Where are you based?

Some months ago I watched this TED talk on YouTube. The key concept that Taiye aimed to share is a powerful description of the century we live in: we should be more interested in where people are local rather than where they—or their family, for that matter—are from.

(click here for the transcript)

During the last WordCamp Europe I met so many people. Since it’s a conference where local communities gather in one place, The where are you from? question is a popular conversation opener.

In this occasion, I forced myself to ask everyone I met where are you based? in any instance where Where are you from? would have been a legitimate question. The answers I got have been remarkably diverse: some people told me where they live, some added where they are from, some told me where they have lived in the past, some told me where they’ll relocate soon.

We have no control over the town or country we are from. We have the power to influence and shape and build so many aspects of our life: let’s focus on that.

My Social Media Wishlist for 2016

2015 has been a big year for social media. Periscope and Snapchat exploded, Instagram became incredibly valuable for products and Twitter have been struggling to grow its user base.

In 2016 the industry will keep evolving and renovating itself with its usual speed: predicting what’s next in the industry is, at best, problematic. That’s why I’m sharing a wish list for 2016 – trends, practices and features – rather than predictions. There’s a lot to be excited about, so let’s dive in.

Tweople: More personal stuff!

When you tweet something out, don’t be afraid to add your personal touch, whether it’s yours or other people’s content. A comment, a quote from the tweet, an image that reflects what you’re sharing. Here’s what I believe is a good example:

If I tweeted only a post title, link and hashtag, it would have been just another tweet in the stream. Instead, I’ve sacrificed the post title, added a quote from the post, highlighted the real meaning of the post (the author’s view on a topic), and inserted an image – taken from the post itself – that echoes the topic.

I also wish people sent out less thank-you tweets to multiple handles. Simply put, when you thank people in bulk, what you’re saying is I don’t have time to tell you something meaningful. It might work from a quantity point of view – new followers, new notifications, Klout score going up and other vanity metrics – but doesn’t really add anything relevant. There’s a lot of things you can do instead, i.e. connecting with less people but starting real conversations, intro’ing them to other people that can be interested in their content, and so on.

Less #latergram and #throwback on Instagram

From a product marketing point of view, Instagram has the attention of a pretty good number of people, so the strategies that brands are using to connect with their prospects must include a wide array of visual content.

When it comes to people, I like thinking of Instagram as a real-time tool. People, in fact, are still brands: if I follow them, they have my attention. That’s why I like to learn what they are doing now, not what they used to look like when they were 16.

Less cliché pics

Laptop and coffee. Chicken with avocado. A cat with big, beautiful eyes. We got it, you are a coffee drinker that works remotely, eats healthy food and enjoys the company of a lovely pet.

As working from coffee shops and eating less sugar become more mainstream, there’s nothing unique or inspiring in those pictures anymore.

When I see someone showing off the lack of grey office walls in their life, I’d love to know what they’re actually doing, what tool they’re using and why, how they’re solving problems. Every time I stumble upon the picture of a salad I want to know what’s inside. The social media game shouldn’t be about you, it’s about the audience.

Less motivational crap


The brutal truth about these “motivational” quotes is that they’re created and posted because they’re excellent at capturing likes and followers. That’s it. Nothing more.

You don’t need those cheap, cheesy and one-size-fits-all posts. Whatever you’re trying to do with your life. In a bad mood? Feeling a lack of motivation? Look for real stories. Luckily for us the Internet offers so many places to share success stories and things that work (looking at you, Medium.com).

More television-like experiences on YouTube

As both smart TVs and Chromecasts (or the Apple TVs for that matter) become more popular, YouTube offers a remarkable opportunity to all those media producers, podcasters and film-makers out there to host their shows, publish their documentaries and distribute short movies, episodic shows and even independent, full-length films.

YouTube is full of talented people, but sometimes it’s hard to know where and how to find them. I really wish to see a significant improvement both in the YouTube homepage and in the YouTube iOS app that makes it easy for everyone to discover new content.

Special mention to 360° videos, which I’d love to see more often during 2016.

Instagram: let us switch between multiple accounts!

For many social media managers, having the ability to switch from their personal to their professional / business account would save so much time. Apparently Instagram is testing this feature on Android, so there’s a big chance to see this happening within the next 12 months. Personally, I can’t wait.


What are you looking forward to seeing on social media in 2016?

My talk at the Surf Office meetup in London

I’ve recently spoken at the Surf Office meetup in London.

Surf Office is one of the most famous remote working-related experiments out there: it’s a place that combines workspace, accommodation and surf, with currently three locations (Gran Canaria, California, Lisbon). If you’re one of those human beings that can work from anywhere, or if your startup is looking for a nice spot where to host a retreat/hackathon, you should definitely check it out and get in touch with them.

This guest post I’ve written for their blog summarises the main points of the talk, and expands on some questions I’ve received afterwards.

And here’s the slide deck. I’m quite proud of the design, with the same font combo of the Sofia deck but richer in visual elements (pictures and colours). Unfortunately, looks like Speaker Deck made it a lot darker than it was originally.

