We are Gatekeepers

Tonight is one of those nights when you walk home and you feel like there are things falling into place, one by one. You can’t say exactly what, nor why – and maybe it doesn’t even really matter.

It’s been one month since I landed in Santiago – a month that’s been dense like 3 months and that passed by quick enough to feel like just couple of weeks.

I’ve been writing already about why I like so much the Startup Chile program and its potential to create change in a unique way, also through the various initiatives that it allows you to set up.

Today for example I was joining for the first time a gathering of some entrepreneurs from Startup Chile Generation 10, whose business are particularly focused on social issues. I was with Luis Bajaña (Cyclemoney), James Shannon (LocalFoodLab) and Christopher Pruijsen (Sterio.me) having an open confrontation on social entrepreneurship in front of a small crew of people, talking about our own projects and also introducing the Hack4Good hackathon that is taking place this weekend in Santiago.

At one point I was impressed by how we were all saying that, no matter how long it’ll take to get some funding or a proper investment – we’re going to bring our projects on anyway. “It’s just needed.”

There was no hesitation in our voices or looks, and it wasn’t the type of situation where you have to try to impress someone. It felt just like the most honest manifestation of the urgency we feel to do what we’re doing. More because of a sense of social justice than a sense of profit.

This made me think of quote that I found a few months ago, thanks to another impactful being I’m honored to know, Davide Casali:

“We have an ethical responsibility to not do things we don’t want into this world. We are gatekeepers.”

Mike Monteiro

I personally think that it’s important to talk more about social entrepreneurship, to explore more its dynamics and its characteristics. But if I take a look beyond the details, I see one single overall principle that silently unifies any business that keeps in mind the consequences that it creates on a social, environmental, economical or cultural level. A principle that Mike Monteiro‘s sentence expresses perfectly:

this world is going to be about what WE will decide it will be about.

Considering what impact our business is going to have on reality is more that a triple-bottom-line trend, and certainly more than just joining a social-impact-centered program for startups.

It’s about choosing to feel the responsibility of manifesting a certain type of values, with every single one of our acts – or not.

It’s about remembering that our life is our message, and that each of our choices creates an impact, and that this same dynamic scales exponentially when you set up a business: because it will create impact on many different levels at the same time.

We ARE gatekeepers.

And if knowing this is not enough to remind us the importance of what we’re doing (and of how we’re doing it), then I don’t know what else could.

My response to the #IcedBucketChallenge

Three days ago my italian friend Matteo Flora challenged me to take the Iced Bucket Challenge.

I’ve been following and even studying this campaign – its dynamics, its polemics – and I’ve come to the point when I simply say: whatever works.

This campaign managed to engage people all over the world, period. People gave money, didn’t give money, posted a video, challenged others to do the same, made comments and critics, laughed about it… still, we all united. Even for just a bunch of seconds, we united around this cause.

That’s why I take the challenge, I respond with the resources I have, and I challenge:

Emanuela Donetti
Marco Nannini
Daniel Truran
John Tolva
Martina Buchal

This challenge asks you to be aware. I ask you: be creative.

There are uncountable ways to raise awareness around a cause. With or without an iced bucket.

For some inspiration, check:
Casey Neistat’s response
Patrick Stewart’s response

Simple acts of kindness make the world a better place for everyone.

Beyond borders. Beyond polemics. Let’s all unite.

iced buket

End of week #2 – why I think Startup Chile is making the difference

It’s been two weeks now since I landed in Santiago, and exactly 10 days since I’m officially part of the Startup Chile Program.

While the first week was mostly about getting some point of reference and meeting some of those people we’re going to co-work (and have fun) with in the next months, this second week has been about settling down and get our businesses and projects running again.

Despite the intermittent access to the Internet (still no WIFI connection in our apartment, we’re working on it) I had the chance to get in touch with some of the people I and we, as Flythegap, work with back in Europe.

“So how’s Startup Chile? How’s the program?” it’s been a question many of them asked me, and the answer is worth sharing.

First of all, I might be wrong but – this is the only program I know that invests public funds in cross-sector and international private companies, asking social impact activities on the territory in return instead of equity.

