Next Lisbon speaker
How many lives can you fit into one lifetime?
Let’s say you’re a photographer. Or an athlete. Or a graphic designer. Or a musician.
What about… if you’re all of them?
Sounds surreal, but this is Ricardo Macedo. “I don’t want to be the best, I want to be better than yesterday.” he said, at the Creative Mornings Lisbon event, this January. It certainly put my New Year’s resolutions in check.
As a child, Michael Jordan was his idol. However, he quit basketball to be an engineer. Why, you ask? There was another powerful influence in his life: fear. Fear of the future. Or, as he dearly calls it, “the bastard”. “Everyone was always warning me about the future. The bastard is always there to try to scare you.” he recalls. “You just have to ignore it. Most of the time.”
And so he did. He became a graphic designer at IADE, working during the day and studying during the night. Moving to Barcelona, “I had a dream job.” he says. “I started a band that lasted for 10 years. And an illustration company. So I thought that was it. A year later, I started being a teacher at ELISAVA.”, a renowned design school.
“My weekends were filled with music, alcohol and party, as a reward for my hard work.” he says. I sense that the audience can relate to that, noticing some knowing smiles and nervous laughter. “My dream job was not that dreamy anymore.” A panic attack was the warning sign. “I felt I was going to die”, he says, opening up about his depression, Xanax, drugs and considering suicide. “In that moment, it made sense.”, Ricardo shares.
Back in Portugal, he realised he had been “worrying about the future, and sad about the past”. Ricardo is a one-man show and a man-of-many-talents. Thus, he decided to take up whatever he wanted, in the moment. “I started to choose my customers very wisely, even if I was short in cash. And I never had a lot of cash. I wanted people who believe in me, and in my portfolio. I did illustrations, I worked for magazines, I did corporate identities and logotypes.”
His latest project was built with his own hands. At Las Vegan, he re-created a traditional portuguese tavern, but focused on sustainability and plant-based food. I had dinner at Las Vegan the evening before his talk, and now it all came together, in terms of what Ricardo is and does. It is Ricardo in a nutshell: dynamic, intimate, exciting and authentic. “Variety is the spice of life”, he concludes.
Text by Carolina Mesquita (CreativeMornings Writer)
Photos by Acurácia Fotojornalismo
When I decided to get a subscription of Croissant it was solely for the fact that I still can’t afford to have a full-time contract with a co-working space. I got into this freelancing life recently, I have a few clients, but my income still doesn’t allow me that expense (or demands that amount of time).
With my 7 days free trial, I decided to try more than one of the 18 places available in Lisbon just to see which one would suit me better.
I had no idea a whole new world would open in front of my eyes.
The thing is, I didn’t realize immediately that I don’t have to choose only one or that my needs might change. That’s the beauty of Croissant. You immediately gain access to the 18 different places available in Lisbon. And they are all different. I felt like the sky is the limit.
I tried a few ones in Lisbon and here is my take out so far.
My first criteria to choose where to go started by being its location or how easy it would be for me to get there, which means their closeness to metro stations. Eventually, to some of them, I ended up returning for different reasons.
In all of them, I checked in with the app and got a friendly quick tour of the space. I was very well received and in no moment felt treated differently from their full-time visitors.
So, they were all very similar in many ways. Great Wi-Fi, great desks/tables to work, nice people receiving me.
The amenities and the ambience were what I found very different from place to place. In some places coffee is free and you even get small snacks and fruit to nibble on. In others, coffee was still very affordable. One of the places I visited was very very quiet. People would move around but no sound was heard. If you coughed, it would go unnoticed. This is now my go to place when I need to really concentrate. On the other hand, when I need a boost of a creativity, I prefer the louder place.
All the places had phone boots, but in some co-working spaces, those were more often occupied then others, so when I know I’m having an important call, I take that in consideration when choosing where to be.
Finally, some are dog friendly and those are my favorite ones as I love taking my dog around instead of leaving her home alone or just to pet other people’s dogs on my breaks.
