During the decision-making process, devote as much time as you can to brainstorming with your team before making a final decision. Diversity of thought is always beneficial to a business.
Baldo Sansó is President of Tracia Hong Kong, a legacy asset management firm in Hong Kong. Tracia provides consultancy services for investors and business owners looking to build an enduring legacy for their multigenerational business or to expand their personal private equity portfolio. Baldo is also a member of the board and shareholder in the Swiss China Corporation (SCC), an asset and wealth management company founded by seasoned Swiss and Chinese bankers and headquartered in Shenzhen, China.
Baldo is a professional consultant in business strategy, multinational contracts and negotiations, with almost three decades of experience in structured finance, law and public policy. Baldo attained three postgraduate degrees in Taxation and Financial Law, Public Policy, and a Master’s from Columbia University School of Law. After completing these degrees, he began a career at some of the world’s leading international law firms and management consultancies.
Baldo has a wide range of experience in international contracts and law, with past roles at the Latin American Development Bank (CAF), the international law firm White & Case LLP, and one of the world’s foremost management consultancies, Bain & Company. Baldo also worked as an external consultant on the mediation of a number of international bidding processes for Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.
Baldo has worked in several countries including the United States, Venezuela and Italy and is fluent in Spanish, English and Italian. He blogs on Medium at .https://medium.com/@sansobaldo
Where did the idea for Tracia Hong Kong come from?
I founded Tracia, an international legacy capital company, in 2014. We provide consulting services to clients looking to make smart investments, build their business’s legacy or formulate a strategy for the future of their multigenerational business. The idea for Tracia was born out of the frustration I felt during my eight years as a strategy consultant for the management consulting firm Bain & Company. I felt limited in the role, because the proposals we produced for clients and businesses were often either not correctly implemented or not implemented at all. I was convinced that in many cases I should have been given the chance to execute the strategy for the client, but Bain’s services extended only to diagnosis of the problem. That’s how Tracia was born. Our mission is to provide what we call a “full service,” not only limited to identifying how to create value, but actually capturing this value and bringing it to the client.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
On my typical day, I wake up at around 7am and then wake up my son. Every day I try and do something fun with him in the 30 minutes before he goes to school. This can be something as simple as playing with a tennis ball in the apartment or challenging him to see which of us can play a better piano piece. Once he’s at school, I either go to the gym for a CrossFit session or to the pool, where I swim with a trainer.
Shortly afterwards, I have breakfast in the office with my team. We review the agenda for the week and check up on progress towards the week’s objectives. Most of the time, I eat lunch with my colleagues or with clients. Twice a week, I take piano lessons in the evening, and then take my golden retriever for a walk to the park. Before bed, I check the evening news or read a book.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I brainstorm with my partners and colleagues for hours and hours. I believe that the most crucial element of success is planning, so I spend a lot of time crunching ideas with my people.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited by initiatives by local governments across the world to invest in and apply new technologies and processes to make cities cleaner and more efficient, with a positive benefit for the environment. I’m thinking of initiatives like smart streetlights that only turn on in the presence of people, roads that charge up electric cars traveling over them, and intelligent traffic management systems that reduce bottlenecks. Partnerships between the private and the public sectors can bring huge benefits to citizens in making technology more accessible to the ordinary person. Digital smart tech solutions for urban life are also a great sector to watch for private investors too.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I consider myself more as a strategist and an executor than a traditional entrepreneur. During the decision-making process, before defining and implementing a strategy, I have always found brainstorming sessions with my colleagues illuminating. Most of my final decisions are the result of interaction with my teams. Diversity of thought is always beneficial to a business.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would give my younger self a piece of advice about the process of decision-making. If you find yourself with a choice between two roads, never take the easier one. If you take the harder one, you’ll always save time in the long run.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Around the world hundreds of thousands of civil servants are delivering public policy projects that are changing the way we live. They are helping us to live cleaner, greener and more convenient lives. Sometimes these are large scale, complex projects, such as a new wind farm or the roll out of electric buses, and sometimes these are something as simple as greener public spaces or mobile phone charging points. Whilst many people agree that these civil servants are doing good work, I believe they are unsung heroes not getting the recognition they deserve.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
People won’t like this advice, but in professional and personal life, the task you should always do first is the thing you don’t want to do the most. Make the call you don’t want to make, have the conversation you don’t want to have, write the document you have to write but don’t want to. Only then, let yourself look at tasks that are more pleasant. This increases your efficiency and ensures that no task is left indefinitely at the bottom of your “to-do” list.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Communication is as important as substance, and sometimes even more. If you discover the truth but you don’t know how to communicate, then it’s dead knowledge. Good communication enables you to build relationships with new partners, persuade third parties and convince all stakeholders of your strategic approach. It is a vital part of any business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When trying to anticipate the direction of financial markets, I used to believe that they responded to developments and trends based on logic. I learned the hard way that markets believe more in the perception of reality than in reality itself. Today, I give as much thought to perceptions of the truth as to the truth itself when analyzing the markets. When these two things differ, it is likely that the perception of truth will prevail in the short term and the truth in the long term. However, sometimes the perception of truth can also alter reality permanently.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I may disappoint readers by giving away a business idea related to the “old economy” rather than the technology or start up sector, but I’m keeping an eye on new technologies for gas transportation. LNG ships and plants as well as the pipelines are very expensive to build and operate. If they were to be simplified, as some companies are seeking to achieve, since gas is cheaper and cleaner than oil, it could rapidly become the main source of energy in the world.
Another observation to make is that finally people are really getting serious about combating climate change, especially the younger generation. Although large corporations and vested interests are still trying to protect their own profits against efforts to reduce emissions and transition to more efficient fuel sources, I am optimistic that the generation coming of age now will gradually make ecology profitable, such that saving the planet will actually become a big business. I’d keep an eye on that sector over the next five to ten years.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve spent recently was on several training classes for my dog. During the sessions, I realized how many mistakes I was making when educating him; in fact, I was the one who needed to be educated! It is incredible how much impact those two hours of classes had on my relationship with my dog.
On a professional level, and even though it cost more than $100, recently I changed the illumination set up in my office. It is crucial how light has an impact on our productivity.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
In terms of productivity, the best tool in my opinion is one we’ve been using for years: Excel. Having spent so many years at Bain & Company, I believe that Excel is the most efficient tool for analysis and yet most people use it at no more than 10% of its potential. One piece of advice for our readers is that you can never know too much Excel.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
My grandfather once told me that if you want to read something innovative, you should read the Classics. Following his advice, I suggest your readers pick up a copy of “1984” by George Orwell. The book’s central threat of a totalitarian state still remains relevant today. Despite the historic global decline of communist regimes, communism is evolving and reshaping today thanks to new technologies, like developments in the surveillance, security and communications sectors. The plot of “1984” shows us that a police state can exercise control over not only people’s actions, but even their minds and ideas. It’s an important reminder.
What is your favorite quote?
Something I try to keep in mind daily is the phrase: “Every day is a day less of life left, so we should use it to the fullest.” It sounds pessimistic, but it reflects reality, and can actually be quite liberating.
• During the decision-making process, devote as much time as you can to brainstorming with your team before making a final decision. Diversity of thought is always beneficial to a business.
• Great content without proper communication is as good as useless. Companies should devote as much time to working out how to convey their message most effectively as they do on the message itself.
• Markets can be superficial – they follow their perception of reality rather than reality itself.
• Read “1984” by George Orwell to develop your understanding of how totalitarian states dominate their citizens and to identify and prevent new forms of control that are arising from new technologies.