Somebody who gives old, (seeming) useless stuff a new purpose spreads happiness.
The L2C Interview: Federico Parli of GiftMe App
By Chris Oestereich
I had the good fortune to connect with Federico Parli last week. He's the CEO of a unique, new organization that aims to help people repurpose goods that they no longer use. The GiftMeApp will make it easy to “advertise” out-of-use goods, and for others to find and put them back to good use. If you’re like me, there’s a corner of your garage (or basement) that’s begging for this opportunity.
In speaking with Federico, I was reminded of an idea I had been meaning to share. We hear a lot about the "sharing economy," but the concept is ill-defined. I thought a simple 2x2 might help others see how I look at this. The X-axis is a continuum from sharing (where tech helps people to actually loan things out or give them away) to facilitating (where tech facilitates transactions). I find the latter of these two to be a bit of an impostor in the sharing economy, but that's a path we'll go down on another day . . . . The Y-axis looks at whether the tech is being used as to create value for its users, or whether it's been created in the interest of extracting value.
I'm happy to report that from what I've seen, the GiftMeApp is set to perform well in along both of these lines.
CO: Federico, what's the GiftMeApp for?
FP: GiftMeApp allows people to gift anything they do not want or need anymore. Whether it’ s a broken chair or a mulfunctioning keyboard, it doesn’t matter, there will always be someone able to give a second life to an apparently useless object. it seems easy, but there’s a bigger purpose behind this. GiftMeApp will contribute to building the foundation to a better environment, by simply having people reducing the bulky trash our society produced everyday. Only 20 years ago, people were fixing their things before throwing them out, people were affectionate to their stuff which was passed down through generations. Apparently today, there’s an better solution…"It's broken, I'll just buy a new one”. Pretty simple isn’t it? In reality, this behaviour encourages to give up at the first difficulty, without even without realizing the true potential of our stuff. We want to show the world that old and broken doesn't necessarily mean useless, we want to show the world that old and broken doesnt mean useless, it means opportunity!
CO: How is it different from other sharing economy apps?
FP: We strive towards rebuilding human connection through the most romantic gesture of all: the gift! Having no shipping involved, but true human interaction, we aim at abolishing the loneliness and contactlessness that digital age has created. We do not blame Social Networks, this would be absurd. Social Networks are amazing, having people from one side of the world talking together, sharing pictures, events, emotions…this is just fantastic and this is exactly the purpose behind every Social Network, but truth be told it alienates close friends, making them seem that much further away, maybe even when sitting a couple of rows away on the same train. What we want is to create a People Network that makespeople come together: Meet and Gift, this is the purpose of our App.
CO: What made you want to build it?
FP: My team and I had a vision of people coming together once again. We’re not late in making something good for the world. We do believe in human beings and we do believe that, thanks to the technology we have, the world can be a better place. Let’s start sharing happiness, we’ll give you the tool to do it: use it!
As I said, people give up way to easily. We want to counteract that. Somebody who gives old, (seemingly) useless stuff a new purpose spreads happiness, which can be received and shared by the people who gifted the material. Spreading happiness is easier than thought. Here is a simple tool that will help with this. And all together will strongely contribute to building a better world.
CO: I recently read an article by George Monbiot which suggests that loneliness is tearing society apart. Your app seems to be designed to help combat that. Can you talk a little about that?
FP: A sentence in this article really caught my attention: "We are shaped, to a greater extent than almost any other species, by contact with others."
Let’s try to put this in other words: we could not make it on our own, this is a fact, not a theory! The illusion of having profound and real friendships in a world, the web, that per se does not exist , has made us lazier than in every other age. Meeting someone is hard work. It’s a commitment: you need to find time, look for a common topic to build up a conversation, establish a rapport and, most of all, keep it. Social Networks are able to give this illusion and are therefore so successful, “it’s a kind of magic” which they own and we wrongly assume ours. By creating a People Network based on one common topic with infinite ramifications such as a gift could have, we give people a base line for the above. A gift has its own story to tell and so the person who gifts the object, therefore, as you see, GiftMeApp is the “Kickstarter” for any type of conversation. Meet&Gift, this is what we’re shaped for!
CO: I know you're planning a crowdfunding event through IndieGogo. Can you tell me what the goal is there?
FP: Our campaign “GiftMeApp - Meet for a Sustainable World” started on the 30th of October on Indiegogo. The Crowdfunding Campaign is our way to receive the funds we need to create the first version of GiftMeApp for Android and iOS. Going on Indiegogo is a challenge which will help us understand how people feel about our idea, how people feel about an App that contributes to a better world.
We’re well aware of the fact that not everyone could donate money. There’s a lot everyone can do: by spreading the word, post our Campaign on Social Networks, talk about GiftMeApp at a bar or in a chat. Every person that tells a friend who tells another friend helps us making GiftMeApp a reality.We want to be ready to launch the App just before Christmas, the perfect time to promote gifting! The perfect time to start spreading happiness!
We want to make the world a better place, by sharing this article you will contribute to that, it would be the first step to help us. Every person makes a difference, everyone wants this difference.
CO: What advice would you give to someone who is just getting started with a startup, or maybe someone who is thinking about it?
FP: I prefer to use the word “guideline” instead of advice actually, I’m not in the position to give any advice but what I can suggest is pretty simple: Motivate Yourself! Start with your own motivation, get to know yourself, your limits and break them, one at a time. Stay simple, take time, be happy and most of all, be aware that what you’re doing or planning to do won’t be your job, it will be your passion. Start here and you’ll gain a different perspective. Learn the ability to turn negative into positive and share this attitude to the entire world. Make people feel your passion.
To be more “concrete” what really matters is a plan. Get organized, put everything you need to know about your idea on a table and start to give it a structure setting priorities and daily goals. Time doesn’t run against you, you can decide how fast it goes, it depends on you at the end. Stick to your plan, respect your deadlines and don’t let yourself say: “I’m running out of time”.
Choose your team and keep in mind that you can’t do everything, the ability to delegate will make you feel better and stronger but most of all, will make your team feel safer because they can rely on someone who’s able to trust and see the skills of everybody involved. As you see, self motivation only leads to team motivation. I also want to say that, whatever your startup is, believe in it, the only thing that can stop you is yourself!
CO: Federico, thanks for taking time out to share with us. I wish you and the whole GiftMeApp team great success!
If you’d like to learn a bit more about the organization, this short video “Meet for a Sustainable World” gives a nice overview of the project.
Chris Oestereich is a divergent thinking radical intrapreneur who devises and implements viable, circular business systems.