Silicon Valley Study Tour

Here we are!

This is the Forum for the attendees of Milano Univesities to get the chance to attend to the Silicon Valley Study Tour 2016- august 22-26.

Discuss the attached article, tell your thinking, share yr ideas and links.   

End of May we'll ask for your Cv in US format attached: send it to  within June 5 th!

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Self-driving car and personal computer: missed opportunities

Back in 1965 (10 years before Apple and Microsoft were founded) Olivetti S.p.A invented the first personal computer: the Programma 101. Few years later the new investors of Olivetti (FIAT was one of them) decided to sell the Olivetti’s Electronic Division to General Electric (1).

In 2010, four solar-powered minivans equipped with the VisLab’s self-driving technology travelled from Parma to Shanghai (2). VisLab was launched as a spinoff from the University of Parma and was acquired for 30 million euros by the American firm Ambarella Inc. in 2015 (3). Meanwhile FCA was looking overseas for a partner to develop a self-driving car. First FCA tried to make a deal with Apple (4) and eventually (May 2016) FCA reached an agreement with Google to build 100 prototype autonomous minivans (5).

Recently, Eric Weiner wrote an article on the HBR explaining why Renaissance Florence represents a useful model for innovation even in 2016 (6). He outlines several interesting ideas but I will just report the last one (I also suggest you read the full article): “Seek out and synthesize ideas. [ ] The Florentines (and especially the Medici) also looked to different cultures and the past for inspiration. [ ] They recognized that innovation involves a synthesis of ideas, some new, some borrowed, and there’s nothing wrong with that”.

Ultimately, I think that we still have many innovators in Italy as Leonardo and Michelangelo (e.g. the visionary Olivetti engineers who created the Programma 101 or the VisLab founders) but we don’t let them bloom properly. Therefore, we miss great opportunities. That is because we lack an effective and widespread model for innovation. A model that can make Italy the right place to develop successful startups. A place where big companies are willing to invest with a long-term vision. In order to achieve that goal we should borrow ideas from the new “Silicon Valley Model” but also from our flourishing past: “the Renaissance Florence Model”.


The recent story has many holes , the past story is  a unic brilliant model.

The past story is our roots ( Renaissance) and is a model- The Medici Effect is also a book and a consulting company- also for Silicon Valley.

I'm positive: our creativity and a renew attention by the govnt is changing our nation a significant way...but is only the beginning of a process.

About our future, I’m positive too and I think that analyzing past events (both positive and negative ones) can help us to come up with the best solutions.

I also agree with you that the renewed attention by the government can play a fundamental role. I found very interesting the book “The Entrepreneurial State” with regard to the critical role of the State in boosting an economy based on innovation and entrepreneurship.

The book highlights the active role of the State in creating places like Silicon Valley. An active role that requires a bold vision, a clear mission, targeted investments and confidence about what the State’s role in the economy is. The State is presented as an entrepreneurial agent. It is a catalyst for new business investments; a market shaper or creator; an agent that takes on risks due to possible future growth opportunities.

I want to report a passage that I found very gripping:
“The ‘entrepreneurial’ State is that entrepreneurship is not only about start-ups, venture capital and ‘garage-thinkerers’. It’s about the willingness and ability of economic agents to take on risk.” “Most of the radical, revolutionary innovations that have fueled the dynamics of the capitalism (from railroads to the Internet) trace the most courageous, early and capital-intensive ‘entrepreneurial’ investments back to the State”. “Apple ‘ingeniously’ made use of publicly funded technology to create ‘smart’ products.” “All of the technologies that make Job’s iPhone so ‘smart’ were government funded (Internet, GPS, touch-screen display and the recent SIRI voice activated personal assistant). Such radical investments (which embedded extreme uncertainty) did not come about due to the presence of venture capitalists, nor of ‘garage thinkerers’. It was the visible hand of the State that made these innovations happen. Innovation that would not have come about had we waited for the ‘market’ and business to do it alone.”


