Guest post by Riccardo Pozzoli:
Visionary enthusiasm must be balanced by a good dose of reality, because at the beginning it is important to proceed carefully. Setting a target that is not too easily achievable can provide the impetus to secure a great result. When you start from scratch with a new idea, you have to be very patient and not let the first difficulties defeat you, because there is no certainty that things will happen within the timeframe you first planned. It is possible that for the first six months nothing will happen, and then it will suddenly explode. To patience I add another very important skill: perseverance, the ability to hold on and not give up. If you have an idea, a project, a dream, but you are not determined enough to pursue it, then there is no point in having it.
The beautiful thing about our era is that, unlike what has happened in the past, the place where you were born or the family environment you came from are no longer so important in forming you as a person. Reading, learning, travelling, coming into contact with different realities are no longer the exclusive prerogative of only certain social groups.
I am reminded of the case of Jeremy Scott, the creative director of Moschino, who is one of the most famous and acclaimed designers of the moment and is also one of the pop icons of our time, regardless of how you judge his creations, which are eclectic and unexpected to say the least. Scott was born and raised in a context that had nothing to do with fashion, in a small town in Missouri, to a middle-class family. He is proof that if you have a dream, if you believe in something, if you have passion and you work hard, then you can get there.
Of course, you need to have the desire and curiosity to grasp these stimuli and the open-mindedness to be influenced by them, knowing that they are essential in all phases of the conception and implementation of a project and not just the initial one.
At the end of 2015 I was in Bologna visiting the Musixmatch offices. I was walking around the city with my phone attached to my ear. On the other side of the screen were Marco and Stefano, and together we were trying to find a name for the lunch delivery service that we had been working on for some time now. It was a real brainstorming session, where everyone put some ideas on the table, hoping that at some point the right one would jump out. Initially the name we had thought of was Food-bowl, referring to the fashion of using bowls – salad bowls and bowls full of vegetables, grains and proteins, seasoned with sauces and various seeds – that was spreading in the United States and, from there, all over the world. However, we realized that the name sounded too much like ‘football’ and that it would therefore be misleading.
So we put everything back on the table and thought again about the fundamental concepts of the business we were developing: on the one hand, food, of course, and on the other, the city, the extremely dynamic urban context we wanted to turn to. So, from the fusion of ‘food’ and ‘urban’, the name of our startup popped up: Foorban. What does this have to do with the fact that I was in Bologna visiting Musixmatch? Well, I am sure it inspired me. Not directly, of course, but stimuli are almost never direct… and that is something I learned in high school, studying Latin, which greatly shaped my way of thinking, giving me an analytical approach.
Of course, it does not always happen that way and not all ideas that come to mind are necessarily going to be the right ones or achievable. My partners and I did many of these brainstorming sessions during the ideation phase for Foorban. Most of them were held at Tom, Marco’s restaurant in Milan. At that time we spent whole days there working on our project and, when the restaurant was closed, the chefs also used us as guinea pigs, making us try out new dishes they intended to include on the menu. Their experiments were not always successful, just as not all our ideas were usable… but the important thing was to try and not give up. This is true both when you cook and when
you have a business project!
This guest post is adapted from CREATE UNIQUENESS: How To Turn A Passion Into A Business by Riccardo Pozzoli. Pozzoli is a global entrepreneur; he has co-founded eight companies in the past ten years and is Creative Director for Condé Nast Italia’s Social Academy. For more information please visit https://www.koganpage.com/product/create-uniqueness-9780749497385.