Get to know Carlo
17 (semi-serious) questions for our ceo and co-founder
1. phlow is a photo sharing app, but it’s different from social media. Tell us in 3 words what makes it different and unique.
- Content-centric (not follow4follow games. See what you like, be found for what you are worth)
- Robin Hood of photography (why do we create everything and they make all the money?)
- Honest and Fair
2. What is something that phlow users have to deal with that phlow wants to fix?
Photographers spend a huge amount of time networking and playing like4like and follow4follow games, when they should spend their time producing better photographs! Let’s enable photos to be found because they are relevant, not because they are published by someone well-known!
3. How would you describe your role in phlow in just one sentence?
I am the one who sets the main vision. I know why the company was created, which pains we want to alleviate, and my role is to make sure that we are going to serve our community to the best of our abilities. Sometimes my role is to say “no” to ideas, sometimes it is to bring new ideas on the table (or even clean the table, if that’s what my team needs to shine). And over all, I have the responsibility to share the victories and be responsible for any missed step.
4. What is your past experience and how is it related to your current role at phlow?
I had been a nerd for more than 20 years, a developer, project manager and CTO before becoming a photographer. One day I realised that “something” was missing, and the idea for phlow was born. I told my business partner that I would have the first prototype ready in 3 months, but what we created in two years was so much better 🙂
…Actually I lied, I am still a nerd, and proud to be one!
5. What are the values that drive you?
Honesty, Transparency and Openness
6. If you could appoint a superhero to do your job in phlow, which one would it be and why? Which superpowers would be required to do your job?
Batman or Storm (from X-Men, but only the character from the comic books, not the films). In Spiderman you hear the famous line “with great power comes great responsibility”, and I truly believe this. Yet, the two superheroes that I mentioned managed to change the world without having any superpower at all. Storm lead the X-Men when she lost her powers completely, and Batman does not have any (well, if you don’t count the money). There is one thing they have in common: they surround themselves with truly amazing people. They listen, they are strong enough to keep the vision steady, and they steer the future by taking full responsibility over their choices.
You don’t need to be a superhero to do what I do. It takes guts and hard work!
7. You are an international, distributed team with members from Venezuela, Italy, UK, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Austria, Germany and Portugal. What is it about your own culture that helps to make phlow so special?
I have never boxed myself into being “the Italian”. In fact I consider myself to be “a citizen of the world”. I certainly inherited some Italian features, like being very direct and a certain disregard for rules, but what I bring to phlow is a culture of trust and openness, of being honest while trying to create something amazing. I want to build a family, more than a team, and I don’t care where they come from, what language they speak, if they work in a coffee shop or an office. phlow is amazing for how diverse the people are, and I can’t wait to create an even more diverse and geographically wide team. The future has no borders!
8. Any funny stories or team arguments? 🙂
I am the “what’s next?” person, and if you want to find the reference I would suggest you to watch “The West Wing”. I hate meetings, and I try to keep them short and sweet. Everyone in my team knows that the winning meeting is when you arrive prepared, with all information ready, and a win-win solution in mind. So, every time we are in a meeting that is not specifically designed to be a brainstorming and people start getting “tangent” and start long discussions, I tend to start banging my head on the desk. So it happened that during one meeting, after a long, questionably constructive discussion about the right pitch for phlow, I got a bit heated and I “shouted” why we were doing what we do and what phlow is. 20 seconds of fury. The only one who spoke after my outburst and after 30 seconds of silence said “Tell me we have a recording of this. That was perfect. Tell me we taped him”. Alas I am a visual person, and I can’t repeat what I have said or heard 10’ before.
…I guess it is time to start taping our internal meetings…
9. What’s the best thing about being part of phlow?
There are many things. From one side there is the possibility to really make a difference. What we are doing here can change the way people see the Internet of the future. From another, I thoroughly enjoy growing the culture of the company. It is not something simple and not for the faint of heart. It is a journey filled with mistakes and side-steps, but in the end in phlow everyone has the possibility to affect its culture. Last, but not least, we are joining a technology which will affect the way we live in the next few years. When it is fully integrated, you won’t see it or even know it exist, but blockchain will simplify our lives!
10. Your top 3 favorite Podcasts/Books and why?
Being a very visual person, I am not an auditive one. I have never been able to focus on podcasts, so I will tell you about books. How many hours do you have? I love reading novels, so most of my titles will be in that niche. The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Dragonlance, John Scalzi’s books, The Martian, 1984, Dune, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k, The Danish Way of Parenting.
You said the top 20, right?
11. If you could pick a movie for everyone at phlow to see, which movie would that be and why?
I would go for The Matrix, even if it would be a tough race amongst many other contenders. Star Wars, Blade Runner, Captain Fantastic, Closer, Dogma, Harry Potter 1, Fight Club, Gattaca, Her, Inception, Leon, Life is Beautiful, La Grande Bellezza, Love Actually, The Martian, Nausicaa, Pulp Fiction, A Single Man, The Bang Bang Club…
One? Really? Only one? Come on, two, three, no wait, five at least! 😀
Why? Well, they are all incredible stories. They entertain, empower, make you dream, laugh and cry. But they all make me dream most of all, and a life without dreams isn’t a life worth living.
12. If you could be photographed in any style of photography of your choice, which one would you choose?
I would love for a reportage photographer to spend a day in my life, capturing the exceptional in my everyday life. I would love to see some honest, black and white photographs of what my life is. By the way, this is a style of photography I do!
13. What object/thing that you don’t have already would you like to have?
Ohhh… the nerd in me is waking up and screaming… too many options! I would say I would start with a wand, yes a wand. No, wait, I would love a real lightsaber! No, wait, I would love… actually I don’t “want” anything. I like minimalism and the less I have, the happier I am!
14. If you could meet ANYONE in the world, who would you choose to meet and why?
Many parts of me would like to meet many different people.
The entrepreneurial side of me would love to meet Steve Jobs. I would like to see his confidence and belief in himself. The photographer’s side of me would like to meet Helmut Newton. His photographs inspired me and I believe he was a genius behind the camera. The personal part of me would like to bring my son to see my dad.
I am a forward-thinking person, I think about the future, not the past. I picked people who are not with us any longer because I won’t be able to make these meetings happen. For all the others, I have still time!
15. If you could have a superpower, what would that be and why?
I have 100.000 ideas and not enough time to do everything I dream. So being able to change the speed of time would do it.
16. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I am a photographer in the heart. I love taking portraits and truly understanding the people in front of my camera. phlow started from my passions and photography is still my go-to one.
17. Where do you see phlow in the next 10 years?
I see it as the place where people will share their photographs. I imagine it as the open platform that people will rely upon to find, enjoy, buy, share and live photographs. I see it as the enabler of great photographic communities, for everyone, where people will be able to make a living out of their passions.