Diary of an Economic Crisis Survivor

Life, Death and Miracles of a Startup, in the Italy of the Economic Crisis

Tag: diary of a crisis survivor

33. One year of survival against the Great C, looking for the Critical Mass

February 15, 2015, HOURS 16:30
YEAR II, DAY 1.

Diary of a crisis survivor 33

It has been exactly a year.
One year surviving The Great Economic Crisis.
One year of Victory, our startup.
A year made of ups and downs, of right decisions and others wrong, success, tests and escape from Italy.

We think we are still in the Test phase, however we believe it is time to start thinking about another goal, which could allow us to find the best way to survive The Great C.

Now our goal is to be able to create critical mass: a sufficient number of customers that can allow to attract others customers only because of the number of feedbacks, interactions, or other actions you’ve managed to develop. That number could allow you to grow exponentially, to be able to do significant tests about your users, and that allows you, above all, to get closer to your definitive business model.

The next step will be to be able to achieve an important trade-off between: the number of users (our critical mass), and reducing the cost of creating the product / service.
And this would be hard task.

Because at that time, the eyes of Investors may seek Victoria.

Here we are. Where are you, customers? Where are the people who want to change the world with us? The time to find you has come.

But the time has come also to put together marketing campaigns, looking for the Critical Mass.
And it is now time to put up and start running, looking for The Great C.
Because the time has come, after a whole year, to fight the final battle against The Great C.

Diary of a crisis survivor 33 critical mass

32. Fighting the organizational chaos

FEBRUARY 3, HOURS 14:39
DAY 353

diary of a crisis survivor  Gantt & disorder

Disorder.
This is a disordered world.
And The Great C increased the level of chaos.

In particular in Italy, where it is better find a job to survive rather than be brave and try to create your own business.
Even for this reason, losing pieces along the way, we had to escape from Italy. Probably, however, the discussion is valid in any country in the world: no one gives you anything, and you have to be able to find the right trade-off and choose the best team for the next match, depending on the day.

We planned, we optimized, we tested, but despite all, the Great C found us and knocked on our door.
We need something more simple, but at the same time something more concrete: something that can help us understand where we are, how we got here, and which is direction to take.

So while in Italy we continue to talk about the new Head of the Republic, continuing to ignore the problems of the population, we have adopted a tool that will allow us to understand where we are, what we lack, what are the Milestones, which activities to make: we have adopted a control system with a simple, effective and shared Gantt.

 

It will be helpful? I don’t t know but I hope so.
At least something we can understand.

Maybe we will understand that we are just 5 stupids: this business plan was not to be realized, but we fell in love too much with the idea to deny the evidence.

Maybe we will understand, as the past other team members understood, that we shouldn’t leave Italy, but simply settle for a job.

Maybe instead we will understand that everything we did, was part of a long journey, that brings you constantly to face unpleasant choices (without knowing if the choice was right or wrong).

Maybe we will understand what the way to come home is.

diary of a crisis survivor  Gantt

31. The Gateway

January 23, 2015, HOURS 19:47
DAY 342

diary of a crisis survivor dynamic environment

Caught.
The Great C found us.
Despite our efforts to optimize resources and reduce costs, our budget forecasts resulted worse than expected. Both capital and especially resources. We can’t afford to buy new services, but we need them.
Therefore, while Italian politicians continue to not care about what happens outside the “Important Halls” talking and pretending to quarrel about the Electoral Law and about the new Head of Italian Republic, the Great C kindly knocked on our door and forced us to do the only thing we could do:

leave Italy (CLUE Ranked # 9).

After the initial panic, we used the plan B (you must always have a Plan B)and we found a place to stay, a dynamic environment, where we can take advantage of the large number of personalities and professionals to  grow.

It is an essential thing: working in a dynamic environment where you can learn and share. In Italy we could not find it: I think in Italy we have lost that sense of “social aggregation” replacing it with an uncontrolled individualism” (perhaps for pure spirit of survival?).

The really negative side is that we are losing pieces. Here we are just 5: Pigna (the CFO), the “Nerd per caso” (two developers), D (our designer) and me. Luca & The Wolf just gave up: they will remain in Italy, change profession, adapt to the system and they will find a random job(no offense to those who have a random job, but these guys had dreams).

We searched a new start.
And until the Great C will fail to find us, we will work here.
But in Italy will be back soon (I hope as winners).

dynamic environment

30. A safe place

January 13, 2015, HOURS 19:00
DAY  332

diary of a crisis survivor 30 patent

Security.
Today I start from here.
From the need to escape the clutches of the Great C in a precise way.

In fact, our friend, the Great Economic Crisis tries in various ways to be able to win.
We have been ticked off that someone has copied our brand.
But we’re smarter. We recorded it all months ago.
At that time they thought we were crazy: spend money, time and energy on something that you don’t know if you can achieve … but the intellectual property of our brand is protected … and now who copied must change.

