Home Forums Silicon Valley Study Tour – August 2019 Pavia Silicon Valley 2019

67 replies, 12 voices Last updated by Giovanni Agrone 1 year, 10 months ago
  • Margherita Tambussi

    Hello everyone!


    As I said in my previous comment, I think that Facebook and the other social network should not be nationalized because “Our data would be in much greater danger in the hands of the Government”.

    About big data, I think that, it has a huge impact on our lives even if we don’t realize it. Big data is becoming more and more important and it is changing the way the world uses all kinds of information.

    Obviously big data has risks, for example the erosion of privacy and this makes individuals and societies more open to manipulation. Regarding Paolo’s comment, the problem is that the big data is not always protected effectively.  In fact, nowadays, data breaches are a regular occurrence and one of the most famous is the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

    Big data is essential, but it can be used in a dangerous and bad way.

    People should use social network in a better way: people should be aware that every post will remain on the Net forever. However, a more careful use of Internet is not enough, because scandal and leak of data may occur.


    Facebook was created to overcome earthly boundaries and connect people: FB “allow humans to share whatever they want, whenever they want, to as many people as they want”.

    Regarding the use of Facebook by terrorists for propagandistic purposes, I think that Zuckerberg must find a solution. I think he should find a way to block the sharing of certain posts and share information on terrorists with the police in each country.

    In my opinion it is important to develop a collaboration between FB and the police to find more easily the people who make violence their propaganda.

    Freedom is importance but also the concept of non – violence.

    Yesterday I read that social-media companies have struggled to block violent content despite public outcry and pressure from New Zealand politicians (https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/15/tech/new-zealand-shooting-video-facebook-youtube/index.html).


    What do you think about this problem?

    Can a solution be found?


    Have a nice day,

    Margherita Tambussi


    Hi everybody,

    We talk about nationalizing social networks but we keep our computer webcams covered. Nationalizing social media can remind us of an episode of Black Mirror (a Netflix series about technology diffusion and degeneration; have you ever watched the episode “Shut up and dance”?). In any case, I believe it is certainly necessary to increase the controls over these giants to avoid the spread of “fake news” and prevent the dissemination of sensitive content (for example, the video of the terroristic attack in New Zealand). But all this is utopic.

    Fake news and misinformation have always existed, firstly on television (I would invite you to watch an episode of “Striscia la Notizia” on Canale 5, where exhilarant news are spread to increase audience), and today on the internet. Social networks are used because can quickly reach a huge number of people. Moreover, when a content is published on blogs, social networks or forums, the file cannot be removed permanently. In fact, if a person saves a video or an image, this file can be replicated over and over again. Content sharing is uncontrollable.

    We can consider as an example the live streaming on Facebook of the crazy New Zealander: how could have “Facebook” foreseen the content of the live streaming? Surely they could have moved faster to obscure the video, but once published it is impossible to remove it from the web. The current regulation says that a platform is prosecutable if it doesn’t remove the video signaled by the users, because in this case, the platform becomes an active player. If the content is not signaled, the social network is not liable because it doesn’t have the capability to check every single post of every single user.
    As regards the freedom of information of internet users and the freedom to conduct the business of ISPs, I hereby summarize the EU Directive proposal against an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and requires to install a system for filtering illegal and unpermitted content. The filter works with all electronic communications passing via its services, in particular, those involving the use of peer-to-peer software, which applies indiscriminately to all its customers, as a preventive measure, exclusively at its expense, and for an unlimited period, which is capable of identifying on that provider’s network the movement of electronic files containing a musical, cinematographic or audio-visual work in respect of which the applicant claims to hold intellectual-property rights, with a view to blocking the transfer of files the sharing of which infringes copyright. The same principle applies to social networks.

    I remember the words of the British Labor party leader: “The introduction of a digital license fee, payable by tech giants or through internet service providers, to supplement the current TV license fee and reduce the cost for poorer households.”
    How much is your willingness to pay to use social networks?

    I let you think about this proposal.

