Martin Varsavsky (Buenos Aires, 1960) is an entrepreneur of entrepreneurs such as Velazquez was the painter of painters. The interview that gives rise to this article travels between its offices in Alcobendas and his home in La Moraleja, one of the ecosystems favorite of the economic elite of madrid. That day, the storm Elsa has stolen the light and the sun. The cold and the rain to fall diagonally, like bishops, blown by winds, that carry needles of ice. The Home Vars —many things in the life of Martin, as those funds through which it invests, start with their last name— is a horizontal volume of glass, cement and wood. At times it is folded and stretched. A proposal, conceived in 2009 by the study aceboXalonso, between the brutalist architecture and the elegance of Frank Lloyd Wright. The space is spread over 1,200 square metres, two floors and a roof floor. All very Varsavsky. All with your voice.
—oh, Dad, dad, dad!
Ben, the youngest of their seven children, who has felt the key in the door, run toward his father, leaving behind a dump of plastic orange with the that plays. His mother, Nina Wiegand, lets you dash for the ramp of mahogany that makes aisle with the surrender of the lost causes. Ben will turn three next 24th of January and is fruit, the day, of the extreme cold. Born of sperm with frozen sperm and oocytes frozen from their parents. It is one of the last ventures of Varsavsky. Overture Life. A robot that lets you freeze the eggs and fertilize the embryos without almost any human intervention. In Silicon Valley —where the entrepreneur has lived for years— to this way of understanding a business is what they call dog food, dog food. Something like a taste of your own medicine.
semantics carried to the extreme when we speak of life and reproduction. Does the Petri dish to babies in design? “If it means that you're going to be able to choose an embryo that does not have a genetic disease such as Pearson, in which there has not been a child with this syndrome who has lived more than seven years; I, to that, I don't call babies design, I define it as help society, to help people not go through such a terrible experience as having a son condemned to death,” he argues.
Varsavsky speaks of the end of days. As any great entrepreneur is obsessive and driven to despair with the low birth rate in the world. “20 years ago I wanted to know the current king emeritus. And I asked: ‘What is the biggest problem of Spain?’ I said the strike of the bellies. No one here has children. You are going to be without subjects.” ‘No one ever told me that before,’ I answered”.
The value of the wordSanti Burgos
This is Martin Varsavsky. Throws phrases that open up as the icy wind between the trees. Know the language of money. Your chain of fertility centers Prelude Fertility (whose technique was also used in the conception of Ben, is the first in the united States. Thanks, especially, to the word, not the technology. “I got to raise 100 million dollars with a phrase: ‘The sex is great but not in order to have babies’,” she said. It is a simplification and it is your personal marketing but you have to take very seriously someone who sold the portal Ya.com, a subsidiary of Jazztel, for 550 million euros in September 2000 to Deutsche Telekom. In addition, it gave exit to the own Jazztel and participated on Tumblr, which ended up in the hands of Yahoo for about 1,000 million dollars. Also created Viatel, Eolia Renovables and the technological Fon. Since then, neither undertake nor investing is bad. Has supported five companies —Viatel, Tumblr, 33andMe, Fon and Jazztel— that reached the category of unicorns. Companies valued at more than 1,000 million dollars, in the jargon of the money. On another scale, in Spain, your money has supported to Be, Digg, Hypertext, Complainant or Todoexpertos. “If you ask me the difference between now and when I started, is that today, if I propose an idea, listen to it and support it,” says Varsavsky. A difference can be a whole life and the toll between success and failure. What a run for the money? “You don't kidding!”, he exclaims.
Varsavsky has taught at the business schools of Columbia, in the Instituto de Empresa (IE) and at the University of New York. Training centers that some scholars criticize them because their students seem to have learned only to make money and have forgotten that annoying word that is ‘society’. “I teach to transform an idea into a company. Do I have students mercenaries that all they want is to earn money? Are there entrepreneurs mercenaries? Yes. In addition, I can think of some names, [not given]. Now. How the most successful entrepreneurs in the world are entrepreneurs mercenaries? Don't kidding!”, defends. “I have had many talks with Jeff Bezos [founder of Amazon and one of the richest people in the world], and not once have we ever talked about money; we have talked about the Internet of Things, space exploration, of science, of the problems of the society. I've been with Amancio Ortega, and is not interested in the money. I know people will not believe me”. It will be by the reality.
the same week of The interview, and of these words, inequality, and lack of future have led to the anger, to shock and to the streets, the young chileans, argentines, bolivians.
— If this question is a critique of the entrepreneurs chileans, argentines or brazilians, I totally agree. In general it is surprising how little the employers by the society.
