Turning the lights off

Ricardo Marvao
Nov 30, 2016 · 3 min read

For the past several years I have dedicated my efforts into creating, improving, building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in my city, the one where I was born and raised, the one I live in and the one I cherish, my Lisbon

I have put my soul into it because I truly believed in this city’s potential, in its people, its ideas, its entrepreneurs and that if you believe strongly enough in a dream, a vision, it can really become a reality. You just have to wake up everyday with energy, a good mind set, a strong spirit and work hard on it, hustle, keep on talking about it, keep improving it, learn from your mistakes, connecting people, building a network, being creative, don’t accept “not possible”, show its progress (even if its tiny), make other people really believe in it as much as you do

From my first steps at Beta-i in early January 2011, to my dive into a full time commitment with it in December 2012, I have seen and been active in pretty much everything this city and country has done in its startup world, from the first great events, to the inspiration of a generation trying to come out of a crisis, to the set up of young teams full of dreams, to the first great ideas and products, to the first investments, the first victories, the first international players, the first accelerations and innovations…

The memories are many and the big moments far too many (specially important are my two kids, the first Benjamin born just 10 days before the first Lisbon Challenge back in 2013 when I was the director, and the second Noah born when the new future of Beta-i was being decided). And a lot has changed since then, during this period a lot has happened and I feel blessed to have had such an active role, and specially to have worked with the most talented and good and genuine people you can ever find

The team was small and the race for sponsors and supporters was hard and heavy, the first wins came only after many many attempts, after many many pitches, after many many struggles. We pushed every year harder, we tried to help as much as possible, we looked at what was missing and tried to find ways to make it happen, we tried to be creative and broaden our horizons as much as possible, nationally but specially internationally. We completely immersed ourselves in making it go faster, better and wiser. We pushed the limits in every angle

But there was one thing I had neglected: me!

I have always been thinking of it and how to improve this neglect but it has always been in the back of my mind, never in the front. And whenever the thought came, something else would pop up and remove it from the mind

Life happens and brings new changes and challenges. And you always think you’ll have time, every time personal decisions are pushed in the calendar a few months into the future, you always believe I’m almost there, it’s just this one more thing and then I’ll have time. But the one thing is never just one. It turns out, they multiply like gremlins with water and you just never finish.

And so a recent f.ounders roundtable really pushed the right buttons and got me into thinking that now was the moment. The moment to really have finally time for me

Five things were discussed during that small meeting that were the ingredients necessary for this internal recipe. The advice was straightforward: “if you want to keep doing this, these are the musts”

  • do something you are passionate about
  • care about those you love and dedicate quality time for them
  • sleep well
  • eat healthy
  • do exercise

And so for the next month I’m going to turn myself off and recover.

Recover the things that I have been missing. Think about my life, make a few changes, and reflect about how to plan the next phase of this journey

I hope to find back my internal smile, a clear mind, and return a stronger and better man

I wish you all a very happy new year

Ricardo (co-founder Beta-i)