Rules are Meant to be Broken: Entrepreneurs Take Note
A week of discovery in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Argentina, has led to a new discovery of my own: that the world is full of surprises.
Caught up in the hustle and bustle of a city that boasts more than 14 million people, Buenos Aires is the hub for the world’s best polo players, Malbec wine, salsa dancers and beef.
You cannot live by normal rules if you travel to Buenos Aires, because the city simply won’t let you.
From the availability of buying the Argentine peso at a rate that is not less than half of what you would get buying it on the street, to the ability to eat at a reasonable hour – Buenos Aires asks you to take a risk, and that’s what the 400 entrepreneurs who graced an EO conference at Alvear Palace do every single day.
The conference was ok – not great, but it was the learning that I received from a handful of people who shared their experiences in business and life with me, that will stay with me long after I hopped on that flight back to Atlanta.
Here is what I took away:
Rule #1: Go to bed before midnight
This is a rule I live by, but in Buenos Aires, on two occasions I was forced to stay out because quite simply, we ate our meals so late, that midnight was not an option. What I learned from this was that sometimes the best conversations are had after midnight, with people you don’t expect, and in the strangest places.
Rule #2: Don’t break the law
Exchanging money in Buenos Aires is a task and a half. You have to make a moral and legal decision when you arrive as to whether you exchange money on the “black market” or not. Unlike other countries that I have travelled to, most legal places to exchange money are exactly half of what you would get for the same money on the Street. You have to make a choice there and then as to whether you would risk being “set up” or breaking the law by exchanging money through a black market alternative (usually in the back of a shop) or not.
Rule #3: Go to every seminar session
I have to confess that there were some speakers who offered nothing. They had no real take home message that I hadn’t heard over and over again, and one, who professed that they were not there to “educate” but instead to “entertain” told the audience things that were simply not true and were made up.
So, I may have walked out of one or two sessions before the end, and I am so glad I did.
One session I walked out of, I bumped into a speaker from another session and was able to spend 20 minutes talking to him on the importance of family in life and how we can all improve our relationships.
Another, had me enjoying a glass of wine an entrepreneur from Amsterdam that shared with me so many inspirational stories that I wanted to race to grab my notepad in fear of missing something.
Rule #4 Be prepared for anything
How many times have you heard that? Like most people that live their lives in a fairly organized manner, I have to say that being unprepared can often lead to the most amazing experiences. Never judge a book by its cover and don’t spend too much of your energy making sure that you have ticked every single box. Sometimes, it’s the boxes that you don’t tick, that leave you open to the unexpected and can potentially change your life and outcomes.
- I had the most amazing experiences in Buenos Aires and the people I met inspired me, made me laugh and gave me insights that I would not normally have been privy to.
- I rode a bike through the streets of Buenos Aires, seeing historic sights and learning about Argentine history.
- I visited Evita’s grave and was entertained in a building that was a monument to her life and the importance of her story to the city of Buenos Aires.
- I learned to play polo at La Martina.
- I shared my experiences, fears and ambitions with other like minded people.