Silicon Valley Study Tour

Here we are!

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

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

End of May we'll ask for your Cv...and will judge the best to come with us!

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Question by Prof. Breslin: "Successful entrepreneurs think and view the world around them differently. In what ways can we all learn to be more entrepreneurial?"

Good Luck guys!

We need yr cv in this attached format within June 5


Disruption is one of the most important way to innovate. When we talk about disruption innovation we are not talking about a new phenomenon but a concept coined by the Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen in 1997 (, n.d.). This phenomenon happens when an incumbent focuses on improving their products and raising the prices to satisfy the part of the customers which provide more profits, ignoring a bigger segment which requires less-quality at lower prices (Christensen, Raynor and McDonald, 2015). Entrants target the segment that has been overlooked and by the time that they improve the quality they take also the incumbent main target. The capacity of disrupting the market is also given by the flexibility of the company, in fact incumbents have more difficulties to change strategy and diversify investments because they have to respond to their stakeholder needs (Christensen, Raynor and McDonald, 2015).

In my opinion the problem of the big companies is the capacity to change following the actual trends. Blockbuster for instance has not been disrupted by Netflix, but by the blindness of the management. They did not have the vision and the capacity to change and follow the new technology, that is something that Netflix did (Reiss, 2015). We have to remember that in the past Netflix rented physical DVDs like Blockbuster, so they went through the same period at the same time. Furthermore Blockbuster had access to a huge amount of data that could have been used to give a better experience to customers inside the store, but this is not happened (Baskin, 2013).

Diversifying is as well another strategy that companies can pursuit to avoid and at the same time create disruption. Diversifying allows companies to enter in new markets but with a high risk as explicated in the Ansoff matrix (, n.d.). Red Bull and Fujifilm with their strategies are using components of their companies or brand identity to evolve and approach other markets. The content marketing developed by Red Bull is the answer to customers that don’t want to see adverts anymore, but they become so good at creating engaging contents that now they compete with “real” publishers (Brien, 2012). From this example we can see as well that the strategy has been a reaction to an actual customer trend.

What companies can do is to continue asking themselves questions, open their mind to different solutions and collaborate with external consultants which have an objective eye. Companies in fact today ask for help to advertising agencies like TBWA that provide disruption days to the highest management to bring them toward a positive change (Shepherd-Smith, 2009). 


Baskin, J. (2013). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 May 2016].

Brien, J. (2012). How Red Bull Takes Content Marketing to the Extreme. [online] Mashable. Available at: [Accessed 30 May 2016].

Christensen, C., Raynor, M. and McDonald, R. (2015). What Is Disruptive Innovation?. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: [Accessed 30 May 2016]. (n.d.). Disruptive Innovation | Christensen Institute. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 May 2016]. (n.d.). The Ansoff Matrix: Understanding the Risks of Different Options. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 May 2016].

Reiss, D. (2015). 4 lessons from Blockbuster failure. [online] Linkedin. Available at: [Accessed 30 May 2016].

Shepherd-Smith, M. (2009). Philosophy of Disruption - Chief Executive Officer. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 May 2016].

I agree Gabriele, The Trend is your Friend...nice sentence , true ( if you follow it usually is ok...if is not a too crowded market..) and untrue (the follower sometime win-  think to Google to Yahoo! - sometime no...I do not have in mind such a case

I think one of the most important fail of the coca-cola company has been the introduction of the brand Burn. Coca-cola wanted to enter in the energy drink market (which is growing) following monster and red-bull. Unfortunately the brand is not even in the top five of the most sold brand even though is following a growing market and is guided by the top leader of the soft drink. I know that in this moment Burn is going through a rebranding to fix its market position.

DISRUPT OR BE DISRUPTED! Companies that ignore this modern mantra risk dying faster than ever before. Today’s typical S&P 500 company survives on the index an average of 18 years, down from 61 in 1958. By 2027, an estimated 75% of the S&P 500 may have been replaced. during the last ten years, nearly half (44%) of MIT’s top 50 disruptive companies have been launched within the past decade. Interestingly, however, the disruptive companies in the other 56% aren’t all that young, suggesting that scale is not incompatible with disruptive potential.

Companies have to tackle the “innovator’s dilemma” (Clayton M. Christensen). (The dilemma appears when the innovations that led to a large company’s initial success, i.e. “sustaining innovations”, are no longer enough to ensure longevity in a market in which younger companies are pioneering “disruptive innovations”).

