Marco Montemagno is one of the leading figures in the digital world in Italy, first as an entrepreneur, then as a TV host on Sky, and now as a digital and marketing expert who is an inspiration to many through his daily videos and live broadcasts.

Marco Montemagno published his first book in January 2017, "Codex Montemagno," placing immediately #1 overall on Amazon.

In this interview, Marco talks not only about the book, but mostly about his view of the online world today, how he sees Italy at different speeds, and how things are, inexorably, changing fast for many companies and professionals, who, unfortunately, lag behind.

Happy listening!

Transcript.

Valerio:
Hello everyone and welcome back, this is Valerio Fioretti from Valerio.it, together again for this interview series. Today I have the pleasure of having with us Marco Montemagno. Hi Marco.

Marco:
Hi Valerio. I have never seen my face so many times in a background, that is, I have more of my face in the background than in all my Facebook pages combined.

Valerio:
You know, I was on the fence about putting the Amazon page in the background, then I said " but no, let me see Marco Montemagno on Google Images," and this cool mosaic came out...

Marco:
Wow!

Valerio:
So, let's leave it here. So, Marco Montemagno. For those few who don't know who he is I'll introduce, then, Marco, correct me. You worked many, many years with Sky, with a fantastic program that aired on Saturday mornings, if I'm not mistaken?

Marco:
Yes.

Valerio:
... on digital, which I used to follow slavishly, if you say. Of course, before that you were founder of Blogosphere, so entrepreneur. Even before that you were half a lawyer, in the sense that you were supposed to take the exam, if I'm not mistaken, then you decided to change your life, but before that you were a ponghista, that is, a professional ping-pong player.

Marco:
Which is the important thing to hit, the only thing that really matters.

Valerio:
Okay, then what happened, Monty? Give us some indication of what happened after you came out to Blogosphere and Sky.

Marco:
I did Blogosphere, I did Sky, I did various realities, various companies, doing various things. In the early days of social media we did a company called my former partner, where we basically pitched ourselves as a social media agency. Back in the day it was kind of silly, because you would go to companies and they didn't know what Facebook was, Twitter, things like that. Then I did events, social media week, other things like that. Lots of consulting, companies, institutions, politics, and then I moved to England. In England I did a pretty c**k year trying to figure out a little bit what path to take when I grew up. Then I started making videos a little bit as a hobby, and I have to say this thing exploded. I then did another start up called SuperSummit, but I froze it in the meantime I will have and the most interesting thing is this video world that has exploded, so now the page has more 300 000 people etc.

Valerio:
Then the book that came out in January is great. Marco used to say before, "I don't like those in books who say they are best-selling authors," but here it is...

Marco:
Correct.

Valerio:
He then unintentionally quoted yours truly, however, there he is now falling for it, he is a best-selling author as well.

Marco:
Because you said are.

Valerio:
Well, yes, that's the formula, to give us.

Marco:
It is very American as a formula...

Valerio:
Very American, yes.

Marco:
Even English, if you see an American Englishman speaking he says, "Hello, I'm Rob Williams, best-selling author..." and then he goes on to speak... No, it's kind of the...

Valerio:
Yes, it's kind of the trademark of some schools. You know what it is, though? I see that we Italians tend to be a little ashamed, either of being successful or of doing things. You always have a little fear, maybe because we fear the judgment of others, but then we'll get to that. In America, saying exactly what you do, if you don't say bullshit, is the best thing to do. Everyone tells you, "no, if you did this thing, even if you did it small, but you did it right, say it because you're a little bit above average." I wanted to ask you a few things, have a little chat with you because your videos are not motivational, but they are still inspirational....

Marco:
For some people they are.

Valerio:
No, it's okay, I'm inspirational. I follow you very passionately, I can say that you are, besides my business coach, the only Italian person I follow (then you know I go outside). I wanted to ask you some opinions, some ideas you may have, even if you are staying in England. How do you see Italy in 10 years, if you see it at all? For how.

