Friday, 11 April 2008

I stand by Luca Luciani

(Inspired by Valerio's blog - in Italian - and agreed upon by plenty of other bloggers - see updates below)

A perfect example of why Web 2.0 cannot be ignored, by anyone. Over the last 10 days, the "Waterloo incident", featuring Luca Luciani, has spread from a single video posted on YouTube (now removed) to conversations between people who have never heard of YouTube and hardly know who Luca Luciani is. In this short timeframe, videos have first proliferated on YouTube, then published on every major Italian website, linked in hundreds of blogs, and finally reported on all mainstream media - including national newspapers and prime time TV. Surely a great case study for communication and PR courses.

But also a case of a vast number of people reaching horribly harsh conclusions based on scant evidence. Yes, his historical inaccuracy is colossal and memorable. Yes, his language may be deemed inappropriate. Yes, he does earn a substantial salary. Does this mean he is totally ignorant, overwhelmingly arrogant, blatantly inadequate for his job, or ridiculously overpaid - as argued incessantly for days and days on thousands of posts and comments? Can such horribly harsh conclusions about a person be drawn from a 1:49 video taken out of context from a 3 hour event? I don't think so.

In my humble opinion, Luca Luciani deserves better. I have worked with Luca on a few occasions, and believe he is one of the smartest executives I have encountered in over 10 years of management consulting across Europe. He is not only competent, but also incredibly passionate about his work, and a great person to work with. Everyone I know who has worked with him shares the same opinion (Valerio for one), and we are not alone.

Much more significantly, hundreds of employees and business partners keep showing him unwavering support. In at least two cases this has occurred in most dramatic ways! Last Monday (right in the middle of the storm) over 500 field employees and dealers unexpectedly gave Luca Luciani a 15-minute applause and a standing ovation as soon as he emerged from the sidelines at a company event. Today, employees at the company's headquarters produced a cartoon (shown below)showed him their support by signing the cartoon, shown below.

"Luca, with you...even in Waterloo"

Forza Luca. Luca has publicly excused himself, and promised to learn from his mistakes. Yes, I agree with those who say that a self-ironic video response on YouTube would have been much better (and maybe Luca thinks so too?). Nevertheless, in my view he now deserves all the support he is getting, and more. I stand by Luca Luciani.

PS A final laugh. Sorry Luca, but I do find some of the stuff produced around your story these days really funny! My favourite is the Vota Luciani series, with The Rise and Fall of Luca Luciani a close second, and Special Jury Prize to Tolleranza Zoro. I'm sure you will find also these funny one day, if you aren't already ;-)

UPDATE (11/4): Besides Valerio, Squonk and Giacomo Dotta also published posts in favour of Luca Luciani or against his detractors.

UPDATE (14/4): Two more balanced views on the topic: D'Io and webmasterpoint .

UPDATE (15/4): On Demanews Blog, Brando, Fabio Annovazzi, Roberto, stema71 and particularly Giuseppe Verardi argued valiantly for my point.

UPDATE (16/4): I find out just now that Vittorio Bertola agrees with me completely (and said it much earlier, with supporting comments by frank among a plethora of usual criticism). citofonarelordlucas also says something quite similar.

UPDATE (18/4): Here's Marco Massarotto's analysis in the immediate aftermath of the incident - and very sensible comments, supported by Massimo and Giuseppe (and only one hostile one, for a change)

UPDATE (2/5): Among the smart&funny stuff produced around this story, here's the "History Manual by Luca Luciani"...pretty good! (in Italian)

Here's Technorati's full listing of blogs with.


Note: I have known Luca Luciani as part of my employment at Value Partners, a management consulting firm that provides services to - among others - Telecom Italia Mobile. This post reflects my own personal views and opinions. I have not received any form of compensation linked to this post by anybody, and will not in the future.


  1. Grazie Davide,

    pensavo di essere un misfit a pensarla così. Oltretutto al netto della gaffe storica io onestamente penso che le considerazione relative al fatto che il messaggio fosse volgare eccetera sono factually sbagliate. Spesso in un ambiente di lavoro un linguaggio volgare, brutale eccetera funziona. C'è un simpatico articolo su Steve Jobs su wired di questo mese. Jobs è un "asshole", uno stronzo. Ma credo di essermi spiegato... Luca non sarà Jobs, ma di gente arrivata dove è arrivata lui alla sua età, ne conosco pochina..


    Fabio Annovazzi

  2. Thanks for your citation ;)I've deduced you are an italian blogger who writes in english. very interesting experiment!



    Lord Lucas


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