I knew it would be exciting to interview David Cancel and Elias Torres, the Latinx entrepreneurs behind Drift, a six-year old tech startup unicorn worth an estimated billon dollars. But what I didn’t realize was how much fun it would be!
The Puerto Rican/Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan duo sat down with Startup Cuba to talk about their roller-coaster journey through the alluring and crazy world of entrepreneurship. We got into what it means to be an immigrant entrepreneur, why being a Latinx entrepreneur gives them an advantage, and how other Latino startup founders can succeed in an environment that typically tends to look very different from them.
It’s important to understand the power of chemistry in any relationship, especially a business relationship that requires hard work, honest communication, and dedication…
David and Elias are sharp, experienced, and very inspiring. They shared super insightful and personal experiences to help us understand what it takes to be a successful Latinx entrepreneur, and also gave Ken and I some great tips to make our partnership stronger.
1. Up Level, Level Up
Expose yourself to people that are doing things and experiencing life at a level above what you want, and you’ll you get there before you know it. David, the CEO of Drift, reminds us that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So, to better yourself, spend time with people who have experiences you can observe and learn from. As human beings, we have to model somewhere. Engage with people a level up from you, then model your way there.
2. Chemistry Matters
Plenty of start-up founders fail as partners and it’s not because they’re not bright enough. It’s because they just couldn’t work together or figure things out as co-founders. It’s important to understand the power of chemistry in any relationship, especially a business relationship that requires hard work, honest communication, and dedication on a level unlike anything else.
Follow your instincts and weigh chemistry as you would other credentials in forming a partnership.
3. Your Strengths = Your Weaknesses
Know your strengths, but understand that your greatest strengths are also your weaknesses. Awareness of this is half the battle. Know when you need to either dial up or dial back your strength. If you don’t have awareness they will take over. Drift CTO, Elias can talk to anybody. He’s learned over the years when to dial it up and when to dial it down. David is an introvert so he’s learned to market and sell to be an effective CEO.
4. Stay Positive Every Day
Being a Latinx entrepreneur, or entrepreneur in general has many ups and downs. And while product and business are important, the exercise of managing your psychology is key. More than anything, it’s critical to wake up and focus on what’s going right and stay positive to keep flowing with that momentum every day.
5. Chase Your Own Version of Success!
The American Dream is very much alive. As Latinx entrepreneurs or anyone chasing dreams that are different from those of others around you (watch the video for David’s crabs-in-the-pot reference), you may experience pushback from those closest to you. Don’t be afraid to grow and define your own version of success. Life is always changing. Change and grow with it.