Are you smarter than a Colorado Rockies player?
This was the question posed today in my first Economics class! Apparently there is a test on economic concepts that was given to players of the Colorado Rockies baseball team here in Denver (this just may be a massive lie) and, in the spirit of the TV show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” our Econ Professor suggested maybe we would like to take it during our inaugural session. Just to see where we stand. Now, I don’t want to prejudge the economic smarts of a Colorado baseball player, but something about that suggestion gives me the impression our professor does not have very high expectations of us at this time. Then again, he is a huge Colorado Rockies fan (I know this because at least half of his anecdotes referred back to them) so maybe I’m wrong.
The next John Maynard Keynes?
On the subject of my professor, Mark Evers, I had heard he has somewhat of a reputation. Basically one student suggested he was so “on another level” (translation: super smart) when it came to Statistics (which he also teaches) that he had a hard time explaining it to people who are not on that level, and thus made the topic unnecessarily complicated, while another made a face when I mentioned his name and said something about “rambling”. I expected the worst but was very pleasantly surprised to find that while he does himself acknowledge a tendency to digress and also has an ability to speak incredibly fast, Prof. Evers is nonetheless a friendly, entertaining and informative teacher and my worst fears have not been realised. Yet.
On a separate note: This morning I left my house at 7.49am to catch the bus to a place called Lakewood, Colorado, to go to an interview for an internship with the Chamber of the Americas. Yet again, I fell back on my mantra “What you achieve is in direct proportion to what you attempt” (might seem obvious to some, but I find it an important and useful thing to remind myself of from time to time) as I forced myself out of bed long before my day would otherwise have required me to and onto a number 16 bus with the anticipation of changing buses three times over the course of a two hour period to get to my destination 11 miles away. Yes, public transport can be scary when you haven’t used it in a particular city before and you have somewhere to be in a defined period of time and you can’t remember what you are supposed to do to get the bus to stop (a bit like the movie Speed except not). But lo and behold, I pulled through, and made it to my interview.
A scene from the movie Speed, which is not a lot like my bus ride this morning.
The Chamber of the Americas is a not-for-profit organisation which helps connect US businesses with opportunities in South America, and South American businesses with opportunities in the US. At the heart it believes in the idea that increased trade is a win-win situation that results in greater development. Run by Gil Cisneros, a hugely-connected and, by all accounts, good-hearted businessman with decades of experience helping enterprises of all sizes make the connections and gather the know-how they need to succeed in trade and commerce within the Americas, the COTA is located in an unassuming little office opposite a Hooters restaurant in middle-of-nowhere Denver.
However, it’s location and exterior belie its international reach and agenda. For example, in October the COTA has a trade mission to Peru in its sights, which will see it lead business operators from the States to the South American country to network with Peruvian government officials, private sector stakeholders and learn about the opportunities that exist to expand their businesses and products into the growing Peruvian market. Most exciting of all, the Colorado business owners will have dinner with none other than Ollanta Humala, the President of Peru, himself!
Who would have thought one little office in Lakewood, Colorado, would be doing such big things. As it turns out, I will now, among other things, be helping COTA promote their work, in order to ensure that more people hear about the opportunities they provide both in terms of networking within the US, through trade missions to South and Central America, online and through capacity building seminars, workshops and consulting here in Denver.
More on that later, Chicos. I will leave you with this picture I took in Peru this summer just because the view is too beautiful not to share (Machu Picchu is beyond that valley):