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So many events!


One of the things I like the most about being a Harvard Fellow is that I get to attend SO many amazing events! The problem is that as wonderful as they are, it takes a lot of time, so I can’t keep up with my blogging.

Some events I’ve attended (or I wanted to but couldn’t at the last minute, so I watched the recording) lately include:

  • Announcement of the President’s Innovation Challenge (where I’m a judge) finalists
  • Lectures on LLMs, Hackers (by Bruce Schneier!), network effects (by James Currier)…
  • Documentary screening with authors participating as panelists, such as “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales” at the Kennedy School
  • Showcase of Undergrad research projects
  • iLabs’ workshops on Validation of User Demand, Business Models, Fund Raising…
  • Harvard-MIT Explorer series

Added bonus: in some cases, there’s swag, and the food is awesome. I mean togarashi popcorn, vegan chocolate peanutbutter bars, and vegan avocado truffles!
Here are some pictures.

Selfness according to ChatGPT

In 2005 I gave a talk at a Linux conference in Madrid (in Spanish) and a similar one a year later at the Hackers On Planet Earth 6 congress in New York (in English available also for purchase and for free) about a concept I called ‘Selfness’. 18 years later, an attendee writes me to tell me he has asked ChatGPT about it…

My copyleft and anti-censorship days were very active and intense. Thousands attended the over 100 lectures and talks I gave on the topic (from Stanford and Harvard to Madrid and Oslo), and my work has been cited in papers and books. What I was not expecting is that 18 years later someone (thank you very much, Robert) was not only still thinking about it, but decided to ask OpenAI’s chatbot built on top of the large language model GPT-3 “Artificial Intelligence” ChatGPT about it.

English translation:

Suidad (Selfness) is an idea proposed by Jorge Cortell, who seeks to create a new form of intellectual property in which intellectual works, such as books, music, movies, software, among others, can be freely shared without having to worry about copyright. The idea is that knowledge and information should be freely accessible to all, and that the restriction of copyright has a negative effect on society. Suidad (Selfness) focuses on creating a system in which creators can be rewarded in other ways, such as through direct financial support from the community or through exposure and promotion of their work. This is expected to promote creativity and critical thinking, as people will have access to a greater amount of information and resources. However, it is important to mention that suidad is a new concept and not legally established anywhere, and its practical application requires further study and discussion. In addition, there are many unanswered questions about how exactly a suidad system would work and how legal and financial problems could be resolved.

On the one hand, it’s amazing that without many online resources still available discussing Selfness, ChatGPT was able to grasp some of the general concepts and debates around it, and present it in an articulate way.

On the other hand, in its text, ChatGPT discusses the idea of ‘Copyleft’, not ‘Selfness’. Selfness goes well beyond the mere legal and economical debate around copyright-copyleft, and pursues the self-determination of creative works.

Now that I’m a Fellow at Harvard and have a little free time, perhaps it’s time I finish the book I started on the subject, so the original intent of the concept, with its far-reaching implications, is properly understood by future generations.

Harvard basketball, snow, and Framework laptop

Attending a Harvard Men’s Basketball game, finally joining Harvard Athletics, first real snow, and putting together my awesome new Framework laptop:

After a few days in Spain, celebrating the Winter solstice with family and friends (as always with very balmy weather and delicious food), when we returned to Cambridge we went to cheer for #onecrimson, watching the Harvard Men’s Basketball team beat Columbia at the Lavietes Pavilion with a very disciplined and consistent play style.

Talking about basketball, I finally had enough time to sign up for Harvard Athletics and start enjoying some of its amazing sports facilities (gyms, swimming pools, and basketball courts). Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt lived at the building now hosting the Malkin Athletic Center? Or that Barak Obama used to play basketball at the Hemenway Gymnasium?

On January 16th we finally got our first real snow, with nice accumulation, so we went out for a walk and built a snowman.

But the most interesting event of the month has been receiving my brand new Framework Laptop (12th gen Intel core, DIY edition). With its expansion cards, where you slide in and out selected modules/ports (like ethernet, HDMI, USB-C/A, microSD, SSD, etc.), hardware switches for the camera and microphone, great built quality, and repairability, it was an obvious choice to replace my failing Dell XPS13. So far I’ve been using it for a few days, and except for having to mess with the BIOS Secure Boot to install GNU-Linux as OS, I must say I’m more than happy with it!

Here are some photos.

Celebrating the Harvard Innovation Labs Gong-a-thon

The Harvard Innovation Labs invited me to join their annual Gong-a-thon celebration, held at the Queen’s Head Pub, where different teams share the joy of their progress, learnings, and the whole community enjoys food and fun.

It was very enjoyable, and a wonderful opportunity to catch up in a very enjoyable social setting. Thank you!

Invited to judge startup projects for the Field X Pitch Day

I had the honor to be invited by Professor Randolph Cohen to judge Field X student startup project pitches at Harvard Business School. It was fascinating to see all those talented students pitch their project. While most were very early on, barely more than an idea, some had a lot of potential and very motivated teams behind it.

Thank you for the opportunity, and best of luck to all of you!

