Christian Gaston: a charismatic man with an interesting life that brought him back and forth between Argentina, his country of origin (as we can tell by his accent), and Italy, the country where he was able to reach his personal and professional goals. Founder and CEO of iLoby.
Christian, your life seems to have been characterized by a series of apparently random events that have led you to achieve your dreams dreams and develop important projects. Do you believe in fate?
I was born in Argentina and, at the age of 6, I arrived in Italy, where my mother had moved for work.
I lived in Milan, but I traveled a lot, always appreciating and loving this country that always impresses me for the beauty of its cities and its ability to surprise me with new and wonderful perspectives every time.
My family was worried about all the changes in my life: a new school, a new language to learn, a foreign country so far away from home.
But everything came easily: after a very short time, I had made many friends at school, I was happy.
After the second year of middle school I returned to Argentina, where I lived with my grandmother, I completed my studies and I graduated from Law school.
I thought that my life would follow a precise plan: I would become a lawyer and live in Buenos Aires.
Instead, one day, I decided to accompany a friend who wanted to participate in a casting for a reality show: I tried it too, just for fun, and I was asked to get on the show.
I stayed there for 12 months, learning a lot about what happens on TV, the world of PR and sponsorships, and the rules of communication.
After the show, I was a co-host for a fashion program, then I came back to Italy to interview interesting people like Javier Zanetti, José Mourinho, Eros Ramazzotti …
I believe that nothing happens by chance, even if most of the time we can only see the path that led us in a certain direction by looking at it in hindsight, once everything has already happened.
How did your passion for the world of communications start?
My choices have always been inspired by a phrase that my grandmother told me and that has guided me throughout my entire life: fortune favors the bold, so just go for it!
This way of thinking has really become part of me, it’s what allowed me to try different professional experiences and to start projects that could seem risky.
Relating to people comes easily for me, perhaps it is a natural gift that I have managed to turn into a job.
Tell us about iLoby.
iLoby started in Buenos Aires: our idea was to offer hotel guests a personalized concierge service that could help them discover the best shows, events and restaurants to choose during their stay in the city.
I had just returned to Argentina to visit my sick grandfather: a long journey, 34 days by ship to avoid taking the plane because – I admit it – I am a little afraid of flying.
I thought that I would definitely settle there, start my career as a lawyer, set up a family, reconnect with the same old friends.
It’s thanks to my friends and my staff that I have created iLoby: we wanted to choose a name that reminded us of our idol, Steve Jobs, hence the i; and Loby is a word that, in Argentina, means networking, sharing experiences.
Around the same time, I started to host a program on Radio Palermo, an Argentine national radio station, and became more and more convinced that my ability to develop relationships and empathize with people could really become my job.
iLoby is a project that you have also brought to Italy, albeit with some differences compared to the pilot. Why did you decide to return?
I missed Milan, its energy, the unique kind of magic that this city has and that manages to make things happen, as if the city itself was an accelerator of ideas.
I came back after selling the iLoby project in Argentina, but I maintained the ownership of the brand, and I decided to develop a tool that would help create real networking opportunities, allowing people to meet and get to know each other.
We’re not competing with social networks, on the contrary, we complement them.
In a short amount of time, we started to organize events for major brands, developing both a marketing and networking platform and a brand awareness tool.
How important is it to have relationships and good references in order to succeed?
It does count a lot. The most important thing, however, is my personal commitment to explaining that every idea can be achievable with dedication and collaboration, hence our hashtag #insiemesiamopiùforti (together we are stronger).
Together, like a real team. Speaking of team, are you passionate about football?
Can you be Argentinian and not love football? It is a sport that unites people, regardless of social status, age or gender barriers. Watching a match live is definitely an unique feeling: your emotions are amplified by the collective experience. You forget everything that is happening or has happened outside the stadium, you live intensely for 90 minutes.
Attending a game at the Bombonera, in Buenos Aires, really moves me: the stadium almost vibrates with the public, the same thing that happens in San Siro.
What are your next projects?
iLoby is always on the move, with a creative energy that, I hope, will soon lead to a broader range of action on different communication channels.