MC Don Dees posted recently, questioning Puerto Rico's ability (emphasis on businesses) to market effectively on the Internet using "Web 2.0" capabilities. He pointed at a cultural mismatch as being one of the root causes of slow (or no) adoption.
As I commented on his blog entry, I know that Puerto Rican businesses have a lot to learn about Web 1.0. In fact, if you have no website or email available for your business, regardless of the size, you are at level Web 0.0.
If Don Dees is right and it's cultural issues, perhaps it will be extremely difficult to find a way to adapt Web 1.0/2.0 for use in Puerto Rico. However, I don't think we've failed. I think we haven't started! We still need the early adopters.
Take Joel, for example (seen in the photo), founder of the Westside Investors Meetup group. Meetup.com is a Web 2.0 site designed to promote local interest group creation, finding, & joining. Joel is the only one within 50 miles of Cabo Rojo (00623) found on the site. For all of Puerto Rico, there are 11 groups listed, mostly on the East coast as we would expect for its pure population density if nothing else.
Joel is a very interesting example of the type of person it takes to get this whole process started. As it is clear from the photo he provided on the group, he likes technology. You can see that he has quite the setup at home with dual big screen monitors to monitor market information and make his trades, a small laptop I'll assume rarely leaves his side when outside of the office, and flat screen LCD overhead locked into his favorite business program. It looks like Joel is a day trader. And Joel is definitely the type of guy to find the benefits of Web 2.0 technology.
Joel's investment group is certainly not the only one that meets on the West Coast of Puerto Rico, but he IS the ONLY one that marketed his group on MeetUp.com, an absolutely fantastic site to find groups you might be interested in joining.
So thumbs up for Joel, one of Puerto Rico's early adopters. If you are interested in investments, I recommend you check out his group.
On the other hand, I was sad to see the recent launch of the "Enterprize PR" website (a group I admire for their efforts to identify & foster entrepreneurial activity in Puerto Rico) which appears to be created with some sort of Microsoft Office tool, reminding me of Frontpage, etc. There are so many different Content Management Systems available today, such as simple WordPress blogs (like this one) that could have given them a much better presentation, I wish they had gone that route instead.
I hope that more people like Joel simply start taking the lead in Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 technologies. Perhaps we can find out if there really are cultural barriers... and (if so) perhaps we can break through them.
If you know of others doing interesting things on the net (other than chatting on Facebook or mySpace), let me know.