Lifelong Learner Series: Giulia Locatelli
Changing careers and learning on the go featuring Giulia Locatelli, co-founder of Daryus.
After years spent working at one of the most creative and awarded advertising agencies in the world (BETC), Giulia switched gears, became an entrepreneur and founded Daryus, alongside Isabelle-Postel-Vinay.
Daryus is a content management SaaS that already counts Monoprix and Yves Delorme as clients since its inception in 2019.
Here, Giulia tells us more about her learning journey:
Tell us about your career path and how you ended up being an entrepreneur?
When I worked in advertising, I was always suggesting new innovations outside the scope of the project. For example, a Nespresso-like machine for baby formula or a platform to streamline a luxury brand’s licensing system. I even worked on a start-up that reimagined gallery space for contemporary artists!
After a while, I started to rethink the direction I wanted to take in my career. I had the opportunity to join my mother’s company but it was important that I did this on my terms. I wanted to ensure that there would be meaning in what I was doing...and more importantly, what I was creating. I noticed that all the brands I had worked with had very similar pain points and I wanted to build a solution for this. This required a pivot from the initial technology the company was providing. That’s when Daryus was born.
What was the most difficult part?
When you walk into a client meeting coming from an agency renowned for its quality of services and the efficiency of its employees, credibility doesn’t have to be proven and attention is granted. When you are unknown, you have to build everything from scratch. Especially your credibility.
What is the best advice you ever got?
Two key phrases: “We learn by falling” and “alone we go faster, together we go further.”
The first one helps me remember that I shouldn’t stay in my comfort zone for too long. Fear of failure has definitely inhibited me and is still scary but I try to remember that without failure, we cannot have success. In application, I try to go towards things that scare me.
The second tip reminds me to always surround myself with the right “team”. For me, this is a group of people that has a part in defining a clear and irrefutable goal. I love the chemistry created in a tight-knit group where everyone is passionate about where we are going. For this one to be applied, I try to inspire a collaborative mindset where everyone can express themselves on all subjects, especially the ones they own. I also assign tasks based on personal objectives, because people are more committed when they feel understood.
What are your sources of everyday inspiration?
I have a lot! Right now I’m into founders like Jean-Charles Samuelian, the co-founder of Alan, and established founders like Ben Horowitz, but also people that think outside the box like Tim Ferris. I also look up to great businesswomen like Arianna Huffington and others who are representative of my generation like Kim Kardashian. People make fun of her but certainly don’t recognize her impact on the workforce or how profitable her business is.
The person that you learned the most from (professionally or personally).
I was lucky to have had incredible bosses at BETC so it’s too difficult to choose just one!
Nathalie Jacquier who helped me get started, Marielle Durandet and Marina Zuber who always supported and challenged me, Dominique Vérot and Brune Buonomano who taught me to go further...
And I would also say my partner and mother, Isabelle Postel-Vinay, who teaches me how to run a business everyday and who helps me see the bigger picture when I get stuck in the weeds.
Tell us about your daily rituals and mantras?
I start my day with two hours of deep learning (reading a book, online training etc.).
My mantra is a quote by René Char: “try your luck, aim for happiness and go towards risk.”
What are your favorite podcasts?
Lots of podcasts about entrepreneurship!
GrowthMakers, Generation Do It Yourself, Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham, Generation XX, Radio Château during quarantine, and Traçable, because it’s my podcast ;) (the idea, not the voice….professional journalists bring it to life).
How do you incorporate learning into your life?
I am constantly trying to “skill up” on my industry and understand the changing needs of my business (UX design, sales, growth etc.).
Since I can’t always recruit the talent I need, I have to train myself to do the job. When I do recruit people, it’s important for me to have a certain threshold of knowledge to be able to source appropriately. This requires continuous learning.
The thing you learned that surprised you the most?
Wanting to work too much can lead to a loss of efficiency.
The last book you read?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.
Most inspiring words?
Resilience, audacity and cunning.
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