Marco:
I see different Italies, if I'm honest. I see a 'generic shattered Italy, in the sense always messed up, bureaucratic, messes, the strikes, the menae... Unfortunately, I don't see the possibility of change on the average Italy. Instead I see so many different "Italies" in different sectors, so I've always looked closely at the tech start-up world, and that is a (gosh!) totally booming sector. You have super smart people, billions of people launching interesting initiatives (billions in a manner of speaking). The Italia Startup SIM group, a few years ago, when they started, Stefano Bernardi founder on Facebook, we were really three cats. I had joined when they were like 500 at that time, and today there are more than 20,000. They're just start-ups, so people who have the logic of "I do initiative, I pull in investment fund, I do feed," it was a give a, so in addition to that a giant world of all the professionals has expanded. Maybe one is the hairdresser, the other is the psychologist, the other is the beautician (you have 3,000 of these categories). These have seen, finally, the online as a chance to communicate, to promote, to sell, or to create a new community. And you have this people of VAT numbers in turmoil, launching, doing, moving forward not because of Italy but in spite of Italy.

Valerio:
Okay.

Marco:
I see on the one hand a future of great opportunities, and on the other hand some pieces that will instead slowly and inevitably, fall apart.

Valerio:
Perfect. Here I immediately latch on to how you see web business development in Italy, skimming what is a word that I detest, "fuffa." It's a word that I really resent, just as a sound, too, though, to be clear... You know better than I do how many people there are trying to do business online, and there's a differentiation to be made, I think.

Marco:
Yes. I start with this premise: It used to be that when it came to online business, we were a circle of insiders juggling and dealing with the stuff that was the Internet. Stop. Now that it's expanded and it's owned by the masses (so everybody is online), there's a circle of insiders who maybe do digital, web marketing, things like that, but it's really a decimal part of the population. The whole population that instead works, does a normal trade, is a painter, says, "okay, how do I use online to communicate it, to do my business?" Two things divide the fuffa there: facts and results. If I'm a real estate agent and I'm good, I'm selling well and word of mouth gratifies me, lets me know that I'm working well, at that point I'm good. On the other hand, communication clearly does, so you have (as always though, off-line as well), people who maybe in fact are not that great, but they are very good from a branding, marketing, promoting themselves. It's harder to cover up incompetence in a totally digital world where information goes around fast, because you get caught after a while.

Valerio:
Of course.

Marco:
That is the theme. It's clearly two components that go hand in hand, though: competence on the one hand and your ability to promote a product or service on the other. There only the best get ahead, in my opinion.

Valerio:
So, to stay with the theme a little bit, what do you think, beyond Italy, globally, are the trades that will completely disappear in 10 years from now?

Marco:
You know Valerio, there is the whole issue of automation coming (there already is, actually).

Valerio:
Yes. I don't know if you've seen (sorry, I'm interrupting), Gates' video about making robots pay taxes. Very nice.

Marco:
Yes yes, it's a very interesting issue that, because basically... He actually says "no, it's not the robots that have to pay taxes, but if you are a company that chooses robotic labor instead of manual labor, you have an advantage (because you spend less anyway, in the long run), and so we compensate that with a tax. The 'other aspect is the so-called UBI (Universal Basic Income) where, at that point, you give grain to everybody undifferentiated, not just those in need, to cover the holes that automation will create. This is a macro issue I think is interesting, but it affects a lot of jobs. I've seen the latest reports from the World Economic Forum, automation is going to take jobs away from accountants, lawyers--it's not just the worker who makes a washer good, but a huge category of people. You have to know that this thing is happening, it's not something that's coming in 20 years, it's something that's already there, and my suggestion is to make a list of the activities that one does today, within one's job, and try to think which of those activities will come or are potentially automatable. Let's take an example: if one is a lawyer there are forms to fill out that an algorithm can do very well, there are a series of standard forms that are always the same. All that stuff there can be automated, and the lawyer focuses, at that point, on the fact that there is human relationship with the client: one gets divorced, one gets there...

Valerio:
Counseling.

Marco:
There is counseling, there is that relationship that instead an algorithm, at this stage, cannot replace. It's a crazy world though, it goes very very very fast.

Valerio:
Very quickly. If you had advice, 3, 4 or 5 pieces of advice to give to someone who wants to start a business today, whether it be advice on life strategies rather than skills or niches to dive into, what would you tell them?

Marco:
Number 1: I would read me book Seeking Wisdom, which I know you bought. It's a very good reasoning map: to reason intelligently, with common sense about the facts, already that helps a lot. Which a lot of people don't do, because then one assumes that everybody is reasoning correctly when it comes to business and that's not the case. Then, the other aspect I would focus on is always to start with the market. The market is always right from the business point of view, so if you decide to start a business, you always start with a problem that the market may have. You have to identify what your market is, whether it's a large enough market that you can get some grain in at the level ... where you can make a good living based on your parameters, whether that market has an urgent problem (that you're willing to pay for now, not in fifty years). Right now there is the issue of trading cards. It is a market that is there but it is not urgent because they are not around yet. The issue is always, therefore, also finding the right timing and trying to macthare the market with what my interests and skills are. Am I a car repairer extraordinaire? At this point, maybe the repair market can be interesting, I have the great passion because I can be there all day h 24 and I am ready to work for years on that fantastic theme. Within this market, what is the most interesting sector that has the most pressing problem? What is the sector where the market is large enough? It is that of the customization of Jeep rims.

