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

104 replies, 31 voices Last updated by Paolo Marenco 3 years, 8 months ago
  • Daniel Felipe

    First of all, I want to thank @pistillostefano for his time with us, these experiences are really helpful and an example for our academic and personal training, his ideas allow us to reflect on our future and make us think about what we can start doing in our life or even improve in order to achieve our dreams and goals.

    In a certain way, when he talked about his return to Italy in order to be with the love of his life, it made me reflect a little and resemble it to what has happened to me. My dream of studying in Italy started since I began my bachelor degree in Colombia. However, I always had the idea that made me think if this really was what I wanted in my life, bearing in mind that it involved being separated from my family and travelling to the other side of the world to start a new life. What helped me to take this decision was indeed themselves, my family, they advised me it was the best for me, they told me that although it could be very difficult, those efforts will eventually bring their reward. And here I am today, I am participating in this wonderful experience and looking to fulfill another of my dreams which is to work in Silicon Valley. And like @pistillostefano, surely when I think it is appropriated, I will make the decision to return to my country to be close to the people I love.

    On the other hand, taking into account what I just said, I take the opportunity to reply to @silviag, I can say that I have found the right path, even though I am in a new country, I feel that Italy has welcomed me as if it had been my country of birth. As for my career, I cannot be happier with it since it is what I have been passionate about from an early age and getting more and more involved in this subject is very motivating.

    Finally, regarding the topic proposed by @cbrugo, I totally agree with what Mr. Ma affirms, but that does not mean that it is something that is always fulfilled. Sometime it can be very relative according to each person, since there are people who excel academically and also dedicate a good part of their time to other activities, just as there are others who do not dedicate the necessary time to their academic part but the remaining time is not well invested in learning new skills.

    From my point of view, the academic training is not only about just finishing school and getting into university, you must also develop different aspects and skills such a as personal, sports, communication, interpersonal, among others… To make sure you are not only well prepared to work but for life itself.

    Personally, I believe that the way I distribute my time into my academic education and my personal activities has changed as the years pass on. While I was in school most of my time was dedicated to extracurricular activities such as English and Italian lessons. I also dedicated a lot of time to sports since I played football 4 days a week, nevertheless, my performance in the academic part was remarkable. Then, when I got into university, I decided to focus my time to the academic part, which is why I reduced the time of training to only once a week and as for other activities, I decided to take part in research group which allowed me to develop various skills that at the same time were being focused and applied in the academic part, this allowed me to have an excellent academic performance which led me to achieve a scholarship to carry out my studies in this wonderful country.


    Happy Easter to all, see you soon!


    Daniel Orozco.


    Last meeting, with @pistillostefano, was a good surprise to me. I really appreciated how he spoke about his life and his choices. His aim wasn’t to suggest a way of living, or studying, or working, but he managed to inspire us with his sincerity. He didn’t propose himself as a model, but to be honest it’s probably been one of the most interesting meetings I’ve ever been to: I feel like we had a real conversation, it was really effective.

    I always demand the best from me, in everything I do, and that’s why I’ve always tried to get the best results as possible, for example the best marks at school (and now at University), but I hope I can have in my life the same contagious passion and love for his work (and his life) that he has.

    I also totally agree with him when he says that at University his idea was to try to catch as many opportunities as he could as personal growth, and I’m sure this project is the perfect example.

    As many of you said, it’s highly important to keep our mind and our body active, in order to stimulate them. I’m a black belt in Judo, I was part of a Ski Club during Middle School and High School and I played tennis for a few years (even though my biggest passion has always been football, which I play whenever I can).

    The Idiot by Dostoevsky is probably one of my favourite books, together with The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (I highly recommend it, especially if you like Russian literature).

    Looking forward to next meeting!



    Hi guys !

    As suggested by someone here, a few days ago I saw the documentary about Cambridge Analytica: really interesting ! I got a clear idea of the whole situation, and about privacy topic maybe I have an unpopular thought. As long as my data is used to provide me advertising and advice on what interests me (according to the algorithm), it’s fine for me; but it’s important that these data are not made public or, for example, are not read or analyzed by all employees of the company that works on it. It’s no longer fine for me even if these methodologies are used to fuel unbridled consumerism that wears down our society.

    Same speech for election topic: for what I understand, undecided voters were convinced, as happens in any election campaign. Politicians should also be good to persuading. Of course I think that anyone who has spread or contribuited to spreading fake news should be sentenced.

    Even in this quarantine period we are facing the privacy issue regarding the possible tracing of infected: in order to contain the infection it’s an excellent solution, maybe the best, but would this huge privacy violation constitute a precedent for governments in the future ? 1984, is you ? I don’t know.

