Meet Tim Vieira | Leaders in Action Society


Testing, one, two, three. Testing. As an optimist,
someone who tries, someone who fails a lot,
but that occasionally succeeds. And I think occasionally succeeding
is good enough for me cause it sort of makes
all the other failures count as positives. I believe in the future,
I believe in young people. I’m not that negative, on that they’re gonna suffer
with not having social skills. So I think overall, I’m optimist,
positive, suffered a lot. I think South Africa
definitely shaped my life. When I was growing up we were going
through sanctions due to Apartheid, so,
we were very self-sufficient. It was a country
that was producing nuclear power, that had its own military equipment,
were producing helicopters, there was a lot going on. Those were also
surrounded by monopolies. So, we didn’t really
have too much entrepreneurship as the “startup” nation. But we had lots of people doing
business and lots of people knowing that they
had to do something different to grow. And I think that’s what happened. You know, I started my first business
I was actually 12. Ok, I started
selling fruit and veg, I started getting people that would collect
fruit and veg from us and go sell outside. Because, like I said,
there was Apartheid on so the markets were separated. If you look at the entrepreneurs
that came from South Africa, running from that time around me, you had the Sol Kerzners
with the One&Only group… You have Elon Musk,
you had Mark Shuttleworth… So a lot of people
came out of that ecosystem of having to think and thinking bigger and trying to get out of South Africa. I can’t even imagine my children,
nowadays, being brought up that way, you know? I was driving at 14,
I had a firearm at 16, cause we were in cash businesses
so, at 16 I could get a firearm. At 14, I crashed a car… So it shows you, you know,
those were total… You grew up very fast. In South Africa, you sort of
had to learn to take responsibility early. You got respect
by the experience you had. So, the more things I did,
the more things I tried, the more experience I gained,
the more… You know, interesting, and maybe the more successful rate
I could get from that experience. So that was South Africa.
I wouldn’t go back, ever. The… How I grew up, I think
it was absolutely incredible, but I wouldn’t wanna go back
to that period of South Africa, it was a very tough period, you know? And we always think only about, you
know, that it was an Apartheid system… But actually, you know,
the italians, the greeks, the portuguese they were also seen as second class. And they had to work extra hard and that’s why you see
so many entrepreneurs that came out from those
nations, those immigrants. And those immigrants actually,
probably, helped the country a lot internally, with those small
and medium sized businesses. It was an incredible period
and definitely, it shaped me. I love beer
and I wanted beer that was different. I used to travel,
so every year my dad used to take us,
we used to travel outside South Africa, and I used to see that there were lots of
other beers there were different
ways of making beer, and I also understood that
there was a macro brewery phenomenon going on at that period, in the US. And, going to Belgium, I also saw how
they were making smaller beers, smaller groups
of making beer, in Belgium. So when I came back, I wanted
to start making my own beer. I definitely believe that,
life’s too short to drink bad beer. And I started making the beer,
it started to grow… We were doing a bit of everything. The limit was the capacity
we could produce. People wanted to drink
something that was different. And… Yeah, it was
an incredible experience. South Africa was a different market,
it was run by monopolies and they could offer things
we couldn’t offer. Although we were selling a lot,
as soon as we started getting noticed, we sort of started
to get targeted in a way that… Commercial targeting,
nothing wrong, but we didn’t have
the capacity to keep going and push the growth. So we started losing our clients
cause we couldn’t compete on what we could give them. And in the end, business is business,
people have to make money and the more money
they make the better for them. So, we sort of disappeared. And it was a big lesson for me because, my ego, at that period was
that I could do anything and I really thought that
there was no limits. I wasn’t willing to take on partners that didn’t have the vision we did. So, I really, you know, I learned
the lesson of not going bankrupt but having to pay all the bills
and closing up and starting all over. And it was a really
though period in my life because you go right from the top
right to the bottom. What I remember though is seeing that there was
still a lot of people worse off than me. And it might sound a little bit strange
and maybe even a little bit sick, thinking that, it was a way for me to give blessings on what I had and the people I had
around me, the family I had around me. And looking at it, what was happening on
CNN, there was the Bosnian War on, and there were real problems
going on in the world and my problem didn’t seem so big. It felt like something that
I would get through and then hopefully grow from it. And I made lots of contacts with it,