Valerio:
Perfect.

Marco:
I had guy who sold Jeep accessories. That, in my opinion, is smart thinking. Based on that you could then put on a digital layer and say, "okay, identified the market and matched with my expertise, how do I go about promoting myself to let that market know that I exist?" There, at that moment, for me, the strategy is clear: online communication, video, in Italy at least for the next 12 months. Facebook I see it instrumental, with the advertising part works, so I would go like this.

Valerio:
Good, good, good. Yes. There are still people who tell me, "eh whatever, but you have a lot of followers because you pay, you advertise on Facebook." It's normal if Facebook is paying because it's doing business, you said it yourself in video a while ago.

Marco:
But then, I mean, whoever makes the arguments about advertising to me personally really makes me laugh, Valerio, because it's like saying "it's Coca-Cola the most evolved drink in the world because it advertises." That's right, that's exactly why he -- that's how business works, my friend! If you want to play without advertising don't do it, I don't know what to say, however, it is a very Luddite way of reasoning, it starts from the idea that a product magically gets known by the market. It happens that way, too, sometimes, but you take Apple: it doesn't advertise? Any company advertises, natural person or legal person, and they use the tools they have to play, so if one can do it one has to do it. I mean, it's part of the business.

Valerio:
Yes, because having access to a platform like Facebook, for free, people think that everything must be free, so there's a bit of a distortion of reality quite downward, I'm in a free nosedive. Look, why one video a day? That you do...

Marco:
Because there are too many competitors competing for the attention of the people you want to talk to. The competitors are everyone from Lego to Netflix, to the people who make water bottles, to the people who make viral videos, and there are also, by the way, your competitors in your industry. To be able to get any attention and stay relevant, you have to be (they say in the UK), top of mind in the consumer's head. That is, you have to be at the top of your potential customer's mind: if he thinks of balloons and he wants to buy balloons for the party, you immediately come to his mind. How do you do that? You need constant pressure, because otherwise it's easy to get overwhelmed by everything else so you disappear, you get diluted, in this sea of information. There is this figure that struck me a lot, given by Facebook a while ago: every day you get two thousand notifications from which you can choose, and an average user chooses about 200. To be in those 200 is not easy, and there you have to work with great content with the advertising part, partnerships, collaborations. It's not an easy job, you need a lot of time, a lot of consistency, and that's what all companies should do. If you decide not to do it, you are very free not to do it, but there is somebody else who does it for you.

Valerio:
... who does it for you, and so ...

Marco:
You can therefore decide, it's like saying you're married and you can decide whether to talk to your wife once a week or every day. At that point you say, "whatever, let's talk in a week, okay." Every day, though, she walks out the door and you have a hundred of them trying. If you're okay with it that's fine, if not you take the proper precautions. That's it, that's my advice.

Valerio:
I'll do a post on that.

Marco:
Correct.

Valerio:
Great. Look, you may have been asked this in 100,000, but it's a must for my followers. Can you give us your daily routine? I kind of laugh because I've heard you in at least 15 interviews and every time they ask you, but it's a must, the only question I admit to being repetitive, come on.

Marco:
The daily routine for me is simple: I get up at 5:40 a.m., get settled in, and in the bathroom I more or less decide on a topic to talk about. The night before I usually have an idea, and in the morning I'm there spying on my phone in preparation while I'm putting on gel. At that point I make a decision on the topic to talk about, and from 6:30 to 7:30 I record and edit the video, after which I disconnect. I then switch to the paternal part to take one of my children to school and get the whole family start up, after which I typically do a physical activity of some kind and then attack work. There, depending on the di business I'm thinking about that day, I get into the activity to do. Compared to a few years ago (I'm 45 now), I have to say that it's a very thought-out routine to try to have a high quality of life and it's not a routine like it used to be where it was "I get up at 5 a.m., I work h 24, the next day I get up at 5 a.m. and work h 24."

Valerio:
A devastating thing.

