Harper & Giovanni
On May 22, 2020, E4’s 18th birthday, we launched our new website. With the new solutions, reorganized contents, this blog, a style that represents us and some “bonuses” here and there .. A couple of days later I get a review that I would call peculiar but honest: (ed. original version of this article includes a screenshot of a chat in which a friend of mine raised some doubts about the job done with the team page)
Now more than 6 months have passed, which is a reasonable time for a first evaluation. Breaking the tension of the final cliffhanger: no, I was not fired.. otherwise, ça va sans dire, I would not have been able to write this article.
In the evaluations made to create that page, our Team page, and on whether or not to conceive it in that way, two fundamental elements were included, two very different inspirations, Harper & Giovanni.
Let’s start with Giovanni. Or the importance of putting your face on it. He is Giovanni Rana, who has been appearing in the commercials of his products for over thirty years. First among entrepreneurs to understand the importance of making themselves known and recognized by their customers and consumers. On the net there is a large literature on how many and what benefits this unusual choice has brought to his pasta factory with the creation of that communication way that was later defined “humanization first”
The creation of an empathetic channel with yours interlocutor is a fundamental element to create a relationship of trust and continuity. Exposing oneself to the forefront subverts the normal balance of a new acquaintance.
If the starting point is that I don’t know you and you don’t know me we are in an equilibrium state that often turns into an aseptic stalemate. Instead, putting your face on it breaks this balance and is unconsciously perceived as a positive signal. “This is me, I tell you my name and I show you my face because I believe in what I do and I have good intentions”.
Nothing more and nothing less than the dog lying on its back, exposing its belly to receive the cuddles.
Giovanni’s counter trend choice changed the fate of his company and this happened despite the relatively low level of trust he needed. The initial stumbling block to buy a pack of tortellini is low, has an affordable cost and if I really don’t like them I can throw them away without suffering a big loss and next time I’ll change brand.
For the type of product it would have been more obvious to focus on traditional loyalty programs to ensure the recurring purchase. But he understood that if the empathetic channel is established it becomes much more difficult, almost painful, to give up the tortellini of “uncle” Giovanni.
If this method has proved successful and crucial for the success of a low unit cost product, how important can it be for products and technologies that positively disrupt the operation and IT services of entire companies?
Yes! We definitely have to put our face on it!
Because behind every company, behind every more or less important role, behind every project there are always people and perceiving good empathy at first glance is fundamental. It is an element so deeply rooted in us that it leads us to see human faces even where there are none …
What about Harper?
Harper has put a hand with the “alternative” version of the Team page. The characters that are discovered with the mouse over.
Harper is Harper Reed, or the importance of not taking yourself too seriously, an American guy born in 1978 who is hard to define. Computer scientist, serial entrepreneur, innovator, certainly a unique and over the top character.
To set expectations correctly, this is on his website about 1990, when he was 12:
While this is his current profile photo on LinkedIn
Stopping here the evaluation of him would highligth a weird character who perhaps to make up for other gaps seeks visibility with unusual attitudes. After all, you see a lot of weirdos ..
Then delving into Harper’s story it turns out that something remarkable did it, presenting him in the exact same way he declared, as a kid, that he didn’t want to take himself too seriously:
Behind these 7 words lies a compelling story, the story of Project Narwhal and how information technology and innovation were crucial in Obama’s re-election process for the second term.
In that project there was a concentration of skills and technologies that it is difficult to fully imagine: data dredging, psychography, predictive analytics, herd behavior, big data. The example of how a group of nerdy hipsters made an impact on history.
Among Harper’s thoughts and quotes that can be found online there is one that I think summarizes everything else:
“The talent of a great bunch of humans can transform an organization like nothing else.”
While in another interview he explained a concept that can be summarized as: you have to be a genius to allow yourself to appear like an idiot without being one.
With due proportion, we are very good at what we do and we can indulge in the whim of being professional without being too serious.
During these months that page has become an opportunity to ease the mood at the end of demanding meetings, internal or with customers, inevitably generating laughter and the consequent releases of endorphins. It has become a useful tool for newcomers to get to know other E4 resources better and faster. People who have known each other for years in the workplace have discovered common passions outside the office.
It was commented, chatted and climbed the traffic rankings, ranking second among the most visited pages on our site, behind the homepage.
It also had unexpected effects such as explicit candidacies:
Or partnership proposals that are born on the good way:
So yes, after 6 months, I think it was a good choice.
Fun and profitable as things that mix self-irony and respect can be.