Croissant is offering all CreativeMornings members a 7-day free trial and a 15 euro discount off your first month. Give it a try and let us know how was your experience. What do you value in a co-working space.
Everyone is creative. Everyone is welcome.
We can organize our monthly lecture for the creative community in Lisbon thanks to the work of volunteers. CreativeMornings Lisbon invites the creative community in Lisbon to contribute with their time and expertise to help develop and grow further our events.
What are we looking for?
There is a lot going on behind the scenes. On the days of the event we wake up really early to have everything set up at 8.30 when people start arriving. Before that we have already shared the info regarding the event in many social platforms and even before that we try to share info that we believe are relevant to the creative community in Lisbon.
During the event, we take photos, make stories on social media, make a video, we have a morning match board and, most of all, we want to help people to feel connected and inspired.
This means we need people help from videographers, social media managers, illustrators, hands on the event or any creative person who wants to be a part of this project.
How much time will take me?
People volunteer with their time and expertise, so anyone can donate of much time as they can or want. All we ask if for people to commit with their offer or let us know in a timely matter if for some reason that is temporarily or no longer possible, so all the other volunteers can organize ourselves. Bare in mind that some tasks might take longer than others. For example, a photographer needs time to edit their photos or a videographer need time to edit image and sound.
Do I need to have previous experience?
In CreativeMornings Lisbon we believe in passion, we believe in learning and, most of all, we believe everyone is creative. Many of our volunteers are not professional in the area they want to help. From photographers, videographers, social media managers, we have people than more than anything want to get experience, portfolio, to learn and to be a part of it. If you are passionate about something different from your professional life, this is the place to be.
What can I expect?
Volunteers donate their time and expertise to CreativeMornings Lisbon. CreativeMornings is a free event that wants to welcome everyone by providing a free monthly event. This means that no volunteer should expect any financial compensation for their participation.
We cannot also guarantee any professional outcome from your participation. Unfortunately, we have no control regarding who sees your work and how is it perceived. What we can guarantee is to always credit your work, to give it exposure on our social media platforms, to mention you on our talk intro from time to time and to interview you for our blog/social media.
CreativeMornings Lisbon is, essentially, a great way to create portfolio, to learn, to develop, benefit from the value of voluntary and community service and to develop personal growth and value from the giving of their time and expertise
To know more or to apply as a volunteer contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People often ask me how did this happen, how did I become CreativeMornings Lisbon host.
It was by chance. Pure chance, as so many other good things happen in life.
My first contact with CreativeMornings Lisbon was as an attendee. I learn about it at Meetup and immediately fell in love.
One day I saw a Facebook post asking for a volunteer for the next day event and since I was already going anyway, I offered myself. I thought it would be really cool to be a part of it. The rest is history. A few months later, the previous host, Victoria Ivanova, told me she was stepping down from her role and I decided to apply for the role. It was not the easiest process, but I got it.
On the first months, I was terrified. I wasn’t sure if I would get the speakers, the sponsors and, on top of it, the previous team of volunteers all drop out with the change of host. Except for Lucia. You might know her for being the first face you see when getting to the event. She does the check-in and helps organizing all the stuff to be ready when you start coming (Thank you, Lucia!).
Then, we couldn’t find a breakfast sponsor. So, we bought ourselves breakfast with the help of Impossible, another one that stick with us during this transitional period. I was also lucky enough to have Daily Coffee on board and they have been providing the coffee since. Thank you both!
My first speaker was a close friend who I knew could speak English and had always interesting stories. Only 16 people came. The second speaker was my boyfriend’s boss. 17 people came. And it was actually a shame, as it was one of the best talks we ever had.
When people ask me how I do it, there’s only one answer: with errors. At the beginning my sole objective was to make it happen. Venue. Check. Speaker. Check. Communications. Check. And then I would hope for at least one person to show up. I have been a little bit luckier than that.