as soon as it happened, lots of new offers came aboard… So, it was, you know,
that was life, it carried on. The way I started again was immediately
forgetting about what went wrong. Ok, I never brought it up anymore, I sort of really moved on going forward. I used the contacts I had to start looking
what am I gonna do, I wanted a new start. I didn’t want to have responsibility
of having all these people again, and having clients
and having people that owed me money and we had to collect. So, I thought: “You know,
I want to do something different “in a new market that is totally new, “from not having monopolies
and almost being very virgin.” And that’s when Angola came about. Totally disrupted,
just came out from a war, and opportunities were around for anyone who could provide products, deliver a service…
There was market. So, that was really it, South Africa as well as that period
was going through a tough time. The rand was dropping
against foreigner currencies, it was becoming
a tough environment to work in. So I thought: “Let’s go in to Africa.” I had an advantage in Angola,
I knew the language. I also loved Angola
as soon as I got there. Very open minded, like, there was no issues with race, with religion,
there was absolutely nothing. So, I really just moved on. In Angola, in my first two years
I actually worked for a company. We grew the company a lot,
it really, really boomed. The vision of a company
was never my vision, you know, for me, I really wanted to do more than
just one product in Angola. So, when the opportunity came about, I joined up with a partner of mine and we started the group together. And, I think,
both of us using our different skills… He was great at operations, I was good
on the vision side and with clients… It was like a dream team. It really was. Everything we touched, worked,
everything we tried, worked. We didn’t see work as work, we saw it
as an exciting period of our life. I remember we used
to have offices in Luanda, and computer were limited and we had
people sitting down they’d send emails, they would move, the next person
would come send emails, move…
And it was amazing. We had a computer
between like, 15 people. So, it was an incredible time. And when people
were sending out emails, others were helping saying
what you should do, this is what… And it was an incredible DNA
in that company. And because of that DNA and because
of the difficulties we went through, it attracted great talent. Everyone wanted to work with us because they sort of saw us
running around doing great things, doing events,
supplying products, doing prints, doing adverts for some
of the best companies in the world. It was really an exciting time. I think it’s really… Something to try and do
is keep growing a company and knowing that,
when it’s gonna slow down you better look after
those very top people, or you’re gonna lose them. And it was probably one
of the best decisions I ever made cause, in Angola,
we met wonderful people, and everyone was so open. Sometimes there was
a shortage of sugar and as soon as there
was sugar in a supermarket people would phone and say “Hello?
There’s sugar in the supermarket, “do you want me to buy some?
I’m on my way.” You know, so,
things like that. And that’s humanity,
community. And that makes you feel like
you’re part of something and a family. It was some of the best times of my life. I miss it, I actually miss it a lot because those tough periods
is what builds you, you know? You’re not moulded when it’s easy
and when you’re in your comfort zone. But in those tough periods you really come
out of there knowing your strengths, you know who your friends are, you
know who you can count on and stuff, you know your clients,
cause your clients stick together as well. And we were super,
super blessed to have great clients, great people, great friends. A wife that was willing to have
two kids there, you know, no epidurals, natural birth. You have to believe. And when
you believe, I think things do happen. And I always believed strongly
in lots of decisions in life. I think like everything in life,
our business is people. Our companies are
as strong as its people, our clients are people. It’s always back to people
and, sometimes, we forget it, and we think brands
are bigger than people. And I really don’t believe it. I think
if we get good people, we build a brand. If we got good clients that like
what we’re doing, we build a brand. Specially, nowadays, in a world that you
actually can’t bullshit. People can easily find out what are
your values, what you’re wanting to do, where is your brand going.
Social media has changed the world. Small companies
can become big companies quickly, big companies can disappear. I really believe that
we need to make sure that, in a business that people all worried
about artificial intelligence and robots taking over their jobs and starting to threaten humans… I think the biggest advantage will be
in if we actually become more human. Because people
that will become more human will be those that
will make a difference. In leadership, we need humans. In creativity, we need humans. And we forget about it a lot because,
humans skills and traits almost seem to be a disadvantage,
at the moment. And they’re not a disadvantage.
