Evo at Wwworkers Camp 2018 Remade in Italy
Turin, October 9, 2018
G. Colletti: "To dare therefore to try even because they’re on different scales, the power of the community. We will come upon this again in the next three stories that take us from Turin and from Piedmont (we will also talk about Biella) to the rest of the world.
I would like to call David Avino of Argotec here on stage, and then Fabrizio Fantini of Evo Pricing and Simone Maggi of Lanieri. Welcome! I will have you make yourself comfortable back here, to tell us, your three great stories here at what we are calling "Wwworkers from another world". The microphones have been turned on so you can push the button to talk. Thank you to those of you who are now connecting with us in streaming. to listen to these three stories that are really, from another world. [...]
From outer space we’re coming back to Earth, but to get back we’re seriously taking a trip around the world because when I interviewed Evo Pricing, Evo’s reality of predictive big data, that is, of social commerce we could say predictive, Fantini will better explain it to us. So, it really struck me that you began in Turin with a strong link to the Polytechnic University of Turin and Big Data Degree courses, and yet you are also present in Turkey, in London, you live and just arrived from London...
So, I would like to ask you, the company of the future is located a bit everywhere but does it have a territorial component, I don’t know, please tell us."
F. Fantini (Evo CEO): "Yes, thank you. Thank you all. First, I would like to explain who we are and what we do, what’s more, that our relationship with Turin has become even stronger and today I literally came from just two blocks away.
We joined the incubator at Turin’s Polytechnic University, just a month ago and we are already one of the biggest companies in the incubator, making us very proud of our relationship with this community.
Evo began about ten years ago, from a project I was doing for my PhD research in Applied Mathematics. This was during my studies in the United States, when I was also doing my PhD in England. It was a bit like a world of schizophrenic flights crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean. I went back and forth and while I was studying business, let’s say, in the United States, I was even studying how to solve business problems with mathematical tools. By merging the two, four years ago I decided to set up my own business and from London I put my focus on Turin because, as you mentioned before, the link with the academy. Here there’s a notable course of Big Data that’s been innovative, is taught in English and is certainly cutting edge not only in Italy, but even in Europe, and there are a lot of really smart people. We take a bit of the concept from remade in Italy: at one time the Italian was famous like the scientist Fermi rather than as physicists and mathematicians, astronomers, etcetera etcetera..."
G. Colletti: "Tailors as well, we'll find out in a few seconds."
F. Fantini (Evo CEO): "Even tailors, which by the way, we work quite a bit with fashion so, it’s a world that we know well. Today these scientists have somehow lost some of the traditional reference points. We actually found a great opportunity, a high skill level, comparable to those of the English and American that certainly, creates a pool of data scientists that can be defined with the term "sexy". If we want to be frank, of people who, as a fact, actually reason at a modellistic level and like you were correct in saying earlier, they cultivate doubt, they increase curiosity and above all they grow the desire to always get involved and to continuously try to improve.
In short what we do is try to use as much data as possible so to guess the very difficult phenomenon, which is, the psychology of the consumer and based on this we try to optimize prices, promotions on playchain, operational decisions, so to make companies smarter.
So a remade in Italy is not only with the talents but it’s also in trying to make Italian companies more competitive in the world because today Amazon is no longer a distant threat, today it is a matter of survival. Companies need to learn to manage themselves in a much smarter way rather than with the old fashion, manual, decision making, the old loose Excel sheet that is actually what is used everywhere.
Our goal to help Italy to be more competitive has paid because today we have customers in Mexico, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, all over the world, all served here from Turin. So somehow we connected an Italian remade of talents to a an Italian remade of productivity in the country that in fact is paying the dividends because it helps Italian companies to internationalize and for us to be a global company since day 1."
G. Colletti: "When he talks about customers, Fabrizio Fantini doesn’t say that they are big customers, fashion giants and not only do they rely on you for the fashion but they even do so to understand how to manage the warehouses and stores, in fact you predict the sales flow."