Marco:
Yes. You can last for a while, and some people do, but right now for me it has changed a lot, so even on the subject of events (which has always been part of my life), I try to do fewer and fewer of them, only quality or fun events. This is a little bit of my routine.

Valerio:
Do you watch television?

Marco:
No.

Valerio:
 Neither movies, nor entertainment, nor news...? To understand.

Marco:
No. So, I don't watch -- television I don't watch any, in the sense that we have a television in the house but it's only used to watch Peppa Pig, Paul Patrol, PJ Masks, that is the big in-depth cultural programs for my children, so that one is dedicated exclusively to that. Instead, I watch and read an insane amount of news with my RSS aggregator, YouTube videos, online videos in huge amounts. Within the news, clearly, I have monitors and all those things even current events that may be of interest to me. I watch movies, movies absolutely, I am a movie lover, so at the most unlikely times I watch movies of various types as appropriate and I read, I read tons of things.

Valerio:
Did you happen to see I am not your guru, the Tony Robbins documentary?

Marco:
Yes, I saw it, I saw it. Having interviewed me I was also interested to see a little bit of the kind of implementation, the behind the scenes, let's say the business model, the construction, the format... I found it very interesting.

Valerio:
Interesting, yes. Listen.

Marco:
Excuse me, I found it interesting that after he did this documentary operation, the next event of the -- I can't remember the name of the...

Valerio:
Yes?

Marco:

Valerio:
... 5 days and a ... nice hammer?

Marco:
That 5-day one, it was more than sold out and they sold it at premium price, meaning that everyone at that point wanted to go there, so it made a remarkable operation, including communication.

Valerio:
He is brilliant at these things, he has insight that rocks in the business. Look, you from the videos obviously take inspiration, you draw from what has been your past life experience. You talk so many times about when you were a ponghist, when you wanted to be a lawyer.

Marco:
Valerio, Valerio--pongist, pongist.

Valerio:
Excuse me, pong player.

Marco:
You can say it any way you want, because ping pong is always abused anyway....

Valerio:
No whatever, I'm really a disaster, so go figure, nul ping pong I just don't even catch the ball. So, "pong player" is right, okay. So you draw from your personal experiences, you draw so much from your business, what you've done, what you're doing, you draw from the books that you read so much and always recommend (in fact, I love this so much, I started doing it too, I copied your book a little bit. Is there something that sometimes "okay, I'll say this" and then "no, I better not say it," or "I'm holding back"? Maybe without saying what, however do you happen to take a step back for one reason or another?

Marco:
Very often, for several reasons. The first is that if you have children, you think a lot about the fact that once you put out a video then maybe that video is seen by your children's teachers or your children themselves, and you don't want to make them feel uncomfortable about what you said, what you did. There's an issue of accountability in general, like when you go around as a bearded guy and you say, "Let's go!" or instead you go around with your kids in the back and you're very careful. Putting out content when you're a parent is just a totally different level of responsibility, so that's a first theme. The other theme is that there are some topics that I don't care to get into because unfortunately there is no ease ... there is no conversation when you touch some topics. Politics, for example, is one thing. If you make an argument about political communication, again again ... I'm passionate about it, I've written a lot of political communication stuff, I've dealt with it as a consultant, but it's a very interesting world because it's kind of the top of online communication. By the way, I did a video today about how in theory Trump would win the campaign, with this study where basically from the likes you pull out the psychographic identity of people and then you go and target them exactly. So it doesn't create a campaign, but 300 million campaigns. It's very interesting.

Valerio:
Beautiful.

Marco:
On the other hand, if you say in the morning, "Let's do the analysis of Salvini," you can't do it in a normal way, because you have all those who vote for Salvini saying "how nice" or "how bad" depending on how the analysis is done, and all those on the other side saying "what a brute," "how nice." There is no reasoning and there on some issues like religion, politics, science often, there is not. People disconnect and become a stadium fan, they don't reason, they don't look at the facts, they don't listen, and then many topics I don't even care to touch because I find it unconstructive, they don't lead anywhere, and so I leave it alone.

Valerio:
Great. That brings me immediately to something I wanted to ask you about haters, because you have some, I think.

Marco:
I have a few.

Valerio:
I have one who even made a blog where I...

Marco:
Go, great.

Valerio:
... I'm part of post, so you can tell he doesn't really have a damn thing to do 'this guy.

Marco:
I, on the other hand, have one who has called himself my hater, he says, "I am the hater of Marco Montemagno," got it, we are at this level of...

