In February of 2017, I met Skydive Tribe’s, Gillo Baldazzi at the BPA’s Skydive the Expo event in Nottingham, England. He was at his booth showcasing his new app that I’d never heard of before. I was a little skeptical at first, as I’ve seen apps come and go through the years, but what Gillo showed to me instantly made sense and I think it has value for skydivers, DZ’s, tunnels and manufacturers.
For skydivers, Skydive Tribe is a one-stop shop for finding out what events are going on in the world, where your favorite LO’s will be and updates you on service bulletins related to your gear.
For DZ’s and tunnels, this is an ideal place to not just have your DZ listed on Skydive Tribe’s interactive map, but to highlight your events.
For LO’s, if you’re wishing to build a following or have a following this is the app to showcase your profile and show where you’ll be which adds value to the DZ’s that are hiring you.
For Manufacturer’s with road tours, similar to LO’s, skydivers can see where you’ll be.
So… this is a great idea and I thought it was worth sitting down with Gillo and having an interview about who he is, where he comes from and what drove him to create Skydive Tribe.
Where were you born and raised?
Born in Bologna, Italy. Raised there and partly in France (my mother is French).
Where do you live today?
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I studied at the University of Bologna, Finance and International Management
Aside from developing Skydive Tribe, what do you do for work?
It’s something I’m asked about a lot! Actually designing, realizing, marketing, correcting, improving and giving assistance for Skydive Tribe its something that takes a lot of time and resources, behind “an App” there is far more work than often expected… It has become a full-time job and we have now a team working on it!
Formerly I was working in a business consulting firm, helping companies define and actuate overall strategy or face operational challenges until I decided I didn’t want to stay in an office anymore. It was a very cool job, but this one is better :P
In five words, who is Gillo Baldazzi?
A curious and passionate guy.
Is there anything from your youth that would indicate you’d become a skydiver and an entrepreneur?
Not at all… However I consider both activities as a statement of freedom, which since very young I valued very much.
What are your passions outside of skydiving?
Aviation in general, I’m totally in love with anything that flies both from a practical and a technical point of view, I guess it’s a common thing between skydivers.
Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
My best friend Marianna, she always had a very holistic approach to life and deeply influenced me.
What is something that many people would find interesting about you that they don’t know about?
That I like cooking maybe? Nah, it’s not interesting.
What is a major goal that you’d like to achieve both in and outside of skydiving?
Building a family and running a dropzone (which by the way, have a lot in common)
What motivates you?
Running towards new ideas and cool stuff, meet new people and work with them eventually to make the difference in what we do.
What has been the happiest day of your life?
The day I stopped fearing of leaving my safe and secure job. This has been really life changing from every point of view, It was for me a change in paradigm, a starting point for re-ordering all my priorities in life. I think fear is often a big “self-imposed” obstacle that blocks the path toward realization to a lot of people.
Tell us about Skydive Tribe. What is it and what value does it offer to skydivers?
Skydive Tribe is an App that aggregates information in the skydiving community.
In it you can find dropzones and windtunnels basic info and contacts (from websites to navigation coordinates), you can set deadlines about repacking, medical checks, ratings renewals, so as the app will remind you about it.
Skydivers can also input their rig and we will send a notification if/when there is any Bulletin that needs attention.
We think this is already pretty cool but main features are about events. DZs and LOs have the possibility to input events, these will be forwarded as notifications to skydivers and are always visible in a list inside the app. We just launched internationally and we are developing the dropzone and LO base so if you like it and know someone that might find it useful let them know!
What motivated you to start developing Skydive Tribe?
At the beginning… frustration. Often I wouldn’t find out about awesome events that were close to me until the day AFTER! I was so pissed about missing them just because I missed the information… I wanted a place where all the information about what was going on in the skydiving community could be collected; it had to be easy and fit in my pocket so the idea started to grow…
Also from the perspective of being marketing manager of my dropzone, I noticed that Facebook which we use a lot and is perfect for promoting tandems and sharing amazing pictures was really ineffective in delivering important communications to skydivers. I did a lot of research and noticed that this was happening also with posts of very big dropzones or manufacturers.
