A Travellerspoint blog

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Horseback Riding through the Andes

Horseback riding through the Andes Mountains at Cascada de las Animas couldn’t have been more perfect. The breathtaking view was incredible-this was truly a once in a lifetime experience!!!!
Cascada de las Animas!

Cascada de las Animas!


Cascada de las Animas owns 80 horses, all of which are experts at navigating the rocky and steep mountain slopes. We began our horseback riding journey at the stables, where to no surprise a bunch of dogs were frolicking in a mountain of horse manure. Upon saddling up, we were ready to hit the trail! Our two hour trail ride began with trip up the steep and narrow mountain side where we went through small pools of water and over rocks. While heading up the mountain, there was the gorgeous view of bright green fields and orange and yellow trees below. Surrounding us were the big brown mountain peaks of the Andes and we could see the snow covered caps in the distance. It was unlike anything we had ever seen before. The further we got up the mountain, the cooler the temperature dropped. The cool and refreshing wind only added to the experience, and it was so nice to be completely surrounded by nature. After surviving the climb, we reached a flat area, giving the horses a chance to rest as well as us the opportunity to get some great photos.
The lone horseback riders!

The lone horseback riders!


Josh on horseback

Josh on horseback


The relaxing ride became slightly terrifying as we began our downward descent. Being close to the edge of the cliff was nerve-racking, and every time our horses slipped on a rock, our hearts went racing. Although it was a little scary, we were in good hands. The ability of the horses is amazing and our tour guides were very good at comforting the group and assuring us that we would be fine. Reaching the stables again came with mixed feelings. It was a relief to have survived the ride, but sad to know we were done with the amazing horse ride. It was an experience we will never forget. It is experiences such as this one that remind you to take the time to appreciate the beauty of nature. Being surrounded by immense mountain peaks on all sides reminded me of just how small and insignificant I am in the scheme of things. There is so much beauty and wonder out in the world, and being exposed to the beauty of the Andes makes me want to keep exploring the world until I can see all I can see!!

Posted by fellows13 16:58 Comments (0)

El Mercurio

The Value of Tradition

Our last corporate visit was this afternoon at El Mercurio. It was incredibly different than this morning at Terra, from the physical facilities to the overall company culture. After going through security, we entered what looked more like a college campus than a newspaper company. We finally met our two hosts: Señor Robert Massiff, Vice President of Sales for El Mercurio, and Señor Jose Louis, an Executive Editor at the newspaper. They made the presentation very interesting due to their obvious knowledge and passion for the company.

Tough security at El Mercurio

Tough security at El Mercurio

El Mercurio is the oldest Spanish newspaper still running and has managed to remain the leader in both sales and circulation. It is renowned as the most influential paper in Chile. The differentiator, and competitive advantage, between El Mercurio and its competitors is the newspaper’s traditions and strong leadership. This surprised our group. Wasn’t newspaper a dying medium because the younger generations don’t appreciate many of these “traditions?” Apparently many Latin American countries, including Chile, are not plagued by the downturn in newspaper usage like the United States struggles with. In fact, part of El Mercurio’s success is due to the man, Senor Agustin Edwards Eastman, behind the paper. In Chile, people want to know who is behind the company. Since Chileans place such great importance on the family unit, they favor this family run business and its respected name. As a result, El Mercurio has an influence many other newspapers lack.

Newspaper

Newspaper

The strong leadership of Senor Edwards also positively impacts employee performance. We could hear it in their voices as Senor Massiff and Senor Jose Louis spoke about El Mercurio: they exude passionate for this company. Moreover, they greatly respect Senor Edwards for his intelligence, undeniable industry experience and deep understanding of the El Mercurio brand. Having the trust and respect of both its readers and employees provides El Mercurio a sustainable competitive advantage that will prove hard to match.

Before leaving, we had the unique opportunity to tour El Mercurio's printing and operations facilities. We had no idea how much high tech machinery was required to produce a newspaper, or hundreds of thousands for that matter. Overall, our group gained broad knowledge about the telecommunication industry in today's corporate visits.

Old and new printing press

Old and new printing press

Group Picture

Group Picture

Posted by fellows13 16:04 Comments (0)

Terra

Social Media and Free Swag!!

Our corporate visits today were both to companies in the communication industry and we learned quite a bit about the challenges and opportunities that are created with the development of new technologies and the increased presence of social media. Our first stop of the day was Universidad Mayor, where we heard from Terra’s Mobile and Social Media Editor, Anita Arriagoda. Although it was an early and chilly morning, Senora Arriagoda’s bubbly and energetic personality woke us up quickly. Before ever visiting the Terra office, it was easy to see that the company is fun, dynamic, and trendy, and thus attracts a young crowd of consumers. The office is colorful and modern, and employees were dressed casually in jeans rather than suits. The look and feel of Terra is very similar to that of advertising agencies here in the U.S., minus the view of the gorgeous Santiago skyline and Andes Mountains.

