Social Media Week Milan: day 1

Social Media Week Milan: day 1

Hello everybody!

…long time no see, and I am sorry. Been quite busy with education, lately. Finally back to my own passion: visual communication!

And as a visual communicator, social media are my main reference, as that’s where my communication travels, and this area, on the neurological, sensitive and selective plans is where I continuously need to deepen my skills and understanding. You can’t imagine my joy when I discovered that the same week I am in Milan, my unique town would have the Social Media Week!

Affordable events open to professionals is something I long for all the time, it’s where I grow and become competitive, but unfortunately in Sweden and in Malmö where I live, these kinds of events belong to a selected elitism and it is sadly always the same faces around, something they really need to work onto. Partly the prices are impossible to justify, partly you hardly see anything coming out of the comfort zone, so it is hard to find reliability. It is still very basic and rudimental. Sadly! I know they try to become something more competitive and informative, but right now they still fight on that tremendous difficulty to get out of the comfort zone.

So for once being in the city that has the monopole of social media in Southern Europe and being able to listen to other experts and innovators, was a way out of the claustrophobic routine I am used to, and an enriching experience too.

I must thank Social Media Week Milan for making the price affordable. They understood exactly what it is about, setting a price as way to make the audience responsible: if I pay I go, but not an excessive price, that often manages only to get rid of all freelancers and young professionals. They managed to make it a honest sum that makes you want to be there, what a decent dinner would cost and that’s all. Come on, you paid, be there. Very democratic, and yet moving professionals mostly, and students: bravo!

Here comes a summary from the first day, unfortunately I can’t be there tomorrow for personal reasons, which is unfortunate as the 14th seems to be a very interesting day.



The event  begun with a presentation of the theme for this social media week: language and the machine, algorithms and the future of communications


So the focus was on AI/AS and branding in the mixed reality. Gosh I have hardly ever been to something this interesting! I must put a note on a side as many years ago Adobe had an event in Stockholm and there I had the chance to meet the Danish Strategy Lead at Grey Group Emea and his conference was just as much mind-blowing as this. Actually it is my means of measurement (how close to that level of inspiration did this go?), and maybe someway that short meeting did really change the turn of my career, from influencer to active brain behind branding and communication. Now, I don’t show a lot of what I do, but I am often the dark shadow behind many startups. That is why I am joyful to be here where I learn how to be ready to the challenges that future might bring in my own business. What I do is not visible (yet) but the point for me is not being under the spotlight, it is in making things work efficiently and in an innovative way. So this event was really designed around me!



I must absolutely start with another personal note on Roberta Cocco, what an energetic and inspirational woman! Regardless if she is born in Milan or not, a real Milanese lady. Awesomeness in curly blond! Councillor for Digital Transformation and Citizens Services at Municipality of Milan, with a past (25 years…) at one of the biggest American corporates (don’t know if I can say it loud, operative systems, big M? You get?), she is the typical kind of strong women my city produces. I think of Franca Sozzani, those amazing profiles that makes me proud of being born in this town, where women are empowered, strong, independent and made by themselves.

She spoke about the importance of digitalisation as a link with the new generations, giving new work opportunities. For the administration of my hometown, Milan, that is making me prouder at every day, she is bringing communication without intermediaries. Two are the goals: move to digital, and make services easy for the citizens. Confederal wi-fi was what I loved the most: you register once to free wifi in a town (think the tourist) and then you will be recognised in every town using the same wifi system.

Quote from her “Milan is bread and technologies but the real difference is made by the people”

And chapeau for her commitment to bring women to IT.

The event was sponsored by Ford, which is not as curious as you are thinking right now. Cars are becoming connected technology, and an important element for streaming of digital informations, something that needs to be used and understood. So it is in their interest to support these kind of events.

Btw, did you know that virtual reality is already part of the design phase of all cars? Think ergonomic is already studied in virtual reality

AI and Machine Learning

They opened with a very inspiring presentation where Alessandro Braga, CTO of Talent Garden, where the event took place, gave us a very clear idea of what AI/AS are on the way to become and how we should relate to them. I found this positive but not blind approach to AI as a solid introduction to our own future, that gave me the tools to judge out of prejudices and myths.

Starting from the acknowledgment that digital is reshaping every company at organisational level, we deep dived into what happens with the interaction digital-reality, what goes through the processes of differentiation and innovation in a data driven development where we still believe in user first. So data-centric approach to develop a human-centered society.

In the last 80 years of innovation we went from industrial age, to information to digital age. In the digital age, AI, blockchain, IoT, autonomous vehicles, wearable and mobile is our growing truth.

He quoted often Thomas Friedman, that I would urge you to start reading, and then the discussion turned to ethical questions, like: how well can we get along with machines that are designed to be unpredictable an inscrutable?

Finally we went through the 3 design principles for ethically aligned design. This is something that you can read on your own if you click on the following link, as this document is a CC common

ETHICALLY ALIGNED DESIGN  / A Vision for Prioritizing Human Wellbeing with Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems

IoT: Internet Of Things

The Internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. [WIKIPEDIA]

This is the second conference I took part to, and this was about sensors that measures the physical quantities of the real world and generate a huge amount of data. Andrea Grassi, editor for computerworld italia was the speaker.

Nowadays the average cost of a sensor IoT is falling, it costs now less than a half of what it costed in 2004 [data: Goldman Sachs, BI Intelligence estimates].

In the internet of things, the value is not in the things but in the data. All is stored and it is plausible to say that gathering datas about you, it is possible to predict your needs better than you would do.