Valerio:
Higher level of authority in short, in your case... What was the most creative hater you encountered? Maybe this one? Creative I mean. Funny...

Marco:
Look...creative...The thing is that a funny hater is an oxymoron, because a hater generally is someone who has to vent his frustrations, so he really has his own problem upstream. We're talking about haters, not critics, because people who criticize you ...

Valerio:
Yes, people who criticize is another thing.

Marco;
There are so many of them, some of them say very right things even in a very harsh way, but if you listen and don't get impeached by the criticism, you can learn so much. We all talk, we say things right or wrong, we make mistakes, so this is interesting. The hater on the other hand is just someone who regardless of what you say has seen you like this, you remind him of what his wife or girlfriend tr****** him and that's it, nothing, he hates you regardless.

Valerio:
He hates you no matter what.

Marco:
Those are never very creative, frustration in general, or anger, is not creative, it's always a downward pointing thing. I have, however, had people, I don't know -- one of whom -- no, two I'm very fond of. One, he once commented to me saying, "Montemagno you should shut up because you don't know anything about the future, about innovation. Someone who is bald cannot talk about the future." At this point I thought and I immediately thought of Jeff Bezos, Mark, and I said "whatever, you'll be right." Another instead, a historian, told me "I hate Montemagno because he wants to look like Steve Jobs..." (and so far it would also be a compliment, I mean), "but he is fat." One who knows me says "no he's really short."

Valerio:
I saw you, you know, I told you, when we saw each other a few days ago. You're frighteningly dry.

Marco:
I struggle, yeah, it's something -- no, I can't -- I don't really know what to say, that's it. You, I mean -- fat -- it's really hard.

Valerio:
No...

Marco:
People are like that. Or another one, he was not a hater but there was a lot of envy in the comment. It was all criticism where he said "Montemagno if he was really successful would be in the pool with Elon Musk." There he left out the fact that Elon Musk doesn't go to the pool, he takes a** like that every day. It's people like that, ignorant, however, they are generally not creative.

Valerio:
Okay, your approach in these cases how is it? Do you have a laugh about it, or has someone put some butterflies in your stomach?

Marco:
Look, Valerio, there is a distinction to be made in my opinion that is important: after so many years you have taken so much, for better or worse, that you have a callus, in the sense you have a thick skin, so one can say anything right now that it is difficult for me to touch because you have already seen them, you already know maybe what the motivation is, etc. Then you have criticisms that bother you because maybe people make them or you know, or you've worked with. Maybe you've s****ed them and then out of spite they come after you, they start smearing you. Maybe one is also a media and therefore has a different force, if Il Fatto Quotidiano or Il Corriere writes an article it has a different resonance than an individual. But in general my suggestion sometimes is to ignore in most cases, because you have to focus on what you are interested in doing. I focus on the people who may like what I say and can value it, while ignoring those who hate me, dislike me (which is legitimate). This is a first theme. Other times the suggestion is to listen, clearly, to criticism, and to respond generally to that theme. The mistake you should never make is to respond individually to one person, more so because many are provocative, they do it on purpose, they try to take your popularity....

Valerio:
To get a few points of notoriety...

Marco:
Clear, so at least you respond and they have visibility. It's like the taxi drivers who do the protest and Uber soars in their app subscriptions, it's the same mechanism. Some people in my industry are professionals, they've been trying for years and they always do this strategy here: they provoke, they come after you, so at least you give them some visibility. They should instead be ignored but criticism in general should be answered.

Valerio:
Of course.

Marco:
And then the last thing, Valerio, which I think is important, is this quote from Roosevelt about those in the arena: "I listen very carefully to the criticism of those in the arena," that is, those who do things. If one, for example, criticizes me on the subject of CEO and he is one who knows about CEOs, then that is a criticism that I look at very carefully. If you're on the outside and you're not someone who gets your little hands dirty, you're not someone who does what I do, to me that criticism is totally irrelevant.

Valerio:
That's right. Well, I get tons of those, I get tons of those, too.

Marco:
By the millions.

Valerio:
Look, there's then here, among the little things I had marked down, this sentence of yours, "We can't change the character of the people around us but we can decide which people to keep around us," so it kind of fits this skimming thing. Look, who do you follow closely, how do you keep up to date? I'd like to really understand the outcome of this book, which is, then, that of your videos that contain all your knowledge and desire to communicate what you have to say.

