Finding What Connects Us and Changing Your World with Nelson de Witt / Roberto Coto

Today’s guest has a remarkable story, which is why I couldn’t wait to get him on the show. I met Nelson de Witt at MisfitCon in Fargo this past spring where I learned of his story about being separated from his biological family during El Salvador’s civil war and how he was reunited with them at the age of 16. Today, Nelson works on entrepreneurial art projects that challenge him to push through fear and express himself creatively while doing meaningful and relevant work that fuels his misfit spirit.

Watch the show (uncensored & unedited) 

Listen to the podcast


Had a decision been made differently, I might not be sitting here with you today. – @dewittn via @_TheShutUpShow #shutupshow (click to tweet)


  • Nelson is a working to produce a documentary film about El Salvador’s disappeared children.
  • Nelson graduated cum laude in Business, Management, and Information Systems.
  • Nelson is the author of the popular Kickstarter Guide, helping you successfully crowdfund your creative project.


Nelson was adopted as a child with a fairly typical upbringing in Boston. He knew he was adopted but didn’t ask a lot of questions. In 1997, when Nelson was 16 years-old, his father answered a phone call to discover Nelson’s biological family had been looking for him. After confirming this information to be true, Nelson discovered his biological parents were revolutionaries in El Salvador’s civil war. Joining the revolution just out of high school, Nelson’s father was shot near the heart and survived; however, his mom was captured and killed by the Honduran army.

Over 900 cases were brought up about children who disappeared in the chaos of war with 350 solved and only 250 that have led to reunions. Roberto–Nelson’s birth name–has such an incredible legacy and remarkable story to tell while Nelson–the American–loves the challenge of bringing a bright idea to life. Today, Nelson/Roberto is working on the documentary film Identifying Nelson, a project that will help the search for the 500 disappeared children who are still missing.


Had a decision been made differently, I might not be sitting here with you today. – @dewittn

I don’t have a lot of memories from the Civil War. I was one when I was separated from my family. I was two when I was adopted from the orphanage. – @dewittn

You look at the picture and you know that’s you but you don’t feel like it’s you. – @dewittn

As I moved over to the creative side, that’s when I got more traction in my work. – @dewittn

If you give people too much they get lost in your work. – @dewittn

I’m hovering over that launch button and I’m freaking out because I’m going to put myself out into the world. – @dewittn

Understand the biology. You’re not going to get eaten by a tiger walking down the street. Understand what your brain is doing. – @dewittn

Study famous entrepreneurs and artists to help you work through your fear the way they have. – @dewittn

I’m afraid but not because I’m going to die. Maybe I need to pick up the phone and talk to somebody in this situation to help me through it. – @dewittn


Check out Nelson’s documentary film at

Find Nelson’s best work (film, photography, essays) at his visual portfolio