Co-founder and CEO of Alpadis Group, Alain Esseiva, describes his career and daily life running Alpadis Group, key productivity tips and why he is optimistic about the future
In a short paragraph, please describe what you do at Alpadis Group
While I am still overseeing the day to day operation of Alpadis Group Singapore, I am becoming more involved in the development of the Group. Together with Dominik Heer, COO of Alpadis Group, I develop and execute our strategic plan. The group is currently growing at a fast pace and therefore a lot of attention is required when we acquire businesses and integrate them. I also meet most of our stakeholders and main clients, and business development is always on my agenda.
Briefly describe a typical working day
It usually starts early in the morning, long before I arrive at the office. First, I check my appointments of the day and then read emails which arrive during the night. Once I am in the office, most of the day goes to meeting with clients, introducers or any other stakeholder. I always try to keep a few hours per day to work on different projects which require time. And of course, I try to follow up on emails, the nightmare of every CEO! Having said that, I always leave my door open if anybody in the company wants to come and talk to me.
Of course, today I write this from my home in Singapore as for the past few weeks we have been working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While my day usually starts and ends at the same time, meetings are all done virtually and I’m more flexible with my time. However, I certainly do miss face-to-face contact and I look forward to going back to the office soon!
What is your favourite thing about your career?
Meeting people. The great thing about our industry is that we are lucky enough to meet people from different backgrounds and with different horizons which allows me to learn so much about the world, how it is run and works. Each one of our clients is different and from the smallest to the largest each has a unique story to tell and therefore something new to learn. Fiduciary services is a very enriching experience for me.
Do you have any productivity tips at work?
Do not be distracted by emails and other instant communications. They divert your mind from the essential. If you work on a project, you need to concentrate and work on it. So, try to work on your emails every 90 or 120 minutes. This will help you to make big progress on your project work.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Never make someone else’s problem your own problem
If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Who was your favourite teacher? Why?
My French teacher, when I was in year 11 and 12. I do not remember his name, but his nickname was Yogi the Bear. He was a fantastic professor. With him, I discovered the deepness of the French language and its literature. He was an eye opener.
What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
A day in the Situation Room
Give us two reasons to be optimistic about the future
These days it can be easy to be pessimistic about the future. But I am an optimistic person by nature. The world has become significantly better when it comes to factors like poverty, hunger, literacy, warfare, violence, democracy, and life expectancy. Here are my 2 reasons to be optimistic:
- Renewable energy: we are at a crossroads on how the world will be powered in the future; climate change is a reality and we need to make energy choices if we still want to live in this planet as we know it now. Continued technological innovation and cost reductions in energy generated with renewable sources are the best indicator that they are and will be playing a key role in powering the world (Costa Rica is a good example of a country that has been tapping in its abundant natural resources to power itself almost entirely with renewable energy). If we combine this with responsible energy consumption and energy efficiency measures, we will have a good chance of winning our fight against climate change.
- Medicine and genetics will keep us healthy long in our old age: I am not sure that one day we will wake up and no longer have to die. But there will come a time when we will live much longer, we will be in much better shape physically than the average person is today. The fight against cancer is looking more promising every year. Even old age diseases like dementia, cardiovascular problems, arthritis, Alzheimer, to name a few, may become a thing of the past thanks to scientific progress. As I write this, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic but even here scientists believe a vaccine will be ready in a year and a half. It usually takes up to ten years or longer to make a vaccine!
If you could time travel, where would you go?
That is a great question and definitely one I would like to be able to do. There are so many places and different times to go and visit. Let’s split it into two, Past & Future
- In the past: I would go back to the Renaissance, the roman Empire during Caesar time, or even further back to ancient Greece to meet philosophers like Plato or Socrates, or ancient Egypt with its Pharaohs to learn the secrets on how they built the Pyramids. I think I would like to have accompanied Marco Polo when he travelled to China. I can only imagine how different the world was at that time. Certainly, a fantastic adventure.
- In the future: The biggest question here is when in the future to go, 50 years ahead, 100, 500, a thousand or even 50,000 years ahead? Too soon in future and you may not see such a big difference from today, too far away and you might not even have a world to travel to anymore. I would pick 100 years ahead. The world will certainly be different but still accessible for somebody from today’s era. In addition to all the progresses made by mankind, I would like to see if Space Travel has become a reality. Space being the last frontier for us, it is fascinating to imagine travelling to other planets, solar systems and who knows even further away.
If you could share a meal with any 3 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
Nelson Mandela, Neil Amstrong, Theodore Monod
What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?
Still the wheel
Would you rather win an Olympic medal, an Academy Award or the Nobel Peace prize?
Nobel Peace Prize
Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?
What’s the most courageous/daring thing you’ve ever done?
Climbing Licancabur on the Chilean side. There is no trail and I discovered a few days after the climb that we walked through a landmine area which was not indicated on any map. It still gives me shivers when I think about it!