Hello, public speaking. So nice to meet you.

Do you know when you take a look back at the resolutions you’ve made before the year kicked off and then realise you’ve failed them all? I’ve lost the count of how many times it happened to me. I think we’re pretty close to 30.

Anyway, this year I’ve decided to do things seriously. Instead of making a silly list with 10+ impossible intentions, I came up with only three precise and feasible resolutions:

As a result, February just began and I can already say that I have succeeded with one. Last Thursday I have spoken at the WordPress London Meetup about user support as a growth tool for online products and tech startups, and in less than a week I’m going to give some tips for good tech support at the WordCamp Norway, this time in the lightning talk / PechaKucha format.

wordpress, wordcamp, wordcamp norway, wordcamp oslo, public speaking, conference, tech event
WordCamp Norway 2015 logo – Here we come, Oslo.

Really looking forward to being in Oslo again, hanging out with some of the Humans (Scott, Jenny, Petya and Noel) sharing something with the community and having fun at another WordCamp!

7 things that improved my life in 2014

2014 has been a remarkable year to me. I’ve done things I had never done before, been to places where I hadn’t been before and set new goals for the future. What else can I ask for?

Here’s a short list of things that made my 2014 stellar.

A whole new way to think food. I’ve started 2014 with a drastic resolution about my eating habits: no more processed food, no more refined carbs (white bread, white pasta, white rice and pizza), cut down on sugar and eat more protein and fiber-rich foods. To be honest, I’ve been super meticulous only in the first half of the year, but the results have been amazing.

Going to the gym. I’ve joined my local gym in February. I got rid of the belly fat pretty soon (cardio and the new diet helped a lot), but that’s not the point. It’s incredible to see your body improving and doing things that wasn’t able to do before. Losing weight and getting muscles are just two nice side effects.

Becoming a morning person. These days I rarely wake up after 6 AM. Now that I work in a coworking space I have to, otherwise I couldn’t be at my desk at 8 AM. But I’ve actually started when I was still working from home, just to experiment on myself. Many people say you’re more productive if you start your day at 6 instead of at 9, but I’m not sure it’s true (are you more productive because it’s true or because you’ve read it?).

Coding. I’ve started experimenting with HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript. I’m still a beginner, but getting better here is one of my resolutions for 2015.

Netflix and Spotify. Twenty years ago I used to record movies and tv shows on VHS and purchase CDs if I had enough money. Now I have everything I want with less than ten cups of coffee per month. Isn’t that amazing?

WeWork South Bank London view
WeWork South Bank view from 8th floor

Working from a coworking space. This hasn’t really improved my life, but it’s making me see things that I wasn’t seeing from my home office, mostly how the life of the commuters is and how other people like me work. It’s an experience I highly recommend, whether you’re a freelance or a distributed team member.

Growing a beard. Which doesn’t really mean just letting it grow. You have to take care of it, wash it and oil it on a daily basis. It’s a metaphor for so many things you go through in life.

What made your 2014 memorable?

Google Chromecast, the best invention since sliced bread

Ok, I may have exaggerated a little with the title, but man, it should be illegal not to have this little device plugged in to each one of your HD tv’s. Seriously. How did I ever live without it!

Google Chromecast turns your boring HD screen into a smart TV that can be controlled from your computer or mobile device. Isn’t that awesome?

It’s really affordable (£30 here in the UK, less than half the price of its competitors), discreet (it’s designed to be plugged in to the back of your tv and forgot about it) and stunningly simple to use.

The setup

The Chromecast folder on my iPhone. How does yours look like?

It’s super easy, whether you use an iOS or an Android mobile devices, or a Mac / Windows computer. Buy a Chromecast from Amazon (US | UK), download the Chromecast app (click on the link for the computer version or head to the App Store / Google Play store), plug it into your tv’s HDMI port and follow the on-screen instructions. Boom, you’re all set.

The Chromecast icon will show up every time you open an app that work this little magic dongle. You can also cast a Google Chrome tab after you have installed this extension.

Enjoy your favourite media

I love using my iPhone as a remote for my Chromecast. I just launch a Chromecast-compatible app, head to the video or channel I want to watch and send it to my tv. That’s it.

As I’m in UK, there are several services I can’t have (HBO Go, Hulu, Pandora, etc.). Overall I’m pretty happy with the apps I’m using, especially considering that Netflix is the only one I’m paying for – BT Sport is free for BT customers and offers Premier League, Aviva Rugby Premiership, Serie A, Bundesliga and WTA tournaments to name a few.

Spotify has so far chosen not to support Google Chromecast, but that’s not a problem to me. I like listening to the music from my computer with headphones, and if I wanted to cast Spotify with Chromecast I’d just cast a Google Chrome tab running the Spotify Web Player.

And as content is not streamed from the device itself but from the cloud, your iPhone battery won’t die after two House Of Cards episodes (that was my main concern at the beginning).

How do you use your Chromecast? I’m really looking forward to reading your favourite Chromecast tricks and hacks into the comment section.