┬╗ About me

About me

Hey there! Here's a bit more about me, for the curious web wanderers. You can also read my professional resume.

I'm 43 and live in Toulouse in the south of France. I'm married and we have two sons who are 19 and 14. I love technology, and I'm always learning and experimenting new stuff.

Early days

I've been playing with computers since the age of 13. My first computer was an Apple IIe, and I spent much more time "studying" game protections than actually playing with them. I bought a Mac SE in 1987 and spent three months reading the whole "Inside Macintosh" before spawning my first window on screen. Using it for university projects helped me a lot: the teachers liked to play with nice GUIs at a time where PC users didn't even know what a mouse was! I studied computer science at the UTC, specializing in artificial intelligence.

1990-2000: Lost in space

I then worked during 10 years in the space industry, building software systems for satellite monitoring and control. During these 10 years, I always had semi-official side projects to feed my insatiable desire to learn and experiment. I wrote a C/C++/Ada code generator in Prolog (a MDA tool when it wasn't invented), have been setting up the first intranet in 1995 (with an issue tracker in CGI/shell, then an early version of Zope), contributing a PDF indexer to htDig, and generally was curious about everything. After long negociations (that's how it is in BigCos) I finally had access to the web from my office in 1997. Full access to the resources of the web combined with the emergence of Java and all the open-source movement around it was a mind-blowing experience, which made me realize that somehow my job had been boring until then.

2000-2006: I'm not alone!

In July 2000, I co-founded Anyware Technologies with a few colleagues and friends because we had enough of the heavy process of large companies and wanted to have more fun with Java and web technologies. As the Chief Technologist, I helped the company grow up to 60 employees, doing many interesting things with Cocoon, sometimes in unusual situations like cars and automation devices. We started with Cocoon 1 and quickly switched to a pre-alpha version of Cocoon 2. Then I was elected as a Cocoon committer in april 2001. That came as a real surprise, since although being a regular contributor I didn't thought I could be "one of them". That was the beginning of a long history, and over the years I became one of the core developers of Cocoon.

2006-2008: Dream team on TV

Open source is actually more about people than about software. I came to know lots of interesting people, learn a lot from them, and help others to learn. At the beginning of 2006, Dirk-Willem van Gulik (one of the founders of Apache) proposed me to be an early member of the Joost team to work on an innovative TV-over-IP system with many other people from major open-source organizations such as Apache and Mozilla. A new step in my progression in this world. I worked for 2 years there, architecting and builing the backend systems of Joost with more than 15 people in Toulouse in a very stimulating multi-national environment.

2008-2010: Mobile is the future

In early 2008, Anyware was sold for 11 million euros, and Joost had major management changes that led it to concentrate on the US market and invite its employees to move to New York city. The valley would have been an option, but the overcrowded New York wasn't appealing to me.

So I joined the newly formed Goojet as the CTO. Goojet is a "mobile social media". It started from the fact that typing a URL on a phone is complicated, and that managing bookmarks is close to impossible for average humans, so using social network virality could boost the usage of mobile web, and be of interest to content providers seeking to increase their mobile audience. After having spent a couple of months fighting with J2ME phones (and writing an HTML browser), the shift towards higher-end phones like iPhone and Android allowed me to do what I'm good at: having an all-encompassing technical vision on the entire system and implementing it.

2011: free as a bird

In late 2010, Goojet had not found the momentum needed for the rapid growth we expected, and I had fewer technical challenges where I could really be useful. So we decided to split up.

Since I did not find an interesting "next project", I decided to go freelance to build my own. I'm now working part time as an expert consultant in web technologies (system architecture, scalability, NoSQL, and also tricky low level technology), and the remaining time working on a micro-startup project.