Home Forums Silicon Valley Study Tour – 20-26 August 2017 Trento Silicon Valley 2017

56 replies, 12 voices Last updated by Marta Pancaldi 6 years, 4 months ago
  • Paolo Marenco
    Adriano Fontanari

    Hi there, I am Adriano Fontanari a business administration student at the University of Trento.

    I have always been interested in innovation and digital health. My journey started 4 years ago, when I took part at Startup Weekend Brescia 2013. My startup idea was MediTag: a platform that let patients with a chronic disease (like cancer) to share their story (this is technically called Narrative Medicine) and support them in the disease management (providing trustful information about the disease – Health Literacy).

    SWBrescia gave me the opportunity to meet lot of interesting people (for example Raimondo Bruschi with whom I worked more than one year in the development of MediTag). Since then I did dozens of meeting with researchers, caregivers, entrepreneurs, medical associations and doctors.

    One month ago I co-founded the offline part of MediTag: project Ponterosso (www.ponterosso.eu), the first care management service in Italy, that offers to patients with a chronic disease: psychological support, information about the pathology, orientation among medical facilities and education (through specifics event organized with a group of experts of the University of Bologna and associations). The service is currently offered in Trentino.

    What I have learnt from this experience is how people, vision and commitment are crucial for the success of a project for a startup.

    I am so excited about Silicon Valley Study Tour because it would represent for me an unique opportunity to meet successful entrepreneurs and learn from their experience.



    It is interesting but maybe not surprising that big data could have been used during the US presidential election. In the really first social election, internet and in particularly Facebook had to face with unsuspected issues: 1) related to machine learning (AI), 2) fake news.

    1) Why machine learning?

    The answers is quite simple. The algorithms of Facebook select and show in the news feed of the user only the news that interests the user. E.g. If I like every post of a specific page, there is a good chance that I will see in my news feed lot of posts of that page. This is obvious but also means no equality between the parties (“par condicio”).

    2) Fake news

    Internet has changed and democratised the way we access and also produce news. There is also a drawback: the reliability of the news. This brought Zuckerberg to write post about the election: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103253901916271

    Moreover Facebook is testing new features to flag disputed fake news: https://www.recode.net/2017/3/4/14816254/facebook-fake-news-disputed-trump-snopes-politifact-seattle-tribune

    What happened in the last election can be an application of data driven decisions based on big data. As recently reported by TechCrunch we are only at the beginning: https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/29/why-the-promise-of-big-data-hasnt-delivered-yet/

    Think about how big data will help us to fight disease, for instance IBM Watson is using billions of data to help scientists fighting cancer.

    I am looking forward to continuing to discuss about this topics with you!




    Hi everybody. I’m Giovanni, an Italian student of Sociology. My basic formation is Information Technology, I have been working for two years for an IT agency, where I was an IT systems technician. I decided to resign because of my strong feeling of activism and interventionism: standing behind a desk and fixing computers was too limitative and it didn’t allow me to follow my dreams. I decided to undertake the studies of sociology, through a completely different point of view, the one of an IT lover. At the moment I’m following a course of Social Business Innovation, I have fallen in love with all the things that can make the world a better place. Apart from this big passion for sociology and activism, I have two other great passions, the first one is for movies and the second one is for the IT world. I really think that I am an IT addicted, I think this when I check my browsing history: I visit websites about smartphones, innovation and IT at least 15-20 times a day. The main characters of my love for technology are very contradictory: Richard Stallman and Aaron Swartz and also Sergey Brinn and Steve Jobs. I love the idea of free softwares but also the aesthetics of beauty. As soon as I found out the opportunity to spend some time in the Silicon Valley, I decided not to wait one more minute, because I was really excited. What a better place to go than where the IT innovation was born? I really hope to be accepted. When I read articles, often they talk about pilot projects that are launched in San Francisco and I wonder to myself “Why not here? I really would like that a self-driving car without a pilot could give me a lift from one place to another, or to pay in a restaurant just saying “ Okay Google”, or I would also like to try Virtual Reality: I’m tired to watch this things only on YouTube”. Now, I could talk about my passions for hours, but this is enough for this presentation. Thank you for this big opportunity.