    Have a good day,


    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by Lorenzo.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by Lorenzo.
    Alessia Serventi

    I agree with Paolo, who says that data are being used for political purposes and business is using Facebook to increase its profit. But I look at this change positively, I think that it is a great evolution!

    Political campaigns have been around forever, they are just moving from paper to the Internet (especially to social networks). Web political campaigns are a decisive resource which could really make the difference. Nowadays, data analysis and opinion polls are faster, cheaper and more accurate.

    It’s kind of the same thing for Facebook: there’s always been advertising, but it’s moving from mainstream media to the Internet and social network; I believe that Facebook provides lots of opportunities for (re)marketing. Users have the possibilities to see the products they like the most and Marketers have the possibility to create costumed ads.

    I think that Facebook users aren’t being told who they should vote for or what they should buy. Our Confirmation Bias do this, they are evolutionarily efficient and generally helpful to us. They reinforce what we already know helping us to make decisions quickly. They could be dangerous if we consider the problem of fake news, since confirmation bias tend to confirm what is familiar but may be wrong.

    This means that the more we see and search something, the more we will find it on our social and in our google ads. That goes for politics and for business. Nobody is telling us what we have to do: social media Echo Chambers are just reinforcing our political convictions and our personal preferences.

    Margherita Tambussi

    Hello everyone!


    In response to Lorenzo, I think that it is impossible to have to pay to use social networks. They are famous and so much used because they are free. Some of them offer special packages with additional services for payment.

    In my opinion, social networks are able to pay taxes thanks to the money they get from advertisement. Moreover, if Facebook was no longer free, it could lose many users.

    Everyone has social networks and we have them because they are free and easy to use.


    About political campaigns, I think that politicians use social networks because they want to reach as many people as possible. Nowadays people use them more often than television. On Facebook and Twitter politicians can write short and simple sentences and post photos and videos frequently. Moreover, politicians use social networks so much because they want to reach young people more easily.


    I agree with Alessia, who says that “Facebook helps us to make decisions quickly”. I think that social networks suggest us what to buy, which friends to follow and where to go based on what we do on the Net.

    For example, if you watch a person’s profile on Facebook several times, his posts will be highlighted or if you want to buy something, social networks will advise you to buy it.

    They help you to make decisions in a short time based simply on surfing the Net.

    Thanks to the Web, trade has crossed borders and the demand for goods has grown exponentially. On internet you can find everything with a click and in one day you can receive it at home.

    It is not a coincidence that the richest man in the world is Jeffrey Bezos, the man who managed to create the largest and most important e-commerce site.


    I found an article about the importance of Amazon and “the way it touches our everyday lives”:

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/03/tech/amazon-effect-us-economy/index.html .


    What do you think about Amazon? Amazon revolutionized commerce, didn’t it?


    Have a nice day!


    Margherita Tambussi

    Valerio Demontis

    Dear readers,

    Regarding the following Margherita comment: “In my opinion it is important to develop a collaboration between FB and the police to find more easily the people who make violence their propaganda”. I think it is difficult to implement a police intervention through regulation and without state involvement. I partially agree with regulation. For example, if you make laws that oblige large companies that hold personal data (in Europe there is “the right to be forgotten”), but if you go outside Europe (for example in Switzerland) those data become available again. A solution could be that of the blockchain.

    What do you think about it guys?

    To change the subject, I would like to ask you a series of questions, of which I am curious to know what you think about. How do you imagine the world in ten years? According to your vision of the future, which are the sectors that will change the most? And what will be the innovation that will most change our lives?

    To give you a starting point, I share with you my thoughts. I report a concept enunciated by Jeff Bezos during an interview: think in what will remain the same in ten years, can be a solid base for imagining what will be the future. I copy the link where his quote is shown:


    Among other things, I have just read Margherita’s new comment on Amazon and the e-commerce revolution. I think the automation factor will contribute a lot to the cause. Everything is going in that direction. I imagine we will have a company in which most services are performed by machines/robots. I think Amazon already has a plan and for example, is thinking about how to carry packages using drones; although I believe that they will find some problems with the regulation provided for air safety.

