In April I had the opportunity to attend, speak at, and sponsor the third annual Hispanicize 2012 conference. The event has quickly grown into a premier conference for the new Hispanic social world – the intersection of business and Hispanic media, advertising, film, culture and social media. I have had the unique vantage point of having been intimately involved in the conference since its inception in Dallas back in April 2010 (originally billed the Hispanic PR and Social Media conference). 2012 was a real coming of age for the conference, with more than 700 attendees, 43 major brand sponsors, and four full days of presentations, panel discussions, and keynotes from thought leaders from around the Hispanic industry – including advertising, film, media, and brands.

In many ways Hispanicize has become the epicenter of Hispanic media and marketing innovation – an annual gathering of Hispanic social media leaders, brands investing in new ways to tap into the Latino market, and industry thought makers discussing the future of the business of Latinos, Inc.

Latinos, Inc. is the name of a seminal book published in 2001 by Arlene Dávila that provides an in-depth look at the history and state of Hispanic media and marketing and the corporate interests driving the very big business of media, marketing, and selling to Hispanics living in the US. The title encapsulates the large and powerful interests that have helped create a multibillion-dollar industry – namely the big media companies, the Hispanic advertising agencies, and corporations that drive the industry. Hispanicize 2012 got me thinking about the future of Latinos, Inc.

What impressed me the most about the 2012 Hispanicize conference was the people I had the chance to meet. At most marketing industry conferences you meet lots of industry types. Most are employees working at large brands, agencies, or media companies. But the crowd at Hispanicize 2012 was decidedly different. While there was a fair share of the aforementioned industry types, my anecdotal experience was that the majority of attendees were entrepreneurs. New media entrepreneurs – emprendedores – comprised of Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike who are passionate about their future vision of Latinos, Inc.

To give you a better sense of the emprendedores I met in and around Hispanicize 2012, most fit into one of the following categories:

  • Bloggers who were committed to making blogging their business
  • New media publishers – people launching some type of content play
  • Curators and aggregators
  • Hispanic content producers and creators – filmmakers, webisode producers, content creators

The commonality was that all these emprendedores were focused on the new media, content or creative platforms for engaging U.S. Hispanics. Interestingly, most were not focused on Spanish language, but instead the powerful and oft-discussed issue of culture.

As an entrepreneur, I understand the grim market reality that many of the emprendedores I met will not survive. However, the sheer number of them, and their passion, made me think they will have a huge affect on what Hispanic media and marketing will look like in the immediate future. They will change Latinos, Inc. in profound ways.

I’ve written about this before – particularly from the perspective of how the Hispanic media landscape will look radically different from the Univision-Telemundo or TV-Radio duopolies we’ve come to expect. Being the geek that I am, I got to thinking of a formula to illustrate the emprendedores impact on Latinos, Inc. I came up with the following formula:

(Growth in Hispanic population + digital technology) * # of emprendedores = fundamentally transformed Latinos, Inc.

I am very interested to see if my formula will turn out to be accurate. I’ll definitely be at Hispanicize 2013 to see firsthand.

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