Hey all, I have up to now, 2 Companies in Silicon Valley, Luxottica and Tekpea, interested to have one or more from our Tour for an intern from end of Tour, Mid november. I'm waiting for answer from other companies. You will receive:

1 payment of SVST Inscription .

2 Expence Reimboursement ( lodging, food, transportation) every month in Silicon Valley, up to yr return in Italy.

After that...., it depends on your internship success ....( go back in SV with a working Visa...working from Italy for the Company...go back to study ;-)

Think about it, I'll check in yr cv if you have the skill requested, than I contact you!

Who will be chosen is automatically chosen for Ministry flight prize

stay tuned!

Intern post Tour up to mid november 2016, without coming back to Italy after the Silicon Valley Study Tour

Please tell me in advance who of you is interested in the opportunity (living cost covered).

Hi Mr Marenco,

I would like to confirm my strong interest in this great opportunity!

The relationship between Telsa and Apple so far has always been positive. However, when Apple considered entering into the car market the relationship between the two (in the words of Elon Musk) became bitter. 

Apple is considered one of the most influential companies in the world and poses a great threat to Telsa. Even though Telsa has the best engineers, it lacks the consumer appeal that makes Apple so unique. 
The truth is that designing cars is clearly more intricate than designing smartphones and watches, however Apple have created not only customers of their products but true fans. There is a significant danger for Telsa as these fans will follow Apple in what ever direction they decide to go.
Even though the competition could lead to steady improvement, the collaboration between the two companies could lead to something great. 
A recent example is testament to this:The creation of OTTO, a new start up created by ex-Google, Telsa and Apple employees who work together to carry the autonomous guide for all trucks, having already led the first tests.
In conclusion, I think that the competition could creates perfect results, but the combination of minds could make up the best result. Doubtless, the best one for the final user. 

Hi Andrea Riccardo,

I think that we are underestimating what Tesla has been able to accomplish in just a decade with regard to technological edge and customer relationship/brand awareness.

Musk took a lot of inspiration from Apple while shaping Tesla business model.

Tesla turned its cars into iconic products and turned itself into a lifestyle. It didn’t just sell someone a car. It sold them an image, a feeling they were tapping into the future, a relationship. Apple did the same thing with the Mac, the iPod and ultimately with the iPhone.

In fact, Tesla customers seem to be insanely devoted and to have a high tolerance for software updates that add experimental new features to their vehicles. That is especially true when it comes to Autopilot (Tesla self-driving technology). Autopilot is very much a beta product and Tesla keeps improving it rolling out updates regularly. Nevertheless, Tesla drivers hardly seem bothered by that... They trust Tesla to the point that they are willing to use a beta product that can potentially kill them! I think it’s quite amazing! (Many of them proudly post videos on YouTube of their experiences testing it :) >>>

New trends and new technologies are reshaping the car market and transportation systems. If we have a look at what automakers and tech-companies are doing, we can start to imagine new transportation services for our cities.

Let’s imagine a “futuristic” service (but maybe not so visionary) called Freedom.

Freedom is based on three major trends: electric and autonomous cars and the changing attitude towards the concept of owning a mean of transportation.

Freedom will offer a robot taxi service that works 24/7. Users will have a car available every time they need it, where they need it. They won’t have to own a car anymore. They will be free from loans, maintenance costs, fuel costs, and insurance costs. (See Uber, Google and car sharing services like Enjoy or even bike sharing services like BikeMi).

Freedom’s cars will be autonomous and electric, so they won’t make annoying noise or produce smog. (See Tesla’s cars, Tesla’s Autopilot software or Google cars).

Using a smartphone app, users will call a car or book it in advance. The car will fetch autonomously the user while he will be checking the position of the car so that he will get out on the street just in time. Once he will be in front of the car, he will open it using the app. (See Tesla’s Summon features and again see Uber or service like Enjoy).

Users will be able to pay using the app and will choose between one-ride tickets or customized subscription plans.

