Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Think Strategically: The Smell of Petrichor

By on March 28, 2018

Editor’s note: The following was originally published in the March 22-28 print edition of Caribbean Business.

SAN JUAN — Have you ever wondered why rain smells so good? Several scents are linked with rainfall that most people find pleasing. One of those odors is called “petrichor,” which lingers when rain falls after prolonged periods of dryness.

Petrichor was coined by two Australian scientists studying the smells of wet weather.

We reference this word with the odd but necessary firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was canned through a tweet from President Trump. One could smell the “petrichor” from Washington to the remotest regions of India, and saying that Tillerson had a tumultuous relationship with the President is putting it lightly.

Tillerson allegedly called the President “a moron” and never accepted or denied it.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was infamously fired by President Donald Trump via Twitter. (Susan Walsh, File/AP)

The New York Times, the Atlantic and Foreign Policy have rated him one of the worst secretaries of State in living memory.

The secretary of State was considered the most powerful cabinet post. Tillerson’s lack of understating of diplomacy and his overall management style did damage to the State Department up to the last generation. The State Department lost its glory, importance and some executives close to Tillerson, who felt his skill set was not adequate for the job.

As with many spectacular Washington “crash & burns,” his failure did not come from incompetence but rather from a secluded and cloaked management style that consolidated power into a few disliked and incompetent lieutenants, with a penchant for management style transformations and little knowledge of the actual work the nation’s top diplomat does.

However, no one serving any U.S. President, or any job, deserves to be fired via a tweet. The President shows little respect for the office or the nation itself, and creates the worst possible image outside the U.S.

The allure of the U.S. and why so many move there

Since the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, we have seen hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans move to the U.S. in unprecedented numbers.

According to the Puerto Rico Statistics Institute, by June 2018, up to 250,000 people will leave Puerto Rico, until the exodus begins to subside.

Puerto Rico governor reveals details on proposed tax reform, new incentive code

According to a report published Sept. 18, 2017, the Statistics Institute had forecast that Puerto Rico’s population decrease was to leave the island with 2.98 million by 2025. After the hurricane, we saw estimates placing population levels of 2.7 million to 2.08 million by 2025.

Every single year, millions of people from many countries around the world come to the United States. These visitors range from regular tourists to refugees escaping the realities of their countries. We wondered where most are coming from and why? During 2015, 8.5 million foreign tourists visited the U.S. on B1 and B2 visas, and these numbers do not include visitors from many European countries, Japan or Australia, who may enter the U.S. without a visa for three months.

The U.S. has all that Puerto Rico lacks in a diversified workplace, creating jobs by the hundreds of thousands every month. The U.S. is a broad economic representation that is appealing to talents worldwide.

Congress could assign over $2 billion in funds for Puerto Rico

The U.S. American dream is to aspire to high per capita income, a good lifestyle and inexpensive financing that provides access to homes, cars and major purchases. One of the best healthcare services in the world is accessible through Obamacare.

The U.S. is the world’s most attractive place in which to move. It is quite apparent our neighbors in Puerto Rico are looking for an improved way of life. There can be no decrease in this migration trend until the island supplies its citizens the opportunities available for them in the U.S.

Read the rest of this article in Caribbean Business’ epaper here.


Francisco Rodríguez-Castro, president & CEO of Birling Capital, has over 25 years of experience working with government, multinational, and public companies.

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