Diary of an Economic Crisis Survivor

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

Tag: Renzi

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

27. Don’t be afraid about The Great C, use it.

NOVEMBER 24, 2014, HOURS 13:31
DAY 282

diary of a crisis survivor 27 use the great c

Finds.
Finds of men who, in other times, fought and defeated the Great C.
I wrote the text of the find in the large blackboard of our office, now all team members of Victory, our startup, can read it. I will write it here, so that you can begin to see the light, in this dark period.
I don’t know if the “crisis” of the author is  our Great C. I just know that these are dark times, we don’t give up and we will use The Great C.
 

“Do not pretend that things will change if we always do the same.
The crisis is the best blessing that can happen to people and countries, because the crisis brings progress.
Creativity is born from the distress, as the day is born from the dark night.
It is in crisis that invention, discovery and large strategies are born.
Who ever overcomes crisis, outdoes himself without being overcome.
Who attributes their failures to the crisis and neglects, violent his own talent and gives most respect to the problems rather than solutions.The real crisis is the crisis of incompetence.
The drawback of people and countries is laziness to find solutions to their problems.
Without crisis there are no challenges, without challenges life is a routine, a slow agony. 
Without crisis there is no merit.
It is in the crisis where the best of each other rise up, without crises any wind is caress. Talk of crisis is to promote it, and silent in the crisis is to exalt conformity.
Instead of that, work hard.
Get it over with the only crises threatening, that is the tragedy of not wanting to fight for it.
He was Albert Einstein.
I’m Vittorio.
And I will use the Great C like an opportunity.

diary of a crisis surviror 27 einstein

26. Take your time to create your own Startup.

NOVEMBER 10, 2014, HOURS 22:00
DAY 268

Zombie Hand

Besieged.
Locked doors and barred windows.
The Great C is besieging us with his horde of depressed zombie citizens.
I don’t  know how long we can hold it, we may not have enough supplies and ideas.

The Great C has overwhelmed  Italy. And Italians have been overwhelmed.
Now both are knocking at my door, they want us. They want our project to collapse.
The Great C took Tim, our handyman: one-way ticket to North Ireland.
And D, our designer, is about to take the same path.
Let’s think about  all those minds that Italy has lost just before the coming of The Great C, all those brilliant minds who preferred to go abroad than prefer to gone abroad than to fight everyday to survive. Marco, Fabio, Andrea. The names are endless.

We are The Resistance of the New Millennium.

Commitment & struggle. In this way we will survive this siege. Because create a startup means this: give up everything, locked in your studio / office / home. No coffee, no beer, no fun, just a great desire to start your own startups and great confidence in your strength.

Take your time, even if it seems like an utopia.
Take your time, even if the Great C is besieging you.
Take your time to create your own startup and do it.

diary of a crisis survivor take your time

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

23. Fall in love with your Startup(but not too much)

30 SEPTEMBER, 2014, HOURS 15:21
DAY 227

Survivors.
Also this week, even today.

survivors diary of a crisis survivor

 

Saved by the bell.
The Great C was about to crush us like a flooding river, in a  rainy day.
In this rainy day, when the world seems to ignore the condition of a country which is wasting its assets and its “best youth“, we were about to make a wrong choice.
One of those choices that can make you fall.
And just because we were too in love with our business idea.

I don’t know the mistake that we made​​: I don’t really know.
Arrogance?
Carelessness?
Basically we were going to make a strategic choice that would have meant that our product couldn’t be used in easy way by our potential customers. We’re talking about small sliding doors that will change your life. And in our case, Victory would lose a lot of users: the only reason is that the use wouldn’t have been quite as intuitive, we hope it will be.

sliding doors diary of a crisis survivor

We became aware of the problem only through a “friend tester” that just asked us: “Why would I do such a thing?”.

It was not easy to make sure that the entire team was aware of the mistake. Including myself. We were too much in love with the initial setup.
It’s easier to change than stay in love with your business idea: the change is inevitable, so you have to predict it, control it and adapt to it.