    What do you think about it ?


    What’s up guys,

    I watched as well the documentary about Cambridge Analytica after @silviag advice and it was really tough. I mean, I found it super interesting, actually I didn’t know so much about it even if last year I followed some videos about the court case. It’s really hard to imagine how huge is the power of data and this movie explains quite well the magnitude of this world, from how much people are manipulable to how many data They own.

    The big problem is we don’t care of reading policies or anything else while we’re on internet, and I’m the first one. We don’t even have a culture of what is dangerous online and what is okay. David Carrol, the teacher explains ironically, even if it’s the truth, that an annoying father nowadays is who reads and pays attention to this kind of things. We’re growing in a different world compared to 20-30 years ago and we should care about data because if all these companies are growing and making money thanks to data maybe it’s because they have a huge value and power, and we have to understand it.

    Even when we accept to give our data just to ads we should know that 99.9% of times it’s not just for that and maybe nobody is gonna read or manage them but probably, legally speaking, they could.

    Whatever it’s a vast argument, and also difficult to manage and to find the right way to deal it. What you guys think about managing data? What is right and what’s wrong, what is marketing and what is other kind of interests… which is the ethical limit?

    As soon as the movie finished I watched the TED talk of Carol Cadwalladr which is quite interesting as well, check it out (and I check some moment during the process of Zuckerberg, funniest ones with Ocasio – Cortez)

    I also joined the Cybermind group last week during the Enrico Risi meeting. It’s been absolutely illuminating! Another great mind who works in Google and really opened to share with guys of our age his background, his tips and creating a fluent back and forth. Thanks <span class=”bbp-user-nicename”><span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>elenabecchis</span> for writing it here in the forum!





    Hello everyone! Hope you’re all fine and safe!

    Yesterday I was checking job opportunities from FAANGs as I periodically do. I bumped into a full-time position at Amazon in NYC which was added the same day on LinkedIn. Then in the “suggested opportutinities”, I found other 6 job posting from Amazon for SWE positions in NYC all added in the last week. From my perspective that sounded completely unusual for the time period in the year and for COVID-19. After googling a bit, I found this article of Business Insider: “Big tech companies hired aggressively during the last financial crisis, and they’re doing it again.”.

    Suddenly words of @pistillostefano came into my mind, when he said “I don’t know why, but during crisis in 2009 companies from Silicon Valley were hiring with an accelerating trend”. Currently there’s an overall reduction of job vacancies, while FAANGs are still hiring. But maybe we could expect in tech a similar situation to the one described by Stefano in 2009 once lockdowns will start to loosen up and the economy will restart to grow. This is pure speculation, but who knows… We’ll see.

    So eyes open on months to come and apply!


    Hi guys!

    I would like to reply @simone-dalledonne (even if a few days later). About some interesting books to read I’d have a little suggestion although many of you probably already know it. The book I’m talking about now is “Nudge: la spinta gentile” written by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler. I read it a short time ago and I loved it so there are a lot of reason why I recommend it very much. First of all, it’s very “soft” and not too complicated to understand (perfect to end a long and intense day of study or work.) Another reason are the main themes covered: the human person at the center and their relationship approach with other people. Resources and capabilities that can be very useful for all of us, especially after hearing about @pistillostefano few days ago. Work in a team could be much easier if we could improve our approach with people or if we learn to make the best decisions. This book is made for this reason, to help people make the right decisions every day in all areas.

    In time like these I think it could be very current given the many decisions that we hear on television or news that must be made every single day. I found it really interesting!

    Good evening everybody!

    Silvia Giammarinaro

    Good morning everyone!
    I’m glad some of you watched the documentary about Cambridge Analytica. It made me think about how I am valuable and vulnerable as an online entity. In addition, I’m enrolled in the Data ethics course this semester and we are studying all the regulations of the GDPR. Take as an example your bike or scooter sharing account, if you are used to going to university by it, it’s simple to suppose this is your home-work or home-school track.

    We have to find a good trade-off between our data and our safety. Consider that South Korea is using aggressive contact tracing to track people in order to prevent Coronavirus’ spread. Then Russia is empowering his facial recognition surveillance. Instead, the EU last January considered the option to ban face recognition for five years in public areas, but it has been reconsidered. In the end, two days ago it was announced the use of an app here in Italy to control the spread of the virus, it is not mandatory though.  Here are some articles if you want to read more about it:





    The weekend is here so here’s another list of documentaries I watched and I strongly suggest. They are all available on Netflix IT now.

