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Connecting the Dots: A Gem from the Past Can Enlighten Your Present.

When the time machine I ordered finally arrived home, I wasted no time leaping straight to December 16th, 1995. I rang the doorbell of the house 65-59 in the Conquistadores neighborhood and asked for myself. Marleny came to call me; I paused my Contra game and greeted the 43-year-old man looking for me at the door. The person outside was also me, with a 28-year difference. So, I greeted the young boy through the gate and told him he had done a great job documenting our sister Claudia's graduation the night before. I told him I edited the video and looked at myself in disbelief. Just before shutting the door, I retrieved my portable TV from my pocket, and this is what I showed him:

Today, I am the same age as the narrator in "The Wonder Years," and Federico in the video is the same age as Kevin Arnold.

Here's the recovered tape.

Since graduating, I've been part of the committee for the school alumni party. This year, I wanted to surprise my classmates with footage from that time. I remembered that my sister was fond of handycams and that I borrowed them occasionally for homework or to record family events.

So, I called Monica to ask if she had the mid-90s cameras, and of course, she did. All the tapes were there, including one labeled "Philosophy (Fede)" in my handwriting. That was it! In that tape, my classmates and I were dramatizing Socrates' life, including some bloopers. 

However, in fifty minutes of recording, I found only one frame of the school project, and the rest, recorded over, was the celebration of our other sister Claudia's graduation.

Foot without a shoe under a school desk (1995). The only frame left from the school video.
Meeting of the Federicos

Twenty-eight years later, Federico finds the raw material and discovers himself at 15, doing something he wasn't trained for. He hadn't studied photography, video production, or storytelling techniques. He was just a teenager having fun with a camera, annoying his cousins, and narrating the story of the night of December 15th, 1995.

So, 43-year-old Federico took on the task of editing the material created by the 15-year-old.

The 15-year-old had done a great job: he had a record of the guests, at least a good close-up of each one, and documented all the night events, from the graduation at EAFIT to the reception and religious celebration at home. He recorded casual dialogues with fluid camera movements that followed one subject and continued to another. This was a spontaneous document, but technically well done despite the lighting conditions and limitations of portable cameras at the time.

(Insert GIF) My aunt is on the phone. One of my favorite shots because it captures the fashion and technological devices of the time. Plus, I love her attitude when she stands up and her badass looking at the camera

The treasure wasn't the tape; the treasure was the talent.

At 43, I found a 15-year-old with a great eye for photography and a natural ability to tell stories. I saw traits of my personality that I didn't remember and relived our screen-free teenage years. Additionally, I observed with excitement how much I enjoyed being behind the camera.

But that 15-year-old had no clue.

This is the 7-minute video I edited 28 years after recording it. My aunts will love seeing themselves young! My cousins, seeing themselves as teenagers, I don't think so.

Connect the dots

So, I invite you to dig into your past and connect the dots. Start by asking yourself these questions: What did you love doing? And if applicable, why did you stop doing it? What were you good at?

Did you draw, write, fish, or know the types of rocks?

Return to the present and discover how these talents have shaped you as a professional and as a person. You may not be a professional fisherman today, but perhaps you learned patience or when to shut your mouth.

You don't know it, but someday you may have to demonstrate your fishing skills, and this talent will awaken from its dormant state.

Try recreating something that brought you happiness or recognition in the past. Integrate it back into your life, but now consciously, with the perspective that time provides.

Listen to the old tapes where you recorded yourself freestyling, write a few verses, or look at the sky and find the constellations, like the astronomer you were at 12 years old.

Learn new things from curiosity, and do old things again for the sake of doing. If you don't find it useful now, keep it like my sister kept her 90s tapes. It may not make much sense today, but maybe in 5 or 20 years, you'll find it in your drawer, becoming a crucial part of your next big idea.

I leave you with this quote from Steve Jobs when he was invited to give a commencement speech at a graduation ceremony at Stanford University:

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You must trust in your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down and has made all the difference in my life."

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I'm Federico Giraldo, Creative Director for Latino brands in the US.

I am the Creative Director and a partner at El Puerto Agency, a Miami-based branding and content creation agency. We aim to connect Latino brands with multicultural US audiences by overcoming language and cultural barriers.


I have prior experience working at agencies in Colombia, Argentina, and the United States, and I have been honored with awards at The New York Festivals, Clio, Effie, and more.


I am also a teacher at Miami Ad School, where I share my expertise with younger generations worldwide.


I invite you to explore the possibilities of collaborating with El Puerto Agency. Please visit our website and see if we would be a good match to help you succeed in the competitive US market.

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