The Silicon Valley Study Tour is an opportunity that every year the association La Storia nel Futuro gives to the best students from Italian universities who demonstrate and show interest in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
This year, from August 25 to 31, 55 students were accompanied to discover the world's most popular innovation ecosystem by connecting with CEOs, managers and Innovation Leaders from Silicon Valley companies, start-ups and organizations. Paolo Marenco, president of the association, told us that this year they had students from "10 Italian universities including Turin, Genoa, Eastern Piedmont, IED, Bocconi and of course Trento".
The students of the University of Trento who were selected to participate in the program were: Michele Baldo, Marcus Vukojevic and Andrea Zuccotto. Paolo tells us: "These three students from Trentino, for the first time from Trento, all future engineers, have confirmed the quality of the university from which they come in continuity with previous years".
From this last tour was born the idea of organizing the first edition of "SVST Hackathon" an open event to develop up to 10 ideas proposed by young people of the host region (the first edition will take place in Liguria). The prize for the best idea will be to be able to participate in the Silicon Valley Study Tour. How can this experience change your life? We asked our participating students.
How can this experience change your life? We asked our participating students.
Silicon Valley Study Tour, a memorable experience where people grow and open their mind. This is my best way to describe the past two weeks in the Bay Area of California, a place where everything seems possible. The opportunity of SVST is this and more. We flew directly in the heart of the future and innovation, where everything you see online is built. There we met incredible people, many Italians who choose to seek in that place their future, trying to build the next big thing or just contribute to the success of a big corp. We listened to their stories, their lives experience, their dreams, the journeys that took them there and much more. Was just a week but we learned as much as a year.
The mindset in the valley is completely different from our and so it is the way of perceiving the world. Everything is huge in those big companies. Google and Facebook bought miles and miles of land, so much land that they are building their cities and they are giving even names at streets. Free food and gym access is the norm. All this was definitely super inspiring not only to appreciate better what we have here in Italy and in Europe but also to see what we can improve and bring back from the “American dream mindset”, which was the spark to the growth of incredible startups, companies and ventures.
The experience was amazing, we were there for two weeks but it felt like a month. The program was really dense, we visited about four companies a day. We have visited companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and many other startups that will soon come to the market. We listened to a lot of success stories, talked and exchanged ideas with the people who worked on it. Thanks to the people you met and the experiences we had, we realized that the mentality you find in Silicon Valley is quite different from ours. They do not have the word “failure” in their vocabulary: every situation, even and above all negative, is a chance to learn something new to put to good use for the future. They do not accept the status quo: every industry or technology sector today can be questioned and taken beyond the current level.
One thing they can teach us: that starting from an idea, having a clear vision and the will of a lion to move forward despite the difficulties, the course of events can be changed to achieve one's goals. You can be in your garage, in your room or in the desert, but with a group of crazy friends, you can build the foundations that we believe today define our society and push our race forward towards a better future.
It has been an incredible experience in many different ways. In the first place for the people: the Silicon Valley ecosystem is made up not only by engineers and computer scientists but also by managers and venture capitalists. The engineers are the ones who create the product and in many case develop and deliver innovations in the industry. There also is a thriving market for Start-ups and this is why managers and capitalists are also at the foundation of the SV system. During the week we had the opportunity to talk to people belonging to each of these categories and so we were able to see the same scenario from different perspectives. What really amazed me is the reachability of all this people: in SV it is really important to don’t be afraid to talk to people, it doesn’t matter if it is a CEO, a founder or a high-level manager, you can approach them and ask your question with so much less awe with respect to Italy.
This is really what Silicon valley is about and I encourage as many students as I can to go there and check the vibes with their very eyes. It has been an intense and incredible week, a game-changer experience I will always remember. My final advice to all the students: don’t let this opportunity slip away, I’m sure it will be as informative as it were for me.