• http://www.hymntofuture.com/ Davide Costantini

    Hai ragione Mark, la lingua ci penalizza. Anche nascesse da noi un sito come TechCrunch, oltre al fatto che dovrebbe rivolgersi anche ai progetti esteri altrimenti non riempirebbe le pagine con roba interessante, in Italia il settore è limitatissimo. E l’italiano è una lingua potenzialmente conosciuta da 180 milioni di persone, l’inglese 10 volte tanto.

    Senza dimenticare anche la correlazione, l’inglese è la lingua di riferimento per il business per cui all’atto pratico quei 10x valgono ancora di più.

    Quando iniziai il progetto per Hymn to Future la mia ferma intenzione era di partire in inglese. Scrivere unicamente in inglese.

    Poi siamo tornati al nostro amato italiano, problemi di risorse e tempo. La necessità di garantire una qualità che non puoi sempre avere quando discuti in lingua straniera, salvo una proprietà di linguaggio che non è semplicemente buona o fluente, ma più radicata.

    Ma non accantonerò l’idea di cominciare a trattare in inglese. Col tempo quando diventerà maturo magari inizieremo a “migrare”.

    Tornando al discorso generale, una stampa in inglese forte aiuterebbe a far risaltare i progetti nazionali validi. Il problema è che di aziende con potenzialità internazionale da noi ne nascono pochissime.

    Se vuoi avere “una marcia in più” e costruire una forte brand reputation nell’informazione di settore c’è bisogno di avere presenza anche nelle zone “calde”. Ci vogliono corrispondenti da diverse parti del globo.

    Certo le testate nazionali hanno queste risorse ma da blogger, addetto ai lavori e amante delle tecnologie da quando sono bambino, posso candidamente testimoniare che mancano le competenze. La stampa generalista pubblica spesso goffi editoriali sul mondo tecnologico e solo in pochi si salvano. Una simile iniziativa dovrebbe partire da realtà come Italian Startup Scene dove ci sono persone esperte posizionate nei punti dove di aziende ne nascono molte e che sono italiani. E che possono aiutare i nostri ragazzi.

    Per quanto riguarda anche la complessità degli articoli, da un mese circa sto cercando di recensire le startup nostrane, mostrando i loro prodotti dalla A alla Z, mettendo la mia esperienza di recensore per criticare e consigliare spunti. Se guardiamo agli articoli della stampa di settore si parla quasi sempre di pure e semplici sviolinate, tra l’altro brevi, senza mostrare come funzionano le cose.

    Il problema è che sembra che in pochi la pensino allo stesso modo e noi non siamo né influenti né possiamo essere competenti in tutto, di fatto operiamo una rigida selezione trattando solo quei progetti di cui possiamo avere un riscontro rapido sulla qualità del lavoro.

    Sarebbe bello avere una bella realtà italiana nel campo dell’informazione tecnologica, qualcosa che rivaleggi con i player stranieri come AllThingsD, ArsTechnica, The Verge, TechCrunch, Pando Daily, GigaOM e via dicendo. Ma purtroppo non ci siamo nemmeno un po’.

  • Mark Vanderbeeken

    Un esempio: Confindustria in English

    Latest news: 8 Aprile 2010 !

    http://www.confindustria.it/Conf2007/hpENG.nsf/hp?ReadForm

  • Alessandra Poggiani

    Excellent point Mark! Sono assolutamente d’accordo e lo dico da mezza “expatriate” – lavoriamoci!

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  • Francesco Giartosio

    Un punto di partenza potrebbe essere questo: http://en.startupbusiness.it/news

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  • http://twitter.com/lkrndu Bob Tyson

    Mark, very nice. A proposito! — Bob Tyson — Torino

  • http://SurpriseMi.it/ Please

    Happy to help. Nonostante la lunga permanenza in Italia, come madrelingua americano un’esternazione del genere da parte mia provocherebbe più ira che riflessioni. La dicotomia tra l’identità locale e quella internazionale resiste.  Pare difficile accettare la convivenza di identità diverse all’interno dell’individuo stesso.  SurpriseMI sarebbe un tentativo di farsi che gli abitanti e le imprese di Milano sfruttino le proprie potenzialità internazionale, a Milano, per piacere quanto per cogliere le sfide più grosse.  Expo x prima.

  • William Heise

    I found your article posted on Google News this morning in
    Chicago, IL., so Mark may be correct in his feeling that there are problems
    with perceptions of Italy by outsiders, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon
    dominated media world. However, I suspect that he is missing a part of the
    equation that has made English the most common language in the world and
    America still the #1 innovator in the world. My comment is addressed to Mark’s comment
    that “On a national level, Italy (and other European countries) will need a
    more structured approach.” On the contrary, I think a less structured approach
    may be the answer to the problem that Mark is addressing.

