Massimo Banzi, Founder, Chairman and CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Arduino
Massimo Banzi is one of the five founders of Arduino. The others are David Cuartielles, David Mellis, Tom Igoe, and Gianluca Martino. Massimo currently serves as the Chairman and CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Arduino (actually of BCMI US LLC the holding group that owns all Arduino IP)
Company: Arduino – https://www.arduino.cc/
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform (both hardware and software) initially designed to allow design students with no experience in electronics and programming to easily prototype products that actually worked. At the core of Arduino is a simple micro controller (think minicomputer). Through a series of inputs and outputs and some simple coding the Arduino lets electronics interact with the world around us. Arduino is simple enough for bingers to easily learn how to build and program, but complex enough that it can be useful to even the most experienced builders. The Arduino microcontroller is at the heart of much of the Maker movement and has been used in education of all levels. They have developed a course called Creative Technologies in the Classroom 101 aimed at youth ages 13-17 that can be purchased including courseware, hardware and software. What is so great about the Arduino is that due to its open-source nature there are many products that have been designed to work with it and enhance its abilities. In the future world of The Internet of Things, where all electronics are connected, sense the world around them and interact with us, Arduino is the starting point.
After looking at Massimo’s history there is no question why he is at the head of such a forward-thinking organization. He started his education studying engineering at Milan Polytechnic but left to work at Italia Online, one of the early internet companies in Italy. From here he bounced around to a number of different hi-tech companies and then found himself as a technology consultant for companies such as Prada, Adidas, Whirlpool and many others. In the late 90s he served as the CTO for Seat Ventures incubator. Then, in a move that set the foundation for the development of Arduino, he became an associate professor at the Interaction Design Institute. During his years there, he and his colleagues developed the Arduino hardware and software and have been working on this new open-source business for over 10 years.
Looking at this history it is clear that Massimo possess both the experience and qualities needed to make someone a good entrepreneur. He is a risk taker, jumping from one organization to another, looking for opportunities when they arise. His experiences working with world class businesses prepared him for the world stage on which he is working now. His experience in both business and education give him credibility at the head of a business where education is key. He is unique because as founder, entrepreneur and business leader he has been successful. Because of this we can easily say he is a true innovator. Not only is the product he has championed a game changer, but so is the open-source business model which he ascribes to.
Many of the team members around Massimo are the original founders of Arduino. David Cuartielles has a PhD in platform design and currently serves as Creator of Educational Strategies and the Head of EU Research Projects for Arduino. The current CEO is Fabio Violante, a PhD in computer science who has previously worked as the CEO on an IT company that helps other IT organizations to manage their infrastructure. From these two examples it is clear that successful entrepreneurs surround them selves with other successful people. From this example I see that successful entrepreneurs take risks, work hard, have technical expertise and passion for their product. The surround themselves with likeminded people who have expertise in a wide range of areas.