    Thank you all for the previous shares!


    Have a good night!


    Margherita Tambussi

    Hello everyone!


    In response to Valerio, I think that FB should not be nationalized, but in this case a collaboration between Facebook and police should be necessary because we are talking about terrorism and national security.

    As I said in my previous comments, regulation and the protection of big data are important. In my opinion countries should have laws in order to safeguard the big data from the leak of personal information.

    It is not a simple problem: it is a very difficult and demanding challenge that could take some time.


    I think the world can change drastically over the next 10 years. In this millennium the world has experienced many transformations and many revolutionary discoveries thanks to technological innovation (new products on the market but also new production processes that have made possible a greater production with lower costs).

    I think that the AI, robotics and electric car sectors will grow and develop more than any other sector in the next 10 years.

    Many people think that the development and the spread of robots will cause a decrease in employment, but according to some economists it can lead to an increase in labor productivity and therefore economic development.

    However, “it is impossible to predict what will work, much less how well it will work. Some products stick — for a while. Some services flourish — and then don’t”.


    Have a nice day!


    Margherita Tambussi





    Paolo Giovanetti

    Dear readers,

    I’d like to jump in the debate on Amazon. Its birth in the late nineties paved the way for e-commerce and, in my view has been a revolution comparable to the arrival, especially in Italy, of large supermarkets in the 1960s, while before there were shops for every category of product. The key was convenience: it became possible for people to do their shopping in one place without having to stop by numerous stores throught the city. Amazon has made things even easier by allowing people to buy products without even having to leave their homes.

    Of course groceries (food in particular) and a variety of other goods continue to be purchased today in physical places (and by the way, look at this “grab and go” Amazon store in Seattle: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/no-lines-no-checkout-no-problem-amazon-s-new-grocery-n839756), however a lot of stores, especially bookstores, are closing down because of the incredible success of Amazon. You can order a book online and have it delivered at home, so why bother going to a bookstore and waiting for them to take care of the purchase, maybe at higher prices?

    In the United States, the country that invented shopping malls, a lot of them are closing down because of the lack of costumers. Something to be pointed out is that in this way the interaction between costumers and storekeepers is lost, as well as the function of shopping malls as places of socialization.

    Another aspect of the Amazon phenomenon is that, despite being an enormously profitable company, it has been able to pay virtually no taxes at all, at least in the US. In 2018, despite making 11.2 billion dollars in profits, it did not pay a single dollar in federal taxes. That is one of the reasons why the people of New York refused to host a new Amazon HQ, considering that the city would even have had to pay some incentives for that (See story:https://7dnews.com/news/amazon-cancels-new-york-hq-pays-minus-1-income-tax-in-2018). Even President Trump expressed his criticism for the way Amazon acts, by tweeting: “Amazon pays little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the US), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!”.

    In the future there could be an antitrust intervention given the immense power the company has obtained. People are going to debate the extent to which e-commerce is substainable without taking away too many jobs. And then of course there is the issue of automation in the production of many goods, but that might be the subject of another discussion.

    At the end of the day, consumers are going to decide what is best for them, as Jeff Bezos synthetizes in this phrase: “Whatever regulations are promulgated, that will not stop us from serving customers. Under all regulatory frameworks I can imagine, customers are still going to want low prices, they’re still going to want fast delivery, they’re still going to want big selection.”

    What do you think about all this?

    Have a great night

    Nicole Guzzetti

    Hello there,

    My name is Nicole Guzzetti and I am a first-year master student in “Economic Development and International Relations” at University of Pavia. I obtained my “Marketing, Business Communication and Global Markets” bachelor’s degree in September 2018 at University of Milano-Bicocca. Even if I decided to enroll to the course I’m currently attending with the aim of extending my knowledge to fields I find very interesting and stimulating, I have not lost my interest in economics and business topics, as the one you offer. I still don’t have a clear idea of what I’m going to do after my master’s degree, but this kind of experience would surely inspire me and would allow me to “train” my mindset to something different than what surrounds me.

