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Finding a voice using social media -Interview with Pasquale Gallifuoco, CEO of VMI Collective

The Circular spoke to Pasquale Gallifuoco, CEO and company founder of VMI Collective, about his views on business transformation skills and finding a voice using social media.

Pasquale Gallifuoco

What’s your job?

I run an IT company that helps companies like Oracle, Cisco, and Google to differentiate in their marketplace. It is a changing market. The big thing right now is ‘digital transformation’. We help them to succeed in this area.

Do you feel more Italian or Australian?

I feel both, and I feel neither. I grew up in both at different ages. I was in Italy until 10, then in Australia until I was 17 and again I returned to Italy. I think Italians view me as more Italian, Australians view me as being more Australian. I was fortunate because I was able to take what I liked from both cultures.

How did you come up with the idea for your company?

Well, I was lucky. In my lifetime I followed different career paths. My first career was in investment banking, as I studied economics. My second career was managing a company because I wanted to do something that had a greater purpose than money management. I left the industry, and I became a systems engineer for a number of years. I worked in many strategy and management positions.I was looking for something that connects all of these skills simultaneously. It was a long path. I fell in love with training and enablement at one point in my last role at Cisco. I was lucky to manage an entire department that was of substantial size. We tripled the productivity in three years.

What was funny was that we achieved this with the same number of people. The same head count. We tripled individual productivity and I fell in love with training. After that, I reflected on how strategic training can be to business productivity if it is done efficiently. Training and making people execute their tasks confidently, thereby driving adoption rates by customers, could make a critical difference.

Did you promote your company using social media?

We did a lot. In the beginning, we want to develop a basic relationship with customers regarding our core values. Now we want everybody to know about us. We found our voice and you will hear a lot from us. What we have done is to help other companies to also find their own voices.

Is your company global?

It is. We have people in 22 cities. We have a core team around 15 distributed around the world, and we have an extended team that works with us contractually. We want to stay in that size. We do consultancy, and digital marketing; anything that helps shape the market. We do anything that helps to develop the market, anything to do with digital transformation.

 May I ask you, how old are you?

I am 72. No, I am joking! I am 43.

 So are you young with a global company?

It is typical for start-ups to experience challenges, but you keep going thinking you are doing something different.We are pleased how customers reacted and to have grown so fast.

 Do you consider yourself a millennial?

I was born in the middle of this period, so I feel related to millennia. I was a gig young. What I like about millennials is making companies having more purpose and more accountability regarding doing good in the world. Giving companies a social responsibility is a central focus.

 Should companies be encouraged to use social media?

Definitely. The market is forcing everybody to do it. That shouldn’t be the only reason. What social media could do for a lot of people is help them, to find their voice. I think everybody should embrace it. What you want to know, how you want to stand out to the crowd. This is an identity thing.

Is there a difference between in social media usage between Europe and Australia?

The difference is more in style respect to the geographical market. Some people are trying to use it as social engineering, but they miss the point if they do this. They are just taking what they used to do via email and transferred the same content, but it is polluting the conversation.

Which suggestion would you give a young Italian who wants to set up his company?

You are fortunate today. We have a gig economy. The ability to start is much easier. You can have a business idea and little money but still set it up. That is exciting.My suggestion would be: You have to find something you are passionate about it. Something you are obsessed with.But you have to be realistic. The goals of the first year will be different with respect to the following years. The company takes at least three years to take off. You have to have that passion and that determination and belief to make it happen.

Did you have any problematic moments?

Yes, absolutely. I think the challenges are many: people don’t know who you are. You have to find the best talents, and employees in senior roles could ask you why so should I leave my own company and join yours.But you have to keep going and not just find something you are passionate about but something you are obsessed with, and it becomes easier. Changing the nature of social interactions is key.

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