Who am I?
An information management consultant and trainer with a scholarly mindset and a peculiar expertise in the design and development of innovative services across several industries, always focussing on a mix of organisational and individual factors in data and information management practices.
I sell advice on and specifications for open data assurance, guidance on internet names and related intellectual property strategies and training sessions on information security, mainly for business and competitive intelligence purposes.
A self-starter and a team leader, qualified librarian and project manager, familiar with a wide range of standards and platforms, author of books, papers, policies and guidelines on information retrieval and strategies for new media / digital things, in the last twenty years I have founded and managed three consultancies and a training agency, shaping groundbreaking innovations on behalf of major players across several industries.
If you wish to know more about my past experiences, here are some personal notes, in reverse chronological order - or ask for a conventional CV.
2008-2013: Italian expat in London, leading the case for cyber security
In September 2008 I moved to London, England, from Milan, Italy.
After a year spent in charitable activities, continuous professional development and networking, I started providing advice and problem solving expertise to large organisations, charities and government bodies in order to early detect and prevent IT security disruptions and corporate crime in information management practices.
The business did not go off with a bang - but the idea attracted the attention of many relevant stakeholders and senior government advisers. It was eventually taken over by "battalions" of cybercrime experts - all confirming the lack of adequate policies, management, governance and legislation more than just failures of technical expertise or education.
See also the section publications of this website for more information about the independent research on information governance, mobile computing and cyber security I have disseminated since 2009.
These recent years have also been marked by a personal lawsuit in which I claimed damages for missed conveyance of a property in the London Borough of Camden. That turned out to be a defective title register since long, causing libellous collaterals: the case is documented in the section 7ncc: a private matter? of this website to mitigate the risks of misrepresentation and abuse of personal details. This personal experience drove my attention towards the disgraceful abuses of personal data and organised and structured information processes even in controlled environments, determining the most massive amount of frauds the civilised world has ever dealt with.
1995 - 2008: Founder and Director of Panta Rei, Milano, Italy
Before moving to London, I was self employed as an Internet consultant and contractor, owner of a small IT business in Milan, Italy, where I lived and worked for twenty years.
The decision to jump on the internet wagon came in 1995, after 13 years in library, documentation and intelligence roles, when I started up Panta Rei. Panta Rei introduced and successfully sold to private and public customers for many years a sustainable approach to new media and human computer interaction - that is still at the very core of my visions about the digital economy.The company offered knowledge management services until 2008, supporting internet, digital, bibliographic and e-learning projects also through a training agency (Palestra Internet Panta Rei) that remained active until 2007.
Panta Rei gave me the opportunity to design and project manage extraordinary and pioneering websites, digital contents, e-commerce experiments and utilities, intranets and business and professional services for publishers, universities and other large private and public organizations, often providing strategic advice, desk research, outsourced software development, web production and training services through the Palestra Internet division.
Above all, my first internet business was possible because of good agreements with large partners and customers at national and international levels, including dozens of universities, that assured me to keep a sustainable balance between the implicit risk of working in very innovative and unstable markets, with core technical skills changing every 18 months, and the priority of securing me (and others working with me) a decent salary.
I pioneered Agile approaches for the development of what I called “evergreen” systems and usable interfaces, for database or whatever content management purpose, always integrating and baselining new successful tools and preventing wasting time with the too volatile and fashionable components of the digital ecosystem.
with the Palestra Internet division, I structured and wrote instructional materials and supervised the development of a library of e-learning products about digital skills, search technologies and the information search process, delivered to over 1500 attendees employed in the public and the private sector, including more than 45 universities, managers, entrepreneurs, civil servants, content developers, librarians, journalists and researchers.