Concert, lecture, lunch, office hours, game

Sanders Theater

On Monday, October 31st, I attended a chamber music concert by Howard Skempton, marking his 75th birthday with Carson Cooman on piano/organ, and David von Behren on violin, at Harvard’s Memorial Church. Honestly, more impressive than the music, is the sad memorial of the long list of students that lost their lives fighting in WWII. Then again, the USA population was mostly spared from the horrors that Europe brought unto itself. But I guess that wasn’t enough to learn, and here we are, not even a century later, fooling around with fascism again. Will we ever learn?

That’s the question I asked myself as I walked down the main corridor of Harvard Law School, where I had lunch with Harvard neighbors friends. All those state men, brilliant people that made history, warning us to keep fighting and not take anything for granted. Because, yes, it can also happen here. Or rather, it is also happening here.

On a lighter note, a day after my Expert in Residence office hours at the Harvard Innovation Labs on Wednesday, I attended an Entrepreneurship class by Prof. John Boyce at the Sanders theater (it was the only way to catch him, Prof. Paul Bottino and Prof. David Weitz at the same time). It’s almost hard to concentrate while sitting on the oak benches that host 1,000 students. The last time I attended a class there, I was an undergrad student, and we were discussing Metaphysics. How things change!

On Friday I took my daughter to a high school football game, and on Saturday to the Harvard vs Columbia game. We keep making the same rookie mistake: showing up early, getting tired, and leaving in the last quarter right before the game takes a dramatic turn. I guess the pros show up at half-time, and the hardcore fans stick it up all the way ‘til the end. Lesson learned.

Office Hours and Reception at Harvard, and Workshop at MIT

EiR at iLabs

On Tuesday I was invited to attend a Workshop at MIT, held office hours for students at the Harvard Innovation Labs, and attended a Reception at Harvard… all before heading to the airport to fly to London!

First, I attended the MIT Digital and Strategy Conference Workshop, organized by the MIT Startup Exchange and the ILP.

Then I walked across town and across the river to the Harvard Innovation Labs for my office hours appointment, as Expert in Residence, with several students. It’s always refreshing and fascinating to listen to such bright (and privileged) individuals and to feel their enthusiasm. Always a pleasure to give back, in this case advice from my decades of experience.

Then, I rushed across the river again to attend the Harvard University ‘Welcome Reception for International Scholars’ at the Richard A. & Susan F. Smith Campus Center. So many scholars from all over the world! It was truly amazing.

With no time to waste, my wife took me to the airport to catch a flight to London. Quite a busy day!

Here are some photographs.

First days of Harvard life


Post originally posted here.

Almost a month after we moved to Cambridge, MA (USA) to start my appointment as Innovation Fellow at Harvard University, we can finally say we’ve gotten into the rhythm.

In a post in my Harvard Blog I listed some of the logistical steps we had to take in order to move and normalize our life in this side of the Atlantic.

After that, this first few weeks have been about getting familiarized with the environment (classes, supermarkets, transportation, schedules, etc). For that, we took long walks around campus. Fortunately, we live by the Charles River, next to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, so it’s all within comfortable walking distance.

Of course, we paid particular attention to libraries, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (both in Cambridge and Alston), Harvard Innovation Labs, classrooms, dining halls, ice cream parlors, etc.

Here are some photos.

We also attended the season’s opening (American) football game between Harvard and Merrimack at Harvard Stadium, which turns out to be the oldest collegiate stadium in the USA.

Photos of the game here.

Of course, as I remain a Venture Partner at NLC, I also attended in Boston a couple of events related to that work: a Technology Transfer event (AUTUM) and an Early Stage Investment Event (RESI).

Photos of the event.

So we can finally say we’re settled, which means… time to travel again!

Appointed Innovation Fellow: t-92


On June 1st, 2022 I was appointed Innovation Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH) in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and a few days later also as an Expert-in-Residence at the Harvard Innovation Labs (Hi).

My wife, my daughter and I had 92 days to get ready and go. Here’s a quick and simplified list, in no particular order, of what we had to do, obviously in parallel:


  • Plane tickets
  • Pack the house
  • Cancel utilities
  • Find a new home for our kittens (thank you, sis!)
  • Get an apartment in Cambridge (deal with realtors, landlord, inspections, fees, deposits, etc)
  • Open a bank account in Cambridge

Get a Visa:

  • Fill out Harvard online form for HIO
  • DS2019
  • DS-160 barcode
  • I-901 and Pay SEVIS fee
  • US Embassy appointment + pay fee
  • Report Embassy appointment to HIO
  • Translations
  • Solvency certificate
  • Embassy Interview
  • Receive Visa

Shopping (small sample):

  • Mattresses
  • Beds
  • Desks
  • Couch
  • Sheets
  • Towels
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Groceries
  • Plates, silverware
  • Night/coffee tables, etc

Buy a car:

  • Choose one
  • “Assignment of Title” on the back of the vehicle’s “Certificate of Title”
  • Insurance
  • Transfer title and Registration at DMV (title and registration Application for Registration and Title Form TTLREG100, with stamp to certify insurance)
  • Title and registration fees
  • License plates or stickers
  • Safety and emissions inspection at a Massachusetts Inspection Station within 7 days of completing registration
  • Correct RMV registered address
  • Parking permit

Register my daughter in her new school:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Immunization Record
  • Health History Form
  • Proof of Cambridge Address (signed lease)
  • Proof of Occupancy (dated within 30 days)
  • Previous school transcript
  • Language placement test
And so much more I don’t even want to remember it!
But here we are, settled, and living an experience of a lifetime, again.