Marco:
I improvise on the fly what I have in my RSS aggregator. In my RSS aggregator I have ... I don't know ... random department ... whatever, summer tech. So I have the whole world of tech, Recode, Business insider, Boing Boing (which is tech however is also life style), bloggers like Kottke, Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk (more on marketing, communication, business). Other people like... I don't know... Bill Gates, I'm interested in Bill Gates when he does all the book reviews and stuff like that. I'm more interested in investors, Fred Wilson--it's all people who tend to be technical. I don't have in my feed, other than more traditional news outlets, people who actually go way outside of my world. My goal maybe is just to contaminate myself more and say "okay, maybe that's enough, talk about energy," which is out of my world, but can be very interesting to expand, amplify. I then monitor on some aggregators like Productant, which is a very famous American site where new products, new books, new start-ups are reported. Anything that comes out that's new, that's interesting, passes me by. For a long time, let's say still now, however especially before... Imagine when you are on TV: you go on the air or you are at a technology event and you have to know up to the minute before what is the latest technology that has come out, you can't not know that Facebook has launched stories, or that Snap is now listing, you have to know. So my whole information feed is very much focused on that, on the latest news. Over time I've expanded it more and more because you know, as you get older you're also interested in different topics. Clearly, ITTS (which is the ping pong federation) is in my feed, so if the new ping pong video comes out, I'm updated on that.
Valerio:
Who would you want to go to dinner with if you could choose, from Putin to Seth Godin, to Elon Musk, to Trump, to Ivana Trump, Ivanka Trump...?

Marco:
I actually like Obama very much....

Valerio:
Okay.

Marco:
... as a person, then forget about the presidential results (they can be interpreted in a thousand ways). I've always found him to be a very interesting person, then someone who was president of the United States for 8 years, gee, he knows a lot. In general he has a remarkable overall vision. There are several though, Elon Musk certainly is very interesting, Noam Chomsky is a very interesting one, Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet, regardless of wealth, but for knowledge. Some characters have the ability to see the world through a lens of their own, so you know, if you have a chance to spend an hour with them, maybe...

Valerio:
A little something you can...

Marco:
...can you -- and there are several, with these absolutely yes, I would love to. I've been fortunate enough to interview many of them but you know, interviewing or spending a dinner with them, a weekend, it's different.

Valerio:
Absolutely.

Marco:
To be able to be friends with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Obama, people like that, certainly -- Richard Branson -- these are interesting, inspiring people.

Valerio:
Look, going back to the content of your book (it's the content of your videos), inevitably you fall a little bit on you, now, the nomination of the motivator, because there are concepts... because you are not a motivator, but you simply use common sense, you apply of course your knowledge, your culture, your experience to everyday life and business life. In this way you come up with phrases, maxims, or otherwise ideas that help people grow, develop. How do you see yourself in this capacity that kind of fell on you from above, unintentionally?

Marco:
Look.

Valerio:
I'll ask the question better: can you see yourself on a stage giving a motivational talk or otherwise completely unrelated to the digital talk, just centered on personal growth?

Marco:
So look, for me it's two different themes. One is the theme of inspiring people, a motivating people to do something. In itself it's a very positive thing, because precisely, if Obama gives a speech--Martin Luther King gave a motivational speech that made him famous, but you don't think Martin Luther King is a motivator, so one theme is motivating people and the importance of giving messages, of inspiring people to do something. If one stops me on the street for the interview before this ... a girl said "look I wanted to thank you because thanks to your video I got a job," and for me that has a great value. That's why I make videos, not to get people jobs but to give some useful advice based on my experience (then if it works in others, all the better). So on that one, in my opinion, I'm very comfortable with it, I find it very positive, and I'm super happy if there are people who have results because of what I can say. Where I don't find myself is the whole motivation industry, which is an industry designed to do business often on people who are poor christians or people who have a thousand doubts, perplexities, and so they start to get into a sales funnel that...

Valerio:
Deadly.

