Meet the talent: Franz Russo, blogger & digital strategist

Residence: Bologna

Position: Blogger and digital strategist

Describe a day in your life

My day is dictated by family time and work time. For work, first, I keep up to date. Keeping up with everything that happens and trying to explain it and make it understandable is an integral part of my work. For the companies I follow and for the readers who follow my blog, InTime Blog, as well as through the articles and things I write on my social channels.

How many projects are you currently working on?

At the moment, I am working on some projects that mainly see the implementation of AI in the creative process, which is challenging work because I believe the correct view is to see AI as a tool, useful for certain operations, and not as a container of our existence. The human touch and the creativity we can generate are always something unique to preserve.

In your opinion, who is the most influential person/company in the world of technology nowadays?

Look at the moment: we are experiencing a very strong interlocution with figures like Elon Musk on the scene, now increasingly exposed through X, at times unscrupulous, and figures like Sam Altman, who remains tied to AI as a tool to evolve humanity. Each is very influential in its own way, only this is in danger of turning into one big backlash. Let’s hope not.

If you could choose one existing app/product/project now that you would like to be involved in, what would it be?

I would definitely like to have a good understanding of the evolution of creative AI, especially as it relates to generating content that can be respectful of everyone. I would like there to be a great focus on framing AI as a useful tool for everyone by giving people the ability to be able to govern this phenomenon. To not be governed or encompassed by it.

How do you see the evolution of technology in the next ten years?

Technological evolution will be increasingly geared and driven by the evolution of AI. We are, in fact, just at the beginning of a phenomenon that will be increasingly pervasive and affect every field. Perhaps, a few years down the road, after a more extensive initial deployment, we will be able to understand the phenomenon better and better manage it.

What is the most challenging thing you have dealt with during your career?

First of all, being able to be able to build professionalism around what has always been a passion of mine. Namely, the world of communication. Starting a path from scratch was not easy. And then, little by little, I managed to be identified. A path full of difficulties but one that has served to grow.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Being able to collaborate with great professionals who have often been motivators, unbeknownst to them. With great companies that have given me a way to express myself. But I also answer that the greatest achievement is yet to come; I always like to see it that way.

What do you wish for yourself with respect to your career?

To still be able to think that the real big result to be achieved is always the next one, the one that is always to be achieved. So, it means always keeping the curiosity and the desire to learn high. Yeah, because this job is a continuous updating, a constant learning to give an explanation to the phenomena that come along. And therein lies the beauty.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

They are looking for a new explanation for the evolution of digital communication and social media in particular. The social media phenomenon will be increasingly fragmented, and people will turn toward increasingly intimate communication. This will have repercussions on the world of information-making and how companies communicate.

What is your next goal?

My next goal is to continue growing and learning in the digital and technology field, contributing positively to society and its people. Quoting Albert Einstein, ‘Once you stop learning, you start dying.’ My goal is to always remain curious and open to new challenges, trying to bring added value wherever I have the opportunity.

What advice do you have for people who want to get started in the world of technology?

My advice is to take the opportunity to have many tools today that were trivially not there just a few years ago. To experiment with so many formulas until you find your own way. And then to be creative, curious, and informed. It will be good for those who can make phenomena more and more understandable for everyone, which means being very prepared to see things from different points of view.

What would you say if you could say something to your younger self?

To think about always trying, because the path then one builds it piece by piece. And that it’s always worth it in the end.

What do the non-technological people around you (family, friends) think you do?

My family always struggled a bit in the beginning. Fifteen years ago, to start with a blog, to think that you could build something from nothing without having a paved road in front of you was almost crazy. But then, with time, commitment and passion, I was able to prove that that road was there.

What, in your eyes, is the invention of the century?

I know I am trite, but I think the smartphone is the invention that really made possible the revolution in communication that started in 2004. A cross and a delight of our times, there is no hiding the fact that many evolutions would have seen the light of day much later without a smartphone.

What can’t you do without? (app/product…)

Look, until recently, Twitter was the app I used the most. A source of information, a platform for sharing, and a place where I was able to build so many relationships around me and around my work. The fact that it has now become something else is very disappointing to me.

Which famous person would you like to have dinner with and why?

Staying in the Twitter world, I would like to have dinner with a person who had a lot to do with my Twitter life, and I’m talking about Barack Obama. He was my first follower. From there, I realized that maybe it was really worth engaging on that platform. But, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to add one more. I would have dinner with Elon Musk and ask him to sell X and give us Twitter back.

Where would you like to travel next?

I would like to visit tech Asia. After seeing Silicon Valley, I would like to visit the eastern part to see another technological approach.

If you were asked to stay on a desert island for six months, what three things would you take with you?

I guess there is no electricity on a desert island, so no smartphone. Then, a good book that feeds and trains the mind, a journal, and a pen to keep writing may be about wonderful worlds.

Do you have a person who influences or motivates you?

One in particular who motivates me greatly is my wife, who always has.

What did you dream of creating/inventing/doing as a child?

I always said I would travel the world and be part of a newspaper editorial staff. And I partly succeeded.

How has COVID-19 changed the way people view technological development?

Covid, as has been said many times, was a great digital accelerator. A moment when we realized that we had great potential that was partially untapped up to that moment. Everyone has to really understand what it means to use digital technology to stay in touch or to work. I think that experience, terrible for the reasons we have all seen and experienced, was a pivotal moment in understanding that digital is part of our lives and allows us, through technological innovations, to do so many more things. We need to have more confidence and also more attention.

Antonino Caffo has been involved in journalism, particularly technology, for fifteen years. He is interested in topics related to the world of IT security but also consumer electronics. Antonino writes for the most important Italian generalist and trade publications. You can see him, sometimes, on television explaining how technology works, which is not as trivial for everyone as it seems.