    Hi guys, few days ago I read this article about the new mission of our fabulous Elon Musk. I think it’s fabulous that technology is applied to social problems. Many philanthropists talk about large donations to social causes, but often we do not see the real results of their investments. But here we are in the presence of someone that should really change the world. Are you also agree with me that technology should start solving social problems, and not just work for the hapiness of borkers and investors?

    Adriano Fontanari

    Hi Giovanni,

    interesting point of view. I agree with you. Many investors are already taking into account the social impact of a startup – technology using SROI: social return of investment: http://www.betterevaluation.org/en/approach/SROI. However it is really hard to calculate a reliable SROI at the beginning of a project.


    For a startup there are other key factors to consider: feasibility, traction, team and business metrics.

    How many times do startup pivot? Constantly, market changes and a startup has to adapt his product in order to hit product – market fit.

    I would like to share with you this interesting article about Product-market fit (posted on Andreessen Horowitz): http://a16z.com/2017/02/18/12-things-about-product-market-fit/.

    What do you think of it?








    Francesca Musolino

    Hi everyone!

    I’m Francesca and I study Philosophy and Modern Languages at the University of Trento. I work as a social media manager and I’m a videomaker.

    I’m also attending Startup Lab 2017 working on a project of startup called “Watchme”, which deals with the problem of visibility referring to online video contents. I’m really into digital communication and truly attracted by the power of the audiovisual language on social media.

    Plus I’m particularly lucky as it looks like I’m not the only one: Facebook is launching an app for tv screens – and it’s working on particular algorithms in order to encourage duration and quality of Facebook videos, of course. Also Youtube offers a service called “Youtube Red” since 2015 (still not available in Italy) which makes it an actual pay tv or tv on demand. The truth is that social media are turning into tv channels and every time we prefer watching a video on our smartphone or on a smart tv we are part of this transformation – as we are the media.

    Now, the most fascinating part of online videos is the fact that they are made freely by anyone who simply owns a smartphone. This is the reason why online video contents is way more powerful in convincing from one side and being convinced on the other than traditional tv. Maybe a missing point in our big data/election debating?


    But there’s more: are we sure that the system would never collapse? Or better: of much time will it take for fake news and journalism to invalidate the system of big data? Social media radically changed the way editors share the news. It is not about quality, but quantity of contents. (this is also to say that I’m with Adriano Fontanari when he mentions the importance of fake news in this debate)



    The problem is that all we know about US editors during the last election is that they failed against the monster of the social media. How was that?

    As a philosopher I’ve always studied how easy it could be to manipulate a message in order to convince – we can say it was the main hobby since the Sophists, it’s in our DNA. Now, the most surprising discover about the last elections is that this model can fail, as we don’t care about the message anymore. At the end of 2016 Oxford dictionaries named “Post-Truth” the world of the year, which means the end of the supremacy of the content.



    I want to conclude my intervention linking a Youtube video (which is so me) on post-truth according to Francis Fukuyama, a philosopher who talks about a post-era since 1992 with his book “The end of history and the last man”:


    Thank you everyone for the great intervention,
    looking forward to more of them.


    Adriano Fontanari

    Hi Francesca, thank you for sharing the video!

    Big data are not good / bad themselves. It is the use we do of them and the decisions we take thanks to the data that can be controversial. A few days ago I read an article (written by Harvard Business Review) on how big data are changing decision making. Here is the link: https://hbr.org/2016/08/how-the-big-data-explosion-has-changed-decision-making.

    Regarding the quality / quantity of news there is also to point out the virality of a news.

    The quantity of fake news on Facebook doesn’t necessarily matter — but the number of people who share it absolutely does” http://www.vox.com/2016/11/16/13626318/viral-fake-news-on-facebook

    Furthermore, Facebook penalises pages that post too often. I found a study that shows the relation between the number of post per day and the reach of a post (number of users that see the post).

    “Pages that posted one to four times a week achieved engagement from 12% of people that they reached. Pages that posted even less than once a week got 10.30% engagement. Pages that posted once a day got 10.84% engagement. Pages that posted more than ten times a day didn’t follow this trend and engaged 7.66% of people that they reached.” https://locowise.com/blog/how-facebook-page-posting-frequency-impacts-reach

    Quantity instead of quality is not always better.