Marco:
 ...He doesn't know that it's a sales funnel that takes you through a lifetime, you take courses and blah blah and you go through a lifetime of walking on coals. That is what I am not. I don't have coals to sell you, and I don't have a funnel where I stick you in to leverage your weaknesses, that's the thing I don't like, but I really like the theme of being able to inspire people instead. To say, I did a Speaking Bicocca to the kids in college and certainly there is a theme of inspiration, because you share maybe some mistakes you've made, some choices you've made in your life and you give suggestions. Maybe kids then come out of there and say, "gee, you inspired me to do this stuff here, though," so that's positive. It's the motivation industry that I can't stand and...however, you know, on the other side, maybe some people who see you as a competitor immediately try to associate you there because it's a way to qualify your skills and say, "but yeah, Montemagno doesn't know anything about digital technology, he's just a guy who opens his mouth and talks." But you know, it's so many years that I've been dealing with these issues and then in the end it always happens, they always call you an all-rounder, they always tell you about something else so you don't look at the facts. Instead, it would be enough for one to stand there and say, "Let's look at the facts."

Valerio:
That's right and look done.

Marco:
Understood, let's analyze Montemagno: are there results, yes or no? What he says did he do it or not? Stop, based on that you decide, that's all.

Valerio:
No, you know why? It's very easy to attack someone on something that you think might be their raw nerve, or something that makes them more populist or more trivial, when in fact there is substance behind it and what they are saying they are saying with good reason. I am convinced, for example, that you can technically get up to a certain level and reach maximum capacity, after which if you want to make a quantum leap you have to start changing you, changing your routine, changing the way you see people...

Marco:
Absolutely. But look in fact.

Valerio:
...Because otherwise you don't move forward....

Marco:
... I'll give you a practical example: on the premise that I'm not an expert on anything, I fit Tim Ferris' definition of a professional amateur, because I'm not a digital expert, I don't have a degree in computer science or marketing. I do things, I'm passionate about communication, I like to communicate in many mediums, I do experiments, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. That's it, that's what I do. I don't have a role to defend, I'm not a professor with tenure who feels belittled if someone says, "I'm a motivational speaker." If you want to think of it that way that's fine, I do the motivator, that's totally irrelevant to me. Here's the thing though, let's take the example of table tennis, which is very close to our hearts: if I think of one of my best table tennis coaches in my life, it's one who clearly taught me a thousand technical aspects, because there are a thousand technical details that you have to learn about how to do a stroke etc., a thousand strategies on exactly what strategy to do. One of the most important things he has, though, taught me, is the whole mentality part: when you go down the court there are those who win and there are those who lose in mentality, there are people who are losers, you just see it. You when you go on the field and shake hands with the opponent, you see it if one has already lost before you start, and then you say, "My coach is a motivator." No, he was a great technical coach, however, mentality is part of the business, like advertising.

Valerio:
It is part of the business.

Marco:
You can't think that Zuckerberg made Facebook just because he's a genius at programming (even though he may not actually be one), it's the totality of how he thinks that determines whether or not he succeeds in business, that's why it's important.

Valerio:
Absolutely, I told you then the day before yesterday, about the golf talk: I've had people give me pointers on the right mindset and then make the big score the next day, so it works. Look, the 6 "c's" (which make me laugh a lot, but they absolutely have-it's the last one that makes me laugh), are: content, continuity, calm, change, community, c**k.

Marco:
It's true that it takes c**k, often one doesn't say that because it makes it look better to sound like the phenomenon that succeeded on its own, "I decided this way and then my life became this." That's not the case, because then there is a basis of luck that is part of the game, it's clear that you can somehow look for it, however, you can't pretend that the "c" element is not relevant. I give an example: when I wanted to do a broadcast on Sky TG 24, back in the day I tried more than once to contact Emilio Carelli (who was the director), to get an appointment and propose a broadcast to him. At one point he granted me an appointment, so I went to Rome and I was in the airport all day waiting because I didn't want to make a mistake, I wanted to be there. I was at the airport one day and the appointment was like 6 p.m. [at "six o'clock"]. At 6 p.m. I go, I find him swamped with stuff but I explain what I would like to do. He looks at me and says, "We're not interested, thank you." Whatever. I then stay 6 months hammering him and he gives me another appointment at the university. At that time I go, I offer him the broadcast again, and he says again, "look, we are not interested, you want to do a broadcast to teach Italians how to use a computer." That was the level of the time, and he rightly says to me, "look, we are information, we are not training." Anyway, I go there, at one point I was leaving, and my luck in that case was that he had an assistant. As he was leaving, I said "yes, but you didn't talk about this virus like that," and the assistant said "come on Emilio, but maybe he's right about this news." In that case, he then did a check on Rome to see if I was right or not, and he said "whatever, so for this news, if you want, I'll send you now to make a connection with Montese, 20 seconds to talk about it." If there had not been that assistant there in that situation, I would never have done television. If you go over all that, there is an inevitable c**k part, which one however forgets to say, omits it because it's cooler that way.