During the past year I did so many mistakes. From incorrect links on the newsletter or typos on social media to not setting up people’s expectations correctly, whether sponsors or volunteers. It’s not easy to sell something that is not for sale. This is a free small event, we all are volunteers or supporters. The main result is being able to provide a good and inspiring time to a small group of people. It can be very rewarding (and it is) but any other lateral results are not immediate, and this might be frustrating for those investing their time and products. Communication is the key, but it took me a while to learn that.
It’s hard to quantify how much I learned the past 12 months.
I learned that if I keep my expectations aligned with the right goal (providing a good time for a small group of people) the more I work, the more it grows. It’s proportional. More work means more audience, more audience means more sponsorships, more sponsorships means a better event. This means I also had to learn to limit myself. Limit the time I want to work on this. If I allow, CreativeMornings can take up all my time. Unfortunately, I do have other things to do.
I learned that word of mouth is still the best marketing campaign. The more I tell my friends about this, the easier it gets to find what I need. The more people enjoy the event, the more they will tell their friends, the bigger my audience gets.
I learned that breaks are essential. We decided to have a break in July to re-think all our strategy and in August we came back stronger than ever and we saw an immediate boost on the event. We reached a record on our numbers and kept surpassing ourselves every month since then.
I learned that I need to be able to delegate even if I feel that there are things that I still need to do myself. It’s a hard balance. I learned that our moto is true, everyone is creative. Everyone I talked with, from volunteers to members of the audience, have taught me something. I learned that more than network, more than feeling inspiring, people long for connection and that must be my goal and focus for being successful. From the talks, almost all of them, I learned two very important things:
1st,a lot of things happen by chance. Or so people say. Truth is, almost every speaker talks about how things just happened. But interestingly, all those things happened after they decided what they needed to change. So, do things really happen by chance or is it us who get more sensate to chances once we are aiming for them?
2nd, the most interesting talks had one single thing in common. Passion. It doesn’t matter the topic or how interesting it would be for each individual, the best feedback we get is when we hear people really passionate about what they are talking about.
I believe the big lesson is understanding what people want and what people need. Now that we were able to grow enough to have tickets sold out in two days and to reach a record of 70 people on one single event, we need to focus on maintaining the vibe for people to connect and leave with a smile, inspired and motivated. More than growing we need to keep exploring ideas such as the morning match board that allows people to verbalize what they need or what they are offering on a post-it, we need to keep the good coffee that keeps us all awake at such an early time and we need to keep bringing in people with inspiring stories and ideas to share.
If you have any ideas, feel free to share. We are building a community here.
Speaking of community I could not finish by thanking everyone that somehow contributed to the events, but I have a special thanks to those who made a big and continuous effort through the year such as Henrique, who helps setting everything up on the day of the event, it’s our Instagram stories guy and does a lot of back office work with sponsors and venues. Nicole. Nicole has been a photographer, a speaker, a designer, a cook, a co-host, and so many other things. She basically has put her work in anything required or that could improve the events. Sofia. Sofia is our community manager, she is great getting people together and has been a huge help with sponsors since she is on board. Tarlis, more than a photographer has been a photo reporter, helping us telling a story through his photos. Jakub is the one who makes our wonderful illustrations to help you remembering to bring your own mug, release your ticket, subscribe our newsletter and so many others. Theo. Theo did the most amazing videos we ever had. He is very talent with transition and capturing the vibe we all feel. I have already talked about Lucia. Lucia is an ideas generator and has that capability of always having a smile really early in then morning. She is the longest volunteer for CreativeMornings Lisbon.
Happy festive season for everyone.
It’s no shame to need to stop and restart.
On our last talk, Rita Fazenda, a literary agent, told us that, at some point in her life, she felt the need to restart and how she did it. In her case the death of her father was the event that made her stop and re-think. This event made her allow herself time and space to reflect. It was through this reflexion that Rita also allowed herself the change that she needed.