Terra

Terra

Senora Arriagoda provided us with much information on the company, as well as data on the rapid growth of the internet, mobile, and social media industries. Terra is an online internet platform that provides various niche portals in areas such as news, sports, entertainment, and life & style. Internet use is growing in Chile, and out of all the users connected to the internet in Chile, 50.3% use Terra. The company secures an average of 103 million page views each month. Each of its niche portals have high monthly visitor counts as well as percent reach. In addition, Terra provides consumers with other services such as Terra TV, which streams different TV shows and channels on demand, much like the popular website Hulu in the U.S. Another Terra product is Sonora, which gives consumers the opportunity to pay a monthly fee in order to access free music downloads as well as online radio access.

Sports Broadcasters!

Sports Broadcasters!

As an expert in mobile and social media services, Senora Arriagoda provided us with much information over these two Terra services. With smartphone and tablet use in Latin America increasing, Terra is working hard to provide consumers with the best mobile applications and websites. On average, 1700 different devices access mobile Terra content each month, and 91% of these views are generated from iPads. The number of mobile users grew by 517% in 2011. With this rapid growth comes challenges such as ensuring that Terra provides all mobile users high quality services regardless of their phone type and screen size. There may be many challenges as Terra enters this new market, but they have managed to create a competitive edge for themselves through the implementation of new technologies for consumers to use. For example, Terra is the first Latin American company to integrate its content with Facebook. In addition, for the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Terra has secured the rights to stream the Olympic Games on its website. The cool part about this service is that 36 games can be played on the same screen at the same time. This is the first time a service like this has been offered, and to our dismay, it is only available to Latin American nations. This project will help to spread the name of Terra, by giving consumers the neat opportunity to watch multiple events at a time on demand, thus improving their Olympic watching experience.

Our fun visit to Terra ended with some delicious fruit juice and cookies as well as a wonderful goody bag filled with Terra swag.

Posted by fellows13 16:03 Comments (0)

Awkward Encounter

Interview = epic fail

Attempt one at interviewing a native Chilean did not go as planned. Although he spoke a little English, he did not understand exactly what we were asking of him. This was equally our fault for not being able to communicate in his native language. We explained that we are students in Chile for international business and just want to ask a few questions about life and business in Chile. His answer to all of our questions (ranging from "Were you born here?", "Have you worked in Chile all your life?" and even "Do you notice a difference between Americans and Chileans?") was "Business in Chile is centered around tourism, minerals, wine, farming and fish." We nodded and asked at least five more questions and each earned the same response "tourism, minerals, wine, farming and fish. While we gained little new knowledge from this interview attempt, at least we know we have been visiting all the right places! Wish us luck on our next attempt!

Click to view our latest pictures from Santiago!

Posted by fellows13 21:14 Comments (0)

Entel

Mobile

Admittedly, it’s difficult to beat the experience at Fundacíon Origen earlier today. However, we’re here to mix business with pleasure. Our mission to understand how business is conducted across industries in another cultural setting continued with a visit to Entel, Chile’s leading telecommunications company. There’s something to be said about Entel’s tagline: “vivir major conecatado” or “be better connected.” Albeit a stretch of the meanings, there’s a parallel between Entel’s mission and our sense of duty as Neeley Fellows. Entel’s slogan describes what this program has been designed to accomplish—to give individuals the opportunity to become more aware of and familiar with the larger world around them, and the role of corporations and opportunities provided by them within that world. It’s bigger than Fort Worth. It’s bigger than Texas. There’s more to business than just the American model, and we’re starting to truly see that.

Entel

Entel

Like all businesses, Entel possesses many strengths that are indicative of a promising future, and some challenges that are going to require innovation in order to overcome and remain competitive. For instance, according to consumers Entel is the most respected brand of telecommunications in Chile in terms of quality, advanced technology, customer service, innovations, pioneering cell phones, etc. This certainly aids in penetrating an increasingly extensive mobile network. Other positive notes include “Todo Chile Comunicado”—an initiative to provide 3 million people in 1400 rural areas (which are areas with little population density and are usually not of much economic interest) access and connectivity—a project that is mutually beneficial for both Entel (the opportunity to expand) and the people of Chile (an improved standard of living facilitated by added communicative abilities and convenience). On a less optimistic note, Entel faces the challenge of converting prepaid customers (currently representing 72% of mobile customers) to contract customers (a stark contrast from the majority of U.S. cellular device consumers, which are mostly on contract). Evidently, people in Chile do not like to pay bills, and this is most likely due to the fact that much of the growth in mobile data is attributed to the youth. Other challenges include managing subsidies, dealing with plateau trends associated with landline markets, and providing ways to sustain growth of data as opposed to voice for mobile users.

Skyline

Skyline


On another note, a recurring question at many of our corporate visits thus far has been regarding the most recent earthquake and its effect on operations. It appears the consensus “loss/impact” (if any) for most companies came in the form of energy supply, certainly a relief for companies that many aspects of operations are at the mercy of and stand to be affected substantially by a major catastrophe.
Finally, we could not help but mention that we had another rare opportunity to test our lungs and touch the heavens today, traveling to the top of Entel’s cellular tower. The view from here is so inspiring…from here; you can see the pace of the world around you. See for yourself!
It’s certainly appropriate to say that after today, we are certainly better connected, thanks to Entel.
Y.O.L.O.C.!

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Don't fall, Josh!

Don't fall, Josh!

Posted by fellows13 17:01 Comments (0)

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