Friday, 19 December 2008

We only recruit sensibly mad people - Christmas 2008 Edition

Here's what Value Partners' founders wrote to all employees this evening.

Dear friends,

Eid Al Adha Holiday had just passed, Christmas and Hanukkah are around the corner, and Chinese New Year is soon to come: our warm wishes for joyful days in the arms of your families.

For once, nothing mad about it, just very sensible.

Let me wish the same to you all.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Google uncovered?

A very interesting description of Google's strategy and business model, worth reading if are into 'strategy' or 'business models' irrespective of the industry.

All about Google
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: google strategy)

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Yes, we can (Part I) - Children see, children do

(originally posted by Zampe)

Simple, true, powerful:
children see, children do.
You watch, you behave?

Yes, we can. If only we try

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

We only recruit sensibly mad people - Calcetto Special Edition

A collective edition, for our fans.

Not only do we recruit them, but we get them to do sensibly mad things together, too!

This edition is a tribute to the Value Partners official 5-a-side football team, put together by Capitan Melani for the prestigious Champion's Chip. Despite incredibly poor fitness levels, no clue on roles and tactics (there's 25 of us in the team, and 5 playing at a time!) and no training whatsoever, we are at the top of the scoreboard after two matches! Two solid wins against two of the strongest teams in the league!

To prove we are truly sensibly mad, Foscarina played as goalkeeper for the first half of our second match, replacing injured No.1 Valerio. Not only did she emerge unscathed (yes, we finished the first half up 3-0), but was also nominated "player of the week" by the authoritative (?!) Zabetta dello Sport!

Will the record hold after tonight's match!?

Disclaimer: I am a proud member of the team, with no impact whatsoever on performance. That's a good thing, because I am useless! ;-)

Sunday, 16 November 2008

In the digital age, does censorship work?

Campaign by Telefono Donna against women abuse.

Censored by the Milan local council, blogged all over Italy

I guess more children have seen this because the campaign was censored than if fifty posters were put up on walls around Milan

Monday, 10 November 2008

I am Davide Saviano

A great initiative in support of Roberto Saviano, the writer threatened by the Camorra. Already noted, among others, by and

Started off in Milan, now spreading to towns throughout Italy.

“Sapere, capire diviene una necessità. L'unica possibile per considerarsi ancora uomini degni di respirare.”

Roberto Saviano, Gomorra

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Wazzup!? Obama!

Back in 2000, Budweiser produced a great ad showing five friends "watching the game, having a bud..." - cult for anyone living in London or New York at the time.

Eight years later, the same five guys are back - and brilliant! Life hasn't been good, "lost my home, looking for a job...", but now there's hope for change.

Frua: that was so Brechin Place!

Monday, 3 November 2008

An honourable man (irrespective of whether he's elected)


Statement from Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro-Ng on the death of their grandmother, Madelyn Dunham:

"It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

"Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer."

Yes, I do hope Obama is elected President of the United States just like 87% of the world (according to the Economist's poll). But this is not the point of this post.

This is a tribute to a Presidential candidate who, during the most stressful time of his life, took two days off to go visit his grandmother.

Chapeau, Obama.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Thank you my friends

As quickly posted on Facebook, I have been seriously overblown by the number of people who have wished me a happy birthday via calls, SMS, e-mails, wall posts, messages, etc. Seriously, I am flabbergasted!

