Home Forums Silicon Valley Study Tour – August 2020 Poli To Silicon Valley 2020

104 replies, 31 voices Last updated by Paolo Marenco 3 years, 9 months ago
  • Paolo Gioele

    When I applied register with this forum and take this commitment with myself, I did not aspect to find this amazing vibe. Something has really fascinated my is the enthusiam of the Staff, guesses and moderators! @paolomarenco looks like he is taking part of this project for the first time and this makes me even more curious na aware of the opportunity I got.

    Thank you a lot <span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>pistillostefano for your avalaibility in answering to our questions (maybe more to reveal what were our curiosities than anwering to questions). You journey till your current position is not as many of us has presumed before the meeting. Maybe because we study at POLITO, maybe because we study Engineering o more because we are aware Italian students are really strong compared to other student’s all around the wordl, but likely we think job meetings has to be perfect since first time, founding our dream job at the first occasion. Yours is the witness work career is harder than we probably think and especially full of defeats and unsuccesses. But the secret is a self-made sentence..”never give five up” and catching as more as possible adventures and opporunity life put during our path. Probably, what has more been interesting in our meeting was when you told us about the sacrifie of Silicon Valley, the world’s heart of innovation and success, for another heart. You were there, probably just near the dream of Google (nobody can know) but you left. However, your detemrination of leaving tha company with the best remember as possible, carried you to keep this job so far, by working from home. That’s unbelievable…

    <span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>cbrugo I totally shared your message. I am a semi-professional volleyball player, and until last year professional. My life, since i remember, has always been characterized by daily practices and matches every weekend all around the south of Italy (i come from Palermo) and probably i spent more time in halls of sport than on books in my life. Altought all this commitmens, I graduated with honor in less than three year and took part to several project and compaigns for learning something else than accademic knowledge. Even the time management is something i developed due to my sport, accademic and social’s commitmens, as well as ability to team working and, as Stefano told us… never give up until the last ball touchs the floor and the match is over.



    Hi guys!

    I would like to say about the meeting with @pistillostefano. First of all, I want to say thank you for the time that you had spent for all of us with your incredible story.

    The first thing that I’ve thought after this meeting is the awareness that limits can be only in our mind. A working career successful  is not only for for people who graduates with full marks. This it can be possible for everyone that doesn’ stop to believe on that and work on it. I was really impressed by the the perseverance that you had and your personality to not to let yourself be overcome at the first difficulties. I was also impressed by the awareness that the right opportunity would come sooner or later.

    Honestly, in my life I’ve never dedicate too much time for extracurricular attivities because I’ve always preferred to concentrate my time to improve my votes and to pass the exams especially. In reality playing football since I was 8 years old the free time was very short and my mind suggested to spend this time with some entertaining attivities, see my friends or workout on my other passions. In the summer when I wasn’t playing football I alterned between work and animator for children in summer camp. I loved to work with other guys with the purpose to entertain a lot of children.

    Only in these recent months I’m trying to get activated for other project or activities extracurricular and the things I’m learning are really many. I learned to find pleasure in the path you have chosen to do regardless the final results. It’s for this reason that I’m really happy and grateful to have this opportunity and other two meeting which I’m sure they’ll be equally interesting.

    I would also reply to @cbrugo ’s post. I think that this example is really interesting. I’ve never heard about this Jack Ma. A few months ago I think I would not have understood the meaning and purpose of such a declaration. Now I think it’s not all about randomness. In these extracurricular attivities we can traine some skills such as speakinf in front of a lot of people for example. Skills that are impossibile to train in some different ways and that are fundamental for building excellent relationships. (especially after what stefando told where in places like Silicon Valley it’s really frequent to work with new people almost every day)

    I never think that it’s too late in life, for this reason I want to get more and more involved.

    See you soon!


