The past 6 months have been full of adventures. We have dividing our time between our home outside of Vancouver, Guatemala City, and Honduras. My partner and I are part of a Startup Cities project in Honduras (more info: startupcities.org) as well as a software startup. I have also been developing a proposal for a new school, as well as founding my own education software startup. (To be announced!) As if that doesn’t sound busy enough, I also became a landlord for the first time 4 months ago.
I’ll play catch-up a bit now, in order to document a few highlights of the past year.
Last July was the Startup Cities Weekend, at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. It was my own first time in Guatemala city, (Jon had already been working there regularly,) and it was a brilliant occasion for my first introduction to Central America. The weekend conference at UFM brought together a group of movers, thinkers, and shakers on the startup city front lines all over the world.
In a nutshell, startup cities are about spurring social, political, and economic change through new, innovative, and competing jurisdictions. They can be seen as the next generation of the 20th century idea of special economic zones; they are clean slates for experimenting with accessible law, radical government transparency, and new technologies. I have long been an advocate of Land Value Tax, and have been working hard to ensure it will be included in new jurisdictions. Startup cities can and will emerge in host countries all over the world, and the most actively interested in their potential has been Honduras, who passed ZEDE legislation last year to allow for the creation of such regions.
After the weekend, some of our crew went on to Honduras.
Most of my first time in Honduras was for meetings, and we were staying in an apartment in a gated community, (for safety reasons,) where I could take cezar to restaurants, the movie theatre, an amusement park, and a mall. Unfortunately I was not able to explore as much as I would have liked on that trip, but we did get the chance to visit a few small towns and rural areas.
We also spent time later on exploring areas most stricken by poverty and pollution, which really gave me an appreciation for just how important the Honduran ZEDEs are for increasing access to opportunities for those desperately want and need them. I came away with a renewed sense of appreciation, and also excitement to spend more time in Guatemala and Honduras in the year to come.