    1. Prediction by the numbers (it title: Le statistiche delle previsioni)

    It’s about statistics (of course) and a small part of it is linked to the one about Cambridge Analytica, for the ones of you who watched. I think I have watched all the documentaries related to statistics on Netflix, they are very interesting and as a Data Science Student, I love to watch them. This one is produced by Nova PBS, all of them are very well made.

    2. Joshua (teenager vs. superpower)

    This documentary is about how the Umbrella movement was born, I bet all of you have seen photos or videos of the events happened in Hong Kong during the past six years. I followed the events but I didn’t know how it all started so it was very interesting.

    3. Explained (it title: In poche parole)

    This is a series made of small documentaries about literally everything (ex: cryptocurrency, programming, K-pop, etc.) This is one of my favorites because they are pretty short and they easily explained the topic.

    4. The mind explained (it title: La mente svelata)

    This series is the same as the previous one, but it’s all about the brain. This is mind-blowing!


    I close this post with a question, during this quarantine have you find a new way to manage your time? One thing I usually do once a week is planning the seven days that cames ahead. I divide every day into time slots so I’m sure that by the end of Sunday night I did everything I wanted to do. I also make a to-do list to better knuckle down.

    Enjoy the weekend,



    Hi guys!

    First of all I wanted to thank @silviag because the documentary about Cambridge Analytica was really interesting and allowed me to deepen a topic of which I only knew the generic aspects. I also started watching the Netflix Explained series and loved the short documentary style about everything.

    As for the @giuseppemissale question, the idea that the government can trace our movements is not very good for me, the places we frequent and the routes we travel can reveal many things about us: where we live, where we work, if we are religious people, for which political party we are inclined and much more.

    I am aware that at this moment the tracking of the people would allow to contain the spread of the infection, but I’m afraid this would create a precedent that allows the government to continue to have access to this information and use it in the worst possible way. In addition, looking back at the INPS site crash event with annexed loss of sensitive data leads me to think that the government cannot adequately manage such a powerful and intrusive tool.

    Google and Apple have also recently introduced their own structure to manage tracking based on Bluetooth. They also guaranteed that the data will be completely anonymous even if experts say that tracing back to the owner of the mobile phone from which the data was sent is not so difficult. For now it is not known yet which model will be adopted but honestly I would have more peaceful dreams knowing that my infromations are managed by companies that for years have been used to processing huge amounts of data and have the right tools to do it.

    What do you think about it ?

    Link to the Google / Apple tracking model: https://www.apple.com/covid19/contacttracing/

    PS: To stay on the theme of the “uncertain future”, if you liked the book “1984 – George Orwell” I suggest you also read “The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood” and “Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury”



    Thanks @silviag for all those suggestions! I will surely see the ones I didn’t.

    I can add some other documentaries that I find interesting.

    1. Unnatural Selection

    It presents an overview of genetic engineering from the perspective of scientists, corporations and biohacker working from their home.

    Unnatural Selection (TV series) - Wikipedia

    2. Cowspiracy

    It explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and investigates the policies of environmental organizations on this issue.

    A movie poster showing a cow with a sunset in the background


    In those days I’m feeling like the protagonist of the film Groundhog Day, I know it’s a very old film, but maybe you have seen it. If so, do you feel like that too?

    in this period I have a list of all the activities/projects and so on I should complete and I add new points as soon as they arrive, so I always know what I have to do.


    Thanks you guys for all these advices about documentary on Netflix !

    I’m discovering the best way to use this service !

    Paolo Gioele

    Hi everybody!

    I took a look to the same article you talked about. It might be representative of how much companies react to changes. Especially big companies, providing fundamental services, have to remodulate their strategy and vision of market when such a external shock (as Coronavirus outbreack) occurs. News related with Google, Amazon ecc certainly took major relevance in our communciation-medias but i could say more. Few days ago I talked with a friend of mine who works in Head-Hunting company, Ricercamy, based in Milano. He handel with HR and, contrary to what we tipically though that is happening right now, he told me they have been receiving several request from many companies about “hunting” new minds and worked, especially with an informatic career and accademic path (Software engineers ecc). More of these companies have realized this will last much it is changing customers needs but even employees habits. Having experienced this condition of working (Remote/Smart working) could be even an opportunity for companies because, as @pistillostefano told us about his personal experience, some of them are really thinking to re-modulate their way to work, supporting non-based job. This ight mean reducing for examples fixed costs fro offices and assets and they need such a informatic experts, in order to make this change possible. An other evidence of this tendency is given to witnesees of companies as Accenture, since they have been observing an increase on demand of information systems by companies.

