Cristobal Perdomo
IMPACT INVESTING

Cristobal Perdomo

#77

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Co-Founder and General Partner at Jaguar Ventures LP

CEOs don’t need to be paid the most – Cristobal Perdomo

“You really have to be very clear with who you aspire to be. If that’s not clear in your mind, it’s hard for me to believe you’re going to build a company.”

ABOUT

Entrepreneurship has been the constant in my life. Starting with my first venture at the age of 17, I’ve never stopped. I believe entrepreneurs are society’s engine of progress and that one idea partnered with unstoppable grit can change the world.

I’m a contrarian at heart. Taking the road less traveled and hard work can make all the difference. You cannot do what everybody does and expect different results. I studied and practiced law – becoming a partner at a law firm would have been the natural road to success. But it didn’t feel right, and I took a different path. I’m thankful for it every day.

I’m a resolute optimist. Things can be better, and we can make them better. Whether we think we can or think we cannot, we’re both right. It is our choice whether to focus on how everything can go wrong or on how we can improve our situation. This is the essential entrepreneur super power.

I love underdogs. It is easy to root for the perennial champion running with the wind at their back. It takes sinew to carry on when you know that victory is not only difficult buy highly improbable. This must explain my love for the Cubs and Cruz Azul ?

There is no success without some degree of luck. But it is not the ‘I won the lottery!’ kind of luck. It is the ‘I prepared so hard for this opportunity that when it knocks on my door, I’ll be ready’ kind of luck that matters. The more you put in the effort and put yourself out there, the luckier you’ll be.

Teamwork is the key to great achievements. The myth of the lonesome genius coming up with the breakthrough idea is only a myth. Long lasting success can only be built when you are able to convince those better than you to join your cause. My greatest achievement is the family I’ve built, and it is because I was able to convince a much better person than I to be my wife.

I encourage you to drink deeply from good books for I know no wise people who aren’t readers. If you’d like to know more about me, I sometimes share my thoughts with the world.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Cristobal Perdomo

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome, thank you very much for joining us today Cristobal. Very excited to have you today the way we like to start, we go right at it. But I’d love to learn a little bit more about your background, where you’ve come from. And, I know it’s pretty extensive, but throw a little bit about that and then where you’re at today. And then one thing about you no one will know.

Cristobal: Yeah, the first thing is, I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my life since I was 17 years old. I started off selling vacuum cleaners and I did that because I was extremely shy. I thought that calling people and selling vacuum cleaners would be pretty hard and that would make me break out so it thankfully worked. It made me much more social and that’s how I got started. Then, I did all sort of things. I had a video game Coinbase company. I had a nightclub for a few years and that’s where I figured out that it was much better doing big entrepreneurs than being a lawyer. i want to get back to that. So, I decided to go to business school thinking that there was this thing called the internet at the time and this is the late 90s. Everybody was talking about venture capital and I thought I was going to go to business school. People were going to be offering me jobs fulfilling venture capital left and right so when I got there, I said that that’s not the case. Nobody recruits for venture capital. Nobody used to recruit venture capital. So, I came out of business school. At the typical business school, we did consult then corporate jobs and basically forgot about doing venture capital. About 10 years ago, I started a company which we sold off and then I started a second company which I sold my stake to my partners and that’s where I met a venture capitalist. I thought this is what I want to do all along so it might be a good point to jump back. So that’s how I got started.

Jeffery: Awesome! Well, we’re going to dive more into how it’s working and all that good stuff, but one thing about you that nobody would know.

Cristobal: More than someone, something nobody would know is that once people know, it clicks for them. It’s how much reading I do. I typically read between 60 and 70 books a year. I rarely am without a book. No matter where I’m going, I always have a closed hand. But I love reading. People usually say it makes sense to have the personality for that. I love that I’ve never actually calculated how many books I read but I love that. I love content, taking in as much as I can everywhere. It allows you to bury your head and get into something else. I can have about 20 books going but it’s all good as long as I’m able to jump in and get a different experience. I think it probably matches. The same on your side. I used to do a lot of news reading or news consumption. I’ve stopped doing that. I think books allow you to have a much more longer-term perspective. Because if you’re just looking at news, you know everything changes every five minutes. They have to give you a new headline. I think you never get into any deep content, just little stuff. And I think that does that good. You can’t always follow along the whole storyline from beginning to end. It’s very choppy. You’re only getting tidbits of information and then you think the world’s warped because you never got the 12th word prior. That really matched up to why this says what it does and that’s the unfortunate part of news. And then you figure out that three years have gone by and very few little things of actual importance happened. And you were worried about 24 things in one day. So, it really puts things in perspective.

Jeffery: I like it. That’s very true. Well I’m going to have to go back to your background because I find it fascinating. All the great things you’ve done but the one that obviously stands out the most is Enron. So, I have to ask you were there, at the year that Enron went down, how much of a part did you play in this? I’m just kidding how much did you see here? I’m just fascinated.

Cristobal: The first person I’ve got to ask this question to experienced so much on it. In the sense that you realize if a couple of things had gone differently, Andrew would not be like a poster child company right like everybody would love Enron. It didn’t go right. I started working as a lawyer for them as an outside general counsel in Mexico. When they’re starting their approaches in the country. I was fascinated by them because they were incredibly competitive and incredibly cutting edge. For example, we had different enrollment entities clients right and I wasn’t allowed to share anything with another entity. That was just extreme competition, really Darwinian. I was really amazed by them. When I decided to go to business school, I asked them for a recommendation letter. They asked what I was going to do after that and I said I don’t know. But I’m sure I’m not going to go back to law. “Hey, we would love this. This different kind of background. So, we’d love to have you abo