Coderise Event: Alex Torrenegra

Medellin is ready to move from an industrial city to an information city. Technology is on the boom here and they have their eyes on being the next “Silicone Valley” of Latin America. There are a number of new programs and businesses here trying to help jump start the transition.

Ruta N was founded not to long ago to help business see a new type of future – that of information and technology with the help of raising money and funding projects for new entrepreneurs. One program that is grooming these new kids is Coderise. Their motto is: Code. Inspire. Create. Coderise is teaching kids how to code (program) in developing countries and they are starting with Medellin, Colombia. Check out this article in which the Coderise Director, Andrea Cornejo, gives some insightful views about the vision and future of Coderise.

Coderise brought in a guest speaker the other day to help encourage the young kids by giving them the chance to hear directly from a very successful Colombian entrepreneur: Alex Torrenegra. Some have gone as far as calling him the “Mark Zuckerberg of Colombia”. Alex has founded a number of companies but his biggest success (and passion) has been with VoiceBunny. The main concept of VoiceBunny is to put  potential professional speakers in contact with the big studios for hire. For example, one of their largest clients is Pixar. For one of the Toy Story movies Pixar was in need of a Latino voice to use for Buzz Lightyear when he temporarily spoke Spanish after he was hit in the head. Pixar used VoiceBunny to search for the best Latino voice and hired that person (speaker) directly through their website.

I was given the privilege to hear Alex Torrenegra speak which was truly inspiring. He is a sharp guy with a natural calmness to himself which gives you the sense that he was born to be an entrepreneur and has enjoyed it every step of the way.

Photos on Facebook

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Salsa Dance Performance

So today I thought I would share a personal post with everyone. A few weeks ago I was invited to dance with my girlfriend’s salsa group for a performance here in Medellin, Colombia. One of the members of the group is currently studying abroad in Italy for a year so they needed someone to perform in his place. I agreed and it turned out to be a great time. We were quite surprised by the size of the crowd when we arrived as it turned out to be a very large event held on a covered basketball court. We had a few worries about trying to spin on the concrete but in the end it didn’t turn out to be much of a problem.

Casino Salsa is a bit different because instead of just using couples it is done with a group of couples. The dance consists of switching partners  and dancing in a circle (rueda). In case anyone isn’t sure – I am the one with the beard 😉

After our performance the crowd cheered us on for an encore. We performed an extra number but it was all improved. Casino Salsa is a cuban style of salsa in which one person yells out the different moves (when it is not choreographed) and everyone follows in sync. It was hard to hear in this venue so the leader calling out the moves is also using hand signals for us to understand easier. So, here is the improved version!

Gran Fiesta Salsera 2012

Last May the newest and most popular salsa academy of Medellin, Colombia, Academia Baila Latino, celebrated their 1 Year Anniversary with a huge event located on the top floor of the Dann Carlton Hotel which is considered the best hotel in the city. With a view of city and the energy of dancing all around there was fun to be had. Here is a look at some of the photos we captured throughout the night including the surprise engagement at the end of the night!

I must give a great deal of the photo credit to my friend and photographer Joseph Le. He was kind enough to help me out with the photos so that I could dance a bit as well! Special thanks to Joel Duncan Photography as well for capturing some great photos of the night which can be found here. If you love travel and photography make sure to follow his blog AdventureJo as well!