     

    One day, when I was walking in front of the cathedral of
    Florence, Italy, I was approached by a guy who immediately spotted me as an
    American. I asked him how he knew, and he said it was on account of my shoes. They
    looked too comfortable. I asked him what was wrong with that, and he told me I
    looked sloppy, whereas he looked stylish (he was correct on both counts). The
    lesson I took away from my encounter with this European was not that he had
    insulted me, but the fact that it was more important to look good than it was
    to be comfortable. And this is why I think Italians have missed the cultural boat
    on account of their “cultural bias” (to use Mark’s term). It is perhaps best to
    have a sense of style about you, but comfort is paramount, and given a choice between
    the two, comfort will win out with the majority. Here’s why:

     

    As an American author who has a PhD in English and who has started
    more than one business, I have given this problem a great deal of thought. I put
    my thoughts into a book: Poker Tales. At the center of that book, I deal with the
    vast cultural differences between Paris, France, which was the center of the
    cultural milieu at the beginning of the 20th century, and Las Vegas,
    NV, which dominated the end of 20th century.

     

    I love French culture, but my conclusion in my book of Poker
    Tales is that the French live in a culture in which one’s ability to grasp the “truth”
    matters. This “cultural bias” towards “truth” turns out to be a disadvantage in
    Las Vegas. I demonstrate this by making the hero of the central tale in the
    book, “Four Parisians,” a cultured guy named Claude, a French university professor
    who has become one of the leading lights of French intellectual culture. But
    when he goes to Las Vegas, he loses his money to an uncultured hack named ‘Belcher’
    Owens. And this is because he thinks that intellect—which is all that matter to
    him in his life—is all matters in the world.

     

    The question I ask is: why is it that ‘Belcher’ Owens can
    defeat a superior intellect like Claude? It turns out to be a question of the approach
    that each takes to a game in which the cards don’t matter as much as the person
    you are playing against. ‘Belcher’ knows this, and Claude doesn’t. What is more,
    Claude would be loathe to give up his intellect for mere money (as frankly
    would I). Claude will NEVER be able to win at the poker table if he thinks only
    of winning in terms of money. But attention to money is not an attachment to base
    material things (as opposed to “higher” things). That, too, is a “cultural
    bias,” though it has a long history going back to Plato and Aristotle. It remains
    dominant in the European educational system.

     

    I maintain that the European “cultural bias” against money
    works against the four Parisians by occluding their appreciation of facts as
    they are. When the tale is over ‘Belcher’ has won money from all four of the
    four Parisians, but each of the Parisians has gotten something of value from
    their encounter. Each has written a book on their experiences at the Las Vegas
    poker tables, and the sales of their books are inversely proportional to the “cultural”
    impact, with Claude’s book selling a mere 500 copies but winning him a prized
    seat on the Académie française as one of the 40 Immortals, which is all that
    really matters to Claude. And this is why I believe that the socially
    destructive game of poker (when looked at from the point of view of an outsider)
    wins out over the “cultural bias” of Europe, where one first has to earn a
    place in a rigidly-oriented hierarchy. Hierarchy, order, social position, and
    other forms of order do not matter in America as much as efficiency. Or, to put
    it in terms that my Italian interlocutor would understand, my individual comfort
    trumps the hoops that he has to go through in order to be seen by others as
    belonging to a certain class or group.

     

    He is definitely spending more money than I am micro-economic
    level, but when I think of his choices at the macro-economic level, I can see
    the social problems that come from his choices. Culture has the power to make
    choices that most will like, but some will be always be left out. When that
    happens, the culture will have to demonize them, or coerce them, or allow them
    to exist as forgotten people on the margins of society. That will cause the culture
    to expend some of their resources managing the errant choices of some of its
    population. That causes a net loss in economic activity when the choices of his
    culture are measured against those of an economy that does not put up barriers
    to inclusion such as that which we find in America.  Individuals can always chose what they want,
    because their needs are immediate to them. This lessens the distance between
    themselves and the culture that is producing things for them. There is no need
    to manage an ordered society that is built on individual choice, because all choices
    made by consumers are equal. This makes me feel that I am more self-determined
    than he is. And I have more money to spend on obscure items like books that
    appeal to me but sadly (to my mind) do not appeal to the majority of Americans.

     

    Things look different to the leaders in industries. Steve
    Jobs once said, “people don’t know what they want until I show it to them.” That
    puts a great deal of emphasis on Jobs as an innovator, but I beg to disagree
    with him. The secret to Steve Jobs success was not his focus on innovation—he,
    like Bill Gates, largely piggy-backed on the ideas of others. Jobs was a guy
    who could remove layers that interfered between user’s desire to have a product
    and their ability to get it. Jobs transformed whole industries in the process.
    But he did it by the process of marketing his better ideas to others, not by designing
    anything new. Others (at Xerox Park) had designed a better computer. Steve Jobs
    marketed it better than they did. Bill Gates stole Steve Jobs’ idea, and marketed
    it to a wider marketplace. Yahoo! may have invented the search engine, but
    Google made it better. When they did, it did not take Yahoo! to lose most its business
    to Google.

     

    Marketing is an idea that makes scientifically-oriented
    people nervous, because by definition if lengthens the distance between
    products and consumers. This is only partly true. If you are focused on the
    product itself (let’s say you are a cattle producer), you may not recognize any
    advantage to shipping your cattle to a processing plant for redistribution so
    that they can reap the benefits of your labor. But if you are a consumer of
    cattle, you want to be able to a store and buy a steak without having to go to
    a farm and buy a whole cow and butcher it yourself.