Here's my personal sign of gratitude to (in some-sort-of-random order): Andrea B, Marzia, Dino, Silvia O, Valeria L, Matteo V, Laura G B, Giulietta, Daniela, Lalla, Luciana, Dido, Anna, Stefano, Paola (Z), Katrin, Micol B, Titta, Grazia, Gioia, Pitta, Lucia, Elisa, Davis, Alberto, Marta, Alexia, Sophie, Lesley, Barbara, Fausta, Ann-Katrin, Carlo, Benedetta, Gianmaria, Pietro, Paul, Mino, Davide, Ivan, Alessia, Agostino, Fabrizio, Giulia, Alessandra, Ico, Cristina, Papa', Mamma, Michele, Lora, Andrea, Matteo, Sylvi, Nonna M, Nonna I, Ila, Ans, Ga, Alessia&Ugo&Max, Federica, Pier, Alberto, Enrico S, Anna M, Stefano S, Tina, Valentina C, Monica, Manuela, Mirko, Micol, Karin, David, Renata, Titti, Bruno, Marco, Vivi, Fabri, Fucka, Robi, Raffi, Chiara, Valeria B, Akim, Taia, Maddi, Andrea S, Luca B, Andrea aka Antonello, Ilker, Elena, Ilan, Luca G, Carlina, Ada, Gio, Amandine, Pia, Carlottina, Filo C, Mati, Mattia, Ale, Valentina, Chicco, Bea, Michele Z, George, Andrea FDA, Valerio, ...and all those who called before 4pm (the ones that really cared) but disappeared from the BB's memory, because that damn device works on chronological not emotional memory :-(

A special thought goes to those who forgot and regret it ;-)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Cool music: Elisa Elettra - Mi piace grosso

Thrilled by Il Genio - Pop Porno, Valentina suggested this other pearl of contemporary music, apparently she "heard it around"...

Google doesn't seem to have lyrics, can anyone help?

Cool music: Il Genio - Pop porno

I just discovered this new song...actually has already over 700.000 views and ranks #5 this week in Music on YouTube. Thank you Ivan.

Full lyrics below ;-)

Tu sei cattivo con me
perché ti svegli alle tre
per guardare quei film
un po porno

Tu sei cattivo con me
perché mi guardi come se
io fossi unattrice

Porno Pop Porno Pop Porno
Pop Porno Porno Porno

Tu sei cattivo con me
perché ti piace sognare
quei tipi di donna
un po porno

Tu sei cattivo con me
perché mi lasci da sola
e ti guardi quei film
un po porno

Porno Pop Porno Pop Porno
Pop Porno Porno Porno

Ma quando viene sera
tu mi parli damore
e guardandomi negli occhi
mi fai sentire davvero
una donna un po porno

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Obama jokes about his identity

UPDATE: the BBC does not allow embedding its YouTube videos :-( You can watch the video here.

Even McCain has a good laugh!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

We only recruit sensibly mad people - 2008 Retreat Special Edition II

Ladies and gentlemen,

Please welcome Nicoletta, winner of the "Showgirl of the Decade" award at the VP 2008 Med Retreat @ Djerba.

On the way to dinner, the microphone in the last bus soon gets hijacked by a handful of wannabe singers. After some not-so-inspiring attempts, Riccardo Monti takes the scene with his memorable O'Sole Mio. At this point, Nicoletta grabs the microphone, and begins a world-class show..."Liza Minnelli is nothing!"

Full coverage of the event - including full versions of the songs and the heartbreaking confessions - exclusively on VP Inside. But don't despair - a glimpse at the Night of the Oscars @ Djerba is soon to be shown on these screens.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

We only recruit sensibly mad people - 2008 Retreat Special Edition

(The first of a series from the 2008 Med Retreat @ Djerba.)

Riccardo Monti, Director of Value Partners, in a memorable performance of O'Sole Mio, co-starring Laura Cattaneo with cameos from (in order of appearance) Tina Guiducci, Valentina De Luca, Paolo Marinelli, Enrico Schiappacasse, Enrico Lanzavecchia. Amazingly, this was recorded on the way to dinner, before having any drinks.

Note the impeccable 2nd verse, too often forgotten by pseudo-experts of Neapolitan folk songs. Paraphrasing a famous Italian movie from the 1980s, "Pavarotti is nothing".

More to come...which ones and how many depending on how many personal threats to my life and career I receive in the coming days ;-)

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Beatrice Borromeo - Bruno Vespa 1-0

(in Italian)

In un'intervista rilasciata alla Stampa, Beatrice Borromeo dice la sua su Porta a Porta, oltre che su diversi programmi d'informazione tv:

«Ridicolo. All’estero lo prendono in giro. È privo di qualsiasi dignità. L’episodio di Vespa scambiato da Berlusconi per il “dottor Fede” è significativo. Il conduttore mette a proprio agio al di là della verità, non ponendo mai obiezioni per amore della poltrona. Per questo i politici vanno lì e non da Santoro: sanno che non gli succederà nulla. E questo, giornalisticamente, è inaccettabile».

