The very first UX for UMTS and the company behind it.

Milan, Italy | 1999-2002

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"We do not have the phone's specs, yet. Can you design the UI?"

In the 2000s, NTT DoCoMo and Windows Mobile began to gain market traction; NTT was deeply impactful in Japan but didn't make it in the EU. 3 Italia (formerly Andala UMTS) was founded in November 1999 was the first mobile operator to offer 3G services (UMTS), and its early phones were running Windows Mobile. When they hired AltoProfilo to design the UX/UI, they had no phones or Specs. The UMTS network was build and tested by vans with antennas on the roof and a couple of computers running emulators.

Business Case

There are moments in a person's history when everything seems possible. I first encountered a vergence of this type when I founded AltoProfilo, the first Italian UX company.

We could do it all: Experiment with interactive TV, invest in eLearning, and make the first UX for smartphones ever. We were rockstars and .com bubble's burst survivors.

Sadly when the Twin Towers collapsed in NYC, the panic wave turned off everything. 9/11 was the worst day of my life.

Role

AltoProfilo was my first entrepreneurial creature. 

  • I created AltoProfilo, the community

  • I presented the "idea" to an investment fund and got credit. 

  • I involved my two co-founders and I chosen to not be CEO or President.

  • I designer the organizational structure and set the company culture 

  • I personally hired the first 20 people, 

  • Covered the position of VP Presales and CCO, managing both the HCI team and the Creative Lab (about 50 people)

  • Got some of the most significant clients

  • First in line to talk with the press

  • Ignite the connection with the Design Academia

Impact

I shaped AltoProfilo's and the impact of this organization when much further the company's lifespan. We created something that became an example: the hero company to follow—the dream job. 
 

My impact on the company itself and the market made me famous for a few years. This company, my team, and I were projecting positive tech enthusiasm.

The novelty of our culture, organization, and freshness was revolutionary if compared with the classic IT-consultancy approach. So we had a series of impactful wins, including the Andala-H3G project. The very first smartphone ever.

I shaped this company, and the learnings I had in the making, shaped the future me.

The making of AltoProfilo

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AltoProfilo initially was a Leandro-centric company.
After a while we were able to play according to our "special" organization and run a rudimental design thinking process: Envision, Design, Deliver, Validate.

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Before becoming a for profit company, AltoProfilo was an ideal community of international and diverse internet experts. This is what, based on a simple excel I did, was funded by the most prominent Italian VC of that time.

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The one thing that represent AltoProfilo's uniqueness was the organization: the internal diversity and multidisciplinary was unprecedented (not only in Italy).

Born as bi-polar company between Boston, MA and Milano, AltoProfilo had its Tech R&D and ART&science center in Boston, lead by my co-founder and President of the Board of Directors, PhD Giuseppe Taibi.

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Milan's headquarter temporary office and early hires. N8 was the community manager. An innovative approach to B2E and HR.

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I placed UCD at the very core of AltoProfilo's values. Our academic connections and presence it the UX and IxD scenery was massive. Here is NNGroup foundation event.

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The first UMTS UX ever was our most impactful product. This is the video that won the competition for Andala/H3G.
A small piece of history in the mobile revolution age.

AltoProfilo impact resonates for years to come. This is the design Academy were I was a student. This I-Design Master course was deeply influenced by our company history and I was leading the UX practice for a few years.