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The end of Chapter 2

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I’m closing Chapter 2 of my professional life as I’m leaving Soitec.
This is a big moment for me as this Chapter 2 lasted 13 years.

Before talking about Chapter 3, I want to pause and reflect briefly on what happened during these years with Soitec.

To start I had the chance to be as head of IT part of the pioneer team to start a new factory in Singapore, been relocated there for 2 years with my family.

This has been just the beginning of a global scope. Now I’ve ex-colleagues or partners that are sometimes friends in France, Singapore, the US, Germany, Taiwan, Japan, South Africa.

When I became CIO I’ve been the initiator and the leader of the company’s digital transformation. Back in ’10 I was convinced that Cloud, Mobility, and Social were reshaping the world and bringing them to business was strategic to create value.

In ’11, we launched our “Cloud-first” strategy to totally reshape the way we did IT to improve agility, security, and costs thanks to cloud.

This has been a very exciting journey, with key decisions like moving to Google Gmail/Gsuite, like relying on public AWS cloud to run some of our fab critical applications and also tons of experiments, trials, and errors to find the best solutions and to manage change.

Conviction, resilience has been key during these years to consistently keep pace.
The results have been really very rewarding with tangible cost reductions, innovative systems to support business and an incredible 9.7/10 rate given constantly by the rest of the company to our performance.

I’ll keep in mind tons of memories with my incredible colleagues. Hard times with systems failure crisis, but most importantly a lot of fun, a lot of passion.

During these 13 years, the business story of Soitec has been very dynamic, with high points and very difficult times.
I’m very proud to have been part of the team that took the leadership beginning of ’15 at a very difficult period to turn around the business. This has been a huge opportunity for me to extend my scope outside IT, to Quality, Supply Chain, Procurement. I’ve learned a lot! This has been an incredible human story with all the company members. This is when I understood that this Digital Transformation is before all a question of culture, of women and men.

While handing in my decision to leave was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, the positivity that has poured out from my boss Paul and all the team has been amazing, and I’d like to thank them for that.

I know the team is strong, I’m convinced my departure will be an opportunity for my colleagues to grow and I wish them all the best.

Soon I will open Chapter 3. This will be a totally new Chapter as I want to launch my own business: Welibo.
I cannot tell more about it now, but for sure it will be around Digital.

Stay tuned, have a nice day.

End of the day, Sumba Indonesia (not too far from Welibo)


My word for 2019 : “Enjoy”

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My word for 2019 will be “Enjoy”

I started with this “word of the year” idea 3 years ago.

This idea of replacing the traditional New Year’s resolutions by just 1 word is an idea I took from Benoit Curdy.

In 2016, my word of the year was  “Focus“, which, for me, functioned as a reminder to spend more time on fewer things, avoid multitasking, be more present.

The next year I chose “Learn” and spent more time on learning new things related to digital like coding, big data, machine learning but also lern things related to the personal organization, to geopolitics, to history.

Finally, for 2018, I chose “Read” with a target of 24 books to be read during the year (I finished at 17), doing some posts about the books (I did it for 2).

For this year, my word will simply be “Enjoy”.

I’ll try as much as I can to enjoy the moment, take time to appreciate a simple meal with my family, time to enjoy visiting a new city, time to enjoy running, looking at nature. To put it simple, enjoy more all small things that make my life.

For this, I’ll have to calm down, chill out, and also sometime take a step back from my busy schedule. I’ll also have to improve the way I deal with notifications coming from all devices (more on that on a post coming).

I also plan to enjoy more at work.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I’m really passionate about it, tt’s full of excitement, stimulations, great responsibilities, nice colleagues, … but for this year I want to take time to realize how lucky I’m to hold such a position, to take time to celebrate our great results take time to really enjoy it.

“Enjoy” means also being optimistic. People keep telling me I’m not so bad at it, often I’m the guy that sees the “half-full” glass of water and this why the headline of my blog is “Welcome, Smile, Life is good !”.

