Zig Zag is for Nuevo Conception

July 2nd, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

So I have a little confession to make…as I wrote The Zig Zag Principle, indeed I had great ambitions and interest in inspiring entrepreneurs and in providing a model for them. And the indeed it worked. I can say with boldness and with confidence that The Zig Zag Principle is a great business model for aspiring entrepreneurs.

I’ve been so thrilled and delighted with all the positive feedback that The Zig Zag Principle has received. Just last week I heard from a young man living in a small college town. He heard me speak and had the great idea to put together a business selling hotdogs and smoothies from a truck. He’s had so much revenue and success out of that, that he’s the rock star of the entire campus. Those stories delight me. I love to hear these stories.

But the stories that really rock my world are the stories that come out of third-world countries.

One and a half weeks ago I was in the Mayan highland jungles of Guatemala. We were a ten-hour ride from Guatemala City. We were basically out in the middle of nowhere, in a little village called Neuvo Conception. Here’s an amazing video created by one of the kids from the group.

As I spend time in that village, there was one individual that completely caught my attention–his name was Erwin Seirra. He is the agriculture field agent for Choice Humanitarian. Boy do they ever have a winner in Erwin. He optimizes the model of bootstrapping.

As we worked together and had a chance to talk throughout the week, I commented that all the work we were doing was really less effective than the impact and dialogue we were having with Erwin (including the mental and visual tools that he could use to change the entire paradigm of the village.)

You see us a foreigner going into a third-world country and giving them advice (if we could even communicate at all) is pretty meaningless.

Erwin however was respected.
He was handsome.
He was rugged.
He was incredibly intellectual.
He was a leader

As a matter of fact, I joked with Leah Barker, the SEO of Choice, if you ever don’t want Erwin–I’m hiring him. Indeed he was amazing. Plus, he was bootstrapping in every sense of the word.

Let me give you an example. He had solicited enough funds to buy a nice plot of land—a plot of this rich fertile Guatemalan soil. With that land he started raising cacao plants. Rather than wait until they matured to sell the cacao, he sold the plants. In that transaction he drove to profitability–his first zig.

His next step was that he brought in several workers, teaching them how to grow the plants and follow the steps.

The third zag is to begin growing the plants to maturity himself, so that he can begin producing this really rich, really refined high-end Mayan Cocoa (that’s something you’ll soon hear more about.)

I was able to sit and talk with Erwin for several hours as he was anxiously engaged via a translator. Erwin speaks Chickee, which is a native Mayan dialect (he also speaks Spanish.) Through a Spanish translator he was deeply interested and excited about The Zig Zag Principle.

I’m really excited to announce that during the coarse of a few hours we were able to go over the entire Zig Zag model. Erwin is living Zig Zag better than I’ve ever seen it executed. I’m excited to see these next phases and steps. I’m all in with Erwin. You’re going to hear and see more about Mayan cocoa, Guatemala, and Nuevo Conception in the weeks and months to come.

I need to tell you this: any impact we think we’re having with our little companies and businesses is great. It’s wonderful. It’s good. But when you’re working to carve out an education for your children’s hope or the ability to put meals on the table, it takes on a whole new definition.

I’m excited about the successes that have come for entrepreneurs here at home. But I’m absolutely ecstatic to hear when the zig zag principles are being applied in third world countries.

It’s what drives me.

It inspires me.

It passionately motivates me.

I look forward now to focusing my attention to on my education goal—the goal of educating 1000 young men and young women in third-world countries. And I invite you to join me in this wonderful quest of excitement. 

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