Testimonials - My People
Being outwards looking, the people who have surrounded me along my path, have often left an impact on who I am. This corner of the website is an homage to these people, a space dedicated to their memories, inspired by Marcus Aurelius’ Memories, simply less complicated. As you will see, I have interacted with some directly, whereas others have impacted my life in a more aspirational way.
Napoleon is well know for a few things: conquering territories, containing 44 Million people; his role in the french revolution in 1789; being small and chubby; and dying of a stomach ulcer. But he truly was larger than life.
I got a first glimpse of his greatness when I visited his tomb in Les Invalides in Paris. Digging further into the character, his impact on the french infrastructure, building roads, mathematics schools and universities, legal code that to this day is still relevant and many more. He truly left behind a great legacy that will be repeated for years to come.
The French political and societal casts were not simple in the 18th century. Bonaparte, being a Corsican national, joined the army and rose to fame during the french revolution, jumping from rank to rank. He had to learn french as a foreign language to do so. He achieved all this despite his origins, size and appetite which even back then were not worthy of the french army. This is what has given me the great admiration I have for the hatted emperor.
Who do you think of when you hear the word Napoleon? It sure isn’t any of his successors.
My parents were the ones who enabled it all. We were, and are, a big and tight family. My relationship with them was such that they gave me the capacity to dream. Moving from on place to another meant I had to find new friends, interests, and focal points. This was made simple as my parents were the ones who taught me that there are no boundaries, no preconceived limits that could hold me down. They were good at giving me space to be who I wanted to push myself to be, sacrificing their time with me to be with myself or others.
Their education came with certain values (honesty, respect, hard work…) that we were encouraged to adopt, whilst being pushed to reflect upon. They weer quick to let me know if i was stepping into shit, offering me a safe anchor to the ground, whilst I was reaching for the stars.
I met Stoyan at a startup pitch event in 2016, in Copenhagen. He came up to me to talk about his upcoming projects and I could not shy away from the passion which poured out of his big eyes. (you can read more about this in our book: PERFORM)
What I admire about the man is his capacity to deep dive. He is fantastic at researching, using his analytical mind to find little gems. In this he find opportunities, creating win-win situations for the parties who surround him.
His constant positivity is a driver for the founders he coaches, and the people he works with. He lacks no action in exhibiting his values. To me, he is both a similar and complementary co-worker who is no less than an amazing friend.
There are many players that I have followed throughout their careers. There are a few of them though that have left a long lasting impact on who I am to date.
Juan Antonio Corbalán is at the top of that list. The number 11 was always at the service of the team, and in a game of egos, that proves a lot. He would always know who to give the ball to but also, when to take responsibility and play hard. He would make everything look easy, from his form to his transition into post-basketball life where he has become a doctor and writer. It takes intellect
Sergio Llull, Arvydas Sabonis and Drazen Petrovic are also players I have followed scrutinously. The late Petrovic was a person I looked up to for his hard work. He would take up to 1000 shots on a daily basis after practice, working hard to create perfection, no matter the amount of talent he possessed.
Zane and I met before the Startup Wise Guys era. Whilst I was working for a Telecom, we were going through a big change of networks, for which the big news needed an announcement. Zane was leading the project, working for an PR agency. I was due to be interviewed for the project, and when I apparently gave inadequate answers, both our email addresses started pinging more than usual.
Strangely enough, even though CTO’s and PR are not very much linked, we went from having a call to going for a coffee. Zane thought she was getting fired, I was hoping to improve our work relationship…
One step lead to the next and now we have built a family. The positivity and creativity your bring to our small tribe, and the care you nourish into your relationships is truly inspiring. You have shown me how to be a better human through your generous humanity.
Sports team coaches are the pinnacle team leaders. The way they run teams and organisations, the relationships they have to entice with the players, the board, the wider employees are tough, as they protect different agendas. Yet they are the key to making them work, defining whether a team will be successful or not.
Doc Rivers, was one of my first inspirations, as the man who engraved the Ubuntu philosophy into the divided Boston Celtics. It stipulates that a person is a person through other people, putting the team above all else in the game of basketball.
The hippie coach, Phil Jackson and his ability to manage the greatest egos such as Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman or Kobe Bryant.
Lastly, the Italian who coached Spain, Sergio Scariolo. During his career he has proven that having a team with or without stars can always be ready to compete and perform in any situation.
Unless you had yet to realise, I am Spanish. When it comes to the greatest Spanish Athletes of all time, Rafa edges it!
Although he is not necessarily the most talented of players, what makes me fond of him is his mental toughness. He can consistently perform on the big stage, with 14 french open titles. 14!
His career, as they are with so many athletes was injury-ridden. His eagerness to power through these and come back and re-enter the arena with more eagerness to win, and passion for the sport is mind-blowing.
You could qualify tennis as being a sport with relatively healthier competition than others. However, Nadal alongside other greats, have managed to create friendships from rivalries, such as the ones with Federer or Murray. I am still moved by Federer’s goodbye match and the emotions they shared on the court.
Clemente Cebrian - El Ganso
Whilst Clemente has earned my respect in many areas, it is his brand, El Ganso (Goose), that has brought my understanding of culture and products to a new level.
What is most notable to me is how the two brothers managed their ups and downs, having their passion guide their actions. After selling the company, they realised the new markets El Ganso was targeting was no longer having the impact they wanted, their clothes were losing their brand. The brothers decided to buy back the company and put it back on rails. This is one of many examples showing Clemente and his brother’s passion and resilience for what they do.