Therefore companies need to innovate, to embrace continual change and to get to market faster.

The problem that many companies face is, as they get bigger, as they scale, things slow down. They lose speed because they have so many systems, structures and processes, and they lose the ability to take risks. Understanding the pathology of bigness allows companies to be responsive. Using a metaphor, companies need to be like one of those NFL defensive linemen who weigh 330 lbs. but run faster than most amateur sprinters and can be counted on to bring maniacal intensity on every play.

The answer is to get nimble and fight the heavy and monolithic culture that can hold back speed and sap intensity. It’s easy to talk about, but doing it requires a fundamental adjustment of how companies approach their products, processes and market strategy.

To stay agile companies are trying different solutions. In particular, I found very interesting the fact that many of them are using the Lean Startup methodology in order to speed the product development process and bring products closer to existing market needs. I’m currently studying this phenomenon (especially the GE’s Fastwork program) and I think that the Lean Startup is a game changing methodology even for big companies.

What do you think about the application of the Lean Startup in big companies?

If you like this topic, there are lots of books and articles and I will be happy to share them with you. To mention just one The Lean Enterprise by Trevor and Obie.


I've just took my Entrepreneurship exam at Tor Vergata University, I'm really happy about the thoughts and the lessons I've learnt during this month. I saw many impressive business cases and I got very usefull insights about entrepreneurship.

The article is dealing with disruption, I've been always fascinated by disruptive technologies and breaktrough, and how a firm can reach a competitive advantage and operating in a so called "blue ocean" without competition and with huge margins.

But how to be so successfull? A successfull entrepreneur think and view the world differently from common people. He has cognitive frameworks and skills that enable him to see relationships and connections in things that other people can't see. His knowledge and so his library of heuristics and frameworks has to evolve to continuously catch feedbacks and changes from the external environment. I am strongly convinced about the importance of the primary formation and the strong impact that families and education has on young people and their minds (on this argument I suggest you to read the book Talent is overrated, by Geoff Colvin).

I strongly chriticize the Italian system; first of all we were less than 10 people attending this course at the Master of science course; sure I'm a little bit older and in my working experience I had some Inputs that brought me there, but this is a proof of how sick the italian system is nowadays, and what young people think about entrepreneurship.

Everything is a continue passive struggle for survival; I know there is a strong chrisis around, but people look defeated and they look for safe position to survive. I agree that our govern sucks, that our taxes suck and our old system in general sucks, but this beahviour is killing initiative and creativity. People don't think no more to create something they want to be safe and don't take risks. If there is someone sorting from this mess he is immediatly criticized and he even create envy feelings in other that wanted him to be defeated by the system. Someone who leaves a long term job as employee or make some investment is considered a fool. Parents are telling children to don't take risks and immediately find some full time and LONG TERM employee job; university told students that there isn't work outside but they are still teaching with 1960's methods and tools, closing student's minds and enthusiasm instead of opening them. So consequently students study like robots, exams are nightmare and marks are the only thing that counts. They exit the university without skills or passions and go to a passive job search.

This is the worst scenario for an entrepreneurial thinking growth. Honestly I'm quite happy with university of Tor Vergata and how they try to recreate some entrepreneurial thinking and openmindness and give students some tools to be proactive and creative towards the external environment. Everyone should attend a course on entrepreneurship in his life.

good topic Alessandro...I do think that something is slowly changing in our Uiversities...also if there are top ones and middle level. Yr course and the teachers involved are proactive guys...maybe still a minority but growing. To grate you I tell you that in Silicon Valley Italian Grads are very appreciated..also in top Uni like Stanfors and Berkeley....Than you have to wish moving from our country....also in this case many want, more do not...they settle here!


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!

Yes Mr Marenco, I think the same, but I think our environment is still selecting less risky and conservative patterns. I'm quite happy with MscBA Tor Vergata, I can't compare it completely with La Sapienza because I took Engineering there, but for that experience I have to admit that La Sapienza (at least 3-4 years ago) was a lot more passive than Tor Vergata, students were really simple "enrolment numbers".

In my humile position I'm really trying to push my colleagues to think entrepreneurially and out of schemes, sometimes it's even difficult to let them figure out relationships between study and real world; it's hard but let's innovate our system! 

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).

I would be interested for sure until mid September, with the possibility of starting also in June/July.
I have to speak to my course coordinator to have the chance of staying in SF until mid-november.







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