Do we need such dramatic events to allow ourselves to restart? This talk gave us the answer: no. All we needed was to ear Rita. By the end of the talk, someone told me: “This was the kick in the ass I was needing”.
Rita told us her story. How her professional life started and how it evolved for what she always loved: books.
Today, after working as an agent for actors, comedians and screenwriters and for two different publishing houses, Rita works as an independent literary agent. She founded Storyspell, where she helps several authors to improve their work, to get published and to advertise their books.
She had her own restart to help others restart.
While sharing her inspiring
story, Rita also shared new words, old expressions, motivational quotes. Things
that, at some point, resonate with her.
By the end, while people were relating to different things from her talk, I believe we all had the same feeling. We arrived there with a dream, we left with a goal.
Thank you, Rita.
Text by Elisa Baltazar (CreativeMornings Lisbon host)
The idea of working as a freelancer sounds great. In theory, you will earn as much money as the amount of time you dedicate yourself to work, you have the freedom of working your own schedule, you can choose your clients and most of all you have the freedom to do what you love.
So, if it is this great, why are not more people doing it?
Truth is, working as a freelancer means way more than doing what you love. You need to do all the marketing stuff, get yourself out there, pursue new clients (or just clients, as a matter of fact), you need to negotiate prices. You also need to understand your finances. You don’t have a fixed salary by the end of the month, so you need to plan and learn how to do it. As a self-employed person you need to understand taxes. And how tricky those can be in Portugal?
You need to be disciplined. One of the biggest challenges for most of the freelancers I know is to be disciplined. Keep doing your stuff to showcase potential clients, getting out there to get new clients, doing your own schedule as you are supposed to.
Working from home is great. Until it isn’t.
When I started working as a freelancer, I loved the fact that I was less than a minute away from my so-called office, another room by the end of a corridor. I love the fact that I could remain cosy and warm in my pyjamas. Having the dog by my feet. Doing pauses whenever I feel to and working at my own rhythm (and expense). So, what is the downside of this?
To start, although it can be comfortable, wearing pyjamas all day every day does not make wonders to your self-esteem. Having that kind of routine to get outside is also a way of taking care of yourself the same way that getting out of the house, breathe some fresh air, seeing people is one of the best ways to spark your creativity.
When you know that no one is watching you tend to procrastinate more. You do more pauses. Even when you’re doing what you love, you still get distracted. There are so many interesting things around the house. Your dog who wants to play, the TV you turn on only for 5 minutes that easily turns to 5 hours, and social media buzzing on your phone.
For some reason, when people around you know you work from home, they tend to think you are much more available. You get way more calls and texts.
Finally, there’s the discipline of getting out of bed. When your office is just next to it, it’s way harder to get out of it. Who doesn’t love sleeping? No commute, no clock in. It’s way too easy to stay just for 5 more minutes. That turn easily into an hour.
Since I started working as a freelancer, I have tried many things. From apps to manage my time, to coffee shops to force me to go outside. For 6 months, I worked in a coworking space. It was great, I have to say. I was seeing people, getting out of the house and keeping still at my desk as much as I needed. But there were also a few disadvantages. The place forced me to sign a contract for a certain amount of time. This means that I ended up paying for 2 months without using it, as I got a project where I needed to stay at the client’s office most of the time. Then, once that project was done, my freelance work did not allow me to have the financial obligation of having a full-time place for an extended period. Also, it was not allowing me the flexibility of a coffee shop, as it was a fixed location and I wanted to be able to move according to my client’s locations. Or even just for personal reasons. Finally, it was breaking my heart to leave my dog alone for so many hours.
That’s when I found out about Croissant. Croissant is an app that allows you to choose where you work, when you work.
Any member of Croissant can choose their subscription, depending on the number of hours needed per month. No obligations regarding how much you really use. If you don’t work all hours subscribed those will roll over to the next month. No obligations regarding location. In Lisbon, through Croissant, you have available 18 different co-working spaces.