Maybe we, young Italian startuppers,  will have to learn  something from the word of Eric Ries  in his “The Lean Startup“: “A startup is a human institution, created to give life to a new product, in conditions of extreme uncertainty“, and just because we are in this situation of extreme uncertainty, we need to be aware that the products / services created is such an experiments.  For this reason this product should be designed in a precise methodological synthesis of Creation -> Measurement -> Learning. Eric Ries docet.

the lean startup diary of a crisis survivor

Making mistakes is not wrong .. just be humble and brave to solve the problem on time:
Do not fall in love too much with your Startup. Make sure that your customers fall in love with her.

mistakes diary of a crisis survivor

22. 10 behavioral tips to survive the Great C

September 22, 2014, HOURS 22:00

DAY 219

This is another Monday of survival.

As expected, The Great C didn’t stop its advance, and Italy, despite the proclamations of the Premier Renzi, continues with false starts.
This story about Victory, my startup, has been created to try to make partakers about the incredible difficulty in setting up a business in Italy, not only the aspiring startuppers, , but also  the people who need to be encouraged. The moment is difficult for everyone.
So today I decided to play down and give you 10  behavioral tips that can help you to survive the Great C:

1) Be Watchful: 
Either because the opportunities are often before our eyes and we don’t realize them, or because  in this country, it’s always better to be careful,  you don’t know if someone will steal your business idea;

diary of a crisis survivor stay watchful

2) Be Positive:
No matter if you can’t improve the results of your business, no matter if you’re in trouble.
Tomorrow is a new day, and in an indefinite future Italy will have to get up and, to do so, will have to implement the reforms pro work, business and startup. Like your startup.

diary of a crisis survivor be positive

 

3) Stay Hungry …:
In Steve Jobs’ words  you have to be hungry: don’t get into the spiral of negativity that reigns in the streets of Italian cities, but always look for new challenges, new business adventures.

diary of a crisis survivor stay hungry

4) … Stay Foolish:
And it’s true. Only those who risk, achieve the results. As I said call me the Astronaut, for my ability to roam with the thinking and strategies in a concrete way.

diary of a crisis survivor astronaut madness

5) Be Maniac:
organizing your time, your work,  and constantly control the feedbacks and results.
You must  try always to find a way to objectively measure your results.
If you do it, your startup will be constantly improved and will be closer to defeat the Great C.

diary of a crisis survivor be maniac

6) Surround yourself with the right team:
And be available for them, so that they will solve your problems when you can’t do it and together, when you’ll be properly setup, you will form a winning team.

diary of a crisis survivor teamwork

7) Be Humble:
You are always head-on, but being in a country for old men, keep in mind that you don’t  hold the whip by the hand:
for this reason, and because “humility makes a great man” keep a low profile until the right moment.

diary of a crisis survivor be humble

8) Be Patient:
..wait for the right time. Italy will not start for at least another year. Until then try to stay on the crest of the wave, float and survive with your startup, but never stop trying.

diario-di-un-sopravvissuto-alla-crisis-startup-strategia-differenziazione-bassi-costi

9) Be curious:
Keep reading, testing, experimenting. In 2014 you have to be able to know how to create a website, managing a social network, but also you need to understand why your startup doesn’t  achieve the desired results …. and don’t forget to look at successful models abroad and try to apply them in your reality.

diary of a crisis survivor be curious

10) “Be Ready..
Because You don’t know when the right moment will arrive “you don’t know the moment when the Great C will knock at your door.
And in that moment, you have to know how to save your startup.

diary of a crisis survivor be ready

20. Start up Competition: a way to grow

SEPTEMBER 1, 2014, HOURS 13:20

DAY 197

diary of a crisis survivor startup competition win

We fight the Great C.

Now officially.

While the wars rage in the world, while Italy continues risking sinking (inaction is not usefull) and the Great C is looking for another victim, we face an important moment in the life of a startup.

 

Thanks to writing a Business Plan we are able to sign up to the Startup Competition that we have identified.

It will be an important step, because we will face the public for the first time.

The goal is plural:

  1. Finding financiers or “companions” that can help us on the journey;
  2. Giving visibility to our idea.

For this reason, we are motivated.

Obviously we don’t know yet if we can.

However, being able to “compete officially” gives us a lot of enthusiasm.

We decided to take this step because the first feedback (with friends, family and experts) has been extremely positive.

I’ll leave you, now is the time.

