Remote working from the entrepreneur point of view: an interview with Francesco Fullone

While waiting for Codemotion Milan 2015 to kick in, we continue with our quick chat series with our speakers. It’s Francesco Fullone’s turn this time.

Francesco Fullone, aka fullo, is a multifaceted professional. He started his career as a PHP programmer and he was well known in Italy as a blogger ( Other than that he is one of the founder and CEO of Ideato, a writer, a speaker and president of GrUSP association and a startup mentor.

He is going to give the talk “Remote working per un imprenditore, istruzioni all’uso” (Remote working from the entrepreneur point of view, how to accomplish it ndr).

Hi Fullo, we are really happy to have you as a speaker at Codemotion Milan 2015, could you give us a quick overview about your talk?

Since it’s quite difficult to attract good developers in small cities like Cesena, from the very first years of ideato we were remote working practitioner. Having remote coworkers it’s a big challenge but it also has its good counterpart. My talk will introduce the whys, the hows and the “wtf” of being a distributed company. With some insight on the entrepreneurship approach.

What are the main challenges in managing a distributed company?

In my opinion a good company, more than seek only for profitability, has to be a great place to work. That’s why being a manager is more a job towards removing obstacles and facilitating other’s people job than managing people. But a good manager has to be always focused on the company dynamics and moods. Doing one-to-one meetings or informal chat at the coffee machine is quite difficult when your peers are 500km away from you. We have a long process to fill this gap, even more considering that we are not a product company.

You’re a well known Italian speaker and you’ve seen Codemotion grow up since the beginning. What do you like the most about Codemotion? 

It’s a nice and informal place. I love the opportunity it gives me to meet very good speakers from all over the world.

What worries you the most in the IT industry?

You don’t have enough time to polish your work and growing (even slower) steadily. I mean, the “do-measure-learn” approach is a great: it lets you mentally deal with any problem with the right focus and mindset. But from time to time you need to stop, looking back and work on how to reduce the technical debt you pile up to cope with the market. Many developers believe that writing code is like a craftsman job, but it’s not the whole story. Every 3/5 years the technology stack changes and from time to time it is like you are moving from paint to sculpture and then go back on wood crafting. It’s insane.  Not to mention the “headhunting” problem or developers retention for 6-8 months: a tech company usually spends a lot time in training its developers in order to get them into the main business domain, but at same time it doesn’t have enough time to reach the ROI because people leaves for other jobs…

What was the last song you listen to?

It depends… from 10 am to 6 pm the last Iron Maiden album (or the old but good NWOBHM) before and after those hours: (still rockin’ hard)

 With the GrUSP association you organizes several conferences in Italy, like PHPday, JSday, BetterSoftware and Kerning to name a few. If you could improve one thing in tech conferences in general, what it would be?

I’d love to see a more female presence both as attendees and speakers. I know a lot of conferences are working hard on this topic, but it is still a long way to go. And sometimes the actions needed to fulfill the tasks are in a land mined ground prone to be misunderstood or misjudged. This leads conference organisers (just remember that most of them are working for passion, not for money) to disarray, being discouraged and in fear to do anything. It’s a quite big problem for the whole industry, but I don’t have (and I don’t know where I can find) any recipe to fix it.

Yeah, we can feel your pain :). The Codemotion staff is always working hard to have more female presence attending Codemotion events. Talking about  Codemotion Milan 2015 we organized “Lab Handson: Women super code lab” , let’s see how it goes. 

Once upon a time you were well known as a tech blogger and an active opensource contributor but today you don’t code that much, don’t you miss it?

I’m still a nerd, a geek and an otaku. So I feel quite accomplished. Sometimes I write some horrible piece of code just to look at it and feel grateful to my colleagues that they don’t allow me to write any production code. I still try to contribute to the open source world with different things than coding (ie. sharing knowledge, mentoring developers and having my company contribute back on the projects we use).

What are the reasons behind this transition?

I had to choose between being a decent entrepreneur or a good developer. Being both is not feasible if you are committed to pay 20 or more salaries every month.

Other than the italian cuisine, what’s your favourite food?

I love japanese cuisine, not only the overrated/abused sushi but also ramen and okonomiyaki. Traveling a lot, I love to taste different dishes… have you ever tried a beaver’s carpaccio? In Argentina it is considered as a delicatessen :D

Thank you for the nice chat Fullo! See you at Codemotion Milan 2015!

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