A key trait that has been driving my career and my entire life is continuous learning. Where this started was a mystery until last week. Couple of possibilities:Is it the environment in being born in one continent, growing up in another, and then returning to the home country often in later age? Is it genetic from a family line of deep thinkers that aspired to more than their original start in life?
My father of 92 years passed away this past week in Italy and in his memory, let me share some thoughts on what has shaped his and my life and how I hopefully can help you understand yours better.
Cambridge Newton's Office and a Descendant Apple Tree
One year ago, I published a video titled “Leadership Skills for the Post COVID-19 ‘New Normal’.” Citing the accomplishments of Isaac Newton, in that video I summarized three leadership skills to ensure post-pandemic success.
During the ‘Great Plague’ of 1665, Newton was forced to self-isolate away from Cambridge in the countryside for over a year. This pandemic induced confinement became his ‘Annus Mirabilis’ or the ‘Year of Wonders’.
A few weeks ago, a year after the video, I had the great pleasure of visiting Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. On a guided tour through the campus, similar inspiring thoughts arose as a previous article on Florence Italy where I suddenly realized that I was walking the same streets as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Michelangelo.
In addition to Newton, what are some of the other history luminaries that walked the streets of Cambridge? Why was the pandemic isolation the ‘Year of Wonders’ for Newton? What leadership skills will be critical for post-COVID-19 success?
As I wrote at the start of 2021, the impact of COVID-19 has delayed the arrival of the new roaring '20s projected pre-pandemic. As the Economist asked in sharing their thoughts on 2021, "do you feel lucky? The number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. It’s the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing."
From a leadership point of view, I do feel lucky as 2021 has turned out to be an outstanding year. At the beginning of the year, I started a new career as a retail CEO for a global security company. My social media channels continued to grow in 2021 with my favorite now becoming TD Insights Live on YouTube.
Every minute 500 hours of new content is loaded on YouTube. Have appreciated that in 2021, my personal YouTube views grew by tens of thousands. A new in-home studio major re-design is in progress to expand my passion for visual communications into 2022.
As we reach the end of year, it's time to reflect on my favorite lucky seven innovation leadership videos of 2021.
The past three years as a CEO have been a whirlwind. After a successful corporate career in security and information technologies, I transitioned to TD Insights, a consulting firm focused on private equity retail innovation companies. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Internet-of-Things (IoT), I had the great pleasure of working with leading companies from Silicon Valley to Ireland.
Earlier this year, I took on an additional CEO role for the retail business of a global security company. The rationale was very simple; I have researching the future of retail for some time, and this was an opportunity to now shape it.
There is no perfect way to prepare for the life of a CEO. The same continuous learning strategy adopted for TD Insights many years ago was transitioned into the new role. If you aspire to be a leader, you need to adapt, learn, and try new ideas, or your first time might be your last. Here are five critically important lessons that every CEO must learn.
The impact of COVID-19 has delayed the arrival of the new roaring '20s projected at the start of the year and it is now setting up a very interesting 2021.
As the Economist asked in sharing their thoughts on the New Year, "do you feel lucky? The number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. It’s the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing."
From a leadership point of view, I do feel lucky in 2021, primarily because I have discovered the ONE word that will make this year successful. This one word is not complicated and you do not need a dictionary to understand its meaning. See if you can spot it as you read this year-end article.
Let's face it, the last nine months have not been easy for any of us. Leveraging the title from one of my favorite spaghetti westerns, 2020 to date has been the year of "the Good (pre-pandemic), the Bad, and the Ugly."
Routines that were years in the making were disrupted in the blink of an eye. For me personally, it was a fast-paced globetrotting career boarding a flight every week, even after very early retirement two years ago to focus on private equity emerging technology companies.
The global retail industry will decline over $1.6 trillion this year. We all very quickly learned the difference between essential and non-essential retailers.
But much like the hero in many of our movies, in the end multiple of us are emerging refreshed, stronger, and better prepared for a world that has forever changed.
What will I NOT miss in the post COVID-19 "new normal"? What is the most important personal asset highlighted by this crisis? What world does the virus leave behind? How do these changes link to the retail industry?
In retrospect, the timeline of the pandemic to date makes for very interesting reading.
Having a substantial part of my family south of the red zone in Italy, I have been following very closely the progression of COVID-19. As of March 17, Italy had over 31,500 cases of Coronavirus with 2,503 people now deceased. To put that in perspective, Italy with 60 million people has already reached nearly 78% of the fatalities in China with a population reaching 1.4 billion.
"Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world, with a median age of about 46 years old. Nearly 60% of the population is aged 40 and over, about 23% of which is over 65." The data from China confirms that fatalities increase with age.
As exemplified by panic buying, COVID-19 feels overwhelming. Protecting your family and your health should continue to be paramount.
This article summarizes lessons for retail in China and where the industry transforms next. Several projected economic scenarios are also presented. Finally, we will explore the unforeseen new 'normal' that will emerge from digitally transformed stale business models.
"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the future, and from the present to live better in the future." - William Wordsworth
In multiple cultures, the New Year is seen as a time to reflect on the past, think about where we are, and dream of the potential to start anew towards achieving new personal, family, and professional goals.
Why do we start the New Year on January 1? Where did this idea of setting goals / resolutions for the New Year come from? What are the most common resolutions set for the New Year? How does one achieve those New Year's resolutions?
While sitting in the Delta Sky Club in Atlanta observing both weary and excited holiday travelers, four plus million personal air miles later, the realization that another decade is about to end entered my mind. In just a few more days, we begin the perfect vision year 2020.
Welcome to the new roaring ‘20s. In preparing for the new decade, here are three simple exemplary leadership motivational reminders for ultimate success.
Roughly 18 months ago I retired very early to pursue opportunities in private equity portfolio companies, startups in Silicon Valley, and continuing to explore the future of retail and emerging technologies. The progress to date decisively reveals that ‘very early’ was not early enough.
Roughly a year ago, I published a personal Plan B blog titled “Personal Branding and Retiring Early on Your Own Terms”. As I stated in that post, “continuous learning” opened new possibilities that were calling to be executed.
The objectives that I had set out for my new career included:Working with a few select private equity firms in developing growth plans for their portfolio companies either through consulting or board positions. Continue to public speak on the “Disruptive Future of Retail”. Monetize my personal website www.tonydonofrio.com. Continue to write about technology and leadership, including publishing a couple books.
In one word, the last 12+ months have been transformational.