This is the best of two worlds.
This means you can work two hours in the morning in one place, three hours in the afternoon in a different one. You can choose your spot by location or any other features. This allows me to meet other people, who are likeminded, who have the same struggles, who give me advice. It also allows me to meet in other places, drink loads of free coffee, and to have a knock out WiFi every time I have a deadline, or I just need to meet a client. And the best part is that there are so many dog friendly coworking spaces in this platform, so I can even bring my dog.
I am so delighted how this works for my productivity and creativity that I got us a discount. All members of CreativeMornings Lisbon get a 7-day free trial and a 15 euro discount off your first month by using CreativeMornings link. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.
Text by Elisa Baltazar (CreativeMornings Host)
This book surprised me. The first statement of the book is that we should not follow our passion. Precisely the reverse of what we are being told every day, nowadays.
Why shouldn’t we follow our passion? According to the
author searching for a job related to a pre-existing passion will only lead to frustration,
anxiety and job hopping.
“Ryan did not follow his passion into farming. Instead, like many people who end up loving what they do, he stumbled into his profession, and then found that his passion for the work increased along with his expertise.”
Organic farmers, venture capitalists, screenwriters,
freelance computer programmers, etc. these ae who admitted to deriving great
satisfaction from their work and whom the author talked with. From their experience
described in this book, we can conclude that the answer is to find way to excel
at something. Passion comes after you become good at something valuable. And that’s
how you end up loving what you do. The focus is not so much on what you do but
how you do it.
Newport also challenges the idea of time spent at
something to be good at it. By analyzing the examples of two people who spent
the same amount of time practicing guitar playing. How using the same amount of
time, lead to so different results and why. The big difference is how you spend
that time. What do you do to really challenge yourself? The difficulties you
give yourself and got out of your comfort zone.
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to know what
to do about his/her life, who want a change, who believe in the follow-your-passion
theory or anyone who wants to develop further their current career.
I would also recommend this book to anyone managing people. I’m a big believer that people are the secret to make any business successful. In this book you can read about the benefits of ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) and its impact on atmosphere, happiness at work and productivity.
done. “No results, no job: It’s that simple”; “Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement, and sense of fulfilment.”.
September’s theme for CreativeMornings was Chaos and there was no better person to tell us about Chaos than Pedro Saavedra. Listing Saavedra’s activities, it’s already a little bit chaotic. He is one man in many different jobs. An actor, an art director, a magazine director, a festival organizer, and so on.
Pedro claims Chaos is a part of any creative process. A needed part of that process, really.
Pedro Saavedra never thought he would be an artist. Growing up, being creative was not an option, as that was not what his family believed could be a job. Today, he believes that all the situations that lead him to what he does now were situations of chaos and a result of the way he dealt with it.
He believes chaos can be ordered. Or he believes he can do anything if we believe we can. He chooses to believe he can order chaos.
To better explain how he organises chaos, Pedro went into the details of his most chaotic project, being the editor of a magazine, Gerador. Pedro had never worked for a magazine before. When he was invited to create one, he had no clue where to start, what goes into a magazine, which people work in magazine, etc.
So, how did he manage to publish the first magazine? By making mistakes. The first magazine took 6 months to be issued. Did you know that you must work in a magazine even before issuing the previous one? Pedro didn’t.
In his case, Pedro found a way to order his chaos by going backwards and making a calendar of all his needs. Today, it takes him 2 months to get a number ready. He has now published 23 trimestral magazines.
But then chaos is still a constant in his life. He keeps getting involved in other projects, even if he has never done anything similar. Exquisite Festival is another example.
This shows how things can be transversal. To order his chaos, Pedro started using the same skills he uses when directing theatre. He just went from the three-dimensional to bidimensional, using the magazine to tell a story.
“We are never ready when opportunities knock at our door. Think about the list of missing opportunities you would have, or have, for waiting to be ready.” Opportunities might be chaotic when we first grab them, until we get no choice but to order the chaos.
