The summer period is an opportunity to relax, a time to develop our personal interests and to take care of our mental health. But disconnecting from work is not synonymous with inactivity: whether through leisure, culture or travel, holidays are the perfect time to grow personally and professionally. Take note of the inspiring plans of entrepreneurs from the BBVA Open Innovation ecosystem for your upcoming holidays.
For many entrepreneurs and technology leaders, summer is a time for rejuvenation. If you’re wondering how to use your holidays to find the inspiration and energy you need to continue your project, here’s the answer! Four leaders of companies from different sectors that are part of the BBVA Open Innovation ecosystem share their recommendations for books, films and summer plans. If you still haven’t decided what to do on your holidays, you can find inspiration in them, or you can take note for the future.
Co-founder and CEO of Usyncro, a platform that digitalises international trade logistics through blockchain and artificial intelligence. It is collaborating with BBVA after a pilot with BBVA Open Innovation.
‘How to be the startup hero‘ by Tim Draper. It is an excellent guide to see if you are doing things right, as it analyses the entire process, from the startup idea to market launch. Most importantly, it is useful for assessing whether your idea is viable. It can be like a summer workbook, as it includes case studies and poses challenges and questions.
I am inspired by many TED talks. My film recommendation is ‘The Goonies’, which is about a group of kids who go on an adventure and support each other along the way, each one providing their own talent and a lot of enthusiasm. That is entrepreneurship.
Rest, laugh and dance. I will do a bit of travelling, but all my plans involve disconnecting: that’s when you have time for ideas and creativity.
I really enjoy painting. It makes me lose track of time, it relaxes me and it gives me a lot of inspiration every day. I also enjoy playing golf, swimming and dancing bachata. In general, any activity is useful to grow as a professional and I like to think that I get something out of everything because I always look to learn something from everything I do.
Co-founder and CEO of Trucksters, a startup dedicated to the optimisation of long-distance freight transportation. It carried out a pilot with BBVA Open Innovation and is now promoting sustainable logistics with the bank.
As a bedside book, I recommend ‘Meditations‘ by Marcus Aurelius. If you feel pressure in your day-to-day life, it is helpful to imagine how someone who had millions of people under his responsibility handled it. In general, books on stoicism, for example, by Seneca, are a source of mental peace. I would also recommend ‘Think Fast, Think Slow‘ [by Daniel Kahneman], and at the moment I am reading ‘The River of Consciousness’ by Oliver Sacks.
There are some classic series on entrepreneurship, such as ‘Silicon Valley‘, although this is an example of precisely how not to do things. Another very interesting one is ‘WeCrashed‘, a docuseries featuring a megalomaniac protagonist, almost a messiah [it’s about the rise and fall of the technology company WeWork and its creator, Adam Neumann], something we always try to run away from.
To awaken creativity, I think it’s useful to be bored. I find it to be a very powerful tool. In fact, when I’m bored, that’s when I’m most creative.
Reading. Some books, even if they are children’s literature. I particularly remember that a turning point for me was when I read Herman Hesse’s ‘Demian‘.
My favourite book is ‘The Neverending Story’ by Michael Ende. For me, it describes reality and fiction in such a way that you no longer know which is which. I believe that the power of the mind is amazing, and our ideas and motivation can make our dreams come true.
I would also recommend for any entrepreneur to read ‘Do what you love, the money will follow: discover the true meaning of your life‘ by Marsha Sinetar as it changed my career. It made me ask myself “what do I want to do in my life?”, “what is my next goal?”.
I really liked the series ‘Self Made: Inspired by Madam C. J. Walker‘ [considered to be the first African-American woman to become a millionaire in the United States] and ‘Girlboss‘ [biography of fashion entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso]. Not only because they are women, but because they teach us how to start from scratch and not give up. There are only two ingredients necessary to be an entrepreneur: motivation and perseverance.
I never stopped taking online courses and have always kept reading to ensure that I’m constantly learning. In addition, if you have time and money, there are activities all over the world related to entrepreneurship. Why not attend an event?
My professional change started with ‘hobbies’. I first started studying physics in my spare time, and then focused on quantum physics. Later, finding and sharing news about quantum technologies was key to winning the grant to start my own company.
A book on entrepreneurship that I loved and have read several times is ‘Good Luck‘ by Álex Rovira. It is a book that every entrepreneur should read. It is important to realise that good things do not just happen, but require effort, perseverance and responsibility.
I recommend the series ‘The Dropout: Rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes‘ [the creator of Theranos, a fallen unicorn that promised to revolutionise blood tests and ended up committing fraud]. I think it makes you think a lot about the importance of not giving up, but also not going overboard and disregarding basic ethical principles.
I also recommend any entrepreneur to dedicate plenty of time to their family and friends, and even to themselves. There is a great risk of neglecting the people we love the most without even realising it.
Travel. I think it’s the best hobby. It opens your mind and helps you disconnect. Stay active and do sport. I run three or four times a week and it helps to clear my mind.
What would these leaders recommend to other entrepreneurs heading into the summer break? The general consensus among those consulted is to rest. Recharging your batteries and improving your mental health should be the priority at this time of year. “To love what you do, you have to rest and understand that this is a long-distance race,” says Ramón Castro.
Cristina Martín agrees: “As entrepreneurs, it’s hard for us to disconnect, but we have to trust our team and rest in order to tackle new challenges with renewed strength”. Idoia Salazar encourages people to have fun and spend time with their loved ones, and Araceli Venegas Gómez reminds us that, during summer, there is time “to disconnect, travel, learn and, above all, reflect”. There is even time to catch up on reading, watching films and making plans recommended by these entrepreneurs, whether you’re at the beach or in the mountains.