#ValuableDiversity (Interview Series) -Ep. 5 – Spanish Guitar
Introducing you to interesting people around the world
Meet Dario Piana
Key Account Executive, Mentor, Song writer (Guadalajara, Mexico)
Today’s guest is an interesting man, who loves people and is very fond of the concept of diversity, coming from Latin America. I feel, therefore, the need to share a few interesting facts about birth place, before sharing his answers.
Mexico is one of the most welcoming countries when it comes to visitors. Family, respect to elders and faith define the existence of every individual. Another interesting fact is that Mexico uses 4 time zones, as well as being the country which introduced corn, chili, Caesar Salad and chocolate to the world.
Guadalajara, the city where Mr. Dario Piana resides in, is also called the “home of mariachi music”, thus we can very well understand his passion for writing songs and delighting people with them. September 15th is dedicated to celebrating the “Charro and Mariachi Day”. In 2005, Guadalajara was named The American Capital of culture, due to population’s interest in large-scale cultural events (such as Guadalajara International Film Festival and the Guadalajara International Book Fair).
My interaction with Mr. Piana was full of gratitude and joy. Also, due to the recent events in my life, I can wholeheartedly state that he is a supportive, warm and an innate helper. To exemplify this, at the end of the interview, you will find a little surprise: a text he considered to help me in these moments. And I tell you, these are the most heart melting, eye opening and emotional words I’ve ever had the chance to come across.
With no further ado, let me introduce you to his unique way of being…***
1. Good day, Mr. Piana. As this series is dedicated to knowing the human behind the professional, please tell us a bit about yourself. What is the first thing you let show to a new connection/ acquaintance?
Hello Andrada! Thank you for the opportunity.
I suppose one of the first things a new connection/acquaintance might notice is that I enjoy thoughtful and thought-provoking posts, articles, videos and conversations. I’ll happily participate in civil and respectful discussions about a wide variety of subjects.
2. As an individual who is passionate about human behavior, what is the most important aspect that particularly draws you into knowing people?
I am fascinated by the differences in our interpretations of reality. Since I was a very young kid, I remember, for example, wondering whether what we all call “blue” was really the same color to all of us. I wondered, and still do, about how smaller or larger-size beings experience the passage of time. So, in short, I am fascinated by how people see the world and what purpose they find in life.
3. I am curious about the way you perceive diversity. Does it come natural to you, due to your roots?
I perceive diversity as a multi-faceted concept.
As a kid, growing up in Mexico involved a very definite and visible diversity of cultures. However, it was also a somewhat limited diversity. The fact that we were growing up in a culture that was a combination of Spanish and Aztec was obvious. French influence was also evident. US culture, through movies, music and products, was also making its mark.
“Since I was a very young kid, I remember wondering whether what we all call “blue” was really the same color to all of us.”
Only after I had traveled extensively did I realize that there was relatively little as far as food, music or culture from Africa, the Middle East or Asia, for example, particularly when compared to the US or Canada. Even today, finding good Thai food in Guadalajara (Mexico’s second-largest city) is a challenge. In my experience, the more diverse a city is, the more rich its food, art, music and culture become.
4. How did diversity influence your existence? Can you reveal pros and cons? Are there any?
I was very fortunate in that, while my family was not rich, my parents did place a high premium on providing us with a high-quality, multi-cultural education. The fact that I had access to books and all kinds of publications and material from a variety of countries, that I was raised in a bilingual environment and that I had classmates from all over the world was clearly a positive influence for me. It gave us all a wider vision, teaching us the value of individuality and to consider subjects from a worldwide perspective, while seeking to understand a variety of local customs and conditions.
5. Your LinkedIn profile displays a new ventures’ explorer. What drives you into the unknown?
Business and climbing are both adventures, each fraught with its own risk. My desire to explore is an expression of a need to know myself, to grow and understand reality. A man never conquers a mountain, only his own weakness, ignorance and fear.
6. You have “LinkedIn Recognized Expert” listed on your profile? How can you enlarge this? </[>
A few weeks ago, I received a notification saying that LinkedIn recognized me as an expert in my field. It also asked if I’d be willing to mentor others and give career advice, to which I replied positively. I’ve had the opportunity to help a few people with their job search and offering career advice. It’s truly rewarding to be able to help others.
7. You also mentioned that you were interested in collaborations for bringing a new wind of change. Before someone contacts you, what can you tell about this? What would be the impact?
I am working on three very exciting, highly scalable and highly disruptive projects. Each would have a major impact if brought to market.
One will bring to market proprietary software that interprets people’s emotions by analyzing webcam video of their faces. This has all kinds of applications in fin-tech, security, customer service, etc.
The second is a platform that would help people easily find authentic home-cooked food whenever they travel. This would reduce food waste, which is a major problem, while allowing travelers to save money on meals.
The third is a project to reduce shipping costs and fuel consumption through technology, which could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic and, hopefully, accidents.
8. Wow, that’s really impressive! And I wish you all the luck in achieving your goals! So, looking a bit into your work area… How does the B2B sector that you work in combine with mariachi music? How does music influence your day to day activity? And what are the activities that help you relax after a day of hard work?
