Name: Matteo Cattaneo
Role at Daze: Head of Procurement Office
Since when have you been at Daze: October 2021
Why did you choose to work at Daze?
I had worked in the procurement office before joining Daze, first in a small company and then in a larger multinational corporation. I had a good experience in the small and informal company but a bad one in the multinational corporation, which was too rigid and serious. Tired of the situation, I resigned and took a long summer sabbatical, eventually accepting a position as an administrative consultant. Just seven days into my new job, I received a call from Daze with an offer that would allow me to return to what I used to do in the smaller company, namely procurement, but with a more holistic approach, including office management. I loved the extremely horizontal and youthful environment, as well as the family-like atmosphere. Moreover, it was an opportunity to continue a career path I had already started, so I didn’t think twice, and my journey at Daze began two years ago.
What did you like about the company?
It was love at first sight with Daze. I saw a company in the making with an entire department to be built from scratch, and it was exactly what I was looking for and knew how to do. I had complete autonomy to make decisions and structure the work. The timing was perfect: I was looking for something, and I found it. I immediately realized that the environment was young and dynamic; it felt more like a group of university students than a company, almost like going back to school. I greatly appreciated the interview process. I had already gone through about ten interviews, and in all of them, I felt like I was in a subordinate position with extremely generic and empty questions. At Daze, on the other hand, I was given a specific logic quiz that I didn’t actually solve, but despite that, I was liked for the approach I took to tackle the problem. I was impressed because I had never had an interview like that before, but I was pleasantly surprised that people in their thirties had put me to the test so thoroughly and effectively.
A passion of yours?
I run in the mountains. My passion for the mountains started when I was a child, although reluctantly – going to the mountains as a kid isn’t always the most exciting thing. I used to go there with my parents every summer for weekend trips. I abandoned it during high school and the beginning of university, and I threw myself into it during those three months of work inactivity before starting at Daze. I needed a change of scenery after the negative work experience, I had just broken up with my girlfriend, and I needed to have some fun and meet new people. So, I started organizing mountain trips. In particular, I met the Mountain Mates group: a bunch of people who organize mountain outings purely for the joy of it (with no membership fees) by connecting directly on social media. Through them, I started going out and meeting new people, including my current girlfriend, Silvia (who also works at Daze). Today, the mountains are my life; I go there every week, not just on weekends but also during the week to stay in shape because I don’t just take leisurely strolls; I also participate in trail running races, so I need to stay active. The mountains make me feel good; they relax me despite the physical effort and challenges. I believe that enduring hardship for 10 hours or more, in the cold, rain, darkness, mud, and even fear, gives you that extra edge to face everything, including work. You feel lighter and more relaxed in all other aspects of life and throughout the week, no matter the context. The mountains are my life. Because the experiences and what I see and do are so unique and interesting, Silvia and I decided to share everything we do with a growing community. We have a dynamic and creative approach to mountain activities: trekking, trail running, mountaineering. We started the Instagram community Trail Lovers (in honor of our love for trail running) to share everything we do. The project has three pillars: telling the story of the excursion, focusing on elements related to the excursion itself, and providing technical advice. We don’t just talk about the route and our experience (point 1); we also include many supplementary activities, especially related to food and wine. And finally, there’s the technical side: we provide detailed information about the outings, such as distance and elevation gain, and offer GPX files with pre-created routes for download. Everything is done in a spontaneous and uncalculated manner, which is the main reason why the community is successful. In addition to storytelling, we also generate technical and useful material.
Can you share a unique experience?
The day I had the interview at Daze, I went out, picked up Silvia from the Polytechnic, and we climbed Grignetta (a mountain in the Lecco area) to watch the sunset. I told her about the interview, and I was excited. I wasn’t sure if we’d make it to the summit in time (we were running late and not very well-equipped). But despite the effort, fatigue, difficulties, and fear, we made it to the top without even realizing it, as we were so engrossed in our conversation. At the summit, we were greeted by a spectacular sunset, the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in the mountains. It was an unforgettable day, and the mountain experience is a metaphor for my journey—it rewards you despite your fears and doubts.
Have there been times when your doubts and fears proved to be valid?
The mountain is not just about pleasure; it also involves effort and hard work. You always ask yourself, “Can I do it or not?” You’re in nature, in the wild, at different times of the day and seasons, in the cold and rain. Weather conditions can change suddenly, the terrain can be icy and delicate, and you can find yourself in critical situations where you doubt every choice and your very purpose on Earth.
There have been moments of crisis. There was a fear of having made a rash decision, which makes you reflect on how you approach life itself. It helps you understand that being adventurous and proactive can be rewarding but also dangerous. Taking risks in a card game is one thing; facing an icy channel on top of a mountain early in the morning is another.
In all the experiences I’ve had, I’ve always taken a moment to reflect. I’ve taken risks, but I’ve been able to learn from them and mature. You overcome difficulties, deliberately expose yourself to danger, and this makes you grow.
Have you been able to bring this passion into Daze in any way?
Yes, it’s also thanks to Daze that I can nurture this passion because here, there is a perfect work-life balance that allows me to maintain continuity in my training, both during the week and on weekends. I’ve brought my passion to Daze, and I share what I do with many colleagues. Many of them ask me about it and are curious, which I love; it means my passion has an impact on the team. It has such an impact that I’ve been asked to organize excursions. The first one was last year; we went on a hike and had an aperitif on a city mountain. The other one was on July 7th, in Val Serina. We planned a more structured event: a large part of the company headed to Rifugio Capanna 2000 to enjoy some leisure time while waiting for the sunset, and the more adventurous ones reached one of the main peaks in the area, which offered one of the most beautiful views of the valley.
We designed a dual experience: for everyone, the refuge part with dinner and friends, and for the more adventurous, the summit. It made me extremely proud to lead a group of friends, even before colleagues, and to share a fundamental part of my life with them.