    Sorry for the delay of joining you. I read the hot topic of the forum and I reached a conclusion that doesn’t differ significantly from the ones you propose. I totally agree with Giovanni when he says that Elon Musk is not a common person and he has to be accountable for his social media posts that harm the interests of his company’s shareholders. Freedom of speech is for sure important, but so are the interests of shareholders. We can agree that Musk is a genius, but I think it’s extremely dangerous allowing an entrepreneur, whilst brilliant, to be “above the law”. So, I endorse SEC’s position that makes effort to regulate a medium, such as Twitter, that is becoming more and more powerful.

    Regarding Big Data, another important issue you put at the stake, I can be more specific about it as I wrote my bachelor’s degree thesis in Big Data and privacy. In fact, I’m pretty aware of the risks involved in big data and the violation of privacy, and I can tell you that with the last EU regulation, important progresses have been made with regard of the defense of the right to privacy. Despite of the risks carried on by the use of big data, there are also significant methods to employ them in constructive ways. For example, models based on big data analytics have been developed to prevent terroristic activities or natural disasters. In response to Valerio, I have no idea of what is coming in the next ten years, but I think we are more and more used to products and services that targets us and that take into account our needs: in this context, big data and Internet of Things for sure can spread up these possibilities. Market is taking this direction, and businesses that want to survive in a globalized world must face it.

    Coming to Paolo’s point on Amazon, according to this article published on Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephaniedenning/2019/02/22/why-amazon-pays-no-corporate-taxes/#3846c2fc54d5, the company doesn’t pay federal taxes because it reinvests profits in R&D, property, plant and equipment and all the drivers needed to innovate. Carrying out a cost-benefit analysis, might it be better to boost innovation by according tax credit, isn’t it?

    Have a nice day,

    Nicole Guzzetti



    Hi everybody!

    I’m Chiara and I’m attending a master’s degree program in Economic Development and International Relations at Università di Pavia. I come from a small town in Valsesia, Piemonte. I studied Economics at Università del Piemonte Orientale and during that period I understood how much innovation is an important thematic and extremely interesting at the same time. For this reason, Silicon Valley Study Tour is 100% the opportunity I was waiting for.

    These topics are so interesting!

    About Elon Musk, how many things are there to say? I think billions, as his inheritance, according to billionaire list published by Forbes every year. In my opinion, Elon Musk isn’t just a simple example of entrepreneurship, he represents the real meaning of the word innovation. He has started to create something new in every field which he deals with: do you know that he has founded a school for his sons that adopts a teaching method created by himself? This is a fun fact that I discovered recently.

    Now to get straight, social media is something to use with attention. I agree with the idea that everyone is free to express himself, and this concept is really entrenched in US mindset as well. But when you have a role, such Elon Musk has, you must be more careful than the others. After the tweet of last summer, Musk had to honoring the settlement with the SEC. Under the terms of the deal, Musk has to pay a $20 million fine and step down as Tesla chairman within 45 days for a period of at least three years. Despite all of this, a new tweet posted by Musk got SEC’ attention again few days ago. Concerns are growing that Musk’s troubles with SEC have become a needless distraction for a company that already has a lot on its plate. What’s your opinion about the last tweet posted and about Musk behavior? Do you think he is ignoring the key term of the settlement?

    Concerning the use of social network: I think the consequences of a tweet posted by Trump or Musk underline the power of these dedicated websites as means of communication, but there are differences. The functions assumed by Trump and Musk are hugely dissimilar, and so they deserve to be looked at somewhat differently. Do you agree with me? There also been talk of nationalization of Facebook, in my opinion, it’s unrealistic to suppose that could be the solution for the bad usage of social network. I’m saying that because there are so many social nowadays, if a State nationalize one there will be the same problems with the others. For example, WeChat is used more and more, and it provides services as WeChat Pay: a digital wallet service which allows users to perform mobile payments and send money between contacts.

