Do less but better

Two titans of the national entrepreneurial ecosystem and true ninjas of work-life balance like Carina Szpilka and Arrola, sent me a book which is a MUST read: “Essentialism, the disciplined pursuit of Less”.

First impression that struck me is that they must have seen in myself, a poor, desperate soul in need, when they had to run to deliver me the book before the Christmas break. And they are right. ;).

Second thought is that this ties nicely with my yearly post about my review of the last 12 months and the goals for the time to come. As I did last year here.

Let me pick back the goals I wrote for 2016 in my post:

Smile more, forgive more, judge less.
Take care of my team and delegate much, much more.
Spend much more time with my Mom and Dad.
Enjoy deeply the development of my family, caring more about Elena and the girls.
Go back into practicing sport regularly, at least 1-2 times per week.
Worry less and have much more fun, looking into the future with optimism.

And let´s evaluate how I did.

Smile more, forgive more, judge less.

I had less reasons to smile in 2016, but I tried my best, and I certainly judged less. But I still feel that I have lots to improve in this aspect. I give myself a 6.

Take care of my team and delegate much, much more.

I was able to delegate much more in some functions: Operations, Finance, Solutions, thanks to our talented managers, but was not so successful in Sales, where we hired the right talent only on the second half of the year. But I do feel I am clearly on the path to full delegation there for 2017. So let´s call it a 7.

Spend much more time with my Mom and Dad.

I blocked a weekly lunch with my folks every Friday in my calendar this year, and only managed to succeed 30% of those (with all the travels and last minute meetings). I think the effort was in the right direction, but this only deserves a 4.

Enjoy deeply the development of my family, caring more about Elena and the girls.

I did enjoy the beautiful two little persons that my daughters are becoming immensely. While all the traveling and stress had an adverse impact in our family’s well being.  A 6.

Go back into practicing sport regularly, at least 1-2 times per week.

I started swimming!, twice a week. And while my bi-polar NYC-Madrid schedule didn´t allow me to be as consistent as I would like to, I think this was a massive improvement compared to 2015. Let´s indulge myself a 7.

Worry less and have much more fun, looking into the future with optimism.

Well, this year has been several orders of magnitude harder than 2015 both on a professional and personal level. I had more reasons to worry, both from a macro, micro and nano-perspectives and less triggers to have fun. But I still look into the future with lots of optimism. I like how Greg McKeown, states in his “Essentialism” book that the secret lies in having the “power of choice” and I chose to have much more fun next year.

Looking into CARTO in detail, we did far too many things as a company after the series B and the digestion of all these activities and projects has proven hard. Over the last 12 months we accomplished great milestones such as:

  • Repositioning of the company
  • Rebranding of the company, from CartoDB to CARTO
  • New product launch: CARTO Builder
  • Our first acquisition and integration, Nutiteq & launch of CARTO’s Mobile SDK
  • Hiring experienced and talented SVPs of sales, marketing & Engineering to join our exec
  • Pricing changes to simplify our offering and adapt it to the enterprise
  • Our first $1M deal
  • New Madrid, DC & London offices
  • Growing the team to approx 100 people

And, of course, we had some relevant misses.

Our Sales objectives were pretty optimistic back in January, considering our stage of development, and we had to revamp our sales team mid year through. While we were not successful in our 1st VP of sales hiring iteration. Jason Lemkin is ALWAYS right.

We had delays in product delivery and were a bit naïve about the added complexity of a new product launch with an installed based on 250K users and 1200 paying customers. And we experienced a decrease in efficiency across the organization due to hyper-growth and new hires in several locations without clearly defined roles.

For 2017,  I have only one goal: Do less but better. I like the idea from the Essentialism book, that priorities should be a singular word, we should have one single priority!.

And the most important thing for me is to enjoy the journey with the right balance between Family – CARTO – Extended Family/Friends – Ecosystem

Success for me will be measured by how my family enjoys 2017, not just copes with it. How we all have the time, the energy and the health to face the challenges with optimism and clear minds.

I am sure this will also help CARTO and my professional challenges. CARTO will grow to become an adult this year, leaving the uncertainties of teenage to become a global SaaS player with tremendous optionality in 2017. We will consolidate the efforts and initiatives of the last months, and follow the same principle I will apply to myself, focus on less things. Where organizational design will play a key role to shape the company we want to work in.

I would like these thoughts to be my mantra:

Set my priority right, postponing what is secondary and with FOCUS.
Thinking before speaking
Smile against adversities, smile more, and more.
Be thankful, a lot, for my privileges and the opportunity to be here, present now, to enjoy life to the fullest.