Yesterday I attended the third Venice Sessions event. It is an event promoted by Telecom Italia and held at their Future Centre in Venice. Spectacular location. The invitation by Telecom Italia to attend the event was the main reason for my last European trip, although as usual I packed the trip with a million of other things...
The topic was "Technology and modern art". Very interesting, because if there is something Italians are famous for, that is art (ok, ok, for the Garfields out there... pizza is a close second). In particular when you are talking about that topic inside that building inside that city... Art is everywhere, even overwhelming at times.
At first, I was a bit puzzled. Why was I there? Why did they invite me? I sell software for mobile phones, I had little in common with most of the speakers, beside personal interest. When the museum people were talking about paintings, exhibitions, modern art, I was just listening in awe. They were speaking a language I barely understood. I felt way out of my league.
And then, along the day, someone started talking about creativity.
Boom, lights on.
I always talk about Italy as the perfect spot for high tech innovation, software in particular. My usual argument is that software is pure creativity, a fine product of the brain. That Italians are masters of creativity, from paintings to sculptures to fashion to design to clothing to furniture to food. That software is just another representation of creativity, that is in the country DNA (in kilos). It is what made Italy a success worldwide, for centuries. Italians are meant to build great software.
I then realized, with the microphone in my hand, that software is actually a form of modern art. I realized that software developers are modern artists.
I always insisted to call my guys software designers, instead of developers, because they deserve to be considered at the same level of clothes designers, or architects: people that are known to be cool. Software design has not been considered cool in Italy. But it should, because it is a form of art. Artists are cool. And software developers are artists.
And now that makes me an art dealer, I guess.
Looks what happens when you listen to smart people in a beautiful place: you walk in as a software salesman, you walk out with a sense a coolness.