    I would like to end by coming to Paolo’s point. Amazon is without any doubt a revolutionary idea, however there is a concept that makes you think: the risk of losing interaction between costumers and storekeepers, as well as the function of shopping malls as places of socialization. Do you think that in the future it might be a weak point for e-commerce market?

    Thank you for your attention.

    Have a nice evening!


    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by ChiaraChiodo.
    Margherita Tambussi

    Hello there!


    “Amazon pays all required taxes in the United States and in the countries where it operates”.


    In the last two years Amazon has not paid federal taxes and has received repayments from the Government thanks to tax credits.

    However, experts defend Amazon because the tax rules are backward. It is respecting the fiscal rules because the law wanted by Trump has reduced the tax rate to incentivize big companies to pay taxes.

    The man who benefited most from the Trump presidency was Jeff Bezos, despite the numerous attacks by the American president against Amazon.

    As Nicole said, it doesn’t pay taxes because it invests in property and R&D but we should also focus on the “stock option”, which is the practice (widespread in Silicon Valley) for which many employees receive company shares.

    However, this controversy is not just about Amazon. Many big companies, for example Netflix or General Motors, do not pay federal taxes, despite the enormous profits generated.

    If all the big companies didn’t have to pay huge taxes for many years, how would a country deal with schools, hospitals, roads and the army?


    In response to Chiara’s question, I think e – commerce has already undermined the relationship between customers and storekeepers. The small shops were the first to suffer from the arrival of Amazon but now even the shopping malls are in crisis because buying on the Net is more convenient and faster.

    In my opinion, a decrease in socialization due to e – commerce couldn’t be a weak point: some shops and malls could survive if they could modernize to have a part of the market.


    I’d like to share with you this article about the relationship between e-commerce and shopping malls:



    Have a good evening!


    Margherita Tambussi



    Lorenzo Daidone

    Dear all,

    what amazing stories, yours.

    One of the things that surprised me when I was near Google’s headquarters was the smile of the employees.
    In your opinion, what is the secret recipe for this result?

    And if you were managing super talented people, what would you do to prevent them from going to other companies?


    Nicole Guzzetti

    Hello everybody,

    the topic proposed by Lorenzo is really interesting. Usually the first thing that comes to mind when discussing employees’ happiness is salary, but Google is ranked first in terms of best companies to work for, even though it’s not the company that pays them the most. You can check-it on this ranking


    In my opinion, there are different factors that contribute to employees’ happiness. Feel valuated and precious for the company, receive positive reinforcement by bosses, stay in a positive and peaceful work environment, work in autonomy and with increasing responsibilities and, last but not least, be well-paid, adequately to skills and education level.

    Google, a well-known example of company where employees are happy to work in and where they are highly productive, offers lots of perks to its employees, including paid paternity leave, gym and swimming pool, free shuttles to carry workers to Googleplex, and so on.

    Very interesting is the “20 percent rule”, that allows employees to allocate 20% of working time to side projects that interest them.

    If talented people feel to be part of something important and useful, where they can grow their competences and experiences, there is no reason to search for another place to work. In addition, when employees know that advancement is possible and it’s not a dead-end job, they are more motivated. Even though nobody would say the opposite, it’s uncommon to find an approach alike Google’s one replicated elsewhere.

    I think that prevent talented employees from going in other companies is an aspect on which especially innovative companies have to focus on. In a company as Google, all the employees are surely very talented, but it’s not enough to be hired. During recruitment process, recruiters should understand if a person is likely to quit, maybe because his values and goals are different from company’s ones.

    What do you think about that?

    Have a good night,



    Valerio Demontis

    Dear readers,

    Surely those smiles come from a strong corporate culture that in the environment is known as “Googliness”.

    Responding to the input given by Lorenzo, it is more correct to talk about “employee caring” which is certainly a fundamental part of their corporate culture. It has been a long time since large companies have adopted this type of treatment for their employees, but what makes Google special is the lifestyle they have created. Google is like a big family, moving harmoniously for a common purpose with common ideals.