Ben, which in Hebrew means “son” —Varsavsky, although it does not follow the teachings of the Torah, is jewish, finds the arms of his mother. Is nervous. That night, the family travels to San Jose (Uruguay) for Christmas. The bags run tidy on the second floor. Will all the children of Martin (Alexa, Isa, Tom, Leo, Mia, David and Ben), and many of the great problems of our time. “We have the habit of discussing them on the table,” he says. Maybe talk about 427.000 million dollars (382.000 million euros) the united States dedicated to philanthropy. An activity between day and night. “I don't like that religious organizations will be able to deduct the money of the contributions. There I have a problem. Because many of these associations or religions are political activists. The re-election of Donald Trump as president of the united States has quite a bit to do with the gospel”, he criticizes.
Then, maybe talk about the new business of his father: Goggo Network. A company of management of fleets of autonomous cars that wants to establish in Europe a standard similar to that was the GSM on the phone world. In the past month, managed to raise eur 44 million in a round of financing in the qeu participated in the japanese group SoftBank, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures. But that is the only figure. Does not give any number more. Or the money invested by each partner, or the distribution of the capital or the valuation of the company. “I can say that SoftBank is a minority and who the majority shareholders are the european partners,” he says. “It is a company rising and it is difficult to talk about how much it is worth, better to talk about what you do.” And what does he do? Try to succeed in an industry in which the vehicle each time will have less weight and will have more management of your intelligence. A change that, in Spain, where 14% of its GDP in 2018 proceeded in the automotive sector, has severe consequences. And risks. “One of them is that Google is [that it began operating last November with its subsidiary Waymo] and Baidu will stay with this market,” warns the entrepreneur of argentine origin. “Every time a technology company fails they say: Oh, you failed! And do not realize that Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook or Netflix are taking the cake from all around the world. It is enough to say that technology companies fail. The problem is that succeed wildly! There are few that fail,” he emphasizes.
The sky opens over the Home Vars. And the day, for an instant, recovers the tranquility of the autumn.
—you May succeed because they have become continent economic and political. Elizabeth Warren, democratic candidate to the White House, proposes trocearlas.
“I don't agree, but I'm in favor of banning the technology to do certain type of activities in which clearly the consumers we harmed. For example, it is inadmissible that the advertising of the means of communication have been Facebook and Google,” he says. “And also what it is that we have allowed them to create holes tax for which [the great groups technology] take all the money without paying taxes. Citizens, we have Governments, we have to cover those cracks.”
Ben is tired but has to go out to eat. Awaits a travel 9,900 miles to San Jose. Happy on the arms of his mother dismisses the photographer and the journalist with a slap on the hand. “It hits!” One day their parents will tell how he came to this era of technology, and inequality. Maybe you will feel optimistic and already have read the verses of Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012). “The life in the earth comes out pretty cheap. For the dreams, for example, do not pay a penny”.
outside, the storm Elsa calmed down and Varsavsky, insurance, will continue dreaming of companies under any time and adversity of the weather.
Picasso, Rubens and a Ford Fiesta-red
The Ford Fiesta red, Santi Burgos, author of the photographs in this report, it has 285.000 miles. Its glory days were in the 90's. But still carries stories. This can be one of the last. Take from their offices to their home in La Moraleja, inlaid in the front passenger seat, the philanthropist, mogul and cover of Forbes Martin Varsavsky, a friend of Sergey Brin (cofounder of Google), Jeff Bezos (owner of Amazon) or former president Bill Clinton. The idea is to get to know and photograph your art collection. Picasso, Ed Ruscha, Rubens (workshop), Eric Fischl, Joaquín Torres García, drawings italians of the SEVENTEENTH century, Lolo Soldevilla, Degas, Chillida, Sol LeWitt. A passion inherited her grandmother Prays, who created the gallery of Galatea in the Buenos Aires of the 60s.. The Moral is a Rubik's cube of roundabouts and travel for them, a territory without a map. It takes time and the small Ford Fiesta imposes its intimacy.
— do Not believe that the entrepreneur has many similarities with an artist? Is someone who understand your time is well ahead of him.
— Yes... But regarding your question [bears mulling from the beginning of the conversation] I will tell you that entrepreneurs are not moved by the money. However, we agree that not having money is a problem in life.
One of her three dogs jump to their encounter when Varsavsky floor of the car at the door of his house. Within —and before— there will be images and words. About the millions of dollars in losses of Uber and WeWork. “What are companies false as the false news that announces Donald Trump? No. What are cost-effective? Today, either. Do they add value? I think that yes”. On the emptying of Europe. “In Spain they talk about the independence of Catalonia, the Basque Country... But if you study the pyramid of population it will not be anyone! I will not be basque or pro-independence, or Catalan!”. On the weather emergency. “I have the idea —I have not yet developed— to use the Antarctic as an accumulator of water, which would prevent the sea level rise, from a system of nuclear power plants”. And on a moral challenge. How to be a mother is a life circumstance or a right? “All the people who want to be parents should be able to be”, defends the entrepreneur, who promotes the business of fertility. Selfish, in 2020 only wants to address their prayers.