Portrait of an entrepreneur : Marco Landi… An example to be followed
If I told you that the life choices of this Italian with overflowing joy and an infectious smile had profoundly changed the way we live...
If I told you that twice, this genius manager had revived two of the most powerful companies in our society...
Here is the fascinating story of a passionate man, determined to change the world !
THE STORY OF MARCO LANDI begins in Chianciano, a small village in the Tuscan countryside, known for its therapeutic water particularly recommended for the liver.
Raised by a carpenter father and a saleswoman mother, Marco comes from a modest family and started working as a shoe salesman at the age of 11. But this life is not the one that this dedicated and courageous mother imagined for her son and very quickly, she passed on to him the taste for ambition, the need to discover and the desire for elsewhere. Curious by nature, the child is interested in everything and feeds on each knowledge to deepen each learning, a quality « that I wish for everyone because it is thanks to it that we go beyond things. . Curiosity is a fundamental value to move forward,» he confides to us. While continuing his engineering studies in electrical engineering at the University of Bologna, it was one of his professors who suggested that he devote his thesis to digital technology. « It's 1969, so my first reaction was to say ”what is digital ? “ » he laughs, before adding «I’m talking to you about a time when we didn’t even make an analog/digital differentiation because we only lived in analog ». The first in Italy to study this vast subject, the young man was then hired as a design engineer at Telettra in Milan where he joined the team in charge of creating the first digital transmission base. But when a Texas Instruments salesman showed up to promote his products, Marco Landi questioned him, « I had studied Texas Instruments products as part of my thesis, so I had many questions, but the person in front of me was unable to answer me. He simply told me « you know our products better than me, join us to sell them ». But I was an engineer, I was creating something huge, I was in no way a salesman so I declined. The next day, this same person comes back to see me with his big boss who also offers me to join the group, I decline again, he offers me to double my salary, bonuses and a company car. There is one thing that I hate at that time at Telettra and that is having to clock in at 8 o'clock sharp every morning, so my only question is this: "should I clock in if I join your group ? “ ».
The Marco Landi effect at Texas Instruments and Apple
Marco was 24 years old when he joined Texas Instruments, initially as a sales engineer then General Manager for Italy, Director for Southern Europe, Director for Europe and finally Director for Asia. At that time, Asia was the new Eldorado for businesses, everyone went there and the group's objective when I was appointed to Hong Kong among the 17,000 people based there was to make this land a land of brand and no longer a land of production ». The activity brings in 300 000 euros when Marco Landi settles in with his wife and children, 3 years later, and after having invested 4 billion dollars, the company records a turnover of more than 3.5 billion dollars. A business that works for Texas Instruments which recalls its benefactor in Europe where the market suffers from many relocations in Asia. While more than 5 000 layoffs are planned, Marco Landi lowers this figure to 900. A feat that attracts the attention of Apple and a headhunter whose entry into the matter will not leave the businessman indifferent, « he approaches me saying “Mr. Landi, I have a question for you, do you want to sell silicone all your life or do you want to change the world ? " » . The year is 1992 and after 24 years at Texas Instruments, Marco Landi is stepping down to become president and chief operating officer of Apple Computer. « Going from the component part to the computer, it was a whole world that opened up to me and the promise of infinite possibilities ». However, at that time, Apple was living its darkest hours and the American company was losing more than $300 million a year. Again, the Marco Landi effect will work miracles, “in 12 months, I make 100 million profit. An ascent that attracted everyone's attention, especially the press and this journalist from BusinessWeek magazine who titled his article "Mister Landi has the recipe to save Apple". Fallen into the hands of the upper echelons of the group, the board of directors of Apple asks Marco Landi to move to Cupertino… and call it COO ! Since the release of Steve Jobs 10 years earlier, the Apple brand has gone from 60 to 5% market share, the situation is therefore critical and if Marco Landi appears to be the man for the job, he is held back by a CEO who does not trust him.
But the situation of Apple Computer is catastrophic and the company not being able to create a new operating system, it must seek one on the market, "the first person we think of is Jean-Louis Gassée, one of the company's senior executives since 1981, mainly known for having developed the NeXTOS operating system, but French is too “greedy”. We therefore turn to the second on the list which is none other than Steve Jobs”. Apple therefore bought the NeXT operating system from Steve Jobs in December 1996 and saw the prodigal son return to it. A return "by chance", insists Marco Landi, "if Jean-Louis Gassée had not been so greedy, Steve Jobs would not have returned to Apple and he might not have changed the world as he did. done afterwards”. A story that recalls an anecdote to Marco Landi, “proof that fate sometimes holds in little things. This is something I learned recently while talking with the lawyer who had accompanied the project at that time. At the end of the 80s, at the beginning of the 1980s, Steve Jobs went to Sophia Antipolis with the intention of creating an R&D center but the situation of NeXT at the time was catastrophic and after several pitfalls encountered, he had to give up Sophia Antipolis. The rest of the story of Steve Jobs at Apple, we all know it, in June 1997, he became CEO and dismissed everyone to install his teams. "In 1999, when on the board of directors of Telecom Italia, I called him and made him the proposal to buy Apple," Marco Landi tells us, "but Steve knows very well where he wants to go and already has in his hands a little jewel called iMac and whose commercial success is immediate. The market exploded, he decided not to sell and aware that he could hardly compete with Microsoft, he invented the iPod, the iPhone then the iPad and created the Apple empire which was to change the world”.
AI, a new philosophical quest at the service of humans
Also licensed, Marco Landi returned to Europe, invested in start-ups and began to take an interest in Artificial Intelligence. In 2018, he met Charles-Ange Ginésy, president of the Alpes-Maritimes department, who asked him to be the man for the digital transformation of the department as president of the Smart Deal. From then on, the man will work on a strategy based on 4 pillars to make the Côte d'Azur a land of AI: "talent training, research, technology transfers and investment funds to help creation of start-ups. EuropIA Capital, La Maison de l'Intelligence Artificielle, the EuropIA institute or even the WAICF therefore stand as the bastions of this ambition, the objectives of which are to make the mechanisms of AI understood so as to no longer be afraid of it and to unite all the local actors towards this “new philosophical way of understanding what is inside us. AI is not an intelligence that will threaten or replace humans, it is and must remain at the service of humanity”. More than a strategy, it is a vocation that Marco Landi shares with us, who entrusts us with two projects that he has in mind and that he intends to carry out with all his might on our territory: seeing one of the GAFAM settle in our department and create a Unicorn.
His secret to success? The same as the one who carried it throughout his career, uniting and surrounding himself with motivating and motivated men and women. In his latest book entitled Business Humanum Est, he shares with us his vision of business and how to give back to our companies their foundations of flesh and soul.
His foundations are his family, his mother, of course, loving and inspiring, but also his wife Diana, with whom he will soon be celebrating 55 years of marriage and who makes him proud, "if I'm happy with the things I've accomplished in my career, the thing I'm most proud of is being able to keep my family together. We moved 18 times, my wife followed me everywhere and adapted to each new life by taking courses and working in important positions. I saw many friends destroy their families for their careers and I managed to keep the one that is still my greatest strength today.
So that's the other secret of Marco Landi's success... the women in his life ! It is true that we always say that behind every great man, there is a great woman, Marco Landi was lucky to have two and we are lucky to have Marco Landi. Thank you sir.