“No” is not the end. Keep trying, believe in your goals and surround yourself with advocates.


Eduardo Sirotsky Melzer, also known as Duda Melzer, is the Chairman of Grupo RBS, one of the largest media conglomerates in South America. He is also the Chairman and CEO of EB Ventures, a venture capital and private equity company established in 2012. During his career, Duda was responsible for the transformation of Grupo RBS from an old-school media company into a nimble, technology-oriented firm.

As past CEO of Grupo RBS, Duda has won numerous awards such as the Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst & Young in the family business category. He was also selected to join the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise’s list of leaders in the same year. Today, Duda Melzer primarily focuses on EB Ventures’ success. His focuses on growing early-stage startups within Brazil and the U.S.

Where did the idea for Grupo RBS come from?

We believe that entrepreneurship is a way to positively impact growth in Brazil. While working at Grupo RBS, I realized that my firm had extensive experience in managing and operating companies. I decided to create a middle-market focused investment platform to help founders grow their companies to the next level. Our services are not just oriented around capital. Capital is definitely necessary, but our value is in our contributions to management, operation, and execution.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I start my day early with a workout at 5:00 AM. Beginning my day this way guarantees that my energy, focus and disposition is balanced. My workdays are unpredictable. No matter how much I try to plan or organize, things pop up during the day and I have to have the flexibility to address them. My goal is to finish my day at home with my family. My motivation and balance come from managing sports, work and family time.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Executing them! At EB capital, we care about good ideas, but we live off of making those ideas a reality. Uniting a brilliant group of people around bringing an idea to life is key.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am very excited by how companies are combining purpose and profit successfully. Pursuing purpose and profit are not mutually exclusive; they reinforce and boost each other. Companies that have a strong mission and purpose generate higher returns.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Surrounding myself with the right people. People who are team-oriented, have aligned goals and trustworthy. Being able to delegate work to trusted people is a force multiplier – it lets me and my company do more.

What advice would you give your younger self?

“No” is not the end. Keep trying, believe in your goals and surround yourself with advocates.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I love to be proven wrong, though no one on my team believes it! It’s not the matter of me being proven wrong, rather, a team member being proven right. I don’t want to surround myself with “yes” men, but people who can help me make better informed decisions.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Develop relationships. I believe in execution, but to execute, you have to have good people you can work with. Meeting people is key to forming these relationships.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Delegating work. It’s impossible for one person to be the best at everything, which is why I surround myself with trusted team members who can fill the gaps. Being able to hand over a tough project to one of my team members and trust them to do it better than myself gives me peace of mind. It also lets me spend time on the tasks that I am good at.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

It was early on when I first started at Grupo RBS, when news was becoming more digital and we were competing with tech giants like Google and Facebook. We tried to out-compete them at their own expertise, but there was no way that was going to happen. We sold out of the endeavor, but we learned some valuable lessons. This is part of what inspired me to create EB Ventures – I learned that Grupo RBS was incredibly good at running companies.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

This is tough, because there are so many ideas. If you have an idea, surround yourself with people who can elevate you and shore up your own weaknesses. You can’t do everything by yourself.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Comfortable slippers!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I keep organized with my calendar and iPhone’s note-taking applications. It’s simple, I know, but it’s an easy way for me to order my day and keep track of my work. Without apps, I would probably be jotting everything down in a notebook.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Originals,” by Adam Grant. It’s a fantastic book about how non-conformists can change the world. It sends a powerful message about how people have no limits if they keep pursuing their dreams, it’s something that I identify with.

What is your favorite quote?

My grandfather, Maurício Sirotsky Sobrinho, who was also the founder of Grupo RBS, has a phrase that I am very fond of. “Keep your eyes open to this accelerated, accompanying technological development, without losing sight of the human dimension.”

Key Learnings:

• Trusted teammates are key. They can shore up your weaknesses and be a force multiplier for you to do more.
• Don’t give up. Keep trying, persistence is key. Every successful entrepreneur had to have the grit to push through tough situations.
• Do, don’t think. It’s easy to get caught up in hypotheticals, but progress only comes when ideas are executed upon.