They’re actually a big advantage. But when we try and speak to a CEO and we tell the CEO:
“Listen, do you love?” And, as soon as
they hear that word, “love”, they don’t wanna admit
anything to do with love cause it will
make them look super weak. But the reality
is that love and forgiveness are probably two of the strongest
concepts you can have as a leader. Because if you can’t love
and you can’t forgive, you actually never move forward. And that’s the difficulty: How do you find people
that can truly love? And it’s not funny love
or “I love you, I love you”. It’s building decisions
and making decisions on, thinking of what that decision
is gonna do for the future, just like we do for our family. And no one in a family
does anything to make it worse, we actually try and do things to make
it stronger, better and have a future. And then, obviously,
forgiveness. Because, again, no one goes in to
business to put things to go wrong, no client goes in to business
to become a bad client… You don’t employ someone
wondering if he’s gonna be bad, but, you know, it happens. And once it happens,
you’ve got to understand and say: “Ok, that’s it.
I’m going to sort of forgive and forget “and get on with it. “It was a decision I made,
it came out wrong.” There’s no reason to keep it
as another hurdle on going forward. It’s not easy,
but it’s practice, it’s habit. You look at some of the studies now looking for CEOs
that companies are looking for, they’re looking for all-round humans,
that can lead, that have some charisma, that can get their team motivated
and then can deliver. I believe those old values and ethics will become the big advantage again,
going forward. We’ve got to start
empowering the leaders, employing those leaders,
cause if we want a better company, a better humanity,
a better future for all of us, we need those people. And we’ve got to support them.
And they’re also gonna make mistakes, they will make mistakes, but, when it’s done,
on reasons we understand, and all that, we should also be able
to forgive and move on. I think humanity is gonna
have to become more human to move forward. Business has a huge role in our world. Cause business is amazing
because it needs to be sustainable. We can learn so much about business: we can learn that you
need to have a product, you need to supply properly,
you need to build for the future… All those normal things
you know about business. But we also start
to understand that business, to gain clients, has to become human itself.
Ok? Has to start giving back. So, I think that businesses,
the way they’re gonna operate, and the way they’re gonna be seen.
They’re gonna be seen as almost as a human in saying:
“Look, we like that guy, “we like that woman,
they give, they’re truthful, “they’ve got a good product
and we’re gonna keep supporting them.” And the ones that don’t,
will start dying out very quickly. Businesses will have to adapt,
just like people adapt. I think that businesses,
going forward, are gonna be vital. Any business that makes profit,
has got a real importance in taking this world forward. Businesses and it’s leaders
also, normally, can influence others they can start trains… And the way
the world is set up now, that little startups
can become big quickly. It’s also brilliant because, if they’ve got
an advantage on being better, not just in product,
but in mentality and vision, they can take over from maybe
some tired comfortable companies, that aren’t giving so much sustainability,
they aren’t giving so much back. Because, the world is in a position
that’s very, very tough, you know? We’ve got an income gap
that just keeps growing. You got the rich getting richer, the poor are, sort of,
getting poorer. The middle class just working harder and, if they stop working
they go down very, very quickly. So, businesses need to identify that and, well,
take that into account because it’s gonna
become a world where it will probably become
a future mix of capitalism with socialism. You need to have
the good things of the capitalism and the good things of the socialism because that’s the only way
we’re gonna get humans closer together and stop reducing this gap which is, probably, one of the scariest challenges
we have at the moment in the world. We know about global warming but,
I promise you this… That breaking this…
The cycle of the rich getting richer and the poor
getting poorer is very, very important. Cause it affects everything. I live my life on a day to day. I sort of don’t know which meetings I’m
gonna have, my assistant books them, I go out, If I go do a speech,
I don’t like to know too much about it. I get there,
I wanna talk to the people and see what should I talk about that will
help them, that will give something back. So, I live on a day to day, but then I like
to have something to look forward to. And some days, when I wake up, and sometimes it’s, you know,
I plan it quite far ahead. I think: “That’s coming.
