Home Forums Silicon Valley Study Tour – August 2020 Go to Silicon Valley Virtually 2020

165 replies, 52 voices Last updated by Giovanni 2 weeks, 1 day ago
  • GiuliaPiesco
    Participant
    @giuliapiesco
    #12605

    Hello everyone!

    Thank you @lucabaldessarini !

    My name is Giulia and I will be your new moderator for the next few days!

    I have seen that you have brought up interesting arguments to these last considerations about the future of working or the future of workspaces.

    Talking about work, the Silicon Valley and the italian startup ecosystem that are topics that came up, amongst others, during these last weeks, I would love to know which interesting startups you are following (they could be worldwide not necessarily italian) and why. What makes a startup (or scaleup) interesting?

    Also, do you know the difference between a startup and scaleup?

    By the way, I did not present my self! I am a product designer with a passion in philosophy, AI and with a Silicon Valley heart 😉

    Can’t wait to hear your answers!

    GP

    Christian
    Member
    @christianpaesante
    #12606

    Hello everyone!

    @giuliapiesco I followed for a bit Uber evolution (which is no more a startup). This was a quite interesting billionare exit but it seems it exited just before the various markets it was operating collapsed. I read an interesting article on this topic: Uber Rise and Fall In One Map.

    Moreover I’m following WeStudents the startup I started working with during quarantine. Their size is still quite small, but that’s what I like of it. Being small, you don’t have time for everything and you have to concentrate on things that make the biggest impact. Moreover being small, let your actions have direct consequences on what the company is accomplishing which is really rewarding and motivating.

    I never googled it, but i think the difference between startup and scaleup is in its name: startup is a company which just started its business and is still trying to find the best market fit, often pivoting some times. A scale up is a consolidated business idea which now needs to scale in order to be profitable.
    Typically a startup becomes a scaleup at a certain point otherwise it fails, but often it depends on the business model.

    Regards!

    Christian

    GiuliaPiesco
    Participant
    @giuliapiesco
    #12607

    Wow @christianpaesante , thank you for your answer!

    I believe you raised a very interesting argument, it’s not a common thought to start in a small reality to gain knowledge and have a real impact on the business rather than opting for a smaller role in a big company!

    Talking about Uber, did you guys hear about the gender bias scandal that involved Uber?

    Take a look at this article: https://us9.campaign-archive.com/?u=b62cb24b36e09c35dac9a3f1e&id=8cf84a87eb

    Moreover, what do you guys think about AI and its ethical implications?

    GP

    Matteo
    Member
    @matteo30
    #12609

    Hi everyone,

    in response to @katia-palma, i also think that human contact is indispensable, for a short time Smartworking at home can be ok, but after a while humans needs to interact with other people, especially at the level work for comparison, problems solving and to keep motivation high. As soon as my university opened they’re study rooms I immediately booked myself. Studying with others, even if in silence helps me much more to stay focused. I am curious to know if you too are more focused and motivated when you study or work in a team.

    @giuliapiesco in recent years I have read many books including: Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, I have enthusiastically followed their approach from the foundation and growth of their start-ups, which have now become large consolidated companies.
    Now I am fascinated by Bending Spoons (an Italian smartphone app development company) I like their visionary orientation, hard work and united mentality, I also followed their development of the Immuni app. I think it was a very noble choice on their part to have offered to develop it for free. Furthermore, if I came to know about this project (Silicon Valley Study Tour), it is thanks to a guy who had been selected a few years ago and who now works for them. Then I think there are many other start-ups that are valid but that are not yet well known.

    Good Evening to all

    Matteo

    Gianluca
    Member
    @gianluca-pontoni
    #12610

    Hi @giuliapiesco, nice to meet you!

    In the last few months I have followed many startups, but lately I have preferred to focus on only a few, to understand how they had adapted their business model after Covid19; an example is Airbnb. It was interesting to see how all company components had to use creativity to find solutions, I think creativity today is a necessary skill for any person in any company role, it is the key to finding innovative solutions and proposals. A now “ex Startup” that I was following is also NIO, who did the IPO last November: I am particularly attracted to their longer-term products, they seem innovative and visionary (give a look at the NIO EVE: https://www.nio.com/visioncar), products already on the market instead seem to me a copy of other companies, and I don’t like copies.

    @giuliapiesco you sad that you are a product designer, I study economics and finance, but design is a passion. What books do you recommend and who is your favorite designer? I really love Massimo Vignelli and Bruno Munari. And about creativity that I touched before, could you tell me how you practice or stimulate it?

    @christianpaesante I heard about WeSudent and Girogio Morelli, one of its founders (Forbes 100 under 30, right?). I am very curious to know what your role is in the Startup, can you tell me about your experience?

    Thank you all

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by Gianluca.
    GiuliaPiesco
    Participant
    @giuliapiesco
    #12612

    Hello guys!

