Faccia lavata is an Italian expression we use around the office not infrequently to mean "face saving." Nevermind that we've bastardized it from our grandparents' lavata di faccia which translates directly as "face washing" and is, they tell me, an insult nowadays.
We use faccia lavata to mean a concession we make to someone, usually a customer, when we want to let the other side think they've won an argument.
The client thinks we owe them extra training. "Give them a faccia lavata," we say. Let them have it and let them go away feeling they won. Give them something they can show forth like a trophy back at home.
Unfortunately for the Italian World Cup team that I had money on, they got sent packing soon after they arrived. They left with little notion of a face-saving faccia lavata, considering that they're from a soccer-crazed population of 60-million and they didn't even make it to the final 16.
Meanwhile, a pile of low populated countries did make it, including Costa Rica and the Netherlands -- both now in the quarterfinals -- and Belgium and Uruguay (now eliminated).
Could it be that as the world gets increasingly complex, smaller is better? That it's not just Uber, Twitter, Snapchat and Whatsapp that are able to break through and trounce the big guys, but a new constant that small disrupts big?
Mark Suster has great post about the power of small: The Power of Getting the Band Back Together.