Being optimistic is a strong engine for me and I’m convinced it helps to be to be stronger. Recently I’ve realized I’m sometimes less optimistic as I used to be especially in some stressful or boring situations.

I’ll try to keep the positive view during this year!

I wish you a very good year. Enjoy !

Image by @SoniaT


My word for 2018 : Read

Reading Time: 2 minutesMy word for 2018 will be “Read”

I started with this “word of the year” idea 2 years ago. This idea of replacing the traditional New Year’s resolutions by just 1 word is an idea I took from Benoit Curdy.

In 2016 the word I choose was  “Focus“, in 2017 “Learn“.

In fact, I realized that Focus + Learn = Read!

I love reading books as it’s a quiet moment during which I’ll have to focus on one single and simple task and at the same time it highly stimulates me, opens new horizons, brings me new ideas.

In 2016 I read 10 books, in 2017 16. For 2017, my objective is to finish 24 books which is 2 per month.

Around 1/3 of it should be fictional books that I listen to while running using Audible.

The other 2/3 will be non-fictional books I’ll read using my Kindle. For these, my objective will be to find a way to remind what I read.

When I read I often highlight interesting paragraphs or quotes. My track record in remembering what I read is very low, this is quite frustrating as one of my objectives when I read books is to learn things and to be able to share with others about these readings.

I’ll implement the method proposed here  A System for Remembering What You Read.

It seems to be a little bit too complicated and may put many constraints on me but I’ll give it a try and simplify it if needed.

I’ll publish my notes about books on this blog even if it may be a difficult exercise as some of the books I read are written in French and here I write in English. But let’s try!

I’ll also continue to use Goodreads.

Photo Credit: wuestenigel Flickr via Compfight cc


My word for 2017 : “Learn”

Reading Time: 2 minutes1 year ago I decided that my word for 2016 would be “Focus” and I’m very happy about it.
This idea of replacing the traditional New Year’s resolutions by just 1 word is an idea I took from Benoit Curdy and for 2016 it works for me. I really made progress, it helped me to be more efficient and enjoy life (1 tab in browser is quite challenging but I love it 🙂 )

It’s now time to decide what will be my new word for 2017 and it will be “Learn“.

I’ve always been in a “learning” attitude. During my career, I’ve jumped between different topics, businesses, jobs.

Learning new things is key to be able to invent, innovate.

In the tech area, many things are happening: block-chain, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, autonomous cars, chatbots, platforms, and also Arduino, raspberry, IoT, …
The world is changing very fast thanks to new technologies and it’s going faster and faster.

Looking back at what has happened in the last 10 years, is really mind-blowing.

What will happen in the next 10 years?

In order to really understand what is happening, be able to anticipate trends, and innovate I think it’s even more important to learn.


My objective for this year will be to spend the time to learn new things, especially in the tech area.
That will include

  • learn more about A.I. I know the theory of neural networks as I studied it in the ’90 but I need to learn how to use it now (could be with google Tensorflow or others)
  • learn new development languages (should be node.js and Angular.js)
  • learn how to assemble hardware to build simple automation in my house (could be this or that)
  • learn more about block-chain (not sure what I can do with that).

In order to learn I’ll have to :

  • Dedicate time to this activity (this means less time other things, I’ll have to make choices)
  • Read more and more: As Confucius said: “You cannot open a book without learning something.”. Last year I read 10 books,  I plan to read at least 15 this year.
  • Try things, experiment. I’ll try as much as possible to implement concrete things. Experiment means failure, and failure means learning.
  • Share as much as possible. Share with my friends, my colleagues, my family but also online. I’m a heavy user of Twitter and LinkedIn, I will be more present on Facebook to share and interact with others (especially to learn how it works )

I wish you a wonderful year!


Spotify Engineering Culture

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Spotify the well know music app is a European company that is very successful. It seems that the culture in the company is quite unique and the good think is that they are public about it and even spend the time to explain it.

There are 2 charts I keep using for years to inspire me.

It’s simple, easy to read and full of great ideas.

