The Tech Legacy of Obama's Ambassador in Spain
James Costos arrived in Madrid in September 2013 to be the new US Ambassador for Spain. It was a delicate moment, in which many European countries were worried about the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal and allegations that the NSA had spied on the communications of millions of Spaniards.
But Costos managed to solve this issue with ability and refocus on what Barack Obama expected from his diplomats: “Work relationships on all levels; open the doors to your home and let the people in.”
As a former HBO executive with a lot of experience in the private sector, the new US ambassador turned the Embassy into a springboard for young people with an entrepreneurial spirit, reports El País.
“What can I do to help?” asked Costos to a group of Madrid entrepeneurs in a business breakfast in 2014.
His guests asked him to help them gain access to US-based contacts, talent, investors and successful startups. They also asked for help in educating the Spanish establishment about the importance of the entrepreneurial culture. They spoke about generating “intimate” networking activities that would take place behind closed doors, without official interference. And where everyone would be equal.
In June 2015, Costos launched an event called Incubed (IN3) in which innovators, investors and institutions would meet to network and exchange ideas. “You said you wanted access to Silicon Valley,” Costos told them. “Well, I have brought Silicon Valley to you.”
A year and a half has gone by, and the ambassador is getting ready to leave his post. Put the Spanish entrepeneur ecosystem will keep him in mind.
As reported in El País (in English).