Al Costa is the CEO of TeknTrash, an AI and analytics company which provides consumption data for companies to know their customers better.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I’ve founded five companies in four different countries, traded my first (which was in my bedroom) for shares of a NASDAQ listed company, presented the 2nd to investors in Sand Hill Road and totally flunked it later. Later moved to Spain where started another which provides sugarcane grown in Europe. Finally moved to UK where I founded TeknTrash, which is a data and analytics company which captures consumption data and for that created a system called Stipra which rewards people for proper recycling
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
I wake up at around 7, fix breakfast for my daughters, take them to school, and start my work day at around 8:30. I then have something quick for lunch at around 2, and finish at around 7. Still, I don’t believe in working hours, I believe in working goals. So, if an employee is able to solve his daily goal in just 1 hour he can have the rest of his day free for all I care.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
I am Catholic and a Spaniard. That means I believe in a God who created a day where we MUST rest, as he himself, even being a God, rested that day. And, being a Spaniard, I take to heart my daily siesta. In fact, at TeknTrash we will have places where our employees can just sleep. For me, paying for coffee for people to try to stay awake is less productive and more expensive than just offering a nice bed to rest for an hour or so.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
I am trying to spend more time with my daughters. Whenever they come back from school telling me about schoolmates, tik-tok stuff, memes, etc I try to listen attentively and understand. That is proving more challenging than expected and makes me wonder how this new generation will end up!
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
I am reading a book called The Poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta. It is a multi-volume work of over five thousand pages on the life of Jesus Christ. Now, you don’t have to be a christian to benefit greatly from the lessons from these books, as they teach you about life, love, relationships, etc. I honestly recommend them to anyone.
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Believe in the power of Karma or whatever you wanna call it and learn to forgive even when you have every reason to be mad. I remember a company I had which sold stuff over the internet and we had many customers which would make the most ridiculous claims and complaints. If we did not comply with their wishes, sales would always slump for like a week, so we learned to just comply even when losing money in the process. For, if you think about it, isn’t forgiveness ultimately just an implementation of the saying “the customer is always right”?
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