The legislation on patents and trademarks may not be. But after a long process we are protected.

I had decided not to talk about it before because I didn’t feel the need: now instead choosing to register at the Chamber of Commerce logo of Victory, our startup, has proved successful.

And the Great C, this time either, failed to get us.
(But, in a few time, It will achieve its goal).

The moment of the getaway is come.

diary of a crisis survivor 30 trademark

28. Survival Tips for Italy and Startup n.1: Optimization

December 14, 2014, HOURS 17:58
DAY 302

diary of a crisis survivor italy human captail dissipated

“Italy, dissipated Human Capital”

These are the results of the 48th report of the Censis about the Italian situation What prevails now is the uncertainty.
We, startuppers, know something about it. And for us, the choice doesn’t exist. We only can think positive: although the situation is critical, we don’t want help The Great C.

The supplies are finished.
The ideas are finished.
The capital is finished.
Soon we will be forced to leave our shelter.
Sincerely we are undecided if to leave Italy to escape The Great C. At least for a period.
And then I don’t know. Will we never return? This country has a big potential and a great appeal, but is necessary another big effort.

Otherwise we will be forced, as always, to find the resources to live every month, but then, we will always look for new ones, therefore risking of not being able to survive .It is a dog that is chasing its tail. Uncertainty and Fear.

So in this ugly weather Sunday, the only thing we have left to do is optimize. Optimize as finding the right trade-off between profitability, growth and most of all costs (in terms of resources, time and money).

The research of the optimization of resources, time and money,  must necessarily pass for startups that are arising in this moment, because, as the newspaper La Repubblica said, “young people are the biggest waste of Italy.”

Is necessary stop wasting and start optimizing.
To accomplish this work, we started from an analysis of costs, assets and processes of our startup, Victoria. Now we will try to cross this analysis with the tests carried out in recent months and with our planned strategies.

I want close this post, with a sentence of Paolo Iacci, that I randomly found on one of those books that I define “The Crisis survival Guide” (“The theorem of Coffee – Guerini Next – 2014”):

We must do more and better with less.
Fewer resources, less money, fewer people.
But we must ensure more motivation, more expertise more effectiveness.
We have to find a new glue, cultural and social, to overcome this exasperated individualism.
We have to find the organizational possibilities for it to develop in an orderly and effective the creativity of which we boast rightly.

diary of a crisis survivor 28 creativity

25. Looking for the Early Adopters

NOVEMBER 3, 2014, HOURS 15:19
DAY 261

diary of a crisis survivor early adopt

Clashes in the streets.
Protests.
Italians don’t  know what to do to fight The Great C.
Italy is a country in crisis that, with difficulty, is looking for the right way to start, the right way to exploit its potential and the right way to not waste the opportunities.
I don’t agree with the “political” protests: people should, in a virtual “square”, meet other people to find solutions, not just complain.

Even our startup, Victoria, has its major problems.
The market doesn’t seem to have understood our offer, or perhaps we are not good enough in terms of trade, we need to check  our strategies.
Maybe I know where is the mistake: we have not correctly identified our ideal customer like we said(Do you know what is the ideal customer of your startup?). Maybe the identified target is too large and the analysis carried out hasn’t gone deep.

We have been afraid to point to an “audience” too small and we have set a strategy unsuitable for product policies, communication and maybe even prices strategies.

I figure that it is much easier to start from a small part of customers, to be loved to madness by these few (but good) clients, and later try to differentiate the offerings to be loved by other part of customersrather than be appreciated in a discrete manner by offering a service to a larger part of customers and in a second moment try to be truly loved by them.

We are looking for our early adopters. Those fools who are willing to stand with us in our battles against the Great  C.
Virtual “square” or not we are here, with Victory, to wait for somebody that, like us, is looking for the the right way to re-start.

early adopters diary of a crisis survivor

24. Startup & Innovation: a relationship not always sincere

October 20, 2014, HOURS 21:30
DAY 247

Be innovative.
Everyone is innovative. But really no one is innovative.
For me, innovation is only “any change that will lead to an improvement.”
Everything else is wrong.

diary of a crisis survivor innovation & startup 2

After the creation of our company we are proceeding with the request for entry in the category of the innovative startup (established by the government of the European general Mario Monti).

This is a particular category of companies, unlisted, and based  in the country destroyed by The Great C: Italy.

(CLUE No. 7) Given that we satisfy seven requirements to access (including never having distributed gains, investment in R & D, have as object “the development / production of services/products with high technological value “), in the future the benefits could be different and relevant:

  1. Less bureaucracy for the business (in Italy it is a big step!);
  2. Tax Incentives for Startups;
  3. Tax incentives for those who invest in startups (in Italy is rare);
  4. Flexible use of working contracts;
  5. Possibility of access to Crowdfunding.

We’re waiting for the verdict from the Ministry.
The things is gonna be serious.
Finally.
Startup & Innovation, a relationship not always true.

diary of a crisis survivor innovation & startup

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