F. Fantini (Evo CEO): "Yes."
G. Colletti: "You know if I'm going to buy something and when."
F. Fantini (CEO Evo): "The fact is, we don’t know if you will go. Clearly these are models of aggregated demand for which we have no problem with privacy, that is, we don’t ‘spy’ like some companies today do, in order to understand what time you’ll do a certain thing or where you are or who you’re talking to. But on a global level yes, certainly. As I said before we try to guess the aggregate behavior of consumer demand, that in the fashion world is certainly volatile, difficult and highly local, granular due to weather factors, social media factors, other various types of factors and today also in other sectors but always with the constant of putting together the best of big data technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence along with the intuition of the people in the field.
As a matter of fact we have shown, one of the things we are most proud of, which is that the machine is perfect in doing repetitive and complex things but it is very bad when it comes to new things, or on things which there is still a lot of data on. So in some way, we try to take the best of both worlds and in one of the slides on the last worker we don’t believe that is the way the future will be. We believe that skills are certainly changing and some professions will be obsolete but that there will be huge opportunities for growth."
G. Colletti: "The second round, faster, I’ll ask you about human capital, how many are you as a team but beyond the number, what are the characteristics of this team, including skills and your personal recipe. Meanwhile, before turn it over to David Avino I thank the agency Agi who is relaunching us a live appointment, so we are also streaming on them. Fabrizio."
F. Fantini (Evo CEO): "Yes, today we are 34 divided according to three principles: the first thing we have human capital in places where it makes sense, where there is a competitive advantage, so we have about 20 people in Turin, we have 8 people in London and then we have people working with us from all over Europe and from all over the world. Depending on the job skills, today it’s essential to have the ability to intercept specific professionals where they are stronger. Some professionals, as I said before, are excellent in Turin, others are better in Anglo-Saxon countries, others in other countries. So, this is a team that started without funding because we believe that not having funding means that from day one we have to do things that someone needs because they have to pay us. So maybe we have grown slower than a California startup, but certainly in four years we are very proud of where we arrived.
The second concept is that everything that is more efficient is done by a machine, it has to be done this way. We practice what we preach for which we now have server rooms in various places in the world, including one right here in Turin that manages, has exceeded the milestone of a petabyte of data that, let's say, is quite a lot."
G. Colletti: "Petabyte, I don’t even know what to say this petabyte is! Who in this room knows what a petabyte is? It’s a bit of a strange thing but it is alluring."
F. Fantini (Evo CEO): "It's a lot of data, let's say more than a thousandth of the total that Facebook has, so it's a lot and it's growing very fast.
All that the machine does better than a human we assign it to a machine for a very simple reason that is, how would you say it, today the machine essentially already costs less and is much more efficient in a whole class of problems. So, the first thing is to internationalize right away because there are professionals in Italy and they are better than those abroad, not others. Second thing to delegate the machine where it makes sense, the third and last thing is to be very open, ie in my opinion the secret of professionalism is to have a very fair and very objective admission criterion that from our point of view, the better the recruiting process is structured, the better the quality of the team, completely unbias. So our majority is of women but not for my personal preference."
G. Colletti: "Is not a theme of different powers?"
F. Fantini (Evo CEO): "Absolutely not. Even because they do not pay us more or less, so we would have no interest in favoring a team, a type of professionalism compared to another. We have people with different sexual orientations, we have people from different countries who also work in different languages. Our lingua franca is English, something that here in Italy could be a great barrier.
So with these three ingredients together we can say that since day one we been very provincial."
G. Colletti: "By the way Paola is on Twitter, hashtag wwworkers, tweeting "Table only for men". Paola, for now it’s like this but in a few minutes we’ll start the new round and we’ll also have good feminine stories. Your personal recipe, because we will do this work with your advice to work better with the technology by integrating machines and knowledge."
F. Fantini (Evo CEO): "Yes, let's say that for me a big problem that I think still exists today in Italy is optimizing for today. A famous research that is often quoted in these forums is that 65 percent of the people who are currently on the path of education will end up doing a job that doesn’t exist yet. So, in my opinion, it is necessary not only to just follow the passion but also do the job of researching it and what are somehow the personal values and aim, in spite of everything, to try to develop ones own distinctiveness and specialize as soon as possible in the job career."
G. Colletti: "Thanks Fabrizio Fantini, so the distinctiveness, the uniqueness.
Thank you, thank you very much Simone Maggi Lanieri, Fabrizio Fantini Evo Pricing, David Avino Argotec. Three awesome stories! Thanks for being with us."