To know more, it’s on this page.


About machine learning

Reading Time: 3 minutesMachine learning is changing the world.

In near future electronics systems (our phones, our cars, our watches, our smart home, …) will be able to achieve results that will bring us in another dimension.

Machine learning is a technology really rising for 2 years and creating huge business value. It’s pushed by the big ones as it’s at the heart of their business: Google, Facebook, Baidu, Tesla, … When Netflix recommends you a film, they use machine learning, when Gmail filter your spam, they use machine learning, and so on. These are “simple” examples, more important ones are coming.

First example: autonomous cars.

Soon ( Elon Musk recently announced it will be in 2 years from now) cars will be able to run autonomously in ‘normal’ streets.

They will be able to ‘drive’ better than normal humans.

Recently, George Hotz claimed he is building an autonomous car, by himself, and using a software he wrote made of only 2000 lines of code.

You should read the article and watch the video, very impressive: the software does not explain the car how to drive, but how to learn to drive. George has to drive kilometers (he even plan to be an Uber driver to gather more data) and the car learns to drive looking at George’s rides data.

Another example is image or speech recognition.

Google Photos is now able to search your pictures based on people, things or places.

Andrew Ng from Baidu Research presented a device (a simple camera plugged into a smartphone) that is able to analyze and describe what it sees. Baidu Eye.

There’s also a cool video with Kyle McDonald walking in an Amsterdam Street with his opened laptop and the software is describing what it can see throw the webcam, for example, ‘a man eating a hotdog in a crowd’ or ‘a person riding a skateboard on a city street’. It’s amazing to see in real timing the algorithm reacting to new real-life situations.

The business applications for these image recognition capabilities are huge.

For example, a user takes a picture of a something he’d like to buy and the application is able to recognize the object and propose offers.

So what is machine learning?

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can teach themselves to grow and change when exposed to new data.


For an extensive explanation, there is Wikipedia.

The best and simplest explanation I’ve seen is recently is in the book ” Robbie the Robot Learns to Read” (by the way it’s a book for kids).

The story is about Robbie the robot that wants to learn to read.

First, Robbie is taught about syntax and grammar rules. This is not a Succes, Robbie is in fact not able to read books because he often encounters text that does not follow the rules he learned. This is “standard” programming. The second method is to simply let Robbie “read” as many books as possible (as he doesn’t know how to read, it means he will just parse texts). Based on all these “reading”, Robbie will be able to self-learn how a text is structured, how it works, and then learn how to read.

In this video, Andrew Ng from Baidu Research gives an example of how they fed a software with youtube videos for 1 week. After 1 week, the software has been able to autogenerate a neural network to recognize the most common image on youtube: a cat! (even if he even doesn’t know what a cat is). The beauty of machine learning is that the most it gathers data, the most it’s accurate.

Why is Machine learning coming now?

The theory behind machine learning is quite old. It’s about neural network type algorithms that have been established years ago.

The theory is nice but like a rocket in order to fly it needs 2 things: a big motor and a big fuel tank. A rocket with a big motor and small tank will not go very far, a rocket with a small motor and a lot of fuel will even not take off.

For machine learning, the motor is the computing power, the fuel is data.

Thanks to Moore’s law processors (CPU or GPU) are always more powerful, thanks to cloud computing a huge amount of processing are accessible for everybody, this is key to power the machine learning algorithm.

The fuel is data. 90% of world’s data have been generated over last two years. Because storage is cheaper and cheaper (people thinks it may be 0$ soon), and accessible easily thanks to the cloud, a machine algorithm can find fuel easily.

What’s next?

Today machine learning is just at the beginning. It’s often used as a buzz word, a lot is still to be done, but machine learning is changing the world and that’s a great news!


My only resolution for this year : Focus

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I like new year time. It’s a time when business really slows down for few days and when I’ve time to think about long-term stuff. It’s a good time to take a fresh start and take some good new-year resolutions. For example, one of the best resolutions I took was back in ’12 when I decided to implement “Zen To Done” productivity method from Leo Babauta, it really changed my life.

