Local Founder Dan McGaw Chosen as U.S. Entrepreneurship Ambassador
Orlando digital marketing expert Dan McGaw, founder of Fuelzee and AmazingCorps and co-founder of StarterStudio, was recently chosen by the U.S. Consulate in Mexico as as Ambassador for Entrepreneurship at ExpoTech 2015, a technology and entrepreneurship conference in Tijuana, Mexico. Along with the keynote address, McGaw gave six presentations on marketing and entrepreneurship as well as consulting work for the Tijuana Economic Development Commission.
We caught up with McGaw to learn about the Tijuana startup scene and if he got to use his favorite word during the presentations.
OTA: First question, how did this even happen?
McGaw: I’ve been speaking with Mindhub marketer David Peguero [Mindhub is a coworking space in Tijuana’s financial district] on Twitter for a while now about a site I’m creating called Monetyze.me, and during our conversations he talked about entrepreneurship is exploding in Tijuana and told me about some upcoming events he’d love me to be at. David introduced me to the U.S. Consulate, they liked my background and invited me to come down as an ambassador for entrepreneurship.
Wow, what was your reaction?
Honestly I really didn’t think it was true, I was blow away. Now that I went, I have been extremely humbled by my experience and look forward to coming back in the future.
This is your first time presenting to an international audience, how was the audience different than groups you’ve presented to in the states?
I would have to say how incredibly engaged the university students were, I was blown away. They had really great questions throughout, they laughed at every joke, and I’ve never had so many people ask for my business card afterward, they were like, “We’re so f***’ing excited you’re here.” It was awesome.
What differences did you see between the Tijuana startup culture and here in Orlando?
The biggest was lack of exposure, some of the companies they’re creating there were ones we created here 10 years ago. But the design talent, the development talent, it’s the same. At MindHub, they have big clients like Fandango, and hanging out with their team was like being at Envy Labs except everybody spoke Spanish. The professionals I met are very talented, and I’ve already hired one to help Effin Amazing with marketing.
Two of your presentations were about how entrepreneurship was all about failing and getting over failure. How was that concept received in Mexico where culturally failure may not be perceived the same as the United States?
It was definitely interesting, something that people didn’t really understand at first. In Mexico, they have such a micro entrepreneurial culture, so many people own a tiny restaurant or chicken coop or grocery stand, and that supports their family. So there’s nothing really scalable, if you fail at one of those businesses, it could be devastating. So it was kind of eye opening to hear examples about how failure is okay, failing fast, so you can learn and make something successful, it’s a method. I got a ton of emails of people telling me about ideas they’ve had for years but were too afraid to start and how they’re not afraid to fail at it now, it was amazing.
Your digital marketing firm is called Effin Amazing and your love of explicatives is well known. Did you did you learn any Spanish curse words for your presentation?
Fortunately I already knew a few words, and they taught me some Spanish curse words which I’ve already forgotten, but the funny thing was I had a female and sign language translator, which were both new for me, so I was cautious of what I said. And apparently the Spanish word for Janky is the same as the American word.
Awesome, congrats and thanks for your time.