The reference point in digital strategy and social media communication.
They gave him every nickname out of the ones that are used to describe someone exceptional. Phenomenon, guru, genius, king of Facebook. Whatever the name, it came with a word of mouth that spread quickly in very different environments over the ten-plus years during which Roberto Esposito established himself as one of the reference points in the field of digital strategy and social media communication.
How did your story start?
I could romanticize things and say that I had the typical hotbed of ideas: a college room and many entire nights dedicated to turning them into something real. The first stop was a blog followed by about 160 thousand users a day, when the web was a thing for nerds, and you could count online users on one hand. Then social media came along, and I immediately understood that not only would they change every paradigm we had known before, but that they were and would be a very powerful means to connect, communicate, attract people’s attention, and aggregate them around actions or thoughts. So, I thought about achieving a Guinness World Record: I think in terms of challenges – for me, the harder it is, the easier it is. I worked on it for three months with a specially designed strategy. In a short time, I was at the center of attention: I was called by Greenpeace with a similar goal and by America’s Cup World Series to gather new enthusiasm around the competition. We reached almost two million people during the regattas in Italy.
You are a motivator for people, or better, for communities.
Let’s say I could have been one, but I chose not to invest on myself and, instead, create something that was of value to others. Only one step away from my degree in aerospace engineering, I put my thesis aside to create a startup: at the crossroads between influencer and entrepreneur, I chose the latter. DeRev was born as a crowdfunding platform, because raising funds means nothing more than gathering many people around a project. A natural extension of the Guinness Record. Then, I took social media head on, rationalizing my insights into procedures, and today we are one of the most reliable digital boutiques for brands, institutions, and companies looking for a single point of reference, capable of controlling often-complex operations, all happening on several channels, and all connected to their guiding principles, both in commercial terms and in terms of values.
Speaking of values, we know you care a lot about that.
It’s true. I am 36 years old, and I belong to what I would like to be a generation of human and ethical entrepreneurs. I strongly wanted DeRev to have a manifesto that focused on value on a personal level, as well as on a professional one. We refuse to work with people who let inequalities slide, because we do not want to amplify trends or actions that pollute our digital ecosystem: “our work, inside and outside DeRev, is made up of relationships built on respect for the opinions, sensitivities, and uniqueness of each individual”. I also apply this approach to my employees: I want them to feel good, to feel appreciated and stimulated. As I said, I like challenges, but I think that putting extreme pressure on people and generating a climate of constant stress does not mean raising the bar to produce more, on the contrary, it is a real lack of respect.
Crowdfunding, social media, now the metaverse. Do your choices foresee the popularity of virtual reality?
I launched Alterside in June, a Metaverse Agency that replicates our digital agency model and applies it to the virtual world. In recent years I have carefully observed a frenzied succession of innovative ideas and global attempts, typical of a sector that, when it transforms, does so at the speed of light. When the idea of the metaverse returned – because it is certainly not its first time – I had no doubts. Exactly as happened with social media, paradigms will change again, adding a third dimension in which users and companies will have to position themselves, with their own identity. Being there from the get-go will determine our ability to be a trend-setter or a trend-follower. We need to make our choice.