    [JOB REQUESTS – @LeadsBridge]

    Hi guys, I’m sorry if I’m posting here a job request but Paolo said to me that here I can find only smart people 🙂
    LeadsBridge (www.leadsbridge.com), the startup that I’m collaborating with since 1 and a half year, is searching for 1 Front-end and 1 Marketing figures to integrate into our fantastic team! We are a startup composed by 17 super smart people (bots are not considered ahah).
    We are working remotely so time and organization are up to you: we simply give a goal to complete with a deadline decided together.
    The startup is growing fast so we need you right now! 🙂 Don’t be shy and complete this form, we would like to meet you 😉

    Ah, I almost forgot: soon we’ll be moving our headquarter in SV, so someone could do the bis 😛
    The form for the candidature is at the bottom.
    Thank you very much for your attention!
    For any questions, pls e-mailed me on muscogiuri.gabriele@gmail.com
    Gabbo with love ❤️

    [Fron-end form]

    [Marketing account form]

    Paolo Marenco

    Good Gabbo!

    for sure you will help the selected for yr team to attend the SVST 2017??  😉

    to produce other Gabbosss  ( SVST2014 Alumnus)

    Stefania Tibiletti

    Good Morning everyone and happy Monday! I’m happy to see new faces here in the forum!!

    First of all, thanks Gabbo for this amazing opportunity!! Later I’ll send you and email so we can keep in touch 😉


    With a lot of pleasure I can say to you guys that I was in Vicenza this weekend for “Festiva Città Impresa”, and was an amazing experience!


    I had the opportunity to listen to entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and they spoke about the new environment where we are facing, in particular Industry 4.0. I was impressed by a quote written on a slide:

    No one can hope to survive in the market, if it does not continue to improve what it offers[..] ” (Akio Morita, one of the founder of sony)

    And I started to think about the SV, It’s true that one of the major reason to go there to open an HQ is the network… but another important pillar in my opinion is that there is a particular environment. This is characterized by innovation, collaboration, and risk-taking. It provides the essential motivational framework required to resist and gain shares inside a market.

    To make a link with my previous comment about Honda and the new Innovation Center in Tokyo, I can state that this new center is really important but is really difficult that the SV could be replaced.  Honda will need years and years to reach the same environment and moreover Japanese culture could not help.

    Moreover is rising the importance of Digital Innovation Hub in Italy ( http://www.economyup.it/innovazione/5434_industria40-che-cosa-sono-e-dove-sono-digital-innovation-hub-e-competence-center.htm ) and in my opinion is a really good idea in order to help our country to grow better in this digital economy.

    I would like to ask you guys: : what do you think about this hubs? Do you think that we will have baby silicon valley all around Italy?

    Have a nice day 🙂






    Thanks Adriano and Francesca for sharing your opinion about this important and contentious argument.

    I want to share with you my opinion, I think that in this period so computerized, where everyone share what happens in its life, the big data must be open. Maybe by creating one type of license which would incorporate aspects of the “Creative Commons” library, the data must be shared. Everyone must have the possibility to access and use them.

    Big data that’s not open is not democratic.

    Those data are of everyone, not just of the big high-tech companies. Resuming what was said by Joel Gurin President and Founder at Center for Open Data Enterprise, both big data and open data can transform business, government, and society and a combination of the two is especially potent.
    Big data gives us unprecedented power to understand, analyse, and ultimately change the world we live in. Open data ensures that power will be shared and that the world we change will, with luck, become a fairer and more democratic one.

    These companies are substituting the world’s governments, directing the politics and even the people themselves in the direction they desire. The opening of big data, as I said before through regulation, can really make the world a place democratic place, where one is worth one, and where each of us can see in which direction the world are going.

    What policies do you think should be adopted to regulate this system?

    Stefania Tibiletti

    Hi Giovanni! I would like to reply to your post,

    I do not agree with you, you can easily access to a huge amount of data. Is easy to obtain it, think about how many times you enter your personal data in a new application for your smartphone, or have you ever try to do a Google survey? You only need to copy the link to your friends and you will recieve data.

