“We did the opposite of what is recommended in manuals for start-uppers: we did not even write a business plan, nor prepared an elevator pitch. But don’t try this at home!”
Marco Bocola, 32 years old, a degree in sociology at Catholic University in Milan; his occupation? Maker. And entrepreneur. He is co-founder at Vectorealism, a startup that allows to order online and create customized objects of design, with innovative laser cut techniques.
Let’s say a FabLab on-demand.
Marco collaborated with the Irso Foundation, as a researcher on Olivetti’s history, and was a business organisation consultant. He is not only ideologist at Victorealism, but also works at TWT Group in the HR department.
From real to virtual and back. Especially back, I would say! When we choose the name Vectorealism, together with Eleonora Ricca (co-founder), we had a clear idea in mind: the 2000’s collective effort to digitalise everything was expired. Along with the frenzy to scan documents and pictures, acquire videotape, convert cds into mp3, and fulfil hard disks. We were sitting in the first row when Blockbuster and Kodak bankrupted, the two main actors in the history of consumerism. A new generation was growing developing ideas and projects directly in a digital format, just to share them. Digital pictures never printed. Music made with a MacBook and never played live. Renderings not designed to become goods.
Still, it seemed that the invasion of new stuff was not slowing down. It was the 2009, I used to go for lunch with Eleonora next to her office. She worked for a large communication agency in Chinatown, Milan, and she used to guide me throughout the bazaars overcrowded of plastic stuffs. Written on our iPod stands “Designed in California, made in China”; it sounded sinister… We wanted to make a turn.
We were not feeling “start-upper”. We had rage, ideas, and we had a mad optimism. And a few money that Eleonora had just won in a tv quiz I had signed her up; she had never seen an episode before, but she won 3 times in a row.
We asked our self what was really necessary to manufacture objects; we refused the idea that there are no alternatives to China or to the autochthonous manufacture obsessed by luxury and richness. We fell in love with the idea of small FabLabs, that promise to realize “almost everything” with a few machinery.
At the same time, our wish was to make of this ideas a real job, sustainable in the years. In order do so, professional tools and a good sales channel were necessary. We bought both of them without opening a debt line. We were off!
We did the opposite of what is recommended in manuals for start-uppers: we did not even wrote a business plan, nor prepared an elevator pitch. Americans says: don’t try this at home! I believe that every business has to find the right mix of rationalisation (and the bureaucracy which follows) and creative edge (with the subsequent risk spread).
In a single word, we jumped in the DIY business (do it yourself) with a DIY approach!
I would say that doing it without any help has been an ideological choice, but the truth is that we were forced. All the competitions for start-ups seemed to be designed on the stereotype of the new Mark Zuckerberg which develops the new Facebook in his small bedroom. Often, the prize is a small amount, a short training or a desk in an open space. Luckily there are some exception, like Made in Mage, an atypical incubator where we worked for a few months.
It was a large warehouse: a lot of space, high roof and high voltage power: perfect to increase our production and add new machineries.
Maybe we have not become a no-slides company yet, but we fight for our visionary idea of allowing everybody to make real their ideas. The growing attention on the makers world is a reason for us to be optimist. Make things, not slides!