Legacy Blog

A few thoughts on TechCrunch Italy

TechCrunch Italy was a great event, full of positive energy and with a good program. I consider it a good beta, a successful experiment with some things to improve.

Kudos for the decision to do everything in English without simultaneous translation and assuming that anyone who wants to be in the world of digital startups must adopt its lingua franca: there is no alternative to this. Monty did a great performance as anchorman.

I partecipated together with Giuliano Iacobelli as (no-longer-so-young) startupper with our new creature, Stamplay, and I had not much time to follow the talks: I hope that the videos will be online soon. I saw that some startups were invited to make a pitch: it was reported in the program, but I agree with the initiative.

It would have been nice to see a group of startups from other countries in Europe. I believe that limiting the event to the Italian startup is not a good deal: the sense of bringing a brand such as TechCrunch in Rome should reside in the opportunity to attract in the city the international technocratic elite and to create bridges to the rest of the world rather than open an ephemeral window on a handful of local entrepreneurs.

As I said, I consider this a first beta edition. For the future, the positioning should be that of a TechCrunch event that takes place in Italy, instead of a TechCrunch event that wants to talk about Italy. Continue on this line would end up penalizing the Italian startups and confine them to the Bel Paese.

As an exhibitor and startupper, the experience could definitely have be better. The theater chosen as the location has charm and this piece of England in the middle of Villa Borghese is very picturesque. But it is definitely not suitable for an event where it was necessary to find a space for 47 startups, meet the communication needs of sponsors and host a hackathon.

The weather in Rome is very nice in September and October, but it is very risky to plan an event outdoors, especially if all exhibitors need electricity and are equipped with computers and monitors to show their products. Fortunately it did not rain in the days before or during the event. Unfortunately, yesterday was hot and humid. The space allotted to Stamplay (a small round table just large enough to accommodate two laptops) has been constantly under the sun, as well as that of many other startups which have happened to stay in areas not protected by the trees.

The second naivete made by the organizers was to rely on the Province of Rome for the wi-fi connectivity and on 3G networks. The result was and #epicfail: for most of the day people was not able to connect and TechCrunch Italy was probably the only event of its kind to have no backchannel on Twitter.

For Stamplay was a further problem, because we were not able to properly test the first application that we are going to sell in our marketplace: it is a solution to make contests on Instagram and we organized a small photo contest for participants. Alas, it is very difficult to share photos online with no Internet connection.

We know that all beta versions have bugs that need to be fixed. But, as you go online with products that are not perfect to see if there is traction, so TechCrunch Italy has shown that there are conditions to do better and do more. In conclusion: kudos to the organizers for the effort this year and an encouragement for next year πŸ™‚