As I have already written in my profile, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and lead a company dedicated to innovation; I have always felt it as a necessary step to mature, to become an adult. Someone might think it’s a risk, perhaps rightly so, but embarking on this path, exciting but not without difficulties, has been and is simply extraordinary every day, and I wouldn’t change it, despite the difficulties that still arise practically every morning, when I arrive at the office, with no one else.
Difficulties of all kinds: human, technical, bureaucratic, fiscal, and so on for a while. Being at the helm of an organization that constantly challenges the status quo, trying to embrace the new and the unfamiliar, is often tiring and complex; it’s like having to cross the Shibuya intersection in Tokyo without understanding the kanji or knowing a single word of Japanese: 大きな問題
When introducing innovation in a business environment, whether it’s your own company or a client’s company, it’s common to encounter resistance from those who prefer to maintain the status quo, and this resistance can come from both management and employees who are accustomed to operating according to established practices or who fear the uncertainty that innovation can bring. Convincing them of the need to adapt and embrace change requires not only effective communication but also empathetic and motivating leadership, and I admit that these are qualities I still need to refine, a lot. Often I realize that I just want to scream to make them understand how the introduction of this or that innovation will truly help them, but I have realized on my own skin that resilience to change increases as the pressure on the people around you increases.
After all, I’m a young CEO, not a perfect young CEO.
Let’s not even talk about financial pressures. Keeping a company at the forefront of innovation requires significant investments in research and development, technology, and human talent, and balancing the need to invest in innovation with responsible financial resource management is a delicate challenge, and it’s not easy for a young CEO to be able to navigate skillfully among these demands, ensuring that the company remains financially stable while continuing to invest in the future.
Every investment, no matter what kind, is a risk, and risk management is another crucial challenge. Innovation always involves a certain degree of risk, as new ideas are explored and new paths are taken, however, it’s vital to find the right balance between taking calculated risks and protecting the company from possible failures, and this, I can assure you, requires an accurate assessment of risks and opportunities, as well as a capacity for rapid and flexible adaptation. Finding that blessed balance sometimes simply keeps you awake at night.
However, keeping up with rapid market changes is necessary. The world is constantly evolving, with new technologies emerging, market trends changing, and new competitors entering the game, and a young CEO, like myself, should be able to anticipate and respond promptly to these changes, adjusting the company’s strategy accordingly. Easier said than done, but extremely difficult to achieve. During my tenure as CEO of Vanilla Innovations, I made significant mistakes, sometimes because I was guided by ego rather than reason, sometimes because I couldn’t recognize the right path to take, and that’s when you find yourself standing in the middle of Shibuya, looking around for enlightenment that never comes.
“Do you want to know the difference between a master and an apprentice? The master has made many more mistakes than the beginner has attempted,” said Master Yoda, so all that remains for me is to move forward, make mistakes, understand the error committed, and improve until I succeed.