About

I’m a product person based in the United Kingdom. Both the food and the weather are much better than most people think.

My day-to-day life consists of several activities, mainly including product management / research / growth, writing things up, and all things considered just getting stuff done.

You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Speaking at WordCamp Milano 2016.

I joined Human Made—WordPress/DXP development agency and WordPress.com VIP partner—in 2013 as one of their first non-engineering hires. I helped them grow their business, and shape their culture over five and a half years, from 12 employees all the way to a team of around 70—that was pretty much the number of humans when I left in early 2019.

The Human Made team, Petritoli (Italy), 2017.

Before that, I worked as freelancer for a number of companies with a strong web presence, from ecommerce websites to charities, wearing several hats in the product / content / growth spaces.

Sometimes I contribute to collective blogs, authoring articles on a variety of topics—from music to sports, social media, work, and other stuff. Google me and you’ll find some.

I’ve been an advisor with the London Metropolitan University, particularly with the Digital Media department, which I helped assessing course structure validity and employability opportunities for students.

WordPress & FOSS

I’ve been using WordPress since 2007, when I built my first website. WordPress is such an important part of who I am—not just as a content producer, but as someone who strongly believes in the importance of bringing publishing to everyone. WordPress makes publishing easy, and by doing so it gives everyone the chance to speak, and ultimately to be heard. Isn’t that awesome?

Francesca Marano and I working on something together, WordCamp London 2016 Contributor Day

WordPress is free, and it’s built and maintained by thousands of community volunteers. People who use or work with WordPress, and invest their time to give something back to the project, according to their skills and areas of interest. I contribute back to the project in any way I can, mostly with community-related stuff—i.e. mentoring new speakers or organising WordCamp London 2018.

I’m also part of the Italian WordPress community, which I contributed to re-build in 2015—WCEU in Seville was the real turning point.

Speaking

I love sharing what I know at conferences and meetups. I’ve spoken at pretty big events (i.e. WordCamp Europe), as well as niche meetups with just a few people listening. I normally don’t care about how many people listen to what I say, sharing the knowledge matters whether your audience is 2 or 20k human beings.

I normally speak about a wide range of topics, including product, remote working, writing, productivity, hiring, co-working, and user support. Check my talks on Speaker Deck (slides) and WordPress.tv (videos).

Here’s a map of events I’ve spoken at:

Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and other sports

I practice a martial art called Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I’m coached by multiple European champion and black belt under Roger Gracie Dominik Dębiec. As a complement to BJJ, I go to the gym several times per week—mainly for strength & conditioning and yoga. I’m a passionate advocate of physical wellbeing as a means to sustain mental health, stay productive, and eventually achieve happiness in all aspects of life.

Roger Gracie, Franz and Dom Debiec.
With Roger Gracie and Dominik.

I consider myself a sports junkie, and that’s a big part of my life. I grew up watching a lot of football (what you Americans call soccer). I obviously watch all the high-level jiu-jitsu matches, Gi or No-Gi, but also enjoy other grappling-based sports—such as olympic wrestling, mixed martial arts (MMA), and the occasional judo or sambo match as well. I’ve always deeply loved rugby union, and also try to stay on top of all the tennis majors.

Coffee, tea, beer, whisky, etc.

I’m both a coffee and a tea enthusiast, and sometimes I treat myself with a nice craft beer, a glass of wine, a single malt, or a liqueur. Most of my experiences in this area are documented on my blog about drinks and travel: Franz Drinks.

Music

I play the bass guitar, and I’m proud to say that over the years have done some nice things with it.

I’ve been on stage countless times as a sideman with several artists, mostly pop-rock bands and singers-songwriters.

As a bass player I try to be as much versatile as I can. I don’t focus on genres, and you can hear me practicing really anything, from latin-jazz bass lines to hard rock & heavy metal.

The studio work I’m most proud of is certainly with a project called Two Naked Oceans, back in 2012. It Ain’t and Vivid Reds are the two songs I recorded with them, very good stuff that you should check out.

Linguistics

Not many people in my current social circle know that I have a Master’s Degree in General and Applied Linguistics. If you don’t know what linguistics is, this is how Wikipedia defines it: it’s the scientific study of language, and involves an analysis of language form, language meaning, and language in context.

My main areas of interest were pragmatics and information structure, functional linguistics, philosophy of language. Formally, I might say some of those lost their relevancy in who I am today. But there are so many occasions where that kind of training helps me during my daily life.

One example: being able to appreciate how people distribute information in a sentence or a text, through tone, high-level syntax, etc., is a remarkable support when I need to determine the true point that person is trying to make. Makes a freakin’ good BS detector, if we want to ditch the academic vocabulary for one second.