Lorenzo Seu’s Cultural Exploration and Perception Through Finance
Lorenzo Seu sees things differently than most people. He readily admits that from an early age he enjoyed reading financial statements, not out of a desire to attain wealth or impress, but because he perceived that there was a deep and rich story told in these documents. While still quite young, Lorenzo read the subtext which told about the people’s triumphs and disappointments contained within this information. He understood that this existed not only in the past and the present, but made him prescient of what would happen to the companies and their employees whose lives would all effected by the trajectory indicated on paper. When the 2008 financial crisis occurred, a teenage Lorenzo understood the international connectivity that we all share and he became committed to understanding them better as well as experiencing other cultures to understand from a place of authenticity. Nearly a decade and a half later, Mr. Seu has accomplished all of this and more. Present day finds him working with industry leaders and deeply engulfed in a passion for aiding startups who will bring the goods and services that will change the future.
For someone who does not consider themselves a risk taker, Lorenzo’s journey seems to indicate the opposite. He comments, “I like exploring. I left my friends, family, and my job to try a new adventure but I’m always very reasonable. I have some friends working in business or in arts that are much more risk takers in the sense that they can live without knowing if they will have revenue in the next coming months.” The true core motivation in his life has been to understand what is familiar by experiencing what is unfamiliar. Lorenzo’s early studies in France saw him moving among three different cities. Mr. Seu’s first year as a professional at KPMG Paris as a M&A transaction analyst was revealing in a number of ways as he relates, “Corporate finance is a subfield of Finance that deals with all the aspect of Finance for a company: finding financing, accounting, performance, Merger and Acquisition, Financial Analysis, allocation of resources and capital, etc.. I was conducting financial due diligence in the context of M&A transactions, so I reviewed the financial statements of over 30 different companies. After three years, I became frustrated of simply conducting financial analysis because after a few weeks or months, another project would start and I was lacking visibility of what the companies would become or their evolutions. I wanted to be part of a ‘project’ and contribute to it on daily basis.”
That same sense of curiosity led Lorenzo to Bangkok where he experienced working in a vastly different professional environment. The tropical climate of Thailand could not be more different than that of Paris; many aspects of office culture also presented new challenges and opportunities for growth. Seu informs, “The professional/social conduct was very different. Thai people avoid stress while there is a certain amount of confrontation expected in the workplace within France and other European countries. Managing someone older is quite complicated in Thailand as the society and workplace are ruled by age. The dynamic to providing feedback also requires a different approach in order to avoid offending others unnecessarily. Even the height of one’s hands during a greeting can incur offense if not executed properly.”
In most recent years, Mr. Seu was lived in New York City as Head of Finance of B2B market research company NewtonX. Recognizing the remarkable results which the company was getting, due in no small part to its use of AI to access information from more than 1 Billion professional experts across the planet, Lorenzo was keen to join NewtonX and experience an American company from within. Additionally, intriguing to him was the fact that the company had only been in existence since 2016, meaning that the opportunity to be a part of a smaller company which was taking “big swings” was on the table. P&G, Bain Capital, Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook, and others are part of the NewtonX client list, a testament to the trust so many place in the company and its methods. As the company continues to grow, Lorenzo divulges that holding his position in a remarkable yet still small company is an ideal place. He relates, “I heard this sentence from my boss, ‘It is not about who you are, it is about what you can do.’ The culture here is very positive when it comes to failures and mistakes. These are not dead ends like I could see many times in France. In the US, people will positively act to improve themselves while I feel like people in France would be stuck or block by the shame or the social pressure of doing any mistake. Most of the ‘deals’ I worked on while at was at KPMG were for small and medium companies. Smaller companies were very attractive to me at this point of my career as I knew I would gain much more exposure and responsibilities than anywhere else. Which I 100% confirm today. I would never have had this chance in any other company type than a start-up and this mostly why I love this job. Start-ups offer a lot of flexibility to learn and growth even for Finance.” There’s good and bad in everything, which Lorenzo notes, “I truly enjoy living in New York though I sometimes miss the French outspokenness. Overall, I feel human relationships are sometimes more authentic or spontaneous in France. People would curse, make jokes, extend on their personal opinion, deliberately create conflict, etc. This is less marked than southern European countries but there a lot of drama in France. I’m familiar with Italy, my dad immigrated to France when he was 15 and I go to Italy see my family every year. This can make the work place a very pleasant place or look like hell.”