    I seize the opporunity to reccomend you the reading of this article, thought I really share. It could seem a bit long, but it worths the time you spend. https://www.repubblica.it/economia/2020/04/18/news/coronavirus_yunus_non_torniamo_al_mondo_di_prima_-254319011/




    Paolo Marenco

    Thanks @Paologioelebrucia I agree and confirm your thoughts. Companies are searcing engineers and IT guys ,  possibly more than before. I had yestarday the confirmation of Aizoon, Torino multinational IT Consultancy, I’m senior advisor: they are recruiting and selecting on line young engineers without having a real demand, just because they are smart and could be useful . The approach pays, the customers ( often big multinational like Siemens) ask immediately for those skills. The remote working that we had the chance to tell you in this first 2 conferences with Stefano Pistillo and Andrea Scianò tell you even more: you can be enrolled remotly not only from your nearby, but also, for years, from a other Continent Company. Good for your perspectives of young engineers.

    “Social Enterprise” ” Impresa Sociale” is a real opportunity, there is a recent law in Italy to regulate it. For sure the Social Enterprise approach  growth could be very good for our Planet, after this stop. The awareness could grow, at every level


    Simone Dalledonne

    Hey guys!
    Your discussions are so interesting, keep it up!
    I want to remember you tonight’s conference! Andrea Sciano will be the speaker! He is a computer scientist, Alumno SVST2014, for 5 years he has been the frontend developer of Sysdig from Turin remotely, thanks to the Tour.
    He is excited to talk with you, I advice you not to miss this opportunity!
    The link of the conference is always the same, now I share it below:


    See you later guys!

    Simone Dalledonne

    ps: I’m so sorry but before I forgot the hour of the conference! Obviously it’a at 5.30 pm!


    Hello everyone! Hope you’re all fine and safe!

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate in yesterday meeting. I was working and there was too much stuff to do that I couldn’t postpone. If @paolomarenco will upload it in the future, as it happened with @pistillostefano talk, it would be highly appreciated!

    <span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>paologioelebrucia I took a look to the article you mentioned and was really amazing. My background doesn’t allow me to understand it in a global picture and indeed I find there are still some issues when it come to apply the principle as a general economy, but I still think the potential and the goals are good! Indeed, I always thought that the governament is not able to solve all the problems its country has, primarly due to its inefficiencies in terms of missing regulations or regulations that avoid it to take tempestive actions, but that are required to prevent other problems such as corruption (it’s pretty complex to explain in details). That made me think that there should be some big company (that makes profit as a normal company makes) but it funds a controlled foundation which operates to solve social problems, such as vagrancy by providing free heated dormitories during the winter for example.

    Unfortunately this requires that the main shareholders of the profitable company have the willing to do it and I always thought almost nobody had this interest. So, your article changed my perspective on this. Despite of thinking that Social Business is something that we desperately need in the near future, I don’t think it can be applied as a general rule. For instance, technological development exists when exists competition and competition exists when there are some rewards that leaders are aiming to achieve (that in our current economy model is profit). Within the Social Business concept, I think there’s a lack of this reward, hence there’s no development/progress. Or maybe there is, only when problems appear.
    I don’t know, I’m sure I’m missing something. If someone can provide more insights on this, I’ll really appreciate!

    By the way, I recently read some interesting articles which highlight even more current problems of our economy on Medium.com. This is an awesome platform with very good contents. Here some: Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting (this one is really good), This is How an Economy Dies.

    Obviously these articles takes into consideration USA situation, but they are still very good.

    By the way, for those of you interested in AI, I’ll definetly recommend you Two Minutes Papers. As it says this channel posts very short videos (less than 5 minutes long) about paper work of AI researchers some of which are really amazing! This is the one I found really impressive: This AI Learned to Summarize Videos.

    Another video I want to share with you is about a channel some of you shared here: Lex Fridman. The video is Consciousness is Not a Computation (Roger Penrose). In this video Roger Penrose (for those of you which took some advanced algebra course, he is the same guy of the Moore-Penrose pseudoinverse) talks about what consciusness could be and where it could reside.

    Something that characterize me is to not question myself on topics that aren’t scientifically treatable and do not have a real impact on reality. Up to that video consciousness is was one of those topics. I always believed in a concept of soul/consciousness, but since it had not a scientific definition or scientific evidence on where to search it, question my self on where it is, wasn’t really worth my time. Too many hypotesis, but zero evidences. That video radically changed my idea about consciouness by providing some scientific hints on how it could be described and found.

    Sorry for the long post!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Christian.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Christian.
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