     

    Marketing has other advantages over having a product in your
    hands, and these advantages can be treated separately from products. Marketers
    are people who are focused completely on giving people what they want, whatever
    that is. This makes them more flexible than producers of things that have specific
    value. Producers merely assume that what people wanted last year they will want
    again next year. That may be the case with cattle, though it may not be at the
    forefront of all industries. Google AdWords has marketed one of the best ways
    to target individuals, and in the process they have cannibalized the newspaper
    industry. The fact that newspaper people complain about the loss of jobs in
    their specific industry or the lack of editorial control over content from the
    distributer’s point of view does not affect the consumer, who clearly is not
    obligated to consume things just because their parents did. The economy follows
    larger trends, not individual products.

     

    The hard lesson of economic reality is that consumers
    matter; producers don’t. If you want to succeed in the world, separate the
    product you are selling from the marketing of your product. Keep your eye on
    the user of your products, not on your products themselves. Remove all
    obstacles to getting your products in the hands of consumers. That is the
    lesson that Mark is attempting to effect in writing about Italy in English. But
    by dismissing the dominance of English as merely an instance of (regrettable-but-necessary)
    Anglo-Saxon “cultural bias,” I think he is missing the same important point
    that my Italian friend was missing in his conversation with me.

     

    In Poker Tales, I take the Italian Vilfredo Pareto’s take on
    the fundamental imbalance in nature (where 20% of pea plants produce 80% of pea)
    as my starting point, and I build on it. In the world of making money (which I
    repeat is not coincident with the whole of experience), some ideas are vastly
    better than others. If you want to maximize your yield, you will cull the 20%
    from the 80% and build your garden on only the successful peas. If you don’t, another
    pea-producer who does will dominate the market. As a social policy, the same
    policy would lead to decimation of 80% of the populace, and would be disastrous
    (it was this that motivated my work, and not any attempt to glorify America or
    Americans like ‘Belcher’ Owens).

     

    Some “cultural biases” are better than others when it comes
    to making money, and in the world dominated by Anglo-Saxon “cultural bias,” it
    is worth thinking about whether there is a reason that “really stupid” Americans
    (to quote the European poet Czeslaw Milosz) who have embraced the turning
    outward required by marketers, rather than the inward turn of their news focus “as
    Aljazeera has done for world affairs” (to quote Mark once again). That may not
    be a bad plan for Italians, but it is not a true innovation in the Steve
    Jobs/Google transformation of whole industries sense. It Mark wants to be a
    true innovator in his or any field, he should examine his inward-looking European
    nature and decide how much (if any) of that needs to be corrected. The choices
    he makes will determine his success in any venture he undertakes, and cannot be
    determined in advance by a merely theoretical decision.  

     

    Here are my rules for competing in the public environment of
    commerce:

     

    ·        
    The measure of value in the universe of money is
    how much others are willing to spend on you.

    ·        
    Don’t just assume that what you are offering is
    adequate to meet the demands of consumers. Have something that is worth
    something to consumers.

    ·        
    Be willing and able to measure the value in terms
    of monetary value. More than one business has gone to their destruction with
    the notion that their products serve a need and they don’t need to worry about
    sales, as their products will “naturally” sell.

    ·        
    There is nothing “natural” about sales, just as there
    is nothing “natural” about marketing. It is something that 20% of Americans learn
    (the people who go into the financial world, where they reap the outsized benefits
    of their education) while 80% blissfully ignore the harsh lessons of the
    business world (to their economic deficit).

    ·        
    Recognize the fact that if you are not at the
    top of mind of the consumer when it comes to making their decision, you will
    not be considered in their evaluation of the product category.

    ·        
    Use marketing techniques to draw consumers into
    your experience. If they resist, don’t ask why, and don’t become a snob about
    stupidity of consumers if they resist your best efforts. The marketplace
    follows the harsh rules of evolution: Adapt or die.

    ·        
    Recognize the fact that others may have better
    ideas than you do about the value of experience that you are offering them. If
    your experience is not the best, consumers will turn away from you towards the
    experience that serves them better. This has been my experience of living in America,
    where the Chinese has stolen most of our manufacturing base from underneath us
    because our industrial leaders got complacent during the Cold War, when we  faced no competition in the world.

    ·        
    The “Anglo-Saxon cultural bias” is in no way
    permanent, but that does not mean that it is not significantly better than
    other existing models.

     

    These rules make for a very Machiavellian experience in the
    world of competition, but the retreat from that insanely imbalanced world to an
    equitable world because it accords with your education or your preference does
    not alter the reality of nature. It simply means that you will be left behind
    in the forward race of progress, which is built on principles that many do not,
    will not, or cannot understand.

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  • http://www.experientia.com/ Mark Vanderbeeken

    Esempi di paesi vicini:

    Francia - http://www.rudebaguette.com/
    Germania - http://www.techberlin.com/ & http://siliconallee.com/ & http://venturevillage.eu/

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