    @gianluca-pontoni I find it great that you went outside your study path and found a passion for product design! How did you discover this passion?

    To answer your questions, I highly recommend:

    “Da cosa nasce cosa” by Bruno Munari, if you like him as a designer you will love this book! It is a bible for all designers and aspiring designers as weel! 😉

    “Una generazione esagerata” by Andrea Branzi, an amazing story about the sixties and how radical design came to be! It has a philosophical approach that is simply exquisite!

    “Dal cucchiaio alla città” by Ugo La Pietra, a real designer understands that – design –  is a method that can be (and has to be) applicable to anything! Hence, designing a spoon is equivalent to designing a whole city! (Careful that I didn’t say it is the same thing 😉 )

    I don’t have a favourite designer because I consider myself very eclectic. I admire these designers I mentioned above but not above all! I always look for inspiration depending on what are my objectives and I find the designer that best suits that objective for inspiration! I also love nordic designers like Frank Lloyd Wright because they take inspiration from nature in order to protect and respect it, or Charles and Ray Eames because they revolutionised the design of workspaces and furniture!

    To better understand the amount of amazing designers there are around the world I recommend you Design del XX secolo, a sort of enciclopedia of all designers!

    If you guys want to deepen this conversation on design let me know and let’s keep this conversation going! 😉

    Have a great day!

     

    GP

    Eleonora
    Member
    @eleonoracarletti
    #12617

    Hi everyone! 🙂

    How are doing?

    @giuliapiesco about startup there’s one in particular I’m following which is call “Sbam”, it’s Italian and they developed a software that, through analytics, it’s able to give you advices to increase your presence on social media in terms of number of followers.

    I like them because I know the founders personally and I know they are a great team, very enthusiastic and competent.

    I didn’t know about the Uber fact, but I knew that ethical implications of AI is a very important argument and that we, as developers, have to become more and more aware of it and apply all the possible strategies in order to decrease biases that our softwares can voluntarily or not generate.

    About design unluckily I’m not so into it, but I’ve always been very curious 🙂

    I will have a look at the book you suggested and if you have more (maybe specific for beginners) I will be happy to read them.

    @christianpaesante I’m curious about your role in we student as well, can you tell us more?

    I’m looking forward to read your answers!

    Eleonora

     

    Gianluca
    Member
    @gianluca-pontoni
    #12618

    <span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>giuliapiesco thanks for your advice!
    I am a very curious person, and I am of the idea that you must not stop at your “field” if you want to excel, so I learn the philosophy of other sectors. In particular, I have some personal projects started (not startups) and on these trips I am accompanied by some trusted people, including a product designer. This person was able to pass on all his passion and love for design, including the philosophy and logic behind creating a new idea, so I got passionate and together with him we are giving a lot of focus on graphic design in my projects: good design as a means of better conveying some concepts. I’m also trying to apply all the mental logics of you designers to the world of economics and business. If you are curious I can also attach the logos that he created for me, they are only a small part of his work, but I think they represent his philosophy well.

    Speaking of books, thank you very much for your advice: “Da cosa nasce cosa” I have already read it, and I also read “Fantasia” by Munari (very nice as it tries to explain the difference between fantasy, creativity and invention). For your other advice I will certainly read them.

    Do you know any interesting Startups that give a good focus on good design?

    GiuliaPiesco
    Participant
    @giuliapiesco
    #12619

    Good morning guys!

    @eleonoracarletti all the books I pointed out are more than accurate for beginners as well 😉 (particularly “Da cosa nasce cosa” and “Design del XX secolo”, but if you are a reader also “Generazione esagerata” is a blast!).

    You talked about some strategies that could be taken into account when programming, can you tell us more? After all, we are the ones educating the software!

    I recently took a course in Data Science Ethics that talked about societal consensus in order to determine what is considered to be ethical and what isn’t. I would love to hear about your experience as a developer and your thoughts on how we can improve the system (all developers are more than welcome to respond! 😉 ).

    @gianluca-pontoni I really hope though that you don’t believe that product designers are graphic designers, we surely can do that but it’s a very different sector!

    As for startups, I follow a few that are in the digital product design realm. If any of you had the chance to read the article I posted, you could’ve seen one of them 😉

    It’s called IGenius and they are developing an advisor for business intelligence! I recommend to check it out!

    As for industrial products, Layer design is an amazing studio-startup that covers the product at 360°.

    @gianluca-pontoni and any economy student out there, how do you see the world of design and economics/finance intertwined?

    How can one discipline influence and work with the other? Both based on your experience and maybe some research 😉

    Gianluca
    Member
    @gianluca-pontoni
    #12620

    Hi @giuliapiesco! Of course I know that product design is not graphic design, but very often those who make one know how to do the other.

    About your question. In my opinion, and from personal experience, design can influence those who work in the economy in the creative and thought process: it was inspiring for me to see how an idea is born, the reasoning behind it and the semantics behind a product or an image; I learned that the basis is to start from the “why” of everything. All this is the basis for applying and creating an innovation in any economic field.

