Panic and euphoria, the editorial by Franco Michienzi

The latest figures from the italian nautical industry inspire euphoria, but some more uncertain factors are fuelling fear of panic. This is a time for clarity of mind and rational decisions

by Francesco Michienzi

How many times have we found ourselves at a crossroads in our lives? How many times have we had to take decisions, make choices and back up our thinking even if it goes against the grain? On a daily basis I’d say. Choosing the right thing to do is extremely complicated if you’re afraid of making a mistake. But giving the right advice also entails a certain degree of difficulty. There are also those who get paid for giving the best advice and if things go wrong, they’ve already left the scene, losing nothing. Recently I’ve been receiving lots of requests to evaluate what will happen in the nautical world in the medium term. I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m not conceited and presumptuous enough to express them lightly. Some promise certain gains on the markets, guaranteeing that the number of boats sold will continue to rise in the long term.

But now, general uncertainty is fuelling fear about what might happen. When this kind of feeling takes hold, it feeds on itself with unexpected consequences. Take the Mets in Amsterdam, the world’s largest nautical components and services trade fair. Two days before opening, fear led to a general slowdown. The event took place as normal thanks to the new safety measures that were put in place. I went to the Mets myself and am very happy to have visited the Dutch show. In keeping with the cycle of emotions, after fear comes desperation, panic and depression. In economics, entrepreneurial depression is the worst thing that can happen. In two years, we have had plenty of time to organise ourselves and live with this situation. We’re perfectly equipped to handle it and if everyone got vaccinated, we wouldn’t have so many problems. In one of her most recent speeches, Angela Merkel said she would like Germany to be in the same condition as Italy. It seems a paradox, yet we can say Italians Uber Alles.


We’ve reached the eve of boot Düsseldorf and we’re starting to hear talk of withdrawals, but this would be a great mistake and the result of pessimistic thinking that we have to shun with all our energy, ideas and solutions. In December, after twenty years, Fitch raised Italy’s rating to BBB with a stable outlook for the first time. The agency predicts GDP growth of 6.2% in 2021 and expects the economy to reach pre-pandemic levels by the first quarter of next year. Despite this, the Chinese market is visibly collapsing, raw materials are failing, and the car market (the pillar of every industrial economy) is experiencing an unprecedented crisis that has led companies such as FCA to lose almost 10% of their value. Fortunately, the Italian nautical industry is continuing its two-figure growth, but the shortage of raw materials will make itself felt in the medium term. Many analysts have stated that the current profile of market investors is one of complete panic. However, I think that coherent choices and actions should allow every company to be able to run the risks typical of doing business. Entrepreneurs are ultimately human beings who can succumb to an overload of stimuli and information, who want and have to make decisions, and who are helped by mental “shortcuts” to arrive at results that are scientifically inferior to what would have been achieved in the absence of emotions.


Courage, heart, constancy and consistency are not just words, they’re our driving force and what we should display whenever we’re tempted not to decide. Let’s stop shutting our will away in an imaginary refuge while waiting for someone to decide for us. The cage made by stakes erected in our minds, the passport to a life lived in conformity, makes us forget values and stops us from being strong enough to pass them on to new generations. We need the courage of our ideas, ideals and actions. We’re certainly able to give substance to our choices and our responsibilities, despite the fact that there are codes in place that impose standards on us that have already been decided. These codes are called conventions, customs, ways of behaving. These are all masks that we wear to protect ourselves and show off. We climb onto the stage of life and perform our part all the way through to the crossroads, and it is there that the decision is made. As in the case of every change, choosing and deciding in first person requires a hefty dose of courage, but it’s the only way to be what we ought to be in the world – free and unique. If we look at the crossroads, we realise there is no more.

(Panic and euphoria – – January 2022)