P&B: Andrea Contino – Manu

By admin
This is the

6th
ORDINAL

edition of

People and Blogs
ORG

, the series where I ask interesting people to talk about themselves and their blogs.

Today
DATE

we have

Andrea Contino
PERSON

and his blog, gwtf.it.


Andrea
PERSON

is currently working as

Head of Communications
ORG

at

Red Bull Italy
ORG

but he’s about to move west and work as Senior Communications Manager at

Red Bull North America
ORG

.

To follow this series subscribe to the newsletter. A new interview will land in your inbox every

Friday
DATE

. Not a fan of newsletters? No problem! You can read the interviews here on the blog or you can subscribe to the

RSS
ORG

feed.

Let’s start from the basics: can you introduce yourself?

While I’m writing this I’m the Head of Comms in

Red Bull
ORG

Italy. But soon Sr. Comms Manager Gaming in

Red Bull North America
ORG

! I’ve a humanistic background since I’ve studied foreign languages at the high school and I’ve a degree in

Communications Sciences
ORG

. I ended up doing this job most likely having a blog and living

the early 2000’s
DATE

online communities. No jokes. I was writing for an online

Italian
NORP

video games newsite while finishing my University studies and I ended up talking about the interactions within those online forum communities in my final degree dissertation. From there I’ve started to build up my network, It was

2006
DATE

and blogs were at their peak, who had one was a so-called influencer. I opened mine in

2007
DATE

, we were the forerunners of what people do on

Instagram
ORG

and

TikTok
ORG

nowadays, luckily without any dancing, but with sometimes raw content and transparency at its best. I got in touch with many people and companies which through my blog got to know me better and better and at the same time I started working for

Microsoft
ORG

so my personal and professional life started to collide, exploding then in the marvellous adventure I’m living nowadays.

What’s the story behind your blog?

I’ve opened my blog, as said, in

2007
DATE

. The occasion was a press trip to

Canada
GPE

for

EA Sports
ORG

. I needed to cover the new

FIFA
ORG

game and I was thinking it would have been a nice starting point. I’m not a developer, I’ve no programming background, therefore I’ve picked an unknown platform at that time:

SquareSpace
ORG

. My blog was called

Fluxes
ORG

and I came up with this name after

days
DATE

of thinking about what could have possibly been the best name for a blog. I ended up with fluxes as a stream of consciousness and thoughts. But I was never satisfied with my blog, never. So I kept changing over

the years
DATE

.

First
ORDINAL

I’ve moved to the

contino.com
ORG

domain, and renamed my blog to

AC
ORG

. Then I bought the domain andrea.co and redirected the blog there. I finally moved it to the actual domain, gwtf.it and renamed it

Go With The Flow
WORK_OF_ART

, which is my life philosophy and more coherent to what I am. Unfortunately I tried

WordPress
ORG

for a little while in

2021
DATE

just to find out that it wasn’t the platform for me and wasting a lot of money to keep it alive (

300$
MONEY

per year), I was back to

SquareSpace
ORG

from

2022
DATE

onward. Tried Medium for a little while, but back home to

SquareSpace
ORG

definitively. Downside of that? I’ve lost a lot of readership. Honestly I don’t care. But if there is a learning behind those movements, I can suggest anyone who has a blog not to change platforms after

some years
DATE

if not really necessary. I tend to agree with

Matt
PERSON

here.

What does your creative process look like when it comes to blogging?

Usually inspiration comes from both online and offline. Online I stick to my feed reader, feedly, where I find some good pieces of writing to start thinking on. From what I found super stimulating I start thinking what kind of thoughts I can add to other’s. I open my draft and start to write without overthinking too much about form or grammar. After finishing my post, I go through it and adjust what needs to be adjusted. Hit publish and never look back. For what is coming from offline I usually like to speak

about 3
CARDINAL

things: food, travelling, personal experiences. It’s an absolute pleasure to put down your thoughts and save publicly somewhere. They could help somebody else one day. I’ll never know.

Do you have an ideal creative environment? Also do you believe the physical space influences your creativity?

Usually sitting at my desk in my home office. It’s where I think I’ve the right environment and quietness to express at my best. But I’ve written some of my best posts while on the

metro
FAC

train or sitting under the shades at the beach. Another thing not to underestimate for me is

those minutes
TIME

before I fall asleep. Usually for me is a time to think and where many blog post ideas came from. That’s why I’ve a cheap old

android
ORG

phone with just wifi enabled standing at my bedside table, always ready to receive my inputs.

A question for the techie readers: can you run us through your tech stack?

I tried all the possible combinations here. Hosted,

3rd
ORDINAL

party platform, different CMSs. Now I’m using Squarespace as a

3rd
ORDINAL

party platform which hosts my blog. My domain gwtf.itis actually registered with

Google Domains
PRODUCT

(only because

Porkbun
PERSON

is not able to register .it domains, otherwise I firmly suggest them) which funny enough will end up to be acquired by

SquareSpace
ORG

in the near future LOL.

Given your experience, if you were to start a blog

today
DATE

, would you do anything differently?

Yes. I would start with

WordPress
ORG

and not

SquareSpace
ORG

. I mean if it was

2007
DATE

again. Otherwise nowadays I would rather go with Ghost or a static blog, like

Jekyll
PERSON

or something like that. Because

WordPress
ORG

has become a pain in the ass when it comes to plug-ins or this or that feature. All they want is for you to pay more, hiding behind the free software flag. I’ve always loved

SquareSpace
ORG

, but it became a Marketing platform lately. They completely left behind their blogging promise and I found several bugs in the mobile app, but support is great and they fix things quickly. The other thing I would do differently is to study a little bit better the HTML and CSS foundations in order to be able to develop my blog all by myself.

But, I’ve seen a lot of new platforms flourish lately and I’ve tried to collect some of those for the younger generations here

Financial question since the web is obsessed with money: how much does it cost to run your blog? Is it just a cost or does it generate some revenue? And what’s your position on people monetising personal blogs?

My blog costs me nothing. I won a contest

several years ago
DATE

with Squarespace. So I don’t pay

a penny
MONEY

to have it hosted there. I just pay

12€
MONEY


yearly
DATE

for the domain. Not that bad! Generally I’ve always avoided having ads on my blog, I don’t like it and I never want them to be on my site. I’ve monetised my blog in the past through product testing, mostly food, but I’ve always refused to write sponsored posts. I generally hate those important bloggers that do that. I personally think it’s disrespectful for their readers community. That said I totally empathize with those fellow bloggers who succeeded in blogging for a living. I totally respect them in any shape or form, but I’d rather prefer they ask for support and tips for what they create. Well if you want to leave me a tip, it’s really appreciated 🙂 PayPal.Me

Time for some recommendations: any blog you think is worth checking out? And also, who do you think I should be interviewing next?

I’m a techie and a geek. So my RSS Feed is full of those kinds of blogs. Here is my top

3
CARDINAL

suggestions:

Riccardo Mori

PERSON


Matt Birchler
PERSON


Ben Thompson
PERSON

I really think

Matt
PERSON

would be a great one to have as a next interviewer.

Final question: is there anything you want to share with us?

This was the

6th
ORDINAL

edition of

People and Blogs
ORG

. Hope you enjoyed this interview with

Andrea
PERSON

. Make sure to follow his blog (RSS) and get in touch with him if you have any questions.

Awesome supporters

You can support this series on

Ko-Fi
PERSON

and top supporters will be listed here as well as on the official site of the newsletter.

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ORG

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