This week has been sheer hard work and action-packed from 7:30am to about 9:00pm at night. I work with the same intensity as if I were in a start-up company, nights and weekends too.

Sample tasks: [1] setting appointments and tours for all English-speaking clientele [2] designing and placing ad boxes and maps in all the hotels, ensuring their visibility, aesthetic and their orderliness [3] discussing the management of restaurants, cafes, hotels and museums about logistics to include a sales point in their lobby for products [4] internal administration, new strategies, and getting permission from the right authorities [5] checking up and building previous clientele relationships [6] making sure the new posters are printed and hung in strategic locations [7] translated/taught a morning course [8] bringing boxes of goods to the hotels and greeting various partners to let them know they are valuable to us.


I’ve noticed that in the mornings I do something that is quite rare around here. I write a list of most crucial priorities to achieve our target sales goals, and that short list allows me to focus and say “no” to several other tasks. That doesn’t exactly make me easy to work with in the cooperative. In fact, compared to the relatively moderate work pace of Chiapanecos, I could imagine that certain associates find me unusually demanding, that I ask people to finish things under pressure, and it’s not at all glamorous pounding the pavement to ask people one by one to come participate and become enamored by our artisan guild. While our backstory is legendary and our bookarts and posters are exquisitely gorgeous, the reality of operations is that it’s not pleasant to achieve a sustainable business… it takes deliberate execution, but it has its very positive results.

On the warm sunny days, we increase our sales average by 500% to 800% and we’ve got little “stores” in the premium hotels, and without rent or risk, they’ve actually increased our visibility index, and it’s a great first-contact point for potential clients.


My work tends to be completely invisible to (thus, mostly unappreciated or even noticed by) my colleagues. To Mayans, it’s impossible to quantify efforts that have no tangible quality to them. It isn’t artisan production, rather: building trustworthy relationships, making sure things happen on time, making sure promises are kept, persuading tour guides and Spanish schools. The stuff of emotion and reputation are not constructed by hands, but with the heart and mind.

The thing that keeps me going, though, is the understanding that what we build may not be embraced or appreciated, but it improves the lot of the poor. And the following:

I cannot do everything, but I still can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.


Spanish Words of the Day:desapercibido” unnoticed | “pritt” gluestick | “desatar” untie, unleash | “reñir” argue, scold, reprimand | “hemanastros” sisterhood