Let’s meet the students Mattia and Alberto who recently returned from a bootcamp on tech and innovation in Silicon Valley.

“California Dream”…Hello Mattia, hello Alberto! You have just returned from what, through your social channels, you described as a crazy experience, a bootcamp on tech and innovation in Silicon Valley. What is it about? What activities did you do while you were there?

Alberto: Mattia and I were selected for a 7-day bootcamp in Silicon Valley, during which we had the opportunity to participate in workshops with speakers who work in large companies such as Logitech and Tesla, but also meetings with startup founders, moments networking and visits to tech companies including Meta and Google. All in the context of Silicon Valley and San Francisco..It was a truly intense experience that allowed us to grow both on a personal and professional level.

Mattia: There were meetings both in the morning and in the afternoon, held at the company headquarters or in the center of San Francisco. Usually the talks followed this schedule: each mentor shared their story and the lessons learned during their professional career, then a Q&A session opened. Surprisingly, these meetings lasted approximately 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon, for a total of over 7 hours dedicated to discussions about business, ideas and projects. Yes, more than 7 hours because even during meals we continued to talk incessantly about ideas, projects and dreams. This created the impression that everything was easy to do and there was always something interesting to discuss.

If we asked you to describe the atmosphere in Silicon Valley…? Have you noticed some similarities with our Campus?

Mattia: Yes, absolutely. As soon as I came back to the campus I felt like I was still in Silicon Valley. On our Campus the environment is young, both for the age of the people and for the open and dynamic mentality and this leads to a lot of energy and optimism in the conversations that are created and in the personal projects of us students.

Another aspect that reminds me of Silicon Valley is the concept of serendipity, that is, how likely it is to make discoveries or find incredible opportunities by pure chance. At H-FARM College there are countless opportunities also thanks to the talents who study here, in one place, and as in Valley, if you have a modicum of resourcefulness you can truly do extraordinary things.

Alberto: In Silicon Valley the atmosphere is magical, you can breathe an air of tranquility and peace, like in our Campus surrounded by greenery, but at the same time the pace is very fast and the desire to innovate is always present. I noticed the most obvious similarity with H-FARM in the focus on people, a lot of relevance is given to their history and their desire to get involved and give space to creativity to solve problems.

Speaking with some people who work there we understood how everything is always projected towards the future and what makes these environments special is the great internalization, many cultures that meet and communicate with each other but united by a common objective…The desire to create impact and build something concrete.

We often hear that “in America everything is possible”, and in Italy?

Alberto: In Italy we don’t think about the concept that everything is possible, this comes from our mentality which often doesn’t give risk a chance. In America the concept of failure often linked to the startup world is not a negative factor but an opportunity to learn and enrich one’s wealth of experience. This pessimistic model, present in Europe, unfortunately burns up a lot of resources and does not give people the opportunity to express themselves to the fullest.

Mattia: In Italy we are working on it, and in my opinion, realities like the one in which we study are a very strong signal of the change that we young people are trying to bring. I am a chronic optimist, but I really believe, seeing my peers, that the change in mentality is really happening and I think that in about ten years we could be almost at the American level. This would be my American-Italian Dream: an Italy that believes in young people and pushes innovation and the startup world.

How do you think this trip enriched your studies? What is the added value, in your opinion, of experiences like this?

Mattia: For me, America was like an adrenaline rush, full of stimuli and dreams that helped me understand what you are really looking for in the world of work. San Francisco is a city that is 10 years ahead of Italy in terms of innovation. I believe the main added value was looking at what works there, bringing it back to Italy and adapting it to my studies.

Alberto: I believe that this journey is a piece of a puzzle that is being put together from time to time. Having extracurricular experiences of this kind, in parallel with your studies, is fundamental because it makes you aware of what awaits you in your future work and you understand dynamics, trends and “unwritten rules” which unfortunately are difficult to understand if you focus only on study.

A special meeting and a lesson learned that you will always carry with you…

Alberto: A special meeting was certainly the one with Dario, a guy who works at Google in San Francisco. I appreciated the fact that during our chats he not only focused on the business aspect but also on the human side, giving me very interesting food for thought. I learned the concept of serendipity, which was already part of my nature, but I wasn’t entirely aware of it.

Serendipity is that constant search for one’s own path by continually testing oneself through new challenges and contexts, which in turn can open up new paths and opportunities. 

I think this is the secret for those who, like me, want to find their own professional path, because during university there are so many opportunities to get involved and define one step at a time what you want to become.

Mattia: Among all the lessons I take away from this experience, one in particular is the “tell it to the world” that was told to me during one of the networking events, by Justin, a senior engineer in Meta. Often we Italians are super technical, but we don’t talk about what we have done, our successes and our stories. Americans are monsters in comparison: very good at selling themselves even at the cost of selling air.

Obviously the teaching is not to sell air, but to learn to tell our story, starting from what we have already done.