Bruno Vespa risponde a stretto giro, citando i grandi apprezzamenti per Porta a Porta ricevuti da diversi politici e disprezzando l'opinione di Beatrice Borromeo in merito:
«Beatrice Borromeo - che passerà alla storia della televisione come fugace valletta di Michele Santoro - ha avuto il privilegio di un’ampia intervista alla Stampa. La signorina dice a proposito di Porta a porta: «Ridicolo. All’estero lo prendono in giro. È privo di qualsiasi dignità». Pochi giorni fa, alla Venaria di Torino, Josè Maria Aznar, già carismatico primo ministro spagnolo, ha lodato Porta a porta definendola la migliore trasmissione europea del suo genere e rammaricandosi che altri Paesi, a cominciare dal suo, non la imitino.

Era presente la presidente del Piemonte, Mercedes Bresso, che potrà confermare (in realtà negli anni scorsi la seconda rete della tivù pubblica francese importò il format di Porta a porta nel programma “Un’ora per convincere” in cui sfilarono i grandi di Francia). Aznar chiese espressamente di essere invitato a Porta a porta durante una sua visita ufficiale e lo stesso ha fatto il primo ministro rumeno che verrà in ottobre in Italia. Yasser Arafat e Simon Peres si incontrarono a Porta a porta per l’ultima volta.

Lascio al lettore, dunque, il commento sul cinguettio della giovane e promettente valletta, troppo innamorata di Santoro per poter snebbiare il suo cervellino e impegnarlo in una ricerca prima di esprimersi.»

Beatrice non molla e gli risponde per le rime:
«Ho detto che non mi piace Porta a Porta perché è sempre al servizio dei politici, anziché dei telespettatori, e che un programma come quello sarebbe impensabile in una televisione pubblica estera. E Vespa che fa? Tenta di smentirmi rivelando che un politico straniero, il "carismatico" Aznar, gli chiese espressamente di essere invitato. Appunto: piacerebbe ai politici di tutto il mondo poter disporre, com'è per i loro colleghi italiani, di un salottino comodo comodo dove pontificare senza una domanda scomoda. Purtroppo per loro, all'estero non si usa.

Sono infatti i giornalisti stranieri, e non i politici, che trovano ridicolo un programma d'informazione con serate dedicate ai formaggi, alle gambe delle donne o all'Isola dei Famosi. Che quando condannano Previti in primo grado sulla Sme, fa una puntata sul Viagra. Ricordo solo il commento della corrispondente in Italia del Nouvel Observateur, Marcelle Padovani, intervistata da Sabina Guzzanti nel film Viva Zapatero: "Io sono incapace di raccontare Porta a Porta. Non riesco a sintetizzare che cos'è Porta a Porta per il pubblico francese, perché non c'è l’equivalente, non c'è un personaggio che gestisce una tale quantità d'informazione di potere, non esiste". Anche un cervellino annebbiato capirebbe che questo non è proprio un complimento.»

Non mi risulta una contro-replica di Vespa. Ha meglio da fare che dibattere sulla qualità di Porta a Porta con una ventenne? O ha capito che ha ragione Beatrice?

Io propendo decisamente per la seconda. Viva Bea che, avendo la possibilità di dire certe cose, le dice chiare e tonde (anche se a volte potrebbe smussare un po' i toni, no?!).

Da non perdere anche la lettera aperta a Bruno Vespa pubblicata qua

(Disclaimer: conosco Bea e spesso non la pensiamo allo stesso modo. Stavolta si.)

Friday, 3 October 2008

How financial markets really work

(first noticed on Quinta's weblog)

During these days of mayhem and confusion, John Bird and John Fortune tell us how the markets work in these one-in-a-lifetime circumstances.

Sometimes a joke sheds more light on the truth than sophisticated analysis?

I think so!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno Wreaks Havoc In Milan!

"Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen caused another security alert when he stormed the catwalk at Milan Fashion Week...Cohen is in Milan working on a new film called Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Male." (from the Huffington Post)

Video footage of the incident (courtesy of

Can't wait to watch the film!

Cohen interrupted the fashion show of designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada in Milan making it onto the catwalk dressed as his Austrian model Bruno. Dressed in a black cloak, and a bizarre bundle of clothing, Cohen strutted down the catwalk past the shows' models.

But the police were called when he refused to leave to restore order.

Scantily clad models screamed and security guards dived on him and several others with him and bundled them away. TV footage screened on Italian TV showed Cohen dressed as his creation Bruno, a flamboyant Austrian fashionista.

Obama vs McCain: the rest of the World votes

The Economist is running a very interesting experiment, asking people around the world to vote for U.S. presidential candidates. The votes are then assigned using a system similar to that in use in real presidential elections (winner-takes-all in each country, with number of electoral votes proportional to that country's population).

It is still early on in the process, but initial results are pretty clear. Obama wins hands down with 7.991 electoral votes against McCain's meagre 12. Actual votes cast are 11.792 for Obama, 2.745 for McCain.


I don't think so...always thought the only problem with U.S. presidential elections is that only Americans are allowed to vote, but the whole world bears the consequences!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Hanno ucciso l'Alitalia

(from bastardidentro, in Italian)

Great irony, as usual!

Click below for complete lyrics.

Solita nebbia da lupi a Malpensa
nell'aeroporto stan svuotando una valigia in più
code infinite al banco check in
terrore per l'overbooking

tutto ad un tratto la porta fa "slam"
Sacconi entra di corsa con una novità
dritta sicura si mormora che
gli investitori hanno fatto "Bang"

hanno ucciso l'Alitalia
chi sia stato non si sa
forse quelli del sindacato
forse la mancanza di pubblicità

hanno ucciso l'Alitalia
non si sa neanche il perché
forse il culo delle hostess
non piaceva poi un granché

In parlamento una profezia
Fantozzi dice tanto che volete che sia
quel che è successo non ci fermerà
l'Alitalia volerà

ma all'agenzia c'è il panico ormai
nessuno in aeroporto né ora né mai
e Berlusconi tranquillizza in TV
ma adesso chi ci crede più

hanno ucciso l'Alitalia
chi sia stato non si sa
forse piloti strapagati
forse l'alta velocità

hanno ucciso l'Alitalia
non si sa neanche il perché
forse il culo delle hostess
non piaceva poi un granché

giù nelle piste ci sono gang bang
tra piloti in divisa e nude hostess
se non la compro la comprerai tu
per 100 Euro o poco più

Il volo low cost é un dito per voi
CEO troppo pagati sono gli unici eroi
prima c'era c'era l'offerta Airfrance
ma ora non ritornerà

hanno ucciso l'Alitalia
chi sia stato non si sa
forse amministratori strapagati
forse l'alta velocità

hanno ucciso l'Alitalia
non si sa neanche il perché
forse il culo delle hostess
non piaceva poi un granché

hanno ucciso l'Alitalia
chi sia stato non si sa
forse amministratori strapagati
forse l'alta velocità

hanno ucciso l'Alitalia
non si sa neanche il perché
forse il culo delle hostess
non piaceva poi un granché...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Bentornata Vecchia Signora

I know, I'm a few days late, and Valerio has already posted on this. But I feel an irresistible urge to welcome Juventus back to the Champions League.

Bentornata Vecchia Signora.

Two videos dedicated to all those who still delude themselves Juventus didn't deserve.

22 May 1996: Juventus-Ajax 1-1 (4-2 after penalty kicks)

5 May 2002: 26th Scudetto, a most glorious day that Inter fans are desperate to remove from their memories (and not succeeding, and probably never will)

Ecco il calendario completo del Gruppo H

Mercoledì 17 settembre
Real Madrid-Bate Borisov

Martedì 30 settembre
Bate Borisov-Juventus
Zenit-Real Madrid

Martedì 21 ottobre
Juventus-Real Madrid
Zenit-Bate Borisov

Mercoledì 5 novembre
Real Madrid-Juventus
Bate Borisov-Zenit

Martedì 25 novembre
Bate Borisov-Real Madrid

Mercoledì 12 dicembre
Juventus-Bate Borisov
Real Madrid-Zenit

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Life is Beautiful - a masterpiece

After posting the earlier video from "La Tigre e la Neve", I remembered this great moment of movie history.