Iot + big data + ia = we might be able to solve problems we do not even know we have 

But right now the problem lays still in the Security lacks. Companies are guilty of not keeping themselves updated, tools are used to create botnet and spam (in one in-famous case even a fridge was creating spam to attack providers). Last but not least hacked tools used to spy on our private life. This leads of course to the difficulty to control what is private. How will we control the way stored data will be used?

This is the big challenge and the tough responsibility that falls on PMI, and companies have to make this technological jump thinking of scalable technology, design security so NEW COMPETENCES, NEW SKILLS.

This is how AI/AS and Iot are also creating new jobs, I’d add off the records.

Mixed reality for tourism

I must say this was some true discovery. Those I did not expect it to be so interesting epiphanies 🙂

Speaker, Maurizio Goetz, teacher and Destination Marketing consultant.

Here we went through a genial project to promote the Island of Elba, through the production of a movie and a comic, that mix reality and fiction. It is very hard for me to sum this event up, but what they made is creating a connection with a story tied to Napoleon when he was confined to the island and today’s Elba. It is a very witty and structured project that became a trailer and 4 episodes serie, that can be translated in touristic experience, as the concept mixes fiction with Elba’s everyday’s life and real people.

Here you can see The Elba Movie

A brilliant idea that won many many prizes, and that was also brought up by Condé Nast. So enjoyable and completely out of the box, that the best thing is visit the site and watch the movie. I am sure it will make you want to be on my favorite island in Italy too.

But the core point was that for the tourist, mixed reality is just reality. Digital and real experiences mix. It is the industry of imagination, where tourism is transforming the experience for the tourist.

Think of watching a movie with a mesmerising story jumping to and fro history, and there you love so much those red ponds, or that jacket, or the guide, you think the guide is such an awesome guy. And think you land on the island and just that guide, whose real job is to be the guide on the island, will take you to the stylist, the real stylist, that works there on the island, which is the same as in the movie, to get your own jacket before a trip to the red ponds.

Natural Born Mobile

This is one of those half an hours I can only feel complete connection with the speaker. Emanuela Zaccone, brilliant professional, co-founder and marketing manager of spoke about the role of social media in our everyday life, and the roles we have on social media. The fact that they did not reduce but augment our social side. Bright example: she telling us that she was well aware the fact we were not looking at her did not mean we did not listen. On the contrary, we were all connected taking the responsibility of augmenting the distribution of her message. We being the means and the message at the same time, are given a tremendous power on social media, and where everything is shared (swear to God we spoke about hashtags and there is one that leads you to see mothers giving birth to children… so there is really nothing that is not accessible) we must make our own choices what to watch, what to say, how to say it.

It would take a whole day to sum all she spoke about all she covered, from being connected for the FOMO Fear Of Missing Out, we spoke about ringxiety, the responsibility about sharing ad storytelling when we spread informations, we spoke about being pure shared experience and many other things that brought self-awareness for me, who humbly deal with visual communication. My role in the natural born mobile society where images are turning into king, this was like drinking necessary words.


Future cities

Giacomo Biraghi, founder of Secolourbano separated his speech in two parts. In the first part we analysed how Marx came to the conclusion that the city is the heart of all evil and how in 150 years we blindly believed it. How this concept shaped all from hollywood movies upwards. Until another awareness of the cities came to life and mathematical analysis of the structure of a city showed how Marx was completely wrong. City is proven now to be good and desirable if created the right way. It is proven that people who live closer, in a cultural mix, live a happier and better life.

Future cities was a conference I’d make mandatory for all Swedes. It was so interesting to listen to it and at the same time I understood all that does not work in Malmö: segragated blocks, all rich here, all lefties there, and so forth. This is the city in the urban plan of the city-haters, to use a very simplified sentence. It is because who administrates it is too fond of Marx and too little of reality, that they purposely make of the city a bad experience.

In all this he presented the results that Milan reached in the last 20 years that no other city in Europe reached: we doubled the subway presence. I say we because I am natural born Milanese 🙂 We doubled the amount of parks. We brought tourists from 3 to 8 millions.

This is the results of proactive work on the city, which would take a lifetime to describe. The challenges for the city now are: see the population grow (and I must tell you: move to Milan, it’s right now the coolest city in Europe, that is where one should be!) as the costs for these developments will be soon very high and we must invest on maintenance to keep it as cool as today.

I want to close this with a quote from Biraghi that really gave me shivers. Exactly how I would describe a (good proactive) city

“A city is a black box that takes opposing and antipodal subjects, makes them interact and by putting them together, it allows to generate collective well being as in a city, the more we grow, the more the positive things grow

Brand and the 5 senses in the digital era

Graziano Giacconi (creative director Brand Festival, Premiata Fonderia Creativa) made probably today’s most interesting conference for a person like me.

Starting from the point that in the digital era we are moving from experiencing reality with 5 senses to experiencing reality with just 2 (hear and see), brands have to recreate those other senses in a bidimensional reality. Make people taste, smell with the eyes or touch with their ears.

This is a challenging process and we looked at how wine bottles are created to specific story cases. Here I got a lot of inspiration as to how brands move the focus from selling the brand, or explaining the product, to making the customer (potential customer) “live the promise”.

He spoke about religion and churches as well working brands (so agree!) and how all senses are involved in the experience of a church. He showed how big brands recreate the church-experience in their shops, and then he showed the Potty Palooza example that I am so going to use as a reference in the future. So stay tuned as I will talk about Potty Palooza  in other posts (guess Americans already know what’s that about).


This is shortly how I would sum up the events I took part to (there were many more but I chose these ones). As said, I am unfortunately missing day two but I will be back on day 3 and 4.

If you want to see some pictures, and I must say Talent Garden : what a space in Milan! then go check or follow my @pirateflo account on instagram

I will keep on sharing pictures and quotes while on place using instagram, twitter and linkedin. Find all links on my page.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s