Valerio:
No no, let's say you're kind of asking for it, in the sense that if you hadn't broken the director's back...

Marco:
Sure. Yes, but...

Valerio:
...You wouldn't have made it to that office at that time to find the assistant, I'm of that view. Anyway -- look, fantastic book Codex Montemagno by Mondadori, what will happen now, after this book? Will there be another book, or if you can say something, if you are already thinking about a sequel... ?

Marco:
Look, I have several ideas in my head. First, I'd like another book this time written from scratch, instead of just being a transcript of the videos...

Valerio:
About the videos.

Marco:
...I would like to write it from scratch instead. The topic of personal branding sounds like an interesting thing to me, how to build a personal brand, however, I'm still gathering some ideas.

Valerio:
Okay.

Marco:
Some haters are saying around that they try to buy as many books as they can to burn them, so I hope they at least pay for them. This could be something that happens, a big bonfire, with all the things.

Valerio:
... maybe in short ... do some ... to warm up.

Marco:
Then no, I have various ideas. You know, communication -- the book is in my case a communication initiative, to get the message out, reach people who maybe are not online. Communication is always based on communication cycles, so this is still a communication phase of the book and then in, probably a month, a couple of months, since it's an increasing curve, I will come out with another communication initiative. Some are already in the works, others I'm working on moreover these days. Typically, in my opinion, every four months one should launch a new initiative....

Valerio:
Absolutely.

Marco:
... relaunching on other issues or other messages that you want to bring forward.

Valerio:
Something about videos maybe?

Marco:
On the videos? Actually, no. I like the topic of videos but I am not a technician. I like to share this, for example with Clappy we do this stuff that we called Vailer Academy, which is a workshop on videos, however it's more my own fun, a way of sharing some things learned with the fact that I'm not a video maker, so I'm not a professional, again, in making videos. So, maybe that's not the theme, however I like precisely the whole theme of personal branding, the theme of work seems to me to be fundamental, the use of digital at work. That's kind of the theme that I would like to shoot on.

Valerio:
Well, very last question, the ritual one. Since my interview program and also podcast is on authoritativeness, I would like to ask you if you can give some advice to people who want to expose themselves, get more contacts, more visibility, and attest more authoritatively on the web. What advice would you give?

Marco:
Steve Jobs used to say the famous phrase "brand, in the end, is trust": brand, at the end of the day, is the trust you build with people. Often, when someone communicates online, they forget this little aspect, they are there talking about how great their products are, how crazy cool they are, and they forget that if you don't build trust with the people who are looking at you, it will be a mess to sell them something. Imagine, you're a real estate agent and you say, "I have to sell." Yes, great, but why do I have to buy from you? What is the trust you have created with me? So the main theme is to build the trust relationship with people the way you build it ... for me today, the best way is to demonstrate your expertise, whatever your industry is. If you're a pizza maker and you want to be trusted by people, you want people to buy your pizza, at that point you stand there and demonstrate that your pizza is really amazing, you show, you explain, you give the best advice, you just show it. Making has a huge impact, expertise is not some thing you describe, expertise you have to show it. If you say "I'm a great juggler" -- you have people who stand there and make videos and say "because I'm a great juggler," another one stands there and makes videos, and says "look, now I'm dribbling with 7 soccer balls at the same time." That's it, I've already convinced you that I can do that thing.

Valerio:
That I am a great juggler, so of course, you have to be able to demonstrate your skills well.

Marco:
Yes. It is more difficult (this is why not so many people do it), because not so many people are willing to really put themselves out there, to study...

Valerio:
"No, I can't do it."

Marco:
... to go deeper and become really competent, which is not something you get in a second, it's years of work in any field. That in my opinion would be the most useful thing to do, which, however, I'm already telling you, most people don't do because they want the shortcut. They say "no, I have to communicate right away and so I throw up something here and there, pretend to be competent, do some activity, bring home the result at the short and then we will see." This unfortunately is the choice of the masses, however, it is not the best choice.

Valerio:
Okay, very good. Thank you Marco, thank you for everything.

Marco:
Thank you Valerio, good luck with everything.

Marco:
Good luck to you too for all that is to come. Thank you all again for following us so far, find the video on the YouTube channel, on Valerio.it and in "PODCAST". I recommend, again, Marco Montemagno's book, Code Montemagno, don't miss it. Greetings to all from Valerio, bye!