    They have something like a moral code into their offices, something that regulates the way to live into Google; like a list of various possible drivers that create value for the company and for the employers. Some of these could be: valuing users and colleagues. For example, it’s Google, to put the user first, and similarly to help a co-worker. It’s not Google to let either down. Again I can say that rewarding great performance is really important there.  Hard work and good work are rewarded. The rewards can take many forms, for example: endorsing notes to managers, kudos, shout-outs in meetings, monetary rewards, corporate benefits, free goods and services into the Google spaces, and so on.

    They have understood that employees are a decisive component within the company and that if they are valued, they are more motivated to do their best, and the company itself benefits.

    Thank you for your attention;

    Have a good night,


    Valerio Demontis.


    Hello there!

    To reply Lorenzo’s questions: in my opinion, the secret to keep your very talented employees and to put everyone in the best position to work are strictly related. Talking about Google, it’s well known that this company have chosen to adopt an adaptive organizational structure. An important factor is to provide employees a good wage, but nowadays it’s not enough to build a solid partnership between workers and employer. In Google’s structure, the human resources are the mean to achieve a competitive edge, so everyone is really part of company’ project and long-term goals. This attitude leads who is working at the firm to feel more satisfied: they can understand that it isn’t just a job, but you are involved in something bigger and your contribution could change the final result. The organizational behavior under consideration is inspired by the “Line of sight”, a theory put forward by Boswell.

    Taking up this organizational structure has brought different benefits to the company. Firstly, they made a positive impact on company image and as a result the turn-over rate gradually decreased. We could see, therefore, how Google’ philosophy in terms of organization is usefull to prevent that employees move to other companies.

    If you read something about GooglePlex, the headquarter of Google in Mountain View, the only reaction possible is to be impressed by the huge amount of services that the firm offers to its employees. It seems so far from the traditional companies we are used to see in Italy. However, also in our country something is changing, especially in big firms. An example: the Italian HQ of Siemens in Milan is providing more and more services for its workers, along the line of companies as Google or Facebook. If you would like to discover more about this, just check the link below:


    Do you know other examples of companies that are following this direction?

    Perhaps a change there will be in response to EU politics and innovation clusters will move across Europe. An interesting article about what is happening is the following one, published by The Economist.


    Have a nice day!


    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by ChiaraChiodo.
    Margherita Tambussi

    Hello there!


    In response to Lorenzo’s question, I don’t think that there is a secret receipt.

    In my opinion many aspects are important to have happy employees, for example a high salary, many recesses, the possibility to have free time, to work with modern and efficient machines and to work in pleasant and comfortable places. Moreover, the health insurance and the retirement pension play a crucial role. Last but not least, an enterprise could incentivize work from home in order to have happier and less stressed employees.


    Regarding the second question, the development of the aspects mentioned could contribute to the permanence of the most talented workers.

    The companies should also be able to value the smartest employees and to make them feel important.

    All enterprises should want to have not only the best employees but also workers who are happy to work there. Having happy employees means high productivity and therefore high profits.

    In my opinion, a company should be dynamic, invest in R&D, innovate and look to the future: this is the best way to have the most qualified and happy workers.

    Google is a great example, but it is not the only one: having happy workers is a feature of almost all big companies, especially those in the US. Google was the first to understand the importance of having satisfied and valued workers. Unfortunately, there are still many companies in which this concept does not exist, and this causes the loss of the smartest employees.

    Do you think it is better to work in a single company and climb the ladder, or change the workplace often?


    As regards the last point discussed by Chiara, I think that the EU is doing its utmost to prevent Google’s monopolistic behavior.

    There is no doubt that EU prefers to help technology companies open to competition because EU wants “benefit millions of users, boost the economy and constrain tech giants that have gathered immense power without a commensurate sense of responsibility”.

    If you would like to discover more about the last chapter of the complicated story between Google and the European Union, you can read this article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/annatobin/2019/03/20/why-has-the-european-union-just-slapped-google-with-a-billion-dollar-fine/#7cc718e92f01 .


    Have a nice weekend!



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