With my click we will be officially in the race.

I’m going to click on (and begin to think that, this time seriously and concretely this time, we will win our battle with the Great C).

diary of a crisis survivor startup competition

17. One way ticket to hell

July 22, 2014, HOURS 13:52

DAY 157

dIARY OF A CRISIS SURVIVOR BUSINESS PLAN

Tim has gone.

The Great C has won: it took him.

Northern Ireland, one-way ticket. A well-paid job and the opportunity to grow professionally.

An opportunity that you can’t waste. In Italy. In 2014.

We have lost our all-rounder. Victory, our startup, has lost an important part of its team, that, like many other young italian people, was forced to leave the country.

And now?

We continue planning, and today we began to draw up the business plan.

I read  percentages: on average only 27% of the entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized enterprises have created ​​a business plan (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/61220876159478523/).

Perhaps it’s caused by their lack of entrepreneurial culture, or simply luckily they were so good that they don’t need to do it.

In fact, the motivations to create a Business Plan are different:

1 – Put in writing business ideas: this allows the entrepreneur to “grow”, identifying the problem (if supported by the right consultants), make certain remedial actions, and set the appropriate strategies;

2 – Look for Investors;

3 – Participate in Startup Competition / Calls for Startup (and here comes into play the Pitch).

 

Consequently, the shape of a Business Plan should depend on the goal: it must be communicatively effective according to the needs. Last but not least, the structure of the Business Plan: about this point I will talk about it in another post, now I have to leave the blog. I have a skype-call with a multinational company based in Germany.

Yes, it is, The Great C is trying to take me too, and bring me out of Italy.

Will it make it?

13. Test to start your Startup

June 24, 2014, HOURS 12:21

DAY 129

diary of a crisis survivor
Here we are.

Our beta version is ready. (CLUE n. 5).

Although things aren’t going well, we go public testing our service (obviously not here, not in this blog).

The streets of my city are desolate. A city like so many others, and like all these other, was hit hard by the Great C, which created recession, unemployment and depression.

You know my story, and you know how, with my startup, I’m daily trying to fight The Great C. The first step was to create a team, and now, we’re launching our beta version of the site.
Because for a startup is fundamental:
1) check the appeal of your product / service;
2) create a critical mass that can act as a springboard for the project.

As can be convinced (or love) of our business idea, unfortunately, the response of the market is always different from the initial expectations, and start a test phase will enable us to understand where the process of buying is gonna blocked and where we go wrong. If we are unable to successfully pass this test phase, creating a sufficient critical mass, we will be able to throw in a total market.

I would say, first of all, in a startup, as in the life, it is necessary to risk: if the test will be positive, we can think of detonate the bomb … and then, I think that the Great C wouldn’t be able to resist.

We see the light, we know the way: now is our turn to survive…and risk.

(We don’t know what we can achieve unless we try).

10. Misinformation

May 26, 2014, h. 16:16

DAY 100

Disinformation.

The reason of the failure of so many good projects.

Startup or Politicians.

Disinformation is also the word emblem of the last European elections, in my opinion.

diary of a crisis survivor disinformation

Most of the Italian citizens couldn’t benefit from a proper system of information by the media and political parties, because last week, the three “Big Boss“(Renzi , Grillo and Berlusconi) thought only to insult between them. And the citizens didn’t even know how to vote.

It matters little that won the Partito Democratico.. ’cause now, in Italy the only loser is the citizen…who knows little of what actually happens in the politic’s palaces and who daily must survive the Great C.

Aware of the importance of communication I have raised the issue to the team of my startup, and from a couple of weeks to now, we are organizing a Marketing Plan, at a strategic level and at a operational level. Probably I’ll tell you in the future.

Meanwhile, we are stuck in the critical step of identifying the target customer of  our startup(step number 1 in a definition of Marketing Strategy): market analysis and subsequent viability and sustainability of the idea. There is so much to do. Because the later stages will be to work closely with our designers D and with “I Nerd per caso“, which respectively  will deal with the graphics and development.

But in the meantime we will do everything possible to inform “our target customers ” of what we do, how we do it and, especially, why we do it.

The disinformation is nothing more than a helper of Great C.

We will fight it, even for you.

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