    Hi everybody!
    Before givinig my opinion about the topic proposed by @cbrugo, i just want to say something related to @pistillostefano ‘s  experience, about the part concerning defeats. By talking with people in these years, I dealt with one who experienced a job interview for a relevant company where the recruiter asked him about his failures in life as first question. I guess it is an interesting food for toughts. It embraced two sides of the same coin: the first regarding what the candidate wanted to get involved and the grade of risk taken for ( that, consequently, well describes his attitude, interests and the approach to life and work), and the second concerning how he reacted to his breakdown. The latter maybe was, and actually is, an highly sensitive issue but at the same time what makes the difference despite the knowledges, as Stefano’s story has shown to us (and that has been really heartened, at least for me). These few rows just to stress how what we’ve always considered negative doesn’t mean necessarily it is, if faced with an active behavior ( Paolo Sorrentino once said that to become a good movie director it’s really helpful looking at bad movies). I know there is a sea between writing it and doing it, but I guess that the awareness is always a good first step.

    As far as Jack Ma’s speech is concerned, I haven’t seen the video so far, but I knew the content because I read the text on an online article! I can say that I totally agree, but it’s easy when you are a student exactly in the middle like me 😅ahah jokes aside, I guess that all of us aim to be a person as complete as possible, according to our own idea of completeness. Personally I think that nowadays is needed a mix of both scientific skills, that move the world, and humanistic/relational ones, that help us to be introduced and to move inside that world.  I’ve always carried this idea, and that’s the reason why I tried , fortunately with success, to become the President of my high school ( I don’t want to be prolix so I don’t go into details, but I can say it has been one of the most human-formative experiences i’ve had ) and why I switched from a total classical studies to engineering ones. This is briefly my idea, but of course I would never dare to consider it better or worse than others. It’s just mine. Likely someone having dedicated almost his whole time in studying will have a more brilliant career than mine, but it doesn’t matter at all. At the end the most important thing is to feel good about ourselves and to have satisfactions in what we have done/ will do, being sure to have done/will do our best.

    See you soon!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Valerio.

    Hi everyone!

    A big thank you to @pistillostefano. Your story was unique and the fact you were aiming to Google like me now, touched me somehow. Another thing you were mentioning was the founder of the company which mentored you.

    That reminded me the time when, during my first internship in Turin, one the chief officiers gave me similar instructions: “We need you to remake our license manager. Here’s the source code, do it”. At the time I had very small experience and it felt overwhelming, but I learned A LOT. Sometimes he had to direct me in some manners, but the fact I had to figure it out to solve stuff was really exciting.

    I learned not to give up in front of problems, but take my time, study it a little bit, try a path, go back, retry, until I solved it. I learned to believe first of all in me, independently of the possibility to find a solution. He was a really good mentor.

    Regarding what Jack Ma said, as mentioned by @cbrugo, I agree. Since when I was in High School, I had a good trend, but I wasn’t the best one. I felt that the effort (also in terms of time) wasn’t really worth it. And I’m glad I acted like this and I experienced different things instead.

    I did a lot of sport: swimming for 12 years and karting (which is really really fun, I really recommend to try!). I tried also different activities in my free-time from trying to create music (without good results ahah), to 3D modelling with blender. With the last one I actually got decent results:

    Inspired by the trailer of Ghost Recon Wildlands at 0:34

    I didn’t knew at the time but using this free-time to try and learn new skills, I found my right path mentioned by @silviag . In my fourth year of High School, I started following the Android world and I began programming. I still thank God, I tried it.
    At my first year of Polytechnic I was enrolled in Automotive due to solicitations from my parents, but thanks to the fact I continued programming, I knew what was good for me and I changed to Computer Engineering in time.

    If I was the best one in my class in High School, now I wouldn’t know what I want from my life.

    Attending university, I wasn’t happy with my learning ratio in the CS field. So I followed the same strategy, not be the first but learn as much as I could. That’s why I did lot of internships and studied a lot of CS-related stuff on my own. I think it’s also thanks to that, I got my interview in Amazon.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Christian.

    Hi everyone!

    I’d like to share some ideas about @pistillostefano’s experience, which I found very inspiring and also surprising. In particular, I really admire how he was able to get an excellent position thanks to his personality, his ideas and all the experience he had gained through extra activities, which clearly shows that high grades are not everything, and they are definitely not enough to build who we want to be in the future.

