Abhijeet Pradhan, a partner with Austin-based IT services firm ITexico, relishes his business trips to Guadalajara.The Mumbai native has been making the 90-minute flights from Austin to Guadalajara for 16 months now, first to establish the company’s Guadalajara delivery center and later to keep up-to-date with its operations. “It’s a great city,” says the 39-year-old Pradhan, sitting in a modern office inside Guadalajara’s Centro del Software startup incubator. “The food is really good, the weather is really good. You know it’s 100 degrees in Texas right now and it’s low-80s, high-70s here so I’m really glad to be here.”
After landing at Guadalajara International Airport on a Saturday, Pradhan headed to the home of the company’s general manager in Guadalajara, Guillermo “Memo” Ortega. After many visits, it is clear the two are friends as well as business partners and the next day Pradhan was shown some of the jewels Guadalajara offers visitors.
He was up early Sunday in one leafy local park, Colomos, which is a popular spot for locals exercising, families picnicking and young lovers walking hand in hand. (Sometimes local professional soccer teams can also be seen mixing with the public). The Mumbai-born Pradhan jogged three miles before “refueling” with some tacos.
Ortega, who lives in Guadalajara but is from northern Mexico, obviously revels in showing foreign associates and clients his adopted city. “There are a lot of nice areas,” he says, “The city is one of the most beautiful in the country.”
He next took Pradhan to the famous, sprawling San Juan de Dios market, one of the largest in Latin America, before the two grabbed a coffee on Avenida Chapultepec, which is closed to traffic on Sundays for the car-free Via Recreactiva. Like many foreigners in the city, Pradhan says the laid back Chapultepec atmosphere is relaxing and that it is a great place to simply watch street life pass by.
An hour later, the two were at Lake Chapala to get some quality steaks from one top Argentine restaurant before heading off to the airport to pick up a business partner.
Obviously not every day is quite so much fun. On Tuesday Pradhan was in the office at 7 a.m. to set up a new IT services training operation, with aid from the local government.
After an afternoon training session, the teams from ITexico and a sister company headed for beer and wings at a local bar. Pradhan, who speaks only a little Spanish, sat back, relaxed and idly chatted with the company’s employees, the only problem being the booming reggaeton music.
Pradhan’s conclusion: “Mexico is a much better place to outsource (than Asia) and IT executives are really doing themselves and their shareholders a disservice if they don’t look into Mexico as a destination.”