By Fareeda Ahmed
As the tenth and final week of my eMBA internship comes to a close, I am flooded with an emotional cocktail of enthusiasm, reflection, and gratitude.
For the past two-and-a-half months, I have been supporting Satellogic, Inc., a technology startup that promises to make significant waves in the satellite Earth Observation [EO] market with its proposed enhancements to existing technology. Sound unfamiliar? Good. It did for me too. I had no previous experience in aeronautics…or engineering…or working in South America (let alone in the mountains of Patagonia, where Satellogic is currently headquartered).
After 10 weeks of researching the satellite market, I have come away with a deeper understanding what EO means and what it can do – essentially satellite pictures of earth serve a variety of purposes, such as tracking deforestation, monitoring coastal safety, and lending imagery to news and media services.
I have come away with a deep and growing enthusiasm for the potential of this market. While I can’t give all the details away, suffice it to say Satellogic’s CEO Emiliano Kargieman has constructed a crack team, with whom it was a pleasure to work, and the growth of the market combined with the potential introduction of previously untapped markets – thanks to this new technology – promise to make Satellogic a leader in its space, and an inspiration to entrepreneurs in markets around the world. I am enthusiastic about the product, the team, and experience I have had here that is sadly drawing to a close.
The eMBA experience has proven enriching and enlightening to me, and beneficial and fulfilling for our client, based on their warm reception thus far to the work of me and my two eMBA colleagues (Eduardo Cajavilca and Jose Luis Tenorio de Figueiredo, the man of a thousand names, all of which I’m sure I’ve spelled correctly…). Now approaching the “peak” of the experience, there is an opportunity to look backwards on the project, the people, and the place that have coalesced these past several weeks and transformed so much in each other. Without getting too detailed, my top three reflective “take-aways” are:
1. Rethink the work/life balance, and consider that, especially in a startup environment, any split between work and life is an unnecessary gap, and even detrimental. Here, everything has blended beautifully; colleagues are friends and snowboard-mates; “work” dinners are nothing of the kind I have known before. Weekends are an opportunity to explore other facets of our team’s dynamics. A team so thoroughly intertwined is not overwhelming or all-consuming; rather, as illustrated by Satellogic, it can encourage deep trust between team-members, helping them towards the goal.
2. South America is a diverse and exciting place for new business. This was my first time in South America. I am astonished at the diversity that I did not in my ignorance recognize or appreciate. I anticipate many more exciting innovations to sprout from this multi-cultural, storied, and underacknowledged region of the world.
3. Winter in Patagonia is no joke. Seriously. This hemisphere is not kidding around.
I am immensely grateful to Endeavor, my aforementioned eMBA colleagues, and the Satellogic team for comprising the perfect storm of an exceptional summer/winter. There are few places more beautiful than San Carlos de Bariloche, even in the midst as it is of a near-constant dusting of ash thanks to a nearby Chilean volcano. Our office overlooks the beautiful Lake Nahuel Huapi, home of a mythical creature not unlike the Loch Ness Monster. The mountains that encase this lake have provided a beautiful backdrop that has certainly lent a generous amount of serenity, calm, and inspiration to our hard-working team.
Warm wishes for the Satellogic team in the fulfillment of this visionary venture.
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I have spent 9 weeks in Bariloche working with two other eMBAs (Jose Figueiredo & Fareeda Ahmed) on the market entry strategy for Satellogic, a venture that is proposing new and improved satellite services. Emiliano Kargieman, Satellogic founder, has compiled an amazing team that is focused on developing innovative technology in Argentina and offering it to the rest of world. Inspired by the team’s entrepreneurial drive, we set out to find the best strategy to compete with the current leading companies.
Our assignment has been more challenging than I initially expected, due to the complexity of the industry. However, overcoming these hurdles has taught me new business skills that can only be acquired in a startup environment. I couldn’t be more thankful to Endeavor and Emiliano for allowing me to be part of this breakthrough venture!
It’s wonderful to read about the different experiences of eMBAs in their respective projects. I’ve also had the pleasure to meet delightful people and discover the amazing city in which the project is based. With that in mind, the following is a list of 6 peculiar facts that make Bariloche and the Satellogic team of Winter 2011 an amazing experience!
1. Surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains and lakes, Bariloche is one of the best places to go skiing, hiking, kayaking. The summit of Cerro Campanario, a small mountain 20 minutes from the city center, was once voted by National Geographic as one of the “Top 10 Views of the World”
2. Silicon Valley startups are fueled by coffee and Red Bull, but the Satellogic team is fueled by yerba mate. Team members drink it all the time! Pipore is the brand of choice.
3. Lago Nahuel Huapi, the biggest lake in Bariloche, is filled with mysterious tales.
Similar to the Loch Ness in Scotland, Nahuel Huapi is believed to be inhabited by a Cretaceous monster, called Nahuelito. Some Barilochenses claim to have seen it.
Isla Huemul, the biggest island in Nahuel Huapi, contains remains of an atomic energy laboratory. In the 1940s, a German physicist claimed to know how to achieve nuclear fusion and convinced the Argentinian president to fund his research. After a few years of no apparent results, it was discovered that the physicist had tricked the president.
4. The Satellogic team is made up of people from different geographical backgrounds including: Argentina, England, Mexico, France, Portugal, and the U.S.
5. The delicious Argentinian beef offered at local restaurants have attracted some interesting figures: Butch Cassidy and his gang would frequent El Boliche Viejo; and Bill Clinton dined at El Patacon on his stop at Bariloche.
6. Due to the eruption of the Puyehue volcano in June, the city authorities have closed the airport all winter. Team members have used bus lines to travel between Bariloche and Buenos Aires. The 20 hour ride is actually quite nice since the Argentinian buses are very comfortable and the meals served during the trip are much better than airline meals.
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By Jose Figueiredo
I’m writing from San Carlos de Bariloche in Patagonia, the south of Argentina. Me and two other eMBAs, Fareeda and Eduardo, are helping an Argentinean entrepreneur develop a market entry strategy for a constellation of a new generation of satellites. Isn’t that incredible? Yes! So far, the project has been really awesome.
The entrepreneur, Emiliano Kargieman, has been amazing; he takes a ton of time with us to go through our analysis and conclusions. Every Friday, we have a long meeting together where he takes the time to discuss with us how to move forward. I am definitely learning a lot from him.
Apart from the project, the area is stunning. San Carlos de Bariloche is located on a lake surrounded by snowy mountains. Patagonia is also beautiful. We have been exploring its diverse beauty and adventures, traveling up to 2000 km during weekends to visit towns, sights, and attractions nestled in the Andes.
I am sure everybody says this, but: this is the best internship ever.