We just returned from a wonderful 10 day vacation in Spain, followed by two days in Warsaw, Poland. It was our first time to both countries- and what beautiful countries they are!
Apart from the natural beauty of Spain and its people, we were totally captivated by the sense of style, history and long-term vision of the country.
In Barcelona, the seat of Antoni Gaudi, and his nature-inspired, whimsical design and architecture, we were amazed that 128 years after the commencement of Sagrada Familia, the family church, the construction still continues according to his original plans, and will take another 10 years to complete! This one building in and of itself, to us, captures not only the essence of Spain, but also the essence of true, inspired entrepreneurship and the need to see beyond the every day.
Gaudi’s designs can be seen all across Barcelona- from museums, cathedrals and t-shirts, to the spires of churches and hotel decor! Although he died in 1926, not only his masterpieces themselves, but also his initial drawings and full design documents still remain as a testament to his vision for Barcelona, and the importance he placed on propagating his ideas, and educating future generations.
What inspired us further was the truly outstanding example of perseverance in the Alhambra, located in the southern city of Granada. The Alhambra was initially started by the Emirs in the 13th century, when it became the principal residence of kings. It then fell into the hands of Christian kings in the 15-16th centuries. What was most revealing was that, generally, the Islamic architecture and structures were maintained, except in certain circumstances, and were superimposed with Christian motifs. At that time, despite the significant battles that occurred, there was also significant respect for one another. We saw similar instances of vision and longevity in the beautiful Generalife (Gen it al Arif) gardens, and Alcazar in Sevilla. In fact the largest Gothic church in the world was constructed over 100 years, starting in 1402, in Sevilla.
The common elements in what we say, and building successful companies is:
- A strong vision and plan for execution
- A dedicated team, that is knowledgeable, motivated and committed no matter what
- A patron, or investor, who will be a long-term patient partner
- The ability to persevere, through the most difficult of time
- Intellectual property that will stand the test of time
- Innovation in the use of design, materials and technology to make a lasting impact
Now, several centuries after these great projects were undertaken, we seem to be more concerned about the ordinary issues that consume our day-to-day lives, as opposed to searching to see how the organizations we are building can withstand the test of time, and have a global impact.
We need to collectively engage ourselves in thinking about bigger picture global issues that will require the imagination and perseverance of times gone by, empowering us to create creative, sustainable solutions.
We also need to study, much more carefully, our collective histories, so that we can learn invaluable lessons from those who came before us, and implemented long-term grand visions.
Hari is a seasoned entrepreneur with over a dozen years of experience in building and exiting businesses in Canada, US and India.
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