23 April 2007

Made (Harder) in Puerto Rico

I often excoriate the pathetically drooling mummies at the Centro Unido de Detallistas (the local Retailers Union, supposedly a small-business organization) for their constant "Oh woe is me!" whining and "Protect me!" mewlings, acting like small businesses in Puerto Rico are so pitiful and the Big Bad MegaStores are soooo bad that We are nothing but drifting plankton being sucked down the ravenous maws of baleen whales.

That's their public stance: In private, they bumf--- each other for political gain. It's downright ridiculous how out-of-touch these Detallistas are with their supposed constituency.

Unrelated to all that buffoonery, good ol' James O'Malley, he of El Gringoqueño fame, invited Me to blog the local Puerto Rico Products Association convention, held this past weekend. Sadly, prior commitments kept Me away, but not entirely, for I was presenting conferences and consulting with small businesses and start-ups the entire weekend.

First, the convention. Unlike the asinine stance of the Detallistas, the Puerto Rico Products Association sees Us as creators of quality, as worthy players in the global marketplace. They have established an Hecho in Puerto Rico seal that isn't easy to earn, thus granting a measure of respect and praise for the local firms that receive it. And their constant push for progress is a far cry from the sniveling drivel the CUD spews endlessly.

However, even the PRPA would acknowledge that We have a hard road in Our efforts to make small-scale economic progress. We labor beneath an often-smothering morass of laws and regulations, the product of lamebrain legislators, pure greed and inadequate representation. (Yes, Disgusting Detallistas, I mean you.) Trying to launch a small business in Puerto Rico is to face a 9-12 month marathon filled with paperwork, red tape, the occasional bribe and stonewalling. And because small-scale economic progress is so difficult, large-scale--national--economic progress is almost nonexistent.

And yet...While I missed the convention, I was surrounded by several small-business owners, each facing absurdly high obstacles in permits, financing, labor and taxes placed by Our idiotic government. They saw the obstacles...and they were undaunted. Despite facing more hardships than most U.S.-based businesses, these entrepreneurs were focused on the future, on making their way to success and not letting the government, their size or general stupidity slow them down. None gave a rat's ass about the Detallistas, but when I mentioned the PRPA, they were enthusiastic. And they should be, for no business, of any size, makes its way to the global marketplace without a healthy dose of self-confidence and pride, two virtues the Detallistas can only find in the dictionary.

Is it hard to launch a business and grow it in Puerto Rico? Yes, it is; I've seen it first-hand for over 20 years. But is it impossible, does it require the protection of a hothouse flower and shameless begging? Hell no. Just look at the growing list of Hecho en Puerto Rico products and you will see Our pride and Our energy making its mark. And it will continue to do so.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

James said...

Thanks Gil, the atmosphere was really nice this weekend. I always feel much better about things here after seeing all the success stories.

Of course there's a lot of grumbling and trepidation from the added burdens, but with the new initiative "Busca el Sello... Invierte en ti" we might just get some traction this year.

Also, IMHO, the PRPA convention is just a lot more fun than the other ones. Not so many stuffed shirts, it's more like a just bunch of people passionate about their products.

Thanks for the shout out.