Homo Talent

Homo Talent

I had the honor of being interviewed by Homo Talent, a very interesting association dedicated to nurturing a culture of talent in the workplace. Human resources have long focused on acquired skills, forgetting about the untapped potential of our natural inclinations in action; Homo Talent contributes to the making of success stories.

It does so by matching the qualities that make us unique as individuals with the similarly unique context of companies that require team members, not mere skill sets.

Below you will find the English version of my interview: the original Italian version in available here.

What is talent, for you?

For  me, talent is being able to accomplish something surprising and unexpected with grace and without apparent effort. As if the execution of the specific complex operations required were somehow wired in our instinct.


What are your non-negotiable values, in order of importance?

It’s hard to put them in order! I would say respect above all, because I don’t think there really can be effective communication or exchange where there is no respect. Second place goes to integrity – I believe that most problems can be solved where there is the mutual willingness to find a constructive way out of a potential conflict. Finally, discipline. Good will is not enough.


A book that represents you.

When I was 17 I wrote a book (currently available in Italian), Il Vuoto e la Materia, ovvero io. Setting the teenage ramblings aside, I still find it to be a pretty accurate picture of my personality, even after all those years.

Should I mention a book that has undoubtedly contributed to the definition of who I am, and the structure of my personal values, I would certainly say The Lord of the Rings. Some could see it just as a fantasy book, but Tolkien, in my opinion, creates a set of values that can be shared even without a religious view of the world. His work demonstrates a balance between faith and reason, instinct and intellect, is perfectly possible.


What is your professional role today?

I am currently working as a consultant. I help organizations and individuals to plan and communicate their project. I am fascinated by the direction communication is taking towards the holistic principle of User Experience: a concept that was introduced by new technologies requiring an evolution of the more simple definition of interface, and that can be applied to any interaction that is commercial or professional in nature. A call center, a shop or an App require the same attention to user experience. My work often consists in translating the technical requirements determining how a service is delivered, in a way that will convey the value of this activity.


What personal or professional project has given you most satisfaction?

In January I upgraded my blog, viralstorytelling.com, from personal toy to professional project. Viral Storytelling Inc. is my consulting company. I am extremely excited about this adventure, and eager to see how it will evolve. I have always wanted to create my own professional activity, but I wanted to gain some experience on the field in different environments before going off on my own. I believe I have had good training.


You are Italian American and have lived for a long time in Italy. What is the major difference you feel between the two cultures, now that you have returned to the US?

I would say that more than one major difference, you face a thousand small differences that are almost invisible at first – from the banking system (completely different), to how people buy cars, to the theory behind the entire bureaucratic apparatus. Trivial as it may sound, the conceptual polarity between old and new world is still valid. Coming from Europe, America is immediately perceived as a young country, and speaking in terms of Yin and Yang, reflection and action, America is certainly more Yang (active) than its European counterparts. Europe is analog, America is digital – where European culture cherishes seeing nuances (even when they are not there), America tends to simplification (and therefore to a certain Manichaeism).


You are a black belt I dang of Viet Vo Dao. How did you encounter this discipline, and how do you benefit from it in your private and professional life?

Thank your for mentioning it! I encountered Viet Vo Dao by chance, and it has been extremely important for my personal and professional growth. I met my master at the gym, while I was searching for more information on their Kung Fu or Jujitsu classes – the secretary suggested I talk to the Viet Vo Dao teacher, since his lesson was about to start. After 10 minutes of the conversation I had decided I wanted to study with Stefano (Stefano Targa, for those of you who might want to look him up online). His approach, oriented towards breathing techniques, philosophy and personal growth intended as the final goal of the practice of martial arts, was exactly what I was looking for. Viet Vo Dao has taught me the value of discipline, focus applied to willpower. Every day I try to infuse this lesson in everything I do. One of the translations of Kung Fu is “hard work”. In my job I try to apply that same precision, focus and willpower needed to break a wooden board with a kick.


How do you see yourself in 10 years?

My plan for the next 10 years is to be able to balance my private and professional life, to be able to travel more – for exploration and not only for work. I expect to have more time and opportunity to dedicate to my passion, writing, and other parallel projects. I don’t foresee my return in Italy in the short term.


How do you imagine Italy in 10 years?

It is hard for me to think of Italy without imagining it in relation to Europe. The European Union in the  last few years has disappointed many members of my generation that had placed high hopes in this organization that was born with high aspirations, and now appears to be little more than a nasty tax collector. I believe that the dream of a truly united Europe should be pursued. Italy is in the right position to cover an important and not secondary role in the defining of this new Europe, if it can find a new generation of leaders capable of understanding the changes occurring on the global scenario and act accordingly with consistency and integrity – defined as the will to solve conflict according to a win/win logic.


If Italy were a movie.

To me, Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty is a perfect representation of Italy today. The contrast between the decadence, boredom, and the breathtaking beauty of the territory, of a culture that still resists, in spite of everything. I personally interpreted The Great Beauty as the contrast between old and new, intended not necessarily in terms of age – the redemption of Jep Gambardella, his renewed inspiration, occurs when this writer that has aged despite himself suddenly remembers that was young, once.The memory of that energy is enough to rekindle the flame, and I believe Italy finds itself in a similar solution. Italy has been anesthetized for years with the myth of mediocrity, forgetting its capability to create excellence, even on a more organized level from the emergence of individual talent. I think the wind is changing, and that the flourishing of an ecosystem of start-ups can awaken inspiration in this country, just like Jep Gambardella finding a new muse.