Yes, there’s room for improvement (I dare you to name any program or organization that doesn’t need any improvement) but what I see here is a call to action that every four months brings entrepreneurs coming from any country of the globe to the same city, trying to build an environment that is not just made of business plans, pitches and ROI projections but that asks us to think over how we could create value for others – personally and with our businesses.

They ask, and then they require action. Which is something I feel very much needed, here and now just as in many other places in the world.

Maybe this program doesn’t give the woah-amount-of-money we all dream for our projects, and maybe it’s very different from what the Silicon Valley or any other startup environment have to offer, at any level.

But if even just 50% of the entrepreneurs who have been part of the Startup Chile program get away with an enhanced focus on what’s the impact they and their business can create in the world, well…

then I am not only glad to be here. I’m also glad Startup Chile is trying to make this difference.

On nomadism and workplaces

Ok – may the whole perfect-cafes-tracking thing begin.

Cafeterias, bars, and any other type of local with good wifi and nice vibes. Places where to work, drink good coffee, write, relax, get inspired, take some quality time off… and much more.

To stay where it’s needed, and do what you feel needed to be done, also depends on finding the right places where to focus and make it all happen.

I am going to list these places on the recently discovered Workfrom platform, also in order to add Santiago both on that website and on Nomadlist.

I love the Workfrom community’s manifesto:

We love working from coffee shops, cafès, restaurants, bars and other non-traditional places.
We respect our hosts by sharing table space, leaving outside food – outside and not giving our bag its own seat.

We appreciate support from local businesses and we support them with our loyalty, money and evangelism.

We enjoy being part of our tribe and we like meeting up from time to time, just because.

We believe that we’re building a network of great places to work in every city we visit and call home!

We wear our nomadic ways as a badge of honor.

Join us.

It’s up to our world travelers/workers community to make our cities and perfect workplaces more accessible!

Make it count.

Santiago, Startup Chile – day #1

This has been the day when being in Santiago met with being part of an international entrepreneurial program.

12K applicants, coming from 115 countries, tried to take part to the Startup Chile program since it has been founded.

Generation 10, our generation, counted alone 1600 application.

And the first thing Startup Chile’s crew told us has been:

“You have a huge responsibility for being here.

We look and stand for values like:

# Neverstop
# Create extraordinary things
# Do it yourself
# Dare not to be squared

But especially: make it count.”

For the very first time in my life I’ve found myself listening to people who are developing a completely different format to create new entrepreneurial culture and real innovation.

An innovation based on exchanges and interactions, and not on competition.

An innovation made of people, aiming to lower defences and unite aims, for a purpose that goes beyond what individual businesses are trying to do.

An innovation that believes in unity in diversity, and in the impact that this can create – at any level. Entrepreneurial, cultural, social, human.

There’s so much to do.

Glad to be here.

“Please, storytell more!”

That was your input: please tell us more.

And with “your” I mean you guys, a surprisingly high number of people who, in the past days, weeks and years, have more or less patiently suggested me to “storytell more” – to share more about my travels, reflections, drawings, projects, adventures

I feel like the right time has come.
I feel like it became important – also for me.

Also – today was a “day 0”.

One of those days when you’re not anymore where you were yesterday and you’re not fully in the next place yet.

I woke up this morning in a city that 3 months ago I didn’t know it was going to be my home and my workplace for at least 6 months. A city that has been able to give me a pretty clear message, since the very first stroll I took: “UP”.

Santiago _ day0

“UP” like: look up.

Like raise up – your eyes, your dreams, your voice, your hopes, your principles… yourself.

And this is pretty much what I’m working on or – more precisely: what I’m breathing for. This is what my whole life evolves around right now, in so many ways that I don’t think I’m going to be able to explain them all right here, right now.

But that’s also what blogs are made for, right? To tell stories. To “storytell more”, inch by inch, not all at once.

Let’s do that, then. A “day 0” sounds like a perfect moment to begin.

Santiago, Chile, Day 0: let’s go UP.

“We must do it today, because today is when matters”.