Marco Grossi

Give close attention to details, the sum of all of them will help you see the big picture.


Marco Grossi is a developer and user-friendly designer of usable web apps. He is the founder of iLovePDF, the app that helps millions of people save time with their PDF needs.

Born in Spain, with Italian roots, Marco has been passionate about technology and design since a young age. After earning a major in Media Science, he has developed other projects in different programming languages.

When he’s not working, you can find him running or cooking pasta. Marco loves to travel and escaping the crowds in a secret spot in Spain’s Costa Daurada.

Where did the idea for ilovePDF come from?

The idea first occurred to me when I was trying to merge two PDF files and it took me more than 20 minutes. If it was so difficult for me, despite my technological background, I imagined how it might be for nontechnical people. At that time, there wasn’t any free online software to manage PDF, so I just shared what I had created to fulfill a personal need.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Usually involves a lot of programming and real-time Analytics. First thing I do in the morning is to check on Google Analytics to make sure that all is running smoothly, then I meet with my team at the office until the afternoon. I make sure to break up the day with gym or a bit of running, then return to my work space recharged and work on my own for a couple of hours, mostly on new features and infrastructure.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I believe that best ideas come up away from the screen. Sometimes ideas pop up away from the work space, while running or doing other activities. Talking to close people with different backgrounds is also key to identify new insights. But it must also be said that an idea has no value if you can’t bring it to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Outsourcing worldwide talent, although the main development is managed internally. As a small team, we often require help for specific tasks, and especially in the beginning when I was developing the website on my own. Online freelance platforms such as UpWork have made possible for us to find people from all over the world who have contributed to our project.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I think it’s the habit I’ve mentioned before, breaking up the day with a bit of running, combined with being truly passionate about our project. Sports helped me strengthen my focus and concentration, which has had a direct impact on my productivity.

What advice would you give your younger self?

In my opinion, things have turned out better than I would have ever expected but if I could travel back some years I would have tried to learn English as a native speaker. I would put more effort into becoming a completely fluent English speaker and writer. It sounds obvious, but it would have saved me from many headaches!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That the technical side of a project is just as, if not more, important than the business / profit side. It feels like many people believe that investors and business angels are the driving force behind every successful project, but due to my personal experience and background I disagree with this belief.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Give close attention to details, the sum of all of them will help you see the big picture.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Offering a useful product to meet a need clearly identified. When I first released iLovePDF there were almost no other free online websites to edit PDFs, but the need was out there and on a global scale. At the beginning, I worked for another company but when iLovePDF started to grow, basically on its own, I decided to quit my job and focus solely on it. Besides, offering a stable product that runs consistently without crashing is crucial to gain and retain users and confidence in the site. That requires many hours of tuning, error checking and improving algorithms.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

A few years back I launched iLoveFile, a website to convert image, audio, document and e-book files. It was for not paying attention to detail that this project failed. The idea was too ambitious; many conversions were not successful because I tried to take on too much. Although, this failure was a key learning, so I decided to focus and master PDF and Image conversions in two different websites.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I have to admit I have a few ones that I am not willing to share, we might work on them in the near future. Although I think there’s a lot of room for improvement and opportunities in the buying and selling of second-hand boats and yachts.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Renting a Padel court once a week to play with my team. Although we are far from being good players, being a team out of the office has brought us many moments of fun.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

We would be lost without Crowdin! Our site is available in 25 languages, and we constantly update it with new features; having the translating process optimized has just saved us so much work and trouble.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Not specifically for those who want to be entrepreneurs, but “If this is a man“, Primo Levi’s Holocaust memoirs, should be a must read for everyone.

What is your favorite quote?

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.“, attributed to Martin Luther. Life is short, so you better do things you truly enjoy while you are here and act with some disregard for the future.

Key learnings:

  • Providing useful products that meet real needs will help you grow faster. Despite all your marketing efforts it will be the market itself who will determine the success of your product.
  • Behind every successful digital business, there’s a team of developers striving for technical excellence before profit.
  • Be closely attentive to details, they will help you shape the whole picture.
  • Mistakes can help you see the path ahead. Review, Reflect, Rearrange and Keep moving forward!
  • Break up your work hours with some physical activity. Make sure to stay healthy to perform at your best.


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