Of course like all of us I’m struggling to find sustainable new year resolutions that I’ll not forget after few weeks or even few days.

For this year, I’ve been inspired by Benoit Curdy who proposed to make it simple and only take 1 word (he took “Quality” for this year).

For me, the word will be “Focus”. For 2016, in all my actions I’ll focus as much as possible:

  • in meetings, I’ll be 100% focused on what happen in the room (i.e. not checking my phone, browsing the internet or answering emails)
  • when I’ll be with someone I’ll focus on what he or she is telling me
  • I’ll keep only 1 browser tab open to focus on the action I’m currently doing (writing a document, answering an email, reading news, …). I took this one from a recent post from Leo Babauta, I already tried it, it’s not easy, but cool.
  • to create new habits, I’ll focus only on 1 per month (taking 30 days challenges)
  • every week I’ll choose which big project I want to focus on to make a move
  • when I run (I do it 4 times per week) I’ll listen to nothing and just focus on the run (not all runs, but maybe 1 / week)
  • I’ll read only 1 book at a time (I’ve currently 4 books in progress)

What I expect from this focus is:

  • be more efficient avoiding multitasking, and being really concentrated
  • be able to move on a big complicated project by focusing on 1 specific action
  • be a better manager for my team
  • be a better dad and husband

This word “Focus” will be always in my mind.
In order to change my behaviour, I’ll proceed step by step and implement changes 1 by 1, with focus! (not trying to do all objectives that are in the post starting tomorrow) .

I wish you a very good year!


The most important word today is “API”

Reading Time: < 1 minuteThese days I’m working a lot of Digital Transformation.

What does it mean? What are the opportunities? What are the challenges?

As an IT guy, my conviction is that all is about the cloud (of course, and that’s not new) and APIs.

APIs are the real game changer that allows all IT systems to be open for interfaces and collaboration by design.

Part of Amazon’s success is a consequence of Bezos initial choice to go for 100% Apis back in 2002. He even wrote a memo about it :

  1. All teams will henceforth expose their data and functionality through service interfaces.
  2. Teams must communicate with each other through these interfaces.
  3. There will be no other form of interprocess communication allowed: no direct linking, no direct reads of another team’s data store, no shared-memory model, no back-doors whatsoever. The only communication allowed is via service interface calls over the network.
  4. It doesn’t matter what technology they use. HTTP, Corba, Pubsub, custom protocols — doesn’t matter.
  5. All service interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be externalizable. That is to say, the team must plan and design to be able to expose the interface to developers in the outside world. No exceptions.
  6. Anyone who doesn’t do this will be fired.
  7. Thank you; have a nice day!

For example, having IT systems exposed throw APIs allowed Amazon to launch their cloud offer AWS for everybody even if it the software were developed for internal purpose (running their private datacenters supporting Amazon’s retail business).

In order to convince people and explain what all this is about, I’m constantly using this presentation :


Netflix culture in 124 slides

Reading Time: < 1 minuteNetflix is an impressive company.

I’ve already posted slides from them about their cloud journey (how and why they migrated their IT from internal to fully cloud at Amazon).

The purpose of this presentation is to describe Netflix culture.

I like the fact that it’s fully public (older versions are even available), this transparency shows that people at Netflix are very confident their values are the good ones and want to spread the word. One of my preferred slides is slide number 83 : Managers: When one of your talented people does something dumb, don’t blame them Instead, ask yourself what context ...


Summary of the book ” Reinventing Organizations” in a 9′ video

Reading Time: < 1 minuteI’ve not yet read the book “Reinventing Organizations“, this video proposes a summary in 9 minutes.

The main points I’d like to highlight are :
– the explanation on why implementing “Lean” can be a problem if the organization is not at a good level.
– the idea that the world is not black & white and that all types of organizations can be useful based on company history, challenges, and objectives.

Lean and Agile Adoption with the Laloux Culture Model from Agile For All on Vimeo.