Growing up from “people” to “team”

Giovanni Zennaro

Giovanni Zennaro

Jan 26, 2015 · Calculating...

On 23 January 2012 my longtime friend Matteo Montolli and I decided to make it official, so we signed the papers to establish Moze.

Before that date I had been working as a freelance photographer for three years, often traveling to the Middle East while Matteo was studying Literature at the University of Padua and becoming a self-taught web designer.

Since I was in the creative field, every now and then someone would ask me if I could create some graphics or websites. Wanting to offer them solutions, I would reach out to my designer friends for help. Most of the times Matteo was the one to accept these jobs.

Little by little these side jobs began to take our time away from photography and Literature studies. We realized that being a photographer and a teacher was not the only career option for us. We came to a fork in the road where we had to decide which path to follow: web design seemed to be a great opportunity and so we decided to take the risk.

Two significant facts

After founding Moze we moved to Milan looking for new opportunities. After some time doing sub-contracting work for communication agencies, three significant things happened:

  1. We worked for the large Italian media company Mondadori Group, where we met Sergio Panagia who was working as Operations Manager for digital projects and he was supervising our work;
  2. We met Matteo Colò just as he was starting a company now called Wanderio. It was the start of a close partnership and a great friendship.
  3. We moved our office inside Talent Garden, the major co-working network in Italy. It was the best place to build a professional network in the Italian digital industry.

Meanwhile we acquired new clients. I was always saying “yes” to them, despite the projects were sometimes too complex or overwhelming for Matteo, who was working alone.

Overbooking

After one year we had more work than we could possibly do. In order to increase our productive capacity we tried to build a network of freelancers, which simply didn’t work out: it could not provide the same quality standard and effectiveness our clients expected from us.

So the solution was obvious: we had to build a real company. First, we needed someone with technical and organizational skills that could share responsibilities with us. In June 2013, after a long period of negotiations, Sergio Panagia joined Moze as a partner and Chief Technical Officer.

From “people” to “team”

Since then, we were a small group of highly skilled friends and professionals, working hard to create beautiful, modern websites: it was exciting, but it had no direct impact on our clients’ business.

Our main goal, however, was to use our skills to serve our clients in developing digital business projects, deeply understanding their business model and goals in order to create real user-centered products. This was only possible by building strong internal processes, design culture and sharing the same vision inside our company: we understood this was the only way to transform a group of highly skilled professionals into a solid and reliable team.

We understood that design and technology processes are inseparable if you want to build a high quality product. We had to invest simultaneously in both skills, and so we did.

We specialized in Ruby on Rails and WordPress to develop applications and websites. We had to learn how to manage ourselves adopting the Agile methodology and convince our clients to stick with us. We traveled around Italy and abroad looking for inspiration and trying to learn from the best professionals in the industry. Above all, we sought out and found all the great people to build the team we have today.

It’s time to give back

We have done and learned a lot so far, but we forgot to talk about our journey and all the short stories in between.
Now it’s time for us to give back, sharing our experience. This is what we will try to do from today on. Stay tuned.

Sincerely,
Giovanni





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