IMHO a unique combination of irresistible laughter, unspeakable sadness and political passion in 5 minutes of video.

For every filmmaker to learn from, and everyone else to enjoy.

Poetry lecture by Roberto Benigni

(From "La tigre e la neve", in Italian)

Posted by Simone Battiferri - and worth re-posting

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Paris Hilton replies to Senator McCain!

Paris Hilton produced her own presidental ad, replying to Senator McCain's one (here) in which he compared Obama's celebrity status wity Paris & Britney.

She's not my cup of tea, but her reply is absolutely brilliant!

Best Paris quotes (for me):

  • "I'm not the one changing the world...I'm just hot"
  • "I'll paint the White House pink" (!)

Sunday, 3 August 2008

State of Fear

(This a free translation of an inspiring, if disillusioned, blog post in Italian by Gigi Tagliapietra, who summed up quite nicely something I'd been thinking for some time.)

I recently read on Repubblica [Italian national daily] that Italians are afraid: afraid of crime, afraid that the economic downturn will make them poorer, afraid of immigrants.

This reminds me of Michael Crichton's "State of Fear" in which fear is the means by which rulers keep their grasp on the general public...and when it subdues it is promptly revamped. Is it raining? Apocalyptic storms and tropical climate! Is it not raining? Imminent drought and creeping desertification! A bipolar parliamentary system? No, a divided country!

The article also suggests that Italians would hate to have their tax declarations checked (and "the boss" has repeatedly confirmed his viewpoint on this)...pretty obvious: if we are afraid having our "stuff" taken away, it doesn't really matter if the culprit is an illegal immigrant or the taxman.

And don't even think about saying that in a downturn you should save more (retail sales are plummeting! we must consume more! say retailers) or that the government should fight tax evasion (we don't want a police state, do we!?) or reduce wasteful expenditure (Emerenzio Barbieri, MP for PdL, lamented the fact that Senators fly business class while "poor" Deputies like himself fly Economy...). Whatever you'll be told that "the real problem lies elsewhere"

While these thoughts come to mind I noted a quick post by Alfonso Fuggetta from Singapore that says "these guys will kick our ass...telling us a simple and plain truth.

These are the foreigners we should be really "afraid of": those better than us, who invest in their own future, that innovate...not of the poor immigrants who land at Lampedusa to escape famine and misery.

But maybe there is a logic to our collective behaviour...maybe we are miserable people ourselves, living in a fake world of TV presenters and dancers, fighting helplessly to hold on to our few (and shrinking) belongings from even poorer people.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Porno-politica II - L'ironia dell'iPhone

(sorry guys, this is still in Italian...but you could catch a glimpse of humour...)

Un iPhone per il Presidente del Consiglio (from

Any comments?

I think it's quite funny...!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Porno-politica e ironia della sorte

(Sorry English-speakers, this is a quote from an Italian blog with subtle jokes that can't be translated!)

Da Manteblog, che a sua volta cita daveblog:

E poi non se ne parli più (forse). Una l'hanno notata un po' tutti: ad esprimere lo sdegno per l'attacco alla Carfagna, il PdL ha mandato in pasto alle telecamere l'onorevole Bocchino, uno che devono avere messo in lista apposta per eventualità come queste, non vedo altre spiegazioni. L'altra nota riguarda una roba che ho letto oggi non ricordo dove e che prendeva apertamente le difese del ministro, solo che il titolo era "Stringi i denti, Mara", per cui qualche dubbio sulle reali intenzioni del'autore effettivamente mi è rimasto.

Che dire?!?!


Saturday, 5 July 2008

Codice Internet

(in Italian)

100% agree on the premises, can it make a difference?

Yes, we can?

Friday, 27 June 2008

Italians finally doing something to get the politicians they deserve?

