From Sicily to Milan: the computer engineer with a passion for wine

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Agricoltura digitale, Agricoltura digitale, xfarm people

Daniele, what do you do in xFarm? 

I am Head of IT, so I am responsible for the development of the xFarm web app and mobile app. My number one priority is to understand xFarm‘s mission by interacting with other teams, in particular with the “product” team, and to achieve these goals from an IT point of view. In short, developing a product that respects the vision. 

What is your background? How was the transition to xFarm? 

I am Sicilian and I studied computer engineering in Catania, then I moved to Milan for work. I have been with xFarm since April 2020. Before, I worked for a consulting firm. It was a different environment, but getting feedback from users, employees or farmers, has always been a constant. I have always liked working on a product that must satisfy hundreds of thousands of people. Agriculture is a different sector but I can continue to do what I like. 

What led you to work in xFarm? From a consultancy firm you moved to a very different company, which was very small at the time … 

I liked the idea of having many end users and I was looking for a product company, but above all for the vision: to bring innovation to agriculture. Combining engineering with a more “traditional” sector. Back then xFarm was a small but revolutionary reality, where I therefore had the opportunity to make even more of a difference. 

The aspect that most fascinated me was the possibility of actively contributing to building a more sustainable world. In this sense, making a revolution in agriculture is a real challenge. As a computer scientist, I felt I could make a tangible contribution to sustainability – which is then reflected in the lives of all of us. And then, there is the viticulture part that I am very passionate about … 

…Viticulture? Tell us more!  

I have a passion for wine, in my free time I study and take exams on wine tasting; it’s a passion that has allowed me to combine my passion with my profession even more. When I work on the viticulture module, I can look at tasks and issues both as an engineer and as an enology enthusiast.

A great combination… 
How’s a day in your life? 

The day starts with coffee and meetings with the IT team, to share and align on the objectives. If there are any problems or impediments, we try to solve them. We also discuss the priorities to focus on. 

During the day I discuss with the managers of other teams (sales, product, marketing). Sometimes I go talk to potential customers or partners. However, I must also remain available for my team in case we need to make strategic decisions or to validate choices and understand how to move forward. 

How’s the work environment? 

In two words: young and dynamic. Young because we are all almost same age – although some colleagues are also much younger than me. Dynamic because we are always on a runnig train: every day there are new challenges and new inputs. We must therefore be reactive and ready to face them. 

What was your first task in xFarm? 

My first task was to develop a new PRO module: the Operational Management module. It’s a module designed to allow large companies and cooperatives to easily control hours worked, machinery and more. It was useful for me to understand the complexity of xFarm and to know its functionality and extension. 

On a technological level, why do you think xFarm stands out from its competitors? 

Because we do not place limits on the application of new technologies. In this way, we can exploit the power of innovation. If there is a new technology, the team is ready to test it. We are always up to date with the latest developments and willing to experiment with new solutions. 

The craziest moment since you started? 

A few months ago we decided to go on a road tour – the xRoad. From Milan to Salerno by car, crossing Italy, we visited several customers and went to the field to see how the product is used under the sun and in the dust. During the day we got our hands dirty and kept finishing works at the hotel. A nice moment of team building. 

And the strangest place you’ve worked from? 

I once had to program while riding a tractor. We were testing a function for the interconnection of different machines. 

Ok, but with or without air conditioning? 

Luckily, the tractor had air conditioning. 

Can you tell us about an aspect of your work that you particularly appreciate? 

When I can see how the product grows and people grow with the product, then I’m satisfied. I believe that a product does not grow by itself but that the people who work on it must grow together with it. It means that we are doing well on a professional level but that we are also making the whole team evolve. 

And a particularly challenging task? 

The main challenge is one of the side effects of dynamism. Being able to balance the amount of ideas we have at stake and at the same time make mental and organizational order. Being able to manage the pressures that come from every area. Giving the right amount of attention to every aspect and not being overwhelmed by the various projects. 

What do you see in the future of xFarm? And in your future? 

In the future of xFarm I see great things: in just two years I have already seen it growing from 10 to 70 employees, and I foresee even greater growth. I’ve seen a lot so far and I expect to see even more. 

As for my future, I see myself with xFarm: I am proud of the work I do and I see myself more and more involved in this ecosystem. I’m hoping to always be able to give my best. 

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