Héctor Ramos

On Startups and Puerto Rico's Dim Future

As I write this, the backup power supply beeps to let me know I have only 10 minutes left until I lose power. The only light source in here is my laptop’s monitor, and its 300 feet through various dark hallways to the nearest exit.

It’s 4:40 PM on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Puerto Rico, and the lights have gone out in my office.

14-September-2009 - Milla de Oro at night HDR

To those that follow me on Twitter, you know that this is not a new occurrence. Power is constantly going out at my office and at my apartment. Like it or not, living without electric service is a mainstay of life in a tropical island. A couple of weeks ago the whole of the metropolitan area surrounding San Juan lost service hours before Hurricane Earl passed by. The head of the AEE (Puerto Rico’s power company) could only lay blame on standard everyday outages, rather than admit that their network went down hours before the arrival of the storm. 

With leadership like this, and a distribution network that nobody can rely on, how can Puerto Rico even think there is a chance of getting its stuff together?

Milla de Oro, Hato Rey

It seems like the only way some one living in Puerto Rico can get through the day is by taking a government job or settling for a corporate office job. If by any chance you are considering starting a new business, the costs may very well be too high.

When your office suffers a power outage, productivity levels go down the drain as employees seek coffee shops with Wi-Fi - that is, after they suffer a two-hour traffic jam to get home and find out power is out back home, too. If that’s not enough, then the rent that goes with leasing a better office in a building that has a power generator will. That won’t do much to help, anyway, since the Cable Internet provider for the metropolitan area is so horrendous, it will be very likely that you won’t have online access anyway.

What is this post, more than another one of my rants? This post is my commitment to get out of this energy-draining, so-called ‘paradise’ within two years. Two years ago I made the same commitment to get out of my corporate job and join a startup - I think leaving this island is the next logical step.