Posts for Tag: Personal

Good old paper

I think old age may finally be starting to take over me; little by little all my digital gadgetry is having to live side by side with paper notebooks, magazines, post-its, sketch-books. My decision to go "full-scale" digital was made consciously last year, mostly driven by convenience and efficiency. It seemed so logical, as cloud computing took over with its wide range of fully synchronized productivity tools it did not seem efficient to keep using paper, so I progressively moved into digital and started using Google Keep for all of my notes, Google Draw for diagrams and sketches, all my magazine subscriptions moved to on-line, the only thing I did not do is give up books,  actual books, not that nonsense fakery you download into a Kindle device. 

A couple of months into the change  I started noticing that my ability to retain information seemed to be getting impacted by the fact that my mind had its own way of interacting with data on a digital device. It is as if my brain labels anything that is digital as something that is either temporary or unnecessary to retain and it makes sense if you think about it; the sheer volume of information coming in from a smart phone warrants some sort of an organic filtering, and not just for efficiency purposes it is also part of a defence mechanism, a logical consequence of the self preservation nature of our brains that do anything possible to retain energy and spend it only when strictly necessary. 

When I write something on paper it somewhat materializes whatever I am doing into something palpable and therefore real, my eyes can see it, I can touch it, it is materially present. Its curious that even in my profession I see the same pattern where there is an ever so present need to materialize the intangible; for those of you familiar with scrum, the sight of post-its being moved and posted on walls by teams of people is quite a familiar sight. 

There is definitely something to be said about being able to get a hold of something is actually there, moving it around, writing on it or passing it over to someone else, one of my team members used to say that as he moved a ticket from "In progress" to "Done", there was a sense of accomplishment very difficult to obtain on a digital device where everything is transitory by design. 

The Reunion

Since I have moved to Singapore I have been falling in love with the Asian culture again. Interestingly, while I lived  most of my youth in Asia,  I may have been too young to appreciate the subtleties of life, because this experience has been so much more fulling and rewarding. 

Singaporeans truly understand what living should be all about, and while it is true that they work extremely hard, perhaps even more so than in most European countries, there is also joy, a lot of joy. Locals seem to have this distinct ability to appreciate the small things in life, I see this everywhere around me, from enjoying a simple meal with friends to just appreciating a walk around the beautiful City, whatever they chose to do, they seem to be in the moment making the best of it.

There is also friendship, honesty and family values . In Singapore, people still believe in all of these things, and one can't help it but wonder whether the reason why the city has flourished the way it has is really down to it being a business haven, or that the people that make Singapore what it is created an environment for any seed that is planted to grow and flourish.The more I am exposed to Singaporean culture, the more I believe the later is the true reason why Singapore is so special. 

I was talking with my friend Clarence Lin about what the Chinese New Year, and he sent me this video that explained that the Reunion meant for Singaporeans. There is something so genuine and and moving about this video that I could not resist sharing with you, it truly resonates the way I see Singapore and how magical it is. "kung hei fat choy"! 

The Graceful and Inspiring Leadership of Matthias Schmelz

A great Man once said that kind that “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain, very few people I have come across in my lifetime were able to reinstate every positive teaching that I was taught as a child. Basic fundamental things like treating people as you would like to be treated, establishing trust through actions not words and giving without any intend to receive anything back. 

As we grow older all these things seem to progressively fade away as “life” takes over. The values are still present, but somehow become less important when challenged with the adversity of the day to day life. 

This is of course an excuse, an easy root, and it is fundamentally wrong. I find that strong core values are by their very nature resilient to external adversity, they withstand persecution, aggression, and even the most vile of wars

I believe that people by nature want to do the right thing, even in the darkest of times, they will follow a leader that is driven by the right cause and the right principles. People follow ideals, not people. 

Matthias resembles all of this. He understands that great Leadership is about establishing the right path for people to follow. Its not about forcing people down any specific root, but about laying the right foundations for people to “follow their bliss”. 

Matthias Schmelz always wanted to be a writer all of his life. Its very interesting to hear him talk about how his journey has lead him to his childhood dream. His story resonates other stories from truly successful and people, that set out on a journey slightly different from the destination that they hoped for, and end up exactly where they dreamed in the first place. 