After 2001, the climate for internet small businesses changed dramatically - and not only in Italy. After 2005 the company interests started to clash with regional public policies and political priorities, systematically praising the offerings of bigger competitors. In a couple of cases, I paradoxically lost public budgets from loyal customers because I was told mine was the only company providing e-learning courses so that a proper fair competition would be impossible. Some market segments and niches became either closed shops or a truly political accessories zone, not to be entered or practiced without explicit sponsorship by or partnerships with the dominant players. These were filled mainly with middle managers coming from the 'catto-taleban' circles of Lega Nord and Comunione and Liberazione. Italy was not the right place to live as an internet entrepreneur. I made my mind to prepare a contingency plan and started looking at job advertisements and digital markets all around Europe. In 2008 I decided to move to England, where it seemed there was an incessant demand for digital officers, web content managers, librarians, IT specialists, policy advisers and so on and so forth.
1988 - 1995: A data analyst in the mad men world
That was not the first time I made a leap in an unknown territory.
In fact, by 1987, I had definitively been attributed by peers the image of an ambitious person, voraciously questioning technical and scientific things, too much curious and creative to be realistically progressed in a public librarian role - so that I was referred for employment in the private sector by friends of friends and professors.
I found irresistible the idea and in 1987 I moved into the promising media and communication sector, accepting a post of information officer at J.Walter Thompson Italy in Milan, where I planned and started up a modern information centre on marketing, advertising and consumers data.
After two years I was offered a tempting and juicy alternative career of junior copyrighter but I preferred to follow my predominant interests and I was recruited to do the same type of innovative exercise on a massively larger scale at Fininvest Comunicazioni - where I designed and started up one of the first european corporate library information and documentation centre on the media sector. In that role, I designed electronic products, services and tools (a classification scheme and a taxonomy on the communication and audiovisual industries) to answer whatever type of question.
In 1994 I made a decision that changed my life forever: I refused to work for Berlusconi’s political party in 1994 and I left my post at Fininvest Comunicazioni. The company went dissolved following the flotation of Mediaset and the creation of the party through a sophisticated M&A camouflage I did not know anything about at the time: deleting or obfuscating any possible trace of its existence in the public domain was the true goal, changing its name so it would appear as a construction company in company registers and employees’ pension records and pushing not aligned employees and consultants very further away, often in government, in universities or small businesses, so that they would not have interest nor time or reason at all to complain.
Mainly unaware of all those corporate plans, I had been liaising for a couple of years with external researchers, journalists, practitioners in the private and the public sectors, I had even written and published a little handbook (Banca dati, 1993) and several articles and papers illustrating my excellent work as a knowledge manager at Fininvest Comunicazioni, sharing the distilled wisdom of how to search and create databases, taxonomies and the right datasets at the right time for the right people, always disclosing the process for due diligence, for training others and to boost professionalism.
I had been privately and publicly praised by many and considered a strategic resource by several board members. But unfortunately they forgot to consider I could find uncomfortable and unsustainable to work for somebody who had such a dominant position in the control of generalist media and public information sources that every process in any segment of the industry would become, in the end, a pantomime.
1983 - 1987: Too much free to be a librarian?
And here we are. In a nutshell, I may be too much free and curious to be comfortable in a "typical" traditional librarian role, especially in whatever ideological, political or religious organisation.
I started working at twenty-year-old as a freelance librarian, following my graduation with a dissertation on automation of libraries, in 1983, that happened to be one of the first italian books published on the subject.
In its very simple and introductory language, the book showed how organisational and administrative aspects were intertwined with the technical ones in the case for an automated national library service. But such straightforward lesson I had learned reading books and papers from the American pioneers in library automation was received as an irritating and patronising position by the roman bureaucrats who where working with Finmeccanica and its commercial partners on the project of such a system (called SBN) at the time.
I got small assignments from public libraries where I introduced incremental changes and innovations and standardised practices. For five years - until I was recruited by JWT Milan in 1988 - I went on working 30 hours per week as a clerk for a multi-owned library consortium too. In my spare time I carried on studying and writing - still pondering an academic career that I had not had the financial possibility to afford at first.
But after five years of those demanding diaries, I understood that passion for knowledge, learning and their technicalities does not necessarily need neither an academic context nor the protective shell of the legal-ethical tradition of the public sector. Instead, it can be cultivated by any reflective practitioner, in any context, anytime, and linked to any business and practical activity. An enduring lovely lesson that made me able to conquer trust and respect from hundreds of customers of my consultancy and training businesses over the years.