    The problem is not access to the data, as you told us there are also Open Data ( have a look to Openmove – a Trentino newborn start up that started with open data – ) the real problem is to PROCESS them. What you need are powerful tools to use the data that you have in order to recieve a good output from them. Why Facebook or Google are so powerful ? Because they have the tools to really use data.

    Have a look to all this data that are available : https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2016/02/12/big-data-35-brilliant-and-free-data-sources-for-2016/#740ee2afb54d

    Another problem is connected to the regulations: currently there are different regulations among EU and USA for istance, and also there are problems connected to the privacy, the intellectual property and the competition.. is a really huge and complicated topic, if you want I can go a little bit in deep beacuse I attended a course based on this topic in the first semester.

    Francesca Musolino

    Good point Giovanni!

    Of course the problem is not big data itself, as also Adriano said.

    Although I think that free access to big data does not mean democracy, but probably exactly the opposite of democracy. It’s been just few months since the first time Trump met the power of big data and he already wants more, “slaying” online privacy of the users: http://www.huffingtonpost.it/2017/03/29/donald-trump-ammazza-la-privacy-del-web-i-provider-potranno-ven_a_22016969/ 

    In my opinion democracy is about free personal choice to agree or not to particular terms. Democracy doesn’t imply stealing personal data. Moreover we still can’t speculate about the web considering its political meaning, as we already miss a complete and systematic legal, ethical and political code for networking. And this is the reason why politicians are so attracted by it: it’s the most no holds barred floor. This is also the reason why I found the world “democracy” still not relevant for the internet. At this point it looks more like anarchy (literally “no government”).

    And here we go with your question: exactly because it’s anarchy and it’s a limitless source of power and informations we will need of course a regulation. This is precisely what I was talking about in my intervention and what Adriano mentioned later: we must find a way to stand for quality – against quantity perhaps. The point is that also this is still not democracy. We are on the opposite side of the previous implication of the term, as to succeed in quality you need to select high-educated trusted people to manage that.

    What I’m trying to say is that the battleground is not democracy at all. Soon we’ll have to consider (and make up from zero?) a new suitable system for our everyday online life, not immediately linked with the political regime of the State we are living in.

    I definitely can’t give you my solution about regulation in 5 mins, but I swear I’m working on it. Thank you for your question Giovanni!



    Thanks @stefaniatibiletti for your interest! I’ll wait for your e-mail 😄

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Gabbo.
    Francesca Masino


    I’m Francesca and I’m 21 years old. I’m attending the first year of the Master in International Management at the University of Trento.

    I’m interested in new technologies and also new business models. Indeed, I developed my undergraduate thesis on the topic: “Creating Shared Value in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: a new business approach”. In particular, I found out that the implementation of this model can be more effective in a cluster. Indeed, I talked about the Silicon Valley and how the closeness of ICT closeness influenced innovation and trasparency. Furthermore, there is an increase in productivity and efficiency. Interestingly, the success of a district is related to the presence of universities that train talents, who will, after their studies, make the success of their companies. The presence of the district enhance the opportunity of attracting talents and create a community that is external to the company.

    As I read a lot of papers and articles about the success of the Silicon Valley, I would like to go on place and see by myself the reality. This study tour is the perfect opportunity to go and undestand what is like to work is such “workshop of ideas”. I’m a very dynamic and future-oriented person and I would like to understand if working in the Silicon Valley may be an option for my future.

    However, I found these article of the Harvard Business Review interesting, as from my point of view, questions the future success of large companies as there is a lack of soft skills in terms of cultural and social knowledge: https://hbr.org/2011/12/what-great-companies-know-abou . Moreover, last week I read a paper on the fact that the companies in the Silicon Valley are looking for people with these kind of knowledge as you can develop the best technological product, but if you do not understand the necessities of your potential customers, you will not succeed. Therefore, hiring experts in communication or psychology or literature may be the key yo get closer to the people. Indeed, from Steve Jobs to Olivetti, their idea was that creativity is the key to succeed, but to be extraordinary it must unify both the scientific and the cultural point of view. Therefore, I think that the development of the concept of Shared Value may be the key to return on the unification of social perspectives and the economical and financial world.

    What do you think about it? Let me know!!



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