(This 'classified ad' apparently appeared on the International Herald Tribune just before the Italian elections)

Can anyone please ask Lucrezia if she has any suggestions for next time round?

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Impeccable description of the government's proposed law on wiretapping

(in Italian)

I'm not always a fan of Marco Travaglio, but in this television debate between him and Lupi (Forza Italia, Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies) and Butti (Alleanza Nazionale) he delivered a memorable speech. Too bad it was broadcast on local television, it deserved a prime time national audience.

Ten minutes worth watching, highly recommended.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

We only recruit sensibly mad people - Part III

After Federica and Foscarina, here's Alessia - another brilliant example of how smart professionals suddenly reveal odd sides of their personality.

Here's her story.

I had been working late one Sunday night, and had a 9am meeting on the Monday morning. The only way to be sure I did wake up in time was to ask my team member Alessia to call me in the morning. I sent her an SMS (sorry this doesn't work very well in English)

"Assicurati che sia sveglio max alle 8" (Make sure awake max at 8am)

A minute later, in the middle of the night, I receive an SMS.

"Chi e' Max?" (Who is Max?)

No comment.

PS Baby Max is expected in August, congratulations to Ugo and Alessia!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

You, this blog's surprising audience

It all started in mid-April...this blogging thing looked like fun. Quite frankly, I didn't have a plan, nor any expectations. What should I post? Would anyone read this, and why? Did it make sense to tell all my friends to look at it, only to lose their interest after the first visit? How many people would actually be interested?

After 7-8 weeks, I find the stats from Google are quite are a real audience! Here's a snapshot of you, the 227 people who visited up to this moment.

  • You visited 434 times, viewed 782 pages and spend on average 2.59 minutes reading this
  • You came from 20 countries across the globe: Italy (obviously), various European countries (from Spain to Hungary, from Turkey to Sweden), US (from California to Massachussetts to Texas), Latin America (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina) and Asia (China, India, Singapore, UAE)
  • You often came by clicking on links to here (FaceBook, LinkedIn and other blogs) but a surprising number typed the address by hand, and 50 of you found this on Google

Now, here's the scoop. 55 of you have visited more than 10 times! This blog has a loyal audience! Who are you?!?!? Please don't be shy, leave a comment...I'm dying to know!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Baustelle in Milan on June 1st (social music works)

Social music works, at least it has for me so far!

In the recent past, my musical discoveries came either from friends or from the iTunes Store billboard (and neither seemed to provide any life-changing experience!).

I little while ago I began to experiment seriously with It took a while for it to learn what kind of music I like (yes, it is quite varied!). Then, a couple of weeks back, it suggested a previously unknown (to me) band called Baustelle. So I gave it a try.

Bang! Great! According to tags it's alternative, indie, indie pop, indie rock. I simply find the music enjoyable and the lyrics very interesting. Listen for yourselves. My favourites from the last album is 'Il liberismo ha i giorni contati', for sure.

To make sure I would fully enjoy my new discovery, I then realise Milan is the opening concert of their live tour for Summer '08, and the location is Piazza Santo Stefano...excellent!

Who's around and wants to join?

Monday, 19 May 2008

Congratulazioni per il 15° scudetto

(For once, a post in Italian)

"Complimenti per il meritatissimo scudetto. Non capisco però perchè anche quando vince l'Inter si fa comunque ridere dietro da tutta Italia. Del resto l'Inter e' una squadra vincente con un presidente vincente e un allenatore vincente. Non poteva quindi perdere. Magari l'anno prossimo vince anche la Champions...certo che però è difficile che facciano escludere dalla Champions contemporaneamente Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcellona, Real Madrid, Bayern, Lione e magari anche il Villareal. Mah speriamo in SuperGuido..." (by Stefano)

Monday, 12 May 2008

Via Leopardi is dead, long live Via Leopardi

The last day of Value Partners' glorious office in Via Leopardi 32 officially came to a close on Friday 9 May at 17:10 when the servers were shut down. Here's some pictures to commemorate this epic moment.

And here's some of the comments that animated the corporate email during the day. It all started with...

