Build a Plane and Fly to Sicily
Every time I’m low on hopes and energy with my company or my book, I think about that guy that builds planes for his wife and bang! I’m back on track.
So, as Mondays are typically low energy days, I’d like to share this story with, to reassure you: If you’re inspired—no one can stop you.
Giorgio’s atelier. Or is it a hangar? Can you see the wing of that airplane in the lower left corner?
Never Underestimate an Artist
This summer I made a trip to Italy with my Japanese family, so they could meet and bond with the Italian side. Part of the idea was to introduce everyone to everyone. My grandfather in Italy took that literally and made me drive all around northern Italy to introduce my new family to all of his friends.
After a hot and tiring day, all we could think of was Beer and Pizza, yet my grandfather wanted to visit “just one more friend. He makes sculptures. Italian art. That’s interesting for the Japanese, come on!” I knew they guy. He made these plaster copies: Davide, Venus, baroque and antique kitsch. Being the prick that I am, I made the rather-not-face.
Grandfather: “COME ON!”
Me: “Okay then, let’s do that as well.”
Who would have guessed what happened next.
My Grandfather’s friend, we might as well call him Giorgio, seemed a little bit annoyed at first.
Grandpa: “Hey, I thought you might wana show your stuff.”
Giorgio: “That’s not a good time. I’m building this plane form my wife, she wants to fly down to Sicily and…”
Me: “YOU ARE BUILDING WHAT?”
Italian is my second language and yes, it’s become a little rusty here in Japan, but I really felt like I didn’t understand. My Japanese family was getting all nervous because they thought, I’m picking a fight with him shouting like that. So I had to translate. They seemed even more scared after I translated what the guy was up to.
Giorgio: “Yeah, I’m building a plane. What’s wrong with that?”
Me: “Why are you building a plane and how can you do that?”
Giorgio: “Wana fly down to Sicily with my wife in autumn. It’s not my first plane, of course.”
Me: “I am sorry, but I don’t believe you. Can we see this plane?”
He still seemed kind of annoyed, but as I can read my Italian fellows I know that inside this is exactly what he wanted. You have to see it to believe it:
Giorgio: “No joke, no toy, my friend. This baby is going to fly smooth like a jet plane. So far I built four very different planes. My second one was the best. Once I flew over the Alps to Geneva and I could see the Matterhorn from above like a bird. Of course, the current one here is going to be the best.”
And here is his inspiration. What’s he really planning there?
This is what he does for a living. Giorgio:
Being around Italian art all day long is inspiring. It makes you wana fly… How can I look at Michelangelo’s work all day long and then go home and watch that junk on TV? So this is what I do in my free time. It keeps me busy.
From left to right: My mother in law, Giorgio and me. Giorgio: “This little one here only gets you to Florence. Not very exciting. I’m selling it. Do you fly?”
So to all of you who think I’m out of line when I say that I expect a mail from Steve Jobs because I’d like to know his opinion about this and Jakob Nielsen, because I’d like to hear his opinion about my 100%E2R concept: I don’t care if you think I’m out of line. I have Giorgio on my side.
UPDATE: Actually Jakob Nielsen left a comment that very day.Ð