Bringing back the future / WEF Global Shapers
During the past week I had the pleasure of being selected as a member of the Global Shapers hub of Milan. The meeting held last week allowed me to get to know 12 highly inspiring persons, I really cannot wait to put our experiences at test together.
The Global Shapers Community is a new extension of the World Economic Forum, aiming to include people in their 20s that want to impact on the Society they live from a local to a global scale.
Which brings me to the title of the post: bringing back the future.
In the past years of crisis the debate that has been going on in Italy as well as a good part of the Western world (and surely it didn’t left China alone), brought many to lower their expectations of achievements. Targets like space colonization, fundamental physics discoveries (yes I’m aware of CERN’s news but we are talking about something that started in the 80s not nowadays) and society advancements have been lowered or postponed for the sake’s of saving the present.
I don’t disagree on the needs of addressing what is generating social-economical instabilities, but I believe that an economy can be fixed only if it has a perspective on what kind of future we want beyond the mere survival.
That probably should be the target for every Society and evermore so for any Company that wants to leave a mark on our reality.
Whatever we are going to choose to be our mission inside the Milan hub, my personal contribution will aim into infusing a perspective, a sense of possibility and opportunity to make the future something existing into our present.
Future through superior business strategy :)
Every time I think I am headed towards this direction of bureaucratic madness I feel like I should run away….
Business…is a two ways friendship.
That’s the first thought that just crossed my mind when I offered a free consultancy about the Italian market to an upcoming (I won’t make names) U.S. organization which I believe in.
I took the scheduled meeting very seriously in order to provide the best quality of data that could be required for the discussion. “For free” does not absolutely mean poor in my point of view.
Apparently - and I hope to be wrong - that’s not felt in the same way by the counterpart.
It’s not the first time that I notice some superficiality when it comes to meeting from US citizens. I don’t think it’s the moment to be superficial.
In this great post by Steve Blanks there is an expanded version of a concern I have been expressing in the previous post, here, a month ago.
Silicon Valley is getting less about a real disruptive innovation and more about “easy” content generation.
Steve is able to exemplify the concept perfectly.
The only difference is that I would not be accusing Facebook, rather all the VC community and startup emulators which are following the social mainstream instead of pursuing new ideas.
So: how to recap the SV experience?
Probably the best way is to copy paste a post I had made on the BAIA Linkedin’s profile.
“As a matter of fact, I’ve done only 6 days in the SV, which proved really quite interesting.
I had planned for quite a while visiting for that short timeframe, therefore I had the great pleasure of meeting Paul Wcislo of SVForum during the Mobile Marketing SIG I had attended. Of course I got to network with many there, although I have to say it was a quite a mixed public.
I have worked 4 days in a Coworking in Sunnyvale where I had witnessed the launch of a new social service - Spotlikes.com - (which apparently had gone through a very generous amount of funding) and shared both technical and strategical knowledge with couple of startups in there, proving my concepts for platform and system integration were sound (objective no.1 achieved! :) );
The other “happenings” confirmed the viability of setting up a business in there.
Last, but not at all least I had a good Baia Aperitivo and most importantly a face 2 face with Matteo Fabiano which proved insightful, genuine and very compelling (and required a lot of patience from Matteo, which didn’t see me in one of my best days!). ”
So definitely, the glass was half full over there. Which leads back to…over here.
I have never felt so challenged as I am feeling these days. The burnout feelings really come from realizing how less opportunities we have in Italy to foster a new business. De Facto, the only pro-digital economy initiatives have been held by the US Embassy (I will talk about this in a second post).
Things are moving: there is a sub-network, a sort of “primeval soup” of people, situations, creativity that could lead to have Italy once again back on the Entrepreneurial and Innovative side of the world. But before this to take place, we would need policies to free up businesses. The latest government has still not offered any solution about it.
About the SV, there are only two small points that concerns me as they could become bigger and being related to an overall US situation.
1- The States are getting a little old, which means things like bureaucracy and some less-than-friendly business ecosystem could be rising in the longer run. But surely not earlier than 10 yrs from now.
2- In the SV there is a lack of connection with real world business. A bold statement I know, but the kind of innovation I had been looking at from new ventures are all related to user generated content, doubtful if non existent revenue scheme. Of course those situations lead any business founder or capitalist to seek out an exit strategy based on the potential reach of the project itself and a worldwide market value. Which generates a massive overlook over potentially successful projects that relay on a smaller market but on higher margins.
A half full or a half empty glass? That is the quesstion for this fullfilling experience!
Actually, the glass as the experience are rooting definitely on the positive side.
The journey continues.
So it is already half time in silicon valley and i ambgetting in loads of feedbacks on the original questions i put in the first post of this trip.
Some of them are the feedback i was looking for, some others are harsh reality checks and some are unexpected answers.
I will update those concepts in depth pretty soon, but what i can anticipate you my fellow readers, is that italian creativity and technoligical solutions for the web could really work up here, though surely not by relying on italian channels.
For our country, for our entrepreneurial model there is much more than just hope in here. Provding the silicon valley is understood as a destination market rather than a quest for a venture or equity.
Pimp my ride! Here is the car that will drive me around for the week. A fancy chevy cobalt. Firsy drive was ok but i have to confirm: standard automatic gearbox really sucks. A sleeping dog would be more responsive!
Mission Objective day 1
Ok, here we go: first day in the valley!
Today is one of the hardest days: i know i have to make the most of my time here and to do so i have to get some objectives.
Let’s start with the mission: is there space for italian startuppers in this place? If so, only in technology or in different fields? Is a “future-oriented” life possible here? Is capital access really THAT easy?
My thoughts while travelling here have been directed to this question. The SV was considered a place for disrupting innovation all around. It seems to me that those days there have been replaced somehow by a lot of internet wannabes and a little less by original thinkers. I mean, facebook, apple, even this same android system i am tyiping from are great and disruptive innovations. But is that it? No manufacturing innovation? Or business intelligence rather than communication?
I cannot wait to be proven wrong.
So back to the objectives of the day:
- Avoiding apple media buzz about the ipad 3 presentation
- Reconaissance mission: finding the resources to survive and being productive in Sunnyvale
- getting to work in a coworking
- first meeting withthe italian business community in san francisco
- networking with the italia. biz community with the BAIA association aperitivo
Blurry morning in silicon valley. Jetlag is there, but forcing myself to sleep has brought its perks.