"Per chi è ancora qui, appena i server andranno in shut down, questo è il segnale convenuto, è previsto in sala conference un brindisi a questo magnifico palazzo e a tutte le idee che ha saputo far nascere"

...which gave birth...

--"Io qua dal Brasile con una caipirinha"
--"Partecipo spiritualmente in remoto al brindisi con un succo di mango"
--"...una caipirinha a metà mattina la vedo aggressiva...Visto che comunque avete lanciato questo thread...brindiamo anche qui da Atene con Ouzo e Mastika"
--"Beh a questo punto mi unisco anche io ... Qui si beve poco ma si mangia gran chicken masala. Un arrivederci a via Leopardi!"
--"Mi unisco anche io al brindisi da Buenos Aires con un buon bicchiere di Malbec.
Un saluto grande alla MITICA via Leopardi!!"
--"Da Roma mi unisco al brindisi con un 'Bianco dei Castelli'. E sentitamente partecipo allo spirito ed valore di questo momento"

...but also a touch of romance ;-)
--"Io tra queste mura ho trovato l'amore"

PS I promise to add any more pictures sent to me

Monday, 5 May 2008

Music from a long weekend

After spending most of my time travelling, I always enjoy spending some time at home relaxing, catching up with sleep, reading some good books...with music in the background all day.

My favourites from the weekend (courtesy of

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Stop the Clash of Civilizations

Sometimes I wonder: what's the point of posting something that has been already seen by over 2 million people on YouTube and commented over 40.000 times?

In this case, the video speaks for itself - a brilliant message against intolerance and prejudice, that in just over 2.30 minutes demolishes many preconceptions many people have, in both the Western world and Arab/Muslim countries.

PS Winner of the 2007 YouTube Award for the Politics category

Saturday, 26 April 2008

W la Brigata Ebraica

I don't understand how people who supposedly support the moral values of the "Resistenza", and march alongside those who fought for democracy and freedom, can be even remotely hostile to the Jewish Brigade.

Like partisans, they literally risked their lives for freedom - but for a country that wasn't theirs. Like soldiers they fought an enemy nation - but would be sent straight to Auschwitz if caught. True heroes who deserve utmost respect.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

What I've thought for some time (and may therefore be true!) - Part III

Every time I watch Mediterraneo, this is the only quote that doesn't make me laugh, but I still love, and it sticks to my mind.

"...Non ci hanno lasciato cambiare niente...e allora gli ho detto...avete fatto come volevate ma almeno non riuscirete a considerarmi vostro complice..."

["...They didn't let us change I told did what you wanted to do but at least you won't be able to say I was your accomplice..."]

Sad, but very honourable, ending.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Brechin Place SW7 vs. Via Savona 20144

Random friends knocking on the window to say hi? Twenty times in a weekend, around the clock, literally!?!
That didn't happen since the good ol' times at Brechin Place!

Brechin Place today...not-so-different from 10 years ago!

Thanks to Design Week and to:
- David
- Debs
- Teo
- Andrea
- Cecilia
- Andrea
- Anna
- Luca
- Pietro
- (who else?! can't remember...)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

We only recruit sensibly mad people - Part II

Here's Foscarina. During her working day she's a smart resource of VP's R&I office...then transforms into multiple personalities! In the picture above she's enjoying the Germany 2006 World Cup Final in Berlin. Notice her sober attire and attitude: a true example of Olympic spirit?

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

What I've thought for some time (and may therefore be true!) - Part II

Funnily enough, I come across this pearl of wisdom when the outcome of Italian elections becomes clear. Very true...

“Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair”

--George Burns

Friday, 11 April 2008

I stand by Luca Luciani

(Inspired by Valerio's blog - in Italian - and agreed upon by plenty of other bloggers - see updates below)

A perfect example of why Web 2.0 cannot be ignored, by anyone. Over the last 10 days, the "Waterloo incident", featuring Luca Luciani, has spread from a single video posted on YouTube (now removed) to conversations between people who have never heard of YouTube and hardly know who Luca Luciani is. In this short timeframe, videos have first proliferated on YouTube, then published on every major Italian website, linked in hundreds of blogs, and finally reported on all mainstream media - including national newspapers and prime time TV. Surely a great case study for communication and PR courses.