That’s coming.” So that I have
something to look forward to. So we’ve done some trips in 2014, we did incredible trips
around the world, last year we did another one
with a Vespa, with my dad and my kids. And this one we started planning, and it was actually gonna
be a lot longer than four months, so it was longer than 118 days. Then, I just got busy and busy and I try
to cut it down into Willy Fog’s 80 days. We couldn’t do it,
so we ended up on 118 days. And I think it’s gonna be brilliant. Because, really,
what I try and get out of it is that we make
some new friends along the way, we eat some new food, that… My kids get to see that people aren’t
scary in other countries, and that they’re human
and they’re looking after their kids. And they see other kids,
in those countries, and they see people sitting
in restaurants, just like us, people taking kids to school,
just like us. So there’s nothing scary about it. I really see it as
a way of educating them and leaving
something that’s lasting. More importantly,
I wanna give them experiences, cause I really believe that’s
what builds them, that’s what’s
gonna make them different. And those experiences…
You know, I got them from my dad. We were,
we had limited income, my parents didn’t have much money,
it was hard work. But I remember getting
on a train and going far, far away, spending some time,
coming back on the train, waiting for flights on standby, because my dad worked at the airlines. So we would sit there
and you’d only pay 10% on the ticket, but we didn’t know where we were
going, we would be waiting to see where could we get
four people on to a plane. And then get on to that plane,
and then fly, and then go to the airport various
times waiting, could we come back. So, that was great experience. And it still brings smiles to my face
and they shaped me. I’m trying to do the same. I always tell the school, school
can’t stand in the way of education. And this is education in its own right. I don’t feel guilty. I think rugby does
have an importance cause it’s one of those sports
that’s so similar to life. You need to have a great team,
if you wanna go anywhere. In your team,
you have to have those slow but very strong,
sometimes overweight guys, but they’re great at the job they do,
only they can do it. You then have to have the fast,
thin little ones that are quick. You have to have
the tall ones that jump. You have to have that little number 9
that makes the decisions quickly and can dictate the play. Clever number 10 that, you know, runs the game
and has always some natural talent. And then, you have a coach that is trying
to blend all these players that, alone, wouldn’t be very…
Would not be good, but, together,
they play an amazing game. A game that you have
to throw the ball backwards to go forwards. And that’s a little bit of life, you know,
you sometimes have to go backwards to go a few steps forwards. So, it really does show life. And then you have this respect,
you have to respect the referee. You still call him “sir”. The way the spectators watch rugby
is so different to any other sport. They still support the other team
when they do something good. Those are the values
I want my children to see. And I look at them now,
and the way they’ve made their friends… I believe sports can mould you,
sports keeps you away from bad things. I played tennis,
I played cricket, I played rugby. It’s super competitive but,
you loved it cause you just made friends, and you were there
and it was part of the way you grew up. And my kids love it. I’m very lucky to have that. A sad moment is
when I lost my grandfather. He was my mentor in life. I got there just a little bit late to be able to talk with him. He went into a coma before I could
actually say my last goodbyes, and for me that was super tough. Everything I did in life
and everything I do in life, is because I believe he still sees it. My goodbye wasn’t
the goodbye I wanted to give cause that was the person
I loved the most and it just killed me. But, you know,
I still believe he sees what I do and I think that’s why
sometimes I do things… … I want to say almost
like the right way, because I don’t want to disappoint him. I like to give back
in a very uncomplicated way: I like to see that you do this,
you get a result. It doesn’t cost a lot to give. I’ve started to give more
to causes directly, I think that’s how
it’s been working better with me. I believe a lot in education,
I was very involved with the NOVA. I believe a lot in sports, I support some of the rugby clubs
that don’t have support because I believe that,
while there’s kids on the field, and building relationships and playing
their games, kids that are luckier, they all gain. I’ve also started to understand
that mentorship is huge. So, I’ve been bringing together
with something called “Be Brave” and there’s about 70 members that give back in their time,
in being mentors. So I think that’s also huge. So there’s lots of ways of giving back and money is sometimes
the worse way of giving back. I actually put it down, on a list,
in 4th or 5th place. Because giving time,
giving experience, caring, going around and doing… And preparing a way
of making something sustainable is much more important than just giving
out cash and hoping that it works. And we’ve got to look at it, we’ve got to see
what really touches you, what passion do you have. You can’t give to everything,
and it’s super tough. Cause, sometimes you see
something and you say: “I could make a difference there” but you’ve got to be realistic. You’ve got to dream
but you’ve got to be realistic. So I think that’s what I’ve learned. Is that you can’t help everyone, but
who I do help, I try keep it sustainable. That’s very important. When I decided that
I wanted to be happier than richer. And I think, once I started to understand
that I wanted to do things I enjoyed and not be forced to do things that were maybe the right choice and having more focus,
I would’ve made more money, but I would’ve had…
I wouldn’t have been as happy. Don’t just learn from failure,
learn from experiences. Have balance in life. On time.
Everything really, really good. Translation and Subtitling
Ana Luísa Aguiar / PSB Studios

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