    In my life as a student, I’ve always been quite concerned about my grades, mainly because I knew I could aim to high grades and I wanted to push myself in order to get the best out of my effort. Thinking about this approach now, I realize that it has helped me developing my perseverance and my problem solving capabilities, but, on the other side, it has also required a lot of time.

    I’ve always tried to do some extra activities beyond school or university, such as sports or extra courses I was interested about, and now I’m starting to realize how important these experiences have been and will be to my growth. In fact, I’ve recently come back from a semester abroad, and I am so thankful for all the people I met, the new situations I lived and also the difficulties I had to face, whether they were related to a different university or to social relations. I understood that the best way for me to find out what I want from my future (which I’m still quite unsure about), what I can aim to and what is really important to me, is to try and live as many experiences as I can myself, and then to meet and talk to people about their own lives and opinions. That’s also why I think this forum is a great possibility!

    Silvia Giammarinaro

    Hi everyone!
    Today I would like to reply both to @simone-dalledonne and @cbrugo.
    I’ve already watched the documentary about AlphaGo. Last semester I’ve studied just a part of theory beside it, reinforcement learning, and it is so fascinating. I have a Netflix subscription, so I have a few documentaries to recommend. The first one is ‘The great hack’, it is around Cambridge Analytica’s case. Then if you are interested in medicine, ‘Diagnosis’ is awesome. It’s about a weekly online section on The New York Times, in which an unsolved medical case is proposed. As a reader, you can expose your ideas to help to find a cure. Everyone can reply: you could be a doctor, a person with the same disease, a medicine student.
    I’m currently reading two books, one is ‘Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE’ by Phil knight. It’s about how the creator started his business. The other one is ‘Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin, it explains the basic principles of marketing, which is a field I want to examine.
    One thing I discovered lately is podcasts, I love them because you can listen to episodes about literally everything. One I suggest is Artificial Intelligence by Lex Fridman, it is a collection of interviews with representatives in the AI field. The last episode I started is with David Silver, the mind behind AlphaGo and AlphaZero.
    The last thing I would like to suggest are TED talks on youtube, there is also the official app where you can download them. After the coronavirus outbreak, all the internet is talking about the one with Bill Gates if you haven’t seen it yet check it out.
    I think Jack Ma is right, you have to develop skills outside school. As I said in my presentation post, I choose to work while finishing my Master’s degree. I think it is a great opportunity to gain abilities like teamwork, organization, and problem-solving.
    In the end happy Easter to you and your families,


    @silviag, I also follow the AI Podcast by Lex Fridman. He always makes very interesting and profound questions to all his guests. I have followed the same course about Stochastic Optimization and since I wanted to deepen my knowledge about Reinforcement Learning I’ve also followed the course by David Silver, which is freely available on YouTube. Again, another podcast that I’ve found interesting is this interview with Richard Sutton ( link ), one of the fathers of Reinforcement Learning (he was also Silver’s PhD advisor). I think that you may enjoy it. I think we are very lucky to have all these resources that allow us to learn new things and attend or listen to conferences or interviews with these outstanding researchers, entrepreneurs, philosophers and great thinkers in general.

    I would also reply to @cbrugo ’s post. I am not a big fan of Jack Ma, after seeing his debate with Musk (also suggested by @alessandrocaruso) I had a wrong impression about him. Seems like he didn’t understand properly a lot of things about AI and also Elon keeps mocking him all the time. About the quote, I always have a different opinion about grades and school in general, I think that everyone should be moved by interest, curiosity and thirst for knowledge. This passion and enthusiasm about learning are the most important things to me, not grades. If you follow this passion you will surely have good grades and interesting opportunities, because they drive you into the right path and, with a bit of luck, allow you to also know other people that have your motivation. I have to say that passion alone is not enough to achieve good results, they need also a lot of hard work, but if you have the passion you will enjoy this hard work and you will overcome all the difficulties that you will find in this journey called life.

    To summarise I would like to share with you this clip by Lex Fridman about Progress in AI that has a lot of fascinating ideas that can be applied to every kind of aspect in life :

    <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ao3UoceiL2w&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Riccardo.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Riccardo.

    The forum doesn’t allow me to edit again the previous post… The link to the video is broken, the correct one is this one  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao3UoceiL2w.