2 years. It has been 2 years since CreativeMornings Lisbon had it’s first event.
So much has changed since then. We have a different host, a different team, different partnerships.
Still, a few things remain the same.
Our mission is the same. To inspire creativity, our manifesto remains “everyone is creative, everyone is welcome”. Some of our attendees remained faithful, one of our partners never stopped supporting us. Impossible has been our partner since the beginning. In fact, many might not know, but Impossible pulled the trigger to have CreativeMornings in Lisbon. Having an office in London, the company’s staff was already a big advocate to CreativeMornings. Then they found Victoria, an employee who was as passionate about creativity as them. And that’s how we were born.
Since then, it has been a journey to meet to most inspiring people in Lisbon. The speakers, the volunteers who sacrifice their free time to put all the event together and the audience, who wake up so earlier to come listen to our talks. We are people with so different backgrounds, different jobs, different ideas, but we are people who think alike and share the same values. And we are remarkable people. Freelancers, people changing careers, people trying to get in touch with their creative side, morning people. Together we have became what we can call a true community, together we became so much stronger.
So, we are taking this opportunity to get a little bit cheesy and thank all the people that have been helping this project to grow and most of all that help us prove our own statement. Everyone is creative. Everyone is welcome.
This being said, in September there will be three great reasons to come to our next event:
1. The speaker: Pedro Saavedra. Pedro is one in many. He is an actor, an art director, a magazine editor and so many other things. Who else could come to talk about Chaos?
2. Our venue: Farfetch Office. I’m sure you are very curious to get to the office of one of the most successful start-ups in Portugal. If you are not, you should. You will be wishing that was your office. I did. And I work at home, which can be a little bit more problematic.
3. Our 2nd anniversary. We want to thank you, we want to celebrate, we want to party. This means there will be cakes and, who knows, maybe a few goodies?
Save the date, it will happen on the 28th September. Stay tuned, we will be sending out all the info and opening tickets registration very soon. We are looking forward to see you there.
Did you know Fernando Pessoa was a copywriter?
“Primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se” (a phonetic game that only works in Portuguese but that would translate as “at first is weird, then bows in”). This is a sentence widely used in Portugal by Portuguese people. This was written by Fernando Pessoa as an ad for Coca-Cola.
To give a little bit of context, for many tourists Fernando Pessoa might be known as the iconic statue at Brasileira, a coffee shop at Chiado. For Portuguese people he is one of the greatest poets of Portugal. He is one of the most quoted authors on social media. What many don’t know is that, even though there is so much of his work published, only one of his books was published while he was alive. Therefore, he was holding many jobs, one of them as a copywriter, and he was a good one, too. He worked for two different agencies, writing advertising but also demonstrating the importance of advertising in the marketing context and suggesting rules to determine the conception of the ads and, therefore, developing new forms of advertising.
He is also well known for his heteronyms. Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos, Ricardo Reis. He was many writers in one, each one with a different name, a different personality and even a different horoscope. Doesn’t this make more sense once you know he was copywriter? He definitely could adapt to his audience.
As a creative writer myself, Fernando Pessoa is one of the writers I look up to. One of my sources for inspiration is his book “The book of disquiet”. There are many theories about this book and Pessoa’s intention with it. For me, it looks like his note book, with notes and excerpts of texts, not really connecting with each other but where you can really feel his sadness, his happiness, his dreams. No one expresses feelings as Fernando Pessoa.
There are no doubts that Fernando Pessoa work can be very inspiring and creative. For those looking to boost their creativity, you can now find some of his work translated to many languages by lisbon poets & co. If you are willing to get to know more about Lisbon culture and other poets, I would highly recommend the book with the same name of the publisher, which includes poems by Fernando Pessoa, Florbela Espanca, Cesario Verde. English, French, Spanish, Japanese, you can find this book translated to many languages and enjoy the written part of Lisbon’s magic.