The sectors in which I’m involved professionally are not directly related to mariachi music, or any other music, really. However, music is an important part of our daily activity, particularly in the construction sector. During their lunch and other breaks, workers typically enjoy listening to music, usually “banda”, “mariachi” or “ranchera”, but also “cumbias”, “salsa” and even, occasionally, classic rock. In the restaurant industry, creating the right ambiance includes selecting the most appropriate music, too.
“A man never conquers a mountain, only his own weakness, ignorance and fear.”
After a day of hard work, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, whether we share a meal, a cup of coffee or just some conversation. Playing guitar is also one of my favorite pastimes and perfect for a short break during the week. I meditate and practice Tai Chi regularly. If I need an even stronger dose of relaxation, I’ll go climbing for a day.
9. That’s some good vibe music, that can move a muscle instantly 🙂 Especially salsa 🙂 Going a bit further, please enlarge the “mentor” mention as well. Do you use it as related to your job or as a description for personal development practices? And what is continuous improvement to you?
Being a mentor is something that I was, literally, called to do. I received requests from connections – young professionals, mostly – asking for my help in achieving certain personal and professional goals. I happily provide as much help as possible, free of charge, follow up on their progress and develop a relationship. That’s what it means to be a mentor on LinkedIn and, I must say, it has been a very rewarding experience for me.
10. Some people may know Mexicans for mariachi, tequila and parties only. What is the less-known detail about your culture that you would like people to acknowledge?
Mexico is a vibrant place to work, full of young, innovative people. Some of your readers may know this already, but I think many would be surprised at the degree of personal freedom that living in Mexico affords regular individuals. Our country has already gone through a nationalist and socialist stage. We have learned the hard way what the alternative to freedom looks like. Our laws still reflect that past, but our culture has evolved beyond them.
11. From our discussions, I noticed that you are a kind man, who takes advice and is open to and grateful for each small gesture/ word of appreciation. When people come to you asking for guidance, what is the first question you ask? And is there any general advice that you can gift to the world?
Thank you, Andrada, that’s very kind of you. I do try to be grateful every time someone offers a suggestion; I understand it’s easier to not say anything than to offer any criticism, since one risks being misinterpreted or coming off the wrong way.
I suppose the first thing I generally try to find out about someone asking for guidance is where that person wants to go; what they are trying to achieve? Then I can begin to find a path that will get them there.
As to general advice, I would offer these thoughts:
Above anyone else’s, it is in one’s best interest to acknowledge one’s errors. As long as we don’t admit and acknowledge our errors, we cannot correct them.
Best-case scenario, the most one can control is oneself.
“ He who loves the most, wins!”***
Thank you very much for being part of this series, Mr. Piana. And for being such a golden soul! Offering your support to someone, even if from the other corner of the world, may brighten their state of mind. I, for one, am grateful for having interacted with you!
As promised at the beginning of the interview, I leave you in the company of the most emotional text* I’ve ever read (sent by Mr. Piana, who agreed to be shared). And to which I gave a title:
Embrace the age
“What did mom and dad ever do for growing old, from one moment to anther?
They grew old… Our parents grew old. No one has prepared us for this. One beautiful day, they lose composure, becoming more vulnerable and gaining “ridiculous” habits. They have traveled thousands miles and they know everything; and what they don’t know, is getting made-up.
They are tired of taking care of others and being an example: it is now the time for us to take care of them and spoil them. They make long term plans no more; now their time is dedicated to small adventures, such as eating everything the doctor prohibited, behind our back.
Their skin gained spots… All of a sudden they are sad… Yet, they are not falling…
Their children are the ones who fall, rejecting the cycle of life. It’s hard to accept that our heroes and heroines can no longer control the situation. They are fragile and forget – they have this right – but we are stubbornly expecting them to have the energy of a locomotive. We fail to accept their weaknesses, their sadness.
We get irritated and, some of us, yell at them if they handle the mobile phone or any other electronic device inappropriately; furthermore, we fail to being patient when it comes to listening – for the thousand’s time – to the same story, told as if they have just lived it. Instead of accepting, with serenity, that their rhythm becomes slower with each passing year, we simply get mad as they betray our confidence – the confidence that they are indestructible, alike superheroes. We trigger useless arguments and we get mad as we insist that everything should be just like it has always been. Our intolerance can only be fear. The fear of losing them and ourselves, as well as the fear of their incapacity of still being lucid and joyful.
With our anger, we only supply more sadness to those who, one day, were our happiness providers. But what would be the price we had to pay if we were a bit like what they were to us? How many times, these heroes and heroines were there for us, awake for the entire night, taking care of us, administrating medicines and decreasing our fever? Yet, we get mad when they forget to take their medicines; and, by arguing to them, we leave them crying. Such creatures we are sometimes…
Time teaches us to seek proof in any stage of our lives, but is hard to accept the stages of others… especially, as the others were our pillars… those to whom we could rely on for always coming back and finding them with their arms wide open; and who, now, send us signals that one day they will depart without us.
Let us do the best for them, today; let us give them our best so that tomorrow, once they will no longer be, we should remember their happy smiles and not the tears of sadness they have spilled because of us.
In the end, our yesterday’s heroes, will be our heroes for eternity!”
*The text was originally in Spanish and I took the liberty of translating it; I hope I managed to keep it intact in its meaning!***
*The photo used in this article was provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using it without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Dario Piana*
You can contact and follow Dario Piana via his Linkedin profile.