But also a case of a vast number of people reaching horribly harsh conclusions based on scant evidence. Yes, his historical inaccuracy is colossal and memorable. Yes, his language may be deemed inappropriate. Yes, he does earn a substantial salary. Does this mean he is totally ignorant, overwhelmingly arrogant, blatantly inadequate for his job, or ridiculously overpaid - as argued incessantly for days and days on thousands of posts and comments? Can such horribly harsh conclusions about a person be drawn from a 1:49 video taken out of context from a 3 hour event? I don't think so.

In my humble opinion, Luca Luciani deserves better. I have worked with Luca on a few occasions, and believe he is one of the smartest executives I have encountered in over 10 years of management consulting across Europe. He is not only competent, but also incredibly passionate about his work, and a great person to work with. Everyone I know who has worked with him shares the same opinion (Valerio for one), and we are not alone.

Much more significantly, hundreds of employees and business partners keep showing him unwavering support. In at least two cases this has occurred in most dramatic ways! Last Monday (right in the middle of the storm) over 500 field employees and dealers unexpectedly gave Luca Luciani a 15-minute applause and a standing ovation as soon as he emerged from the sidelines at a company event. Today, employees at the company's headquarters produced a cartoon (shown below)showed him their support by signing the cartoon, shown below.

"Luca, with you...even in Waterloo"

Forza Luca. Luca has publicly excused himself, and promised to learn from his mistakes. Yes, I agree with those who say that a self-ironic video response on YouTube would have been much better (and maybe Luca thinks so too?). Nevertheless, in my view he now deserves all the support he is getting, and more. I stand by Luca Luciani.

PS A final laugh. Sorry Luca, but I do find some of the stuff produced around your story these days really funny! My favourite is the Vota Luciani series, with The Rise and Fall of Luca Luciani a close second, and Special Jury Prize to Tolleranza Zoro. I'm sure you will find also these funny one day, if you aren't already ;-)

UPDATE (11/4): Besides Valerio, Squonk and Giacomo Dotta also published posts in favour of Luca Luciani or against his detractors.

UPDATE (14/4): Two more balanced views on the topic: D'Io and webmasterpoint .

UPDATE (15/4): On Demanews Blog, Brando, Fabio Annovazzi, Roberto, stema71 and particularly Giuseppe Verardi argued valiantly for my point.

UPDATE (16/4): I find out just now that Vittorio Bertola agrees with me completely (and said it much earlier, with supporting comments by frank among a plethora of usual criticism). citofonarelordlucas also says something quite similar.

UPDATE (18/4): Here's Marco Massarotto's analysis in the immediate aftermath of the incident - and very sensible comments, supported by Massimo and Giuseppe (and only one hostile one, for a change)

UPDATE (2/5): Among the smart&funny stuff produced around this story, here's the "History Manual by Luca Luciani"...pretty good! (in Italian)

Here's Technorati's full listing of blogs with.


Note: I have known Luca Luciani as part of my employment at Value Partners, a management consulting firm that provides services to - among others - Telecom Italia Mobile. This post reflects my own personal views and opinions. I have not received any form of compensation linked to this post by anybody, and will not in the future.

Blogging lesson with Zampe (aka funkyprofessor)

Here's Zampe (aka funkyprofessor) acting as a blog teacher....doesn't he look like a real one?!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

We only recruit sensibly mad people

Federica Friz is one of the latest recruits at VP, boasting and excellent CV and an MBA at INSEAD.

Just before joining she anticipated she would be spending a week in Guadeloupe...what she did't say is that she was filmed, broadcast on Sky and published on YouTube...roughly 2.30 minutes into this video you can see her introducing herself, and then getting involved in all sorts of interesting (!?) sports.

(in Italian)

UPDATE: Here's Fede's profile...have a look at her sporting preferences!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

What I've thought for some time (and may therefore be true!)

"Ci sedemmo dalla parte del torto, visto che tutti gli altri posti
erano occupati"
--Bertolt Brecht

"La felicità non è uno stato a cui arrivare, ma un modo di viaggiare"

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists

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