Marquis Brown: “Barcelona will always be a magnet for attracting people”
Marquis Brown, 37 years old, married with twins. An American born in Berlin, Marquis has lived in South Africa, New York and many other cities in the US, before moving to Barcelona with his wife and kids in December of 2020. He is Managing Partner of Bravo Growth, a growth marketing company of 9 people. His company builds and executes digital marketing growth programs for technology companies and businesses looking to better leverage the power of digital.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
Apart from my wife being a native of the city, I was captivated and fell in love with the charm of the city and its greater region since my first visit 10 years ago. For me, the city of Barcelona has a base of incredible assets: weather, natural diversity, food, culture, city size and proximity to other world class cities.
What aspects of the city would you highlight as being positive?
Weather. I love being able to experience the four seasons and not having too many extremes.
Natural Diversity. I love that I have easy access to the sea and the mountains, and, in just hours I can go from the beaches along the Costa Brava or be at 2,500 meters in the heart of the Pyrenees.
Culture. As a new resident I’m always discovering something new right here in our backyard.
Food: that says everything!
Size & Proximity. For me, Barcelona is a city with the perfect size. I love also being able to access other incredible cities throughout Europe with ease.
What aspects of the city must be improved? How?
The ease of setting up and doing business. While the city is very progressive in many ways with digitalization and accessing personal information online, there are some processes for establishing a new business that could be improved in terms of paperwork, submissions, ease of hiring (and replacing) talent, etc.
Language. Wider use of English would remove friction when considering Barcelona given that most countries have some connection to English, even if mainly for business. I’m often surprised at the number of mainstream businesses that have limited resources to support English speaking patrons.
Which are the city’s strengths that will allow it to overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
The core and intrinsic assets (weather, food, culture, proximity to other cities) of the city will forever remain a magnet for attracting people. I love that bikes and scooters can get you to most places in town faster than cars and that people seem to be thought about and prioritized by the city council.
What other challenges do you think the city will face once the health crisis ends?
I think Barcelona will always be a gem of a city. However, to remain relevant and even become a destination for the best talent in the world, there are a few things that cannot be put off, dealt with later, and kicked down the road if Barcelona wants to thrive into the next century.
Barcelona will need to show signals that the political situation will not lead to ongoing volatility and uncertainty. Further, I think English language adoption is an invisible but very real barrier in many ways to residents and visitors – it limits the extent and depth of many interactions.
Next, having and proudly articulating a vision for what Barcelona wants to be and how it wants to define itself and be seen to the world will be critical.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
Personally, I’d love to see Barcelona’s reputation evolve into a “both, and” whereby the city gets recognized “both” for being an all-around incredible place “and” for being a place that welcomes and allows talent from everywhere to thrive and feel like this city is where they’ve always belonged. This will require a vision and the will from many groups to see beyond differences and unite around the future of our city and our families.
Which city do you feel as «your city»? What do you miss the most?
I’ve moved around a lot from childhood right through adulthood. I think this has given me a different relationship with cities as they have all been “temporary” places to some degree. For me, cities represent memories, chapters, and different markers that have shaped who I am. My current chapter is focused on making sure my children have a place that feels like their home so perhaps after 37 years Barcelona will become “my city.”
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