Buenos Dias, Buenos Aires. ¡Mucho Gusto!

David SelingerToday is a day of conflict: I’m returning to work after a week working in Buenos Aires. Although I absolutely love being back in the States (and of course spending most of my weekend with my family!), I must say I really loved the experience in Argentina. Here are some random thoughts about the experience.

The People
I was in Argentina working with a group called WOM-LATAM who put on a fantastic conference for some of the top marketing brands in Argentina and Latin America. Man, that was fun—from speaking to the group and hearing their questions about the recently launched Groupon down there to talking about the power of data and personalization, the conversations were informed and (even if across languages) engaging. Plus I got to see Paco Underhill again, which is always super-cool.

The Technology
Argentina is definitely at a different stage of technology adoption. Fewer people had smart phones. Most people are on pay-as-you-go cell phone plans. And next to no one had an iPad, Kindle or Samsung Galaxy tablet (which is very popular in Brazil). In fact, at one point, I pulled out my iPad2 to video an awesome street vendor making my belt, and someone stopped on the street, and took a picture of me, taking a picture!

The Economy
This was one of the most interesting things—Argentina is currently experiencing 25% inflation. They have a joke that it’s cheaper to pay for a taxi than a bus, because you pay when you get off instead of when you get on. Seems just as scary as it is funny.

Airport Security
Was a freaking joke. I spent two hours in a line that would make Disney ashamed. The metal detector beeps solid red (because you can’t remove belts/shoes), and the security guy then pats my chest lightly and says “OK.” Then I realize that almost everyone is setting off the metal detector and no one is getting heavily screened. Not a great way of making me feel comfortable, especially since I was flying on the day of the Rapture (ok give me a little slack—this wouldn’t be a proper blog post without a Rapture reference, no?). Seriously, though, someone should take a look at this…

ChocoTorta and other Sweet Things
Argentinians are the self-reported greatest per-capita consumers of candies, cakes and sweet-things of all varieties. I got the chance to watch Rojo Tango (a pretty entertaining tango show in the home of tango), and tasted their “National Cake” called ChocoTorta. Freaking Awesome!

Overall, an amazing experience, and I brought some ChocoTorta home for the folks back at the office of course

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This post was written by David Selinger

ABOUT David Selinger
David is CEO and founder of RichRelevance. He first garnered international recognition as an expert in the field of eCommerce data analytics and personalization with his groundbreaking work leading the research and development arm of Amazon’s Data Mining and Personalization team. In that role, David increased Amazon’s annual profit by over $50 million (25% of US profit, 2003) setting the industry standard for recommendation services. To view David's full profile, click here.
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