La vita è bella ma breve

  • A note about Mirco Pasqualini
  • An Italian in New York, Mirco was a WXO Co-founder and friend
  • He passed away after a cycling accident

Today, I heard that Mirco Pasqualini has died. He’s 45.

A friend told me in an email. He’d heard from someone else.

You don’t expect friends to die. I don’t. 

Last time I’d seen Mirco was on Zoom. He was in his place in upstate New York. 

Last time I saw him in real life was in December. We had lunch in New York City, in SoHo. We’d talked, as we always did, about experiences and the Experience Economy, about how it mattered and what it meant.

When I heard, I googled. Surely it’s another Mirco Pasqualini? Must be lots of them around the world.

I found stories in Italian, on Italian news sites. My Italian is bad, but the stories didn’t look good. I cut and pasted and got a rough translation.

Yes, it was him. He’d been in a bicycle accident. Brain damage. Irrecoverable.

I felt winded. I feel numb.

I didn’t know Mirco so well. But we’d connected. He was an inspiring, thoughtful man. With his – very impressive – design and agency background he had thoughts about the Experience Economy I’d never have come up with. (Mirco, by the way, had been VP of Design, Chief Design Officer and Head of Design at places like R/GA and Ogilvy. He’d written a few books on the Experience Econom.y He’d just co-founded One Idea For Good, in support of Unicef.)

So Mirco saw the Experience Economy differently to me. But we didn’t disagree. Or rather, he didn’t try to shout his ideas over mine. 

We’d been collaborating on a framework for thinking about the Experience Economy this summer. After fundamentally changing a framework I’d put forward and sending it to me, he’d signed off his email:

‘Let me know if this approach is helping.’

Mirco was my friend. I wish he was still here to collaborate with and take the WXO forward. He was one of the first people I shared the idea with, he was one of the first few to join the Founding Circle.

Last time I heard from Mirco, he’d sent me the picture you see at the top of this page, along with his bio. He’d signed off that email:

‘This is exciting !!’

My heart goes out to his wife who he married three years ago, and his mother. They were mentioned in the news stories but I’ve never met them. It’s like that with people you know through work, isn’t it?

I’m really sorry Mirco’s not with us anymore.