    On the other hand, the various jobs in the economic field can teach a designer the importance of numbers (even in a project where creativity is at the center), and the fact that sometimes, a project is better to leave it as far as it can be close to the creative’s heart. How do you think economists can influence designers?

    The intertwining between economy and design is very interesting: eco-design as one of the steps in a circular business model. The study of product design to ensure that it is respectful of the environment: durable, built with sustainable materials, that the design requires a second use … all elements needed to step a circular business model. What do you think? Have you ever made or thought of making an “eco-design” objects?

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Gianluca.
    Eleonora
    Member
    @eleonoracarletti
    #12622

    Hi everyone! 🙂

    @giuliapiesco I think that one of the most effective manner to decrease biases in software is the ability of a programmer to leave the code for a while and take some time to gain expertise about the field he is going to code into.

    Also the ability to cooperate with experts in the field is a strong point in decreasing biases and a behavior that in my opinion has to be encouraged.

    Another thing that a programmer should take care of is the data that he is going to use to train a model: for example sometimes old data can picture a society that is quite different from the one that we are experiencing nowadays and so using them to “teach a machine how to think” can result quite dangerous and can easily generate biases.

    There are also some mathematical/statistical tool that can help in order to decrease biases in software like for example Gini and Shannon indexes for measuring heterogeneity and diversity in a dataset.

    I’m looking forward to hear your opinions on the topic!

    Eleonora

    Christian
    Member
    @christianpaesante
    #12623

    Hello everyone!

    @gianluca-pontoni, @eleonoracarletti you are lucky! I just started my on-site experience today! I’m currently a backend developer, nothing really “fancy”.

    During quarantine I was charged to build the backend infrastructure of their new product DaScuola which helped students and teacher to overcome difficuties due to Covid-19 and qurantine. Now I’ll work on a new part of their original application, WeStudents, on a new set of features which aims to raise user engagement on the platform through some “games”. It is way more challenging than the first project on DaScuola due to some more complex constraints we need to take into account for good performance optimization. We’ll touch quite interesting topic of scalable architectures to implement some solutions and it will be a good playground to try new patterns and strategies!

    It seems that backend devs are quite a rare resource in WeStudents and moreover not everyone has a deep understanding of distributed architectures. Thanks to my interest in that topic, I’m quite “good” to foresee problems when designing some microservices and I think that’s why during quarantine and now I’m working in tight contact with the CTO of the company Matteo Giardino (he got a Google offer at 18 y/o which refused! Absolute madlad). I really liked the space I had to propose alternative ideas and discuss them when they seemed better. It is sometimes hard to convice him, but I feel it depends on how well you can explain it. This is my really personal experience from my point of view, but that’s what I like of working there.

    A downside is that they’re are really small (like any startup) and you think you need to learn, get mentors, etc. you’ll probably struggle here. I think a startup is a place to have impact, while a big company is a place where you can learn more technically. That’s why I’m still trying to reach some FAANG (and so I recommend you!).

    I highly recommend you to get in contact with them, if you are intererested in working there. It is a really relaxed place, really young (I’m probably one of the older, if not the oldest and I’m only 23), friendly and stimulating. I think they’re still hiring and if you think you’ll need a referral, contact me, I’ll try my best to help you :).

     

    Katia Palma
    Member
    @katia-palma
    #12624

    Hi guys!

    I’ve been very happy to have joined with all of you this virtual journey!

    I’ve learned a lot: to keep going, to never let anyone saying you’re never success.

    Many of the speakers said that they have failed a lot of times before finding themselves.

    And you know?!

    I think that failures make us stronger, but not only is. Also our dreams, our weaknesses….

     

     

    I hope this is not the last time we talk with each other!

     

    Best wishes,

    Katia Palma.

    Katia Palma
    Member
    @katia-palma
    #12625

    Hi guys!

    I’ve been very happy to have joined with all of you this virtual journey!

    I’ve learned a lot: to keep going, to never let anyone saying you’re never success.

    Many of the speakers said that they have failed a lot of times before finding themselves.

    And you know?!

    I think that failures make us stronger, but not only us. Also our dreams, our weaknesses….

     

     

    I hope this is not the last time we talk with each other!

     

    Best wishes,

    Katia Palma.

    Paolo Marenco
    Participant
    @paolomarenco
    #12626

    Hi great girls and guys!

    I do think that this Forum will be a first step of a great network for you and your future. Happy to see that friendship and projects are growing from here.

    Send me your short video to my Watsapp 335 6930552, it’s a way to remember you, who you are, what’s your feeling, your face!

    See you today at the last summer webinar! …but we restart on September 29th…one per month… with other amazing stories till April or May!

    Hoping to bring you to Silicon Valley, August 2021!

    Paolo

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