Interview with Lorenzo Madrid

What would you say about yourself and your business?

I am an independent international consultant, working on the strategic planning and deployment of ICT solutions for Governments, in areas such as eGOV and Smart Cities. I have over 30 years’ experience, including eleven years at Microsoft, as WW Senior Executive. There, I oversaw ICT projects for Governments in 53 countries. More recently, I managed projects such as Istanbul Smarter City, Rio de Janeiro House of Commerce, and participated in Cape Town’s Intelligent Transportation System evaluation. I also have strong links with academia holding fellowships at the Centre for Technology in Government (State University of New York) and at the United Nations University in Guimarães, Portugal. I wrote several books and articles about Smart Cities, Government Transformation, and the linkage between IT investments and socioeconomic development. I also served as the CIO for the Education Secretary in São Paulo, Brazil, responsible for the ICT systems to support 6 million students and 300,000 teachers. Currently, I am engaged in a couple of Smart City Projects around the world, and advise Wellness Tech Group, a Spanish company with high-end solutions for Smart Cities.

How would you describe yourself with a few words?

I am a Technology early adopter, a globe traveler, and data a driven person. Of course, I am an irrecoverable optimist and curious about the world. I am an avid reader about Theoretical Physics, Cosmology, and Science in general, without forgetting the other side of my brain, where arts and sports play a vital role.

How did your career growth begin?

It began as a young engineer. Computer Science was in its infancy, and my knowledge and proficiency in the FORTRAN Programming Languages set me apart from older colleagues that were struggling to write engineering software.

Is there something career-wise so far that you have not done?

I have been extremely fortunate in my career. It has been remarkably diverse, allowing me to wear many hats and learn essential skills. I worked on small start-ups, and in of the most successful and iconic corporation in the globe. I have been an entrepreneur myself as well as a public sector servant. However, I will not be ashamed to venture into new areas and learn new skills.

Would you change anything in your career path if you could go back?

No. I would not make any change. It has been a fun ride, full of opportunities to meet outstanding people and for great learnings all over the world.

Tell us about a hard decision you had to make in your career. How did you deal with it?

There have been a couple of hard decisions on my career path. The decision to move abroad from my home country and leave behind friends and family in the pursuit of new professional challenges was a difficult one. However, being an optimist and data-driven person made it easier to cope with it.

Were there moments when you wanted to give up, and if not, what stopped you (or not)?

A few times, I had to give up projects and plans. I always considered these events as a normal fact of life and never let them put me down. Logic and rationality need to overcome emotions, and life goes on.

Is there such a thing as a balance between personal and working time?

When you work with what you like and enjoy, work becomes a pleasure, and pleasure is work. Work-life balance is a natural process under these circumstances. But I know that not everyone can enjoy that wonderful combination.

What would you like to say to our readers?

Life is too short, so be efficient in your work to have more time to enjoy the world.

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Dedicated to my work and those around me, I'm always trying to give the best in what I do, so I'm constantly seeking inspiration from everything that surrounds me.
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