citizen michele

Posted on January 10, 2006



shortcut talks to michele ridolfo, business consultant and inveterate traveler 


So what are Italians contributing to the European Union besides Berlusconi?

Berlusconi? Only a (negative) episode in a much longer history – Italy’s contribution goes far beyond: pizza, mafia, mandolini, but also a special taste for beauty that nobody will have be able to match!
Best thing about being Italian?

The fact that business people sometimes make fun at you (Berlusconi, Parmalat, lazy, ….), but women never…(the previous answer only to help you make fun of me in case we ever meet!)

Italy’s political and economic road has been bumpy lately, is it really all Berlusconi’s fault?

Italy is a poor country full of rich people – and that’s the good and the bad of Italian economic situation: too many constraints and low incentives too innovate and take risks. Berlusconi did not live up to his promises (and to his "contract with Italian people"), but he was only the last of a long list of ineffectual politicians.
And when you are elected and kept in power by the same people/power that you should fight and reform what else can you expect? But in the end who cares? As long as I can eat at Nobu, driving there with my new BMW and wearing my new Gucci suit (and get tax breaks like they were mail-in rebates…)
You’re a consultant at BCG, you were educated in the US – what made you return to Europe?

I  wish I knew it…I spent some of my best years in New York, but then I was "on vacation" and working there is a different matter at all – we have 25 days of paid vacation in Italy and if I could I would love to have even more days off!

Milan is one of the most polluted cities in the world – what does it compensate with? And why do the Milanese roll their "r"s like the French?

Being 2 hours from the beach and even less from the ski slopes?  On Milanese people, you can easily live here and not have to meet them at all if you want.

Watching Italian televised debates one gets the feeling everyone is screaming at everyone else – do you get a lot of shouting from your italian clients or is it all just theatrics?

I thought that screaming (in public) was a Spanish thing…let’s just say it rarely happens and if it does maybe they are right at doing so!

Somerset Maugham wrote that Southerners are in fact much more pragmatic than Northerners – do you agree?

If being pragmatic means to know how to navigate through uncrtain waters and where not all the rules are written, I could not agree more. If instead it means that we are the best lovers… (please see answer to question 2)