    This screenshot contains all the key ideas of the speech:

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Riccardo.

    To answer the post by @cbrugo I think it’s important to have interests outside of school life.

    I believe the grades and results obtained at school/university are important, but they should not absorb all our time: to me it’s important  to have hobbies, passions, activities that keep us committed beyond college.

    In my opinion life of university students runs along two parallel paths: academic and personal life. As I wrote in my last post, since the first year I have started to work and this has made me very busy, but I have always managed to organize study, work and friends. In the little free time I train twice a week in the gym: training helps me clear my mind. I wrote this to say that with a good organization it is always possible for everyone to be able to get time for themselves.

    I like thinking I can conciliate the two “lives” with a modest success, also because if I develop only the life school what will I do when the university will end?


    PS: @silviag I’m a huge TED Talks fan!!


    @cbrugo as I previously said in my last post, during my life I focused more on extra curricular activities rather than on curricular ones.
    But university, that in general in Italy doesn’t completely matter anything other than exams, teached me many important things. Not only importance of theory learned in class, but also how to organize own time, how to concentrate in class, the value of study sacrifices. So, for me, this is the middle way I was talking about in my last post.

    I’m really happy for my path so far, for experiences that I’ve lived and opportunities that, thank God, I’ve seized. Now, without arrogance, I know I’m not one of the many.


    I would like to thank @pistillostefano for telling us his story. Especially because he put himself at the center as a man, therefore with big desires that may not be just work.

    I agree with what Jack Ma (@cbrugo ) says because I have always lived “in the middle”, also as @pistillostefano I was the student representative at Polito and welcoming the freshmen. I found that being at 360 degrees in university helped me even in front of the study, trivially because with those same friends, in addition to the “things to do”, we also proposed to do well what we were asked for more, that is to study. during these years I have discovered how studying together is a huge help to stay in front of books not as an thing that isolates us, but as a thing that helps to stay in the world!

    In another Jack Ma speech, he said how useful it is to follow a mentor in the early years of work. I am now thinking about where to go for the internship next year and in choosing the place I realized I was looking for a charming maestro to follow, rather than the big name of a company, because returning to the @stefanopistillo testimony, I want to grow up and become an adult, before I make a career.

    I suggest everyone to follow the cyberminds.life instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/cyberminds.life/), created by a former student of poliTO who has made a career in Google and who tries to help students enter the world of work, especially by doing interviews with his friends that (like him) have something great to tell about their work and their career! (first of all as men)

    Happy Easter to all!


    Hi guys,

    I didn’t expect such an high active participation like this on the forum. It’s incredible how a group of young people like us can send advice, suggestions and recommendations about everything. I’m trying to write almost all your tips down to don’t forget anything cause I found them super interesting.

    First of all I’m starting to try podcasts and I’m also asking to my friends what they use to listen to so thanks to @silviag for Lex Fridman channel, and also for the documentary about Cambridge Analytica, I’ll see it in these days.

    Replying to <span class=”bbp-user-nicename”><span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>riccardomereu</span><span class=”bbp-user-nicename”> of course that video about Elon Musk and Jack Ma could be a little deceptive. I mean I’m not a great fun of him neither since that video also because the way in which he answers to the AI matter is not properly what we expect from a great entrepreneur like him but it’s also true he’s a genius in his world. Basically they are two different but still great minds.</span>

    In this theme I’d like to say that I quite agree with what Jack Ma declares in the photo @cbrugo posted here. I think studies are fundamental, above all in this historical period but for sure it can’t be the only thing. Grades are important but I think life is something else.That’s why I started to act in theater since I was a kid. I did a lot of activities, for example I also worked for 6 years as an official blogger and journalist during the Salone del Libro in Turin and I really happy to say that it’s been a real life experience. I’ve known a lot of authors, big names of our and foreign culture (I also met <span class=”LrzXr kno-fv”>Henry Winkler), I worked with Mario Calabresi, ex director of LaStampa and above all I learnt to love books world.</span>

    In the end I’d compliment to <span class=”bbp-user-nicename”><span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>christianpaesante</span><span class=”bbp-user-nicename”> for his rendering skills. As a designer student I’m working since last year with blender for some projects and it’s really cool when you realize something realistic. If you like also animation I recommend you to watch how powerful is this program in its YT channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BlenderInstitute. It’s really insane how many things you can do with Blender.</span>

    Well, I hope to find more and more suggestions every time.