I first met Matthias back in 2010 while working for a Digital Agency. Matthias was one of those clients that gave me so much more than I gave him. Being inspired by people you are doing work for and working with is very rewarding, this was without a doubt one of those cases. 

Our work relationship very quickly developed into friendship, and a couple of months later, Matthias invited me to join him with his family and friends in an amazing adventure through Baltic's enigmatic destinations on board the Wind Star Cruise ship

During this time, I had the honor of meeting some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. Unsurprisingly, Matthias’s family was as gentle, kind and magical as Matthias. There was just something intangibly special about everyone, from his beautiful wife to his gorgeous children. 

I also had the pleasure of meeting Mathias’s Mother, and it became very easy to understand why he became the Man that he is today, there was this contagious aura of kindness and wisdom around her that deeply touched me. 

A couple of months prior to the cruise trip, I experienced the same feeling while visiting the Rainbows Headquarters in Lisbon. Seeing the way Matthias treated his employees was a breath of fresh air in a time when the relationship between employee and employer is increasingly more abrasive and less meaningful. 

As people passed by us in the elevators, hallways, and the companies canteen, they looked at Matthias with a certain reference, there was respect and admiration, but there was also inspiration and a sense of connection. This was not an imposed or mandatory reverence, it was genuine recognition and appreciation. 

It was becoming increasingly apparent to me that Matthias was one of those rare inspiring leaders that Jonathan Perks talks about that aligns all of the principles of "inspiring leadership" into his actions. 

Inspiring leaders always look for the best in people. They inspire staff to be the absolute best they can be, and they do this by aligning their actions to how they think and what they say. Inspiring leaders truly care for the people they lead. People can tell if someone genuinely cares for them, Matthias and Fernanda care about the people that work along side them, making Rainbow much more than a company, its a place that enables and empowers people to achieve their dreams. 

A couple of years have past since our wonderful voyage together through the Baltic sea, and since then, Portugal has been challenged with the biggest economical recession since the 70s. 

In a time when established companies are closing down every day, Matthias and Fernanda keep driving and pushing the company forward. To survive and flourish in times like this, it takes more than leadership, it takes inspiring Leadership. 

Matthias is a friend, but he is also a source of inspiration, to me, he resonates what a caring leader should be like and exemplifies what can be achieved when someone follows their bliss and encourages others to do the same thing.  

Jonathan Perks

The older I get the more I realize how misleading some of the “traditional” leadership concepts are, particularly around management through the way of force and fear. 

I came across Jonathan Perk's  “” audiobook and he sheds a light into the importance of being a consolidated leader at harmony with all the traits that make a leader. Inspiring Leadership Jonathan explains the concept of MQ (Moral Coefficient) - the capacity to do the correct thing and the right thing at the same time, EQ (Emotional Coefficient)  - serving by example while truly caring for those you lead, SQ (Spiritual coefficient) - Standing up for something that is more than getting the job done while inspiring other to do the same, IQ (Intellectual Coefficient) - Capacity to make intelligent and knowledgeable decisions.

A Leader with all of the above characteristics aligned with each other will have a significant higher probability to be successful and inspire others to follow him.

One of the surprising things to me about Jonathan is how open he is about himself, and how blatantly he talks about his successes, and most notably, his failures. There is just something extremely compelling about people who are not afraid of the raw truth, and who are entirely open and transparent about themselves. They give away a sense of confidence and assurance to everyone around that gives permission for people to be themselves while simultaneously striving for more.

After having listened to “Inspiring Leadership”, I felt like I knew Jonathan and felt compelled to follow him, without even knowing the Man. I guessif that is not a testament to the power of inspiration I dont know what is.

Practices like this are disseminated across all areas and industries. This is more noticeable in countries where the culture itself is aligned to this approach, and Portugal is definitely one of those places.   

A very sad goodbye to Randy Pausch

A dear friend of mine just told me that Randy Pausch passed passed away today. I was overcome with sadness when I heard the news, of course that it was unexpected but judging from the spirit of that Man one always had a tiny bit of hope that somehow he could make it. Bellow is that famous last lecture by Randy Pausch.