformation that Medellín has undergone in the recent past from being one of the most dangerous places on earth during the brutal reign of Pablo Escobar to becoming a regional hot spot for progress and innovation in Latin America!

  16. Kent Kronenberg Says:

    What would the last day of the group trip be like without some mishap and some adventure!? After getting a nice tour of Ruta N, it was time to find our company, Panter. We had an address, we asked the Ruta N guide to help us put it into Google and make sure it worked, we had it all! Or so we thought.
    Google had done us wrong and we were very much lost after the taxi driver dropped us off. We walked down a fairly sketchy street with lots of guys on motorbikes hanging out at 1pm. Luckily David Chung had phone service and we could call our company, hand the phone to a security guard, and arrange for our company to find us and pick us up. After all that fun, we had a great visit. Angela and the team at Panter showed how really talented they were and all the cool projects they were working on. They even pitched a new game — Brudolph! We really hope our ideas can help them grow their business. They were fantastic ambassadors for Medellin and Colombia.

  17. Ibk Ol Says:

    Our final day of the program. We started the day working on our presentation, and had a great tour of Ruta N. Afterwards, we wrapped up our presentation and made our trip to the Codiscos office. Our hosts were incredibly gracious and we had a great discussion with the team. Afterwards, we got a tour of the office and got to meet the president of the company. After a couple hours of consistently translating and thinking in Spanish, I definitely had a bit of a headache so I was glad to be done. We had a great final dinner and said our goodbyes to this lovely city and fantastic trip.

  18. Kavita Rangaswamy Says:

    On our last day on the trip, our group presented our marketing strategy at the Codiscos office. Everyone at the office was incredibly warm and inviting, and grateful for our time and efforts. The president of the record label called us into her office to learn more about us, and thank us for our time spent with her team. Knowing how large their record label is, I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet with someone who was so senior and hear about her experiences. The actual presentation was a bit tough due to language barriers, so I would present and Karen would translate for the team. We were excited to be done with the presentation on that day, with no remaining edits!
    Ruta N is a very modern building that is clearly at the epicenter of innovation in Medellin. It was very cool to hear about how the building ventilates itself, among other fun facts.

  19. Adriana Penalba Says:

    We met with our client, Grupo Familia, on our last day of the trip. I really enjoyed this meeting, not only getting a better understand our company and the scope of our consulting project, but just seeing the cultural differences between how business is done in Latin America versus the United States. First, one of our clients had my name! And we spent the first part of the meeting talking about our pets, sharing pictures of our cats, and learning about dog/cat ownership in Colombia. Then during our actual presentation, it was so much easier to get an understanding of what our client needed and to share with them what we can provide. It just reminded me that while we were both speaking English, there is a lot that can be lost in translation with non native speakers when you just communicate over the phone or via e-mail.

    In addition to our client visit, we visited Ruta N, which just really cool to see. Medellin is making such an investment in innovation, and everyone we met was so focused on making sure that we saw how much Colombia and Medellin have changed. I was really impressed.

  20. Victor Okocha Says:

    My impression of Medellin differs from the other cities we visited in Colombia due to the focus on innovation throughout the city. First the public transportation system clearly set the city apart. Second, we learned about the government’s investment in innovation in Medellin which is rapidly changing the city. This was evident during our tour of Ruta N.and seeing all of the start-ups that are housed under the same building. It seemed very similar to something that you would see in San Francisco.

  21. Krista Fischer Says:

    Our small group met with our company, Demand Frontier, after touring Ruta N. The workspace was an open, airy space with many breakout areas. The rent for an office is the equivalent of $400 per month. There is a waitlist with an application process for businesses interested in residing in Ruta N, as well as a two year space limit after which companies can transition to another building.

    We were able to equip Juan with some excellent information regarding industry trends and tendencies of their target markets. He kindly took us back to our hotel where we had free time until dinner. It was a bit surreal to sit around the table at our final dinner. The experience was definitely what I had hoped for when I signed up, and I may try to talk some of my other EMBA classmates into a trip next year in addition to Beijing.

  22. David F. Says:

    The tour of Ruta N was very cool! I was really surprised to see such an innovative and technologically advance hub in the center of one of the poorest neighborhoods in Medellin. This is was the same day that our group met with our project company, Panter. The folks are Panter are so kind and interesting. (Our team got lost on the way to the offices but the folks are Panter drove over to pick us up.) We had a productive few hours with the team and I am excited to finish up our recommendations for the company this weekend. I do hope that one day I can return to Medellin and visit them again!

  23. Elizabeth Sickler Says:

    During our meeting with our client yesterday, my group toured Rua N so I arrived after the official tour to meet Deidra, Lucero, and Anna for a scenic tour of Medellin. We went to the botanical garden. As with other museums and public areas we visited, the botanical garden was free for visitors. I am still in awe of the social benefits that the country has put value on for all citizens. Even in the botanical gardens I saw the impact of art in society when I found murals in the bathrooms – which I made everyone else go in to see.

    I am happy that we were able to see three different areas in Colombia because I would have a very skewed impression of the country. Each of the cities had their own unique personality. Bogota is the industrial hub of the country with a very professional persona. The coffee region is agricultural and has a clear sense of community. Medellin has the sense of an emerging culture embracing the future while acknowledging the past.

  24. stephanielmoten Says:

    In a universalist culture rules are obeyed and there is a clear respect for authority. Whereas in a particularism culture, rules are obeyed during certain circumstances and they don’t necessarily respect authority outright. Colombia’s history of corruption and drug violence has impacted this aspect of the country’s culture. The government has cracked down on drug activity and Colombia’s citizens feel safer and more secure. However there is still an underlying skepticism of authority. Medellin has worked very hard to overcome their history and the city is now known for innovation instead of the drug trade.

  25. Anna Knyazhitskaya Says:

    Our last day in Medellin was an independent adventure for me. After a tour of Ruta N and a lunch at the botanic gardens, I took the metro to Zona Rosa to explore the local shops. The metro was clean, cheap, and easy to navigate, I was surprised that the train itself was not air-conditioned and had very dim lighting, which is very different from other modern trains that I’ve ridden. However, this is very much in tune with the conservational and environmentally-friendly architecture of the city. On my way back to the hotel, I walked through some residential areas and had an amazing latte at a café. This is the moment that I realized that I felt at home and relaxed in Medellin, a feeling that I never had in Bogota.

  26. mikeramirezblog Says:

    The last day in Medellin was my groups meeting with the company called Grupo Familia. The meeting went well except for the fact that I once again was reminded of the differences between the U.S. and Colombia. During the meeting with our company the men seemed to speak more than the women and honestly I kept trying to fight the wave and eventually said I will leave it the way it is for the sake of moving forward. Ashely and I finished our group meeting then headed to walk to the flagship store of the company and learn a little more about consumer behavior. I learned that most of the people that go shopping for household items are not the husbands.
    The day finished with a nice dinner at the mall and the final dinner with the group.

  27. Paolo Boero Says:

    Our exhausting but fulfilling trip has come to an end, after all of the dramatic traveling experiences and crazy weather we were prepared for anything at this point. The last day we visited Ruta N, and I could not believe how similar this building and the vibe felt to Austin (inhabited by many co-working spaces and entrepreneurs). Our final dinner was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with everyone concluding our journey. Bogota and Medellin were in stark contrast. There was a stark contrast between the formality of Bogota and the entrepreneurial spirit and can do attitude of Medellin. My friends from Bogota said that people in Medellin are different and often only like working with other people from Medellin. This statement to me captures the rivalry/cultural differences felt between the two cities.

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