Lorenzo Bonfiglio is a global executive based in Los Angeles with a distinguished career in high-growth and tech-driven environments. He currently serves as the Head of Expansion and Strategy for xNomad, a Sweden-based marketplace platform that specializes in temporary retail pop-ups.
Since joining xNomad, Lorenzo has been a linchpin in the company’s expansion into the United States and the United Kingdom. His role extends across multiple verticals, from operations to finance, and he has been responsible for implementing key strategic protocols that have shaped the company’s success.
Before joining xNomad, Lorenzo was a strategy lead at CloudKitchens, a $15-billion real estate tech firm that offers turnkey ghost kitchen services to the food delivery industry. His duties there ranged from global real estate acquisitions to the formulation of significant partnerships, as well as overseeing the company’s internship and recruitment strategies.
Lorenzo’s business acumen was evident from an early age. While still a student, he co-founded Pronto System, a start-up with a delivery app capable of delivering staples and convenience goods within just five minutes. His roles in the company were wide-ranging, covering strategy, operations, marketing, recruitment, product, and business development.
In addition to his corporate roles, Lorenzo is a trusted advisor to artists and gallery owners. His community involvement extends to volunteer work with several nonprofit organizations. He is an active supporter of California YIMBY, a Sacramento-based group that advocates for housing legislation aimed at solving the state’s housing crisis. And he helps Abundant Housing LA, which focuses on initiatives to solve the housing affordability in Los Angeles. He also serves as a coordinator for the Walkabout Foundation, a charity dedicated to providing wheelchairs and rehabilitation services globally while funding spinal cord injury research.
Fluent in English, Italian, and Spanish, Lorenzo is an experienced world traveler, which gives him a unique international perspective in business. He holds a degree in economics from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
My day starts the same way every day: self-guided meditation followed by a workout. I find that gets my body and mind in the right zone, even if it’s just 15 minutes each. Since I work for a European company, most of my meetings take place in the early morning. This leaves me with the rest of the day for unbroken stretches of work and allows me to really get in the flow.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to life typically requires me to first put them into a kind of structure. Even something as simple as a conversation about an idea can go a long way toward achieving that structure. It forces you to put the ideas into plain English and spell out the logical connections instead of letting them float around in your mind.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I strongly believe that generative AI will be positively disruptive in the same way that the printing press and internet were. It’s going to push down the cost of generating information to close to zero. This very fact alone is going to lead to many incredible economic opportunities we haven’t even thought of.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
Believing in balance and understanding the concept of diminishing marginal returns to your effort helps you in the long run.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say remember that learning from others means getting a glimpse at everything they’ve picked up in their many, many days on this earth. Opening up yourself to other people’s ideas and opinions is the only way to truly extend your mind past its cognitive limits.
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.
A lot of people believe that the best way to become truly great at something is to focus solely on that particular task, practicing it over and over again until you perfect it. This may be the case for activities that rely on pure pattern recognition and muscle memory. However, most things are not that simple. I truly believe that the best way to be great is to be as well-rounded as possible. Doing and learning about a wide variety of things will give you new ideas that you can bring into your main field. What’s more, this will strengthen a particular mode of thinking or doing that will help you in ways you might not otherwise have discovered.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
One of the things I do every day – without fail – is open up about thirty news sites on my laptop, go through them one by one, and pick out the articles that I want to read for the day. The list of sites includes classic ones like the New York Times and Financial Times as well as less obvious sites such as Dezeen and Eater. I really believe that the constant accumulation of information is the only way to stay on top of everything happening in the world and that there is no way to cheat it or take shortcuts.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
I’ll usually go for a quick drive to run an errand or cook – something that has just the right amount of mental stimulation to engage me and help me reset.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
An important strategy is to find a good mentor, ideally someone whose shoes you’d like to be in five to fifteen years from now. It’s not just about finding someone accomplished either. You’ll get more from a mentorship if you pick someone who generally exhibits kindness and empathy.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
Early in my career, I struggled a little to feel like I was being heard. This was natural because I was very junior and I felt my opinions were less significant than those of more experienced people. I realized that if I wanted to make myself heard, I would need to support my points with plenty of data and rigorous analysis. It worked and kept working! But I always have to remember to balance the quantitative with the qualitative since not everything that matters can be counted.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Much of the current discourse on AI centers on individual interactions, such as those with ChatGPT. However, this perspective overlooks the tech’s potential to reshape organizational dynamics. AI will revolutionize our collaborative communication capacities and lead to a real reimagining of corporate structures.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use ChatGPT every day! It’s a perfect sounding board for brainstorming ideas or editing writing. I am excited to see what comes of it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent?
The other day, I went with a group of friends to a concert by the French electric disco group L’Imperatrice. They put on an absolutely incredible show. I’ve made a commitment to myself to go see any musical artists I like when they’re in town and it has served me very well. There’s nothing like the feeling of being in a live crowd.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?
I love the “Sharp Tech” podcast by Stratechery. It’s incredibly insightful for keeping up with news and it provides a different kind of analysis than I’m used to. It also helps put my brain in the right mode when I am evaluating strategies at my current job.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
I recently watched “Oppenheimer,” and there was a particular moment when Niels Bohr says to Oppenheimer, “The important thing isn’t can you read music, it’s can you hear it. Can you hear the music?” This has really struck me because I relate it to something I’ve been thinking about a lot. That is, the difference being conceptually knowing something to be true as opposed to actually experiencing that truth. So often we don’t delve into that deeper epistemological layer.
- It’s important to acquire information from as well-rounded sources as possible.
- Being a techno-optimist is the best way to equip yourself to succeed in the future, especially in the face of AI.
- Find ways to expand your mind beyond your own – use others to supercharge you.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.