    Thanks to all and happy Easter!!


    Hi everyone!

    I wanted to thank @pistillostefano  for the interesting videoconference of last Tuesday, thinking back to his words, I was particularly impressed when he said that we are often the first to underestimate ourselves, for example when we consider ourselves less competent than colleagues overseas or when at first defeats and disappointments we surrender. @pistillostefano seemed the clear example of how determination is a fundamental aspect to achieve one’s dreams and fulfill oneself.

    Reflecting on my school career and connecting to the @silviag question, I realized that I always had clear ideas, at least on what I would have liked to do.

    Since I was a child, like so many of my friends, I often played video games and understanding how those devices worked was my first interest in technology. Cultivating this passion of mine, I decided to enroll in a technical institute with an IT address, where the passion for computer science and programming has blossomed. Discovering the vastness and complexity of the world that had always interested me spurred me to expanded my knowledge.

    After high school I already had good skills with different programming languages, but the learned theory had not been as exhaustive as I thought, so I decided to continue my school path by enrolling computer engineering. Here I have filled my shortcomings and discovered new interests thanks to courses with completely new subjects. During the three-year period I became interested in Deep Learning and AI, discovering that Data Science and Engineering was among the master’s addresses I was enthusiastic and I immediately signed up.

    I cannot be sure where the path I have chosen will lead me, but for now I can say that it has only given me satisfaction and has fueled my interest.

    The school career has always been very important for me, but by connecting to the @cbrugo question, I consider it essential to accompany school activities with social ones.

    I have always practiced many sports: skiing, swimming, tennis, basketball (I was very undecided) but in the end I fell in love with football that I have practiced for about ten years. Even in this quarantine period, I try to practice at home, but honestly, the activities carried out in the open spaces are better. Playing sports (especially as a team) led me to get to know and relate to new people by promoting the comparison and exchange of different opinions and ideas. Moreover, if due to exams or work deliveries I settle on a problem and I cannot find a solution, physical activities help me to “detach the brain” and then to reflect more clearly on new strategies.

    Thanks to the huge amount of information available on the internet and my passion for programming, when I come across a new topic that arouses my interest (among which the latest are the Flutter and ReactNative frameworks) I usually create small home projects to test their potential.

    Balancing study and personal life is of fundamental importance, if I had dedicated myself exclusively to study, leaving out other personal interests, I would certainly be a very different person from what I am now and I would have lost many opportunities including the one that led me to have my current job.

    Happy Easter to all, see you soon!


    Hi everyone!

    It has been a pleasure reading of all your comments, where you motivated your ideas also making use of quotes or annecdotes from exceptional resourcefulness people.

    I think that optional oral exams should be more encouraged by our university, since according to what I’ve been hearing in these days, many relevant “hi-tech stories” took up during meetings where qualified people showed each other their plans for the future, helped by soft skills that this procedure of evaluation certainly emphasizes. I wonder if any of you shares my observation.

    Happy Easter to everybody!



    Hello everybody!

    My name is Gaspare Antona and I am attending the master’s degree in Microelectronics at POLITO.

    I got my bachelor degree in Electronics at Polito last July and  I always be interested to visit the Silicon Vally since when I start my degree in engineering. When I discover the possibility to do the Silicon Valley Tour, I immediately got interested to improve my self and find new opinion of people that work in this envirorment. I was really excited for the first conference talking, and moreover I want try to take part of this amazing experience.

    I always use the summer to improve myself and I went in the last years to England and Ireland to have more opportunity to learn something. I would like to overcome my limits and to discover the Silicon Valley world. This tour represent the perfect experience to do before the last year of my master degree that I want to spend outside ITaly, maybe in Erasmus because I think that it could be another good experince before the world of work.

    The tour would take place in August, I will be ready to have this exciting new experience.

    I really look forward to new meeting!

    Gaspare Antona

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