I decided I was going to make my dream tool and Skydive Tribe was born.
Skydive Tribe has many users in Italy; what do jumpers love most about the app?
In Italy, it has been used since our first year and now and more or less half of the dropzones adopted it, skydivers got used to and love the fact that is easy and straightforward.
Where to Download Skydive Tribe
One of the most appreciated features is the one that alerts you if a bulletin about your rig is issued by a manufacturer. It is one that took great effort realizing and have no business return at all for us but I just wanted it to exist as a skydiver and really hope it can be useful for the community.
Running your own business is hard and full of risks. What has been the biggest challenge for you thusfar?
At the beginning I was alone in this and no one really understood what I was up to.. managing all the different aspects has been really challenging, and I had no real time to enjoy it… even if was the time I was most involved in “skydiving stuff” was the one I was jumping less! Now we are again in a very exciting phase as we are launching internationally, but I learned a lot and managed to build a team, we work hard but have a lot of fun while doing it!
What has been the biggest risk and reward since you started this venture?
Risks of technical, commercial or financial nature are always present, but it’s their nature to be, so it’s fine, we try to manage them… Rewards have arrived lately and we are enjoying every bit of it, starting with the possibility of meeting and working with amazing people to all the users that appreciate the app or just discovered it and are writing us for appreciation :)
From what you’ve learned so far, what advice would you give to those thinking of starting up their own business?
Don’t be scared, breathe and do it.
The only important thing I would suggest to stop really thinking about is motivation, why you do it, because it will be the drive in the hard times and situations that will show up.
In my case I had this really clear, I believe skydiving is one of the most inspiring human activities, a bold statement of freedom and possibility and I wanted to be part of making it awesome.
Is there a business person or a book that you enjoy following / reading to help inspire you on your journey?
Peldi from Balsamiq. This guy is an entrepreneur that runs a company about a product I don’t even use (it’s a tool for website designers) but since long before starting Skydive Tribe his way of building the business and ethic of work has truly inspired me! You can have a glimpse of it here https://balsamiq.com/company/interviews/#talks
When and where did you make your very first skydive?
2003, just after I finished High School, I went to the closest DZ (Flygang) and enrolled for AFF, I just wanted to fly!
What discipline of skydiving do you enjoy most?
Angle Freefly and Canopy Piloting
Where is your home DZ?
Aside from your home DZ, where is your favorite place to skydive?
Skydive Sardegna, is in the big island west of Italy mainland. Its just a paradise in the middle of nowhere with a great mood, great people and great food.
What is the most memorable jump you’ve ever made?
It is the one we set up for a Vodafone commercial involving an Italian Rap singer, he was doing a tandem and I was one of the videographers of the crew.. there was a lot of planning as he started singing mid air under canopy and landed on stage to start the concert, we were all in red suits and felt like the team from the Armageddon movie, it was a lot of fun.
What equipment do you jump?
- Container Aerodyne Icon
- Canopy Crossfire2 119
- AAD Cypres2
- Helmet Rawa video
- Altimeter L&B Viso2 but just fell in love with Alti-2 new Chronos, can’t wait to try it
- Jumpsuit Sonic v2
- Camera Sony Az-1
What is something you’d like to accomplish in the sport?
Bring Skydive Tribe to the whole community, it would be a great accomplishment!
Of all the people you’ve met in the sport, who has left the most positive impression with you and why?
The instructor I grew with that is now a friend, Sandro Andreotti. He has really been a mentor and he still is a model in the sport to me.
What is the best meal you’ve ever had in your life?
Ahahhaha I am from Italy! No doubt my grandma’s homemade pasta, tortellini to be precise :-D
Favorite flavor of ice cream?
If you could travel to any country in the world, where would you most like to visit?
New Zealand! I’ve already been there shortly and totally fell in love, I’d like to spend 3 months just hiking between the north and south island.
Favorite movie you’ve ever seen?
What did you dream of being when you were a kid?
A fighter jet pilot, still dreaming it time to time..
Is there a celebrity / famous skydiver you’d love to meet?
Norman Kent, I admire its unique perspective and accomplishments in the sport very much.