Freedom’s cars will run on the existing road infrastructure and they will have access to fast tracks.

When the cars need to recharge their batteries, they will do that by themselves. They will be temporary unavailable to users and they will reach a charging station where they will charge themselves autonomously. (See Tesla’s charger prototype,

Charging stations will be powered by green energy systems like solar panels. (See Tesla’s charging stations).

Just imagine how easy will be our daily commute. While a Freedom’s car will be driving us to office, we will read the news, revise work presentations and charge our laptops. No more driving stress or anger.

Does it sound cool? :-) How do you imagine the future of transportation systems?

Cars and technology are in my blood since I was a little kid.

So I'm feeling quite comfortable at discussing this sort of things.

I studied at Ferrari's school in Maranello, I did an internship in Ferrari, so I know this world very well.

I've also a background in the zero-emission transportation field because I attended Shell Eco-marathon 2013.

I'll start from the basics: we can't relate no more with cars without thinking how much technology pervaded this field massively and drastically in these last years as we never saw since Ford Model T: self driving cars, major innovations in aerodynamics and engines consumption, alternatives to petrol for fuel and so on.

But talking more commercially, we saw how Apple and Google entered in this world with their bag of knowledge and experience, creating services like CarPlay and Android Auto.

Look! I'm talking about software, not hardware.

They closed agreements with all the major Auto Makers.

(Eddy Cue even entered in the Board of Ferrari!)

And in my opinion, they did an extremely good choice, because we need SMART cars as we need SMARTphones...

But in the last couple of years, when I heard that Apple was secretly developing his first car, I remained disoriented.

Elon Musk is in my opinion a game changer: first PayPal, then SpaceX, after that, Tesla.

Every field where he is involved, is changed drastically by him.

He spoke very very clearly about his vision of a "Tesla Motors Master Plan" in this post in Tesla's blog TEN YEARS AGO. (August 2, 2006)

"So, in short, the master plan is:

  1. Build sports car
  2. Use that money to build an affordable car
  3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
  4. While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options

Don't tell anyone."

Almost all of what he wrote on that post, is quite happening now with Tesla Model 3.

And i agree with him when journalists ask him "What do you thing about Apple building a Car?", "I think they should have embarked on this project sooner. I don’t think they’ll be in production sooner until 2020. Is that too late?"

I feel that Apple is "hungry for the power", instead Tesla is hungry (and almost ready) for changing how we understand and use cars.

I embrace the choice of Google on closing agreements with car makers for transfer his tech know-how into everyday cars, but on the other side I think Apple is doing things unconventionally, as it always does.

I was there when Apple changed completely MP3 player industry, computer industry, tablet industry, smartwatch industry, and the smartphone industry.

But Apple was the precursor and did all those revolutions fearless as first, shaking the ground from the bottom.

In my opinion Cupertino now is running against time because started later thinking about a revolutionary car..and now needs to close the gap with Tesla, the leader of "smart cars".

iPhone was revolutionary not only because his touchscreen and all the technology inside it, but because App Store and all the apps developers built for it.

(You can imagine an iPhone without App Store?)

In my opinion Apple can't lose the focus on his Core Business, but maybe is seeing further than anyone else as it (almost) always does.

So I'm confident: in the next 5 years, we will drive cars that 5 years ago, we can't even imagine.

Thanks to Tesla? Thanks to Apple? Google?

I don't know.

Absolutely thanks to the human progress.


As I previously said to you Paolo via email, I'm extremely interested in the Intern post tour.

Riccardo D'Amico, happy to tell you that you are the 1st selected in Milano Forum to attend SVST 2016, followed by the 5 IED - 4 guys, 1 girl...Giacomo already in the Forum, the others coming soon.

I keep you all informed about possible Tech Scouting project after the Tour ( best for you I think the need of Luxottica San Francisco office...we wait from them asap)...stay tuned!

It's a great news! I'm really happy about it! Thank you so much!

Looking forward to more information!







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