Since it's the start of the new year, we decided to interview Xavier Foucault - the man in charge of keeping Nuxeo's workings running smoothly as the Vice President of Operations. This behind-the-scenes position is at the center of all Nuxeo activities, and the structured style of an engineer fits this role like a glove.
What is your background?
I'm an electronic engineer and I worked four years in Silicon Valley designing chips. I then worked in different fields, combining hardware and software for a few years, and finally switching to software ten years ago.
How did you make the switch from hardware to software, and what inspired you to make the change?
To develop hardware chips, we needed better software. At that time, the only softwares for designing chips that were on the market were on very large mainframes. I decided to develop a software for PCs to design chips at the end of my time in the United States; a CAD software, or a Computer-Aided Design software. It was a challenge for me, but I enjoyed it. That's where my shift from hardware to software began.
How did you end up at Nuxeo and when did you start?
Someone informed me that Nuxeo was looking for a Vice President of Services. I was attracted to the open source economic model and after discussions with the Nuxeo team, I was pleased with the opportunity, so I joined the company at the beginning of January in 2010.
What are your main responsibilities at Nuxeo?
My responsibilities have changed drastically since joining Nuxeo. As Vice President of Operations now, I would say that my main responsibility is overseeing all back-office activities, including sales administration, human resources, finance, legal and more to make sure that all operational teams can rely on a solid framework. Also, with our CEO, Eric, based in the United States, it's necessary that I help in synchronizing all Nuxeo teams to reach our goals.
How did you switch from working as a developer to working in operations?
I was a Support Manager at Toshiba in the 1990s. At the time, I supported distributors and end users on how to use the computers and my required knowledge was a little bit of hardware and a lot of software. I then had the opportunity to work as the Operations Manager for Toshiba in France.
Do you ever miss being a developer and what do you like about working in operations in a company full of developers?
Well, I like both developing and working in operations. The nice thing about working in operations is that I now have a larger view of the company I work for, and I'm not just focused on the technical aspects or developing software. While working as the Vice President of Operations, I have the opportunity to see the many different aspects of Nuxeo.
What was your first major project when you joined Nuxeo?
The main goal when I arrived was to organize the service department and make sure that all of the developing and consulting for customers were accurately planned and delivered at the right time.
Do you have a favorite work project or activity you've partaken in while at Nuxeo? If so, what is it?
I set up tools and processes to have a real-time follow-up of the activities within the company, managing forecasts and getting accurate business and financial data.
What do you like most about working at Nuxeo?
I really enjoy working with so many smart individuals. I have worked for something like eight different companies in my life, and believe me, working at Nuxeo is a real pleasure. Discussions on different matters are easy and decisions are usually quickly reached.
Since you have enjoyed working with intelligent people at Nuxeo, what have you learned from your coworkers?
I wouldn't say that I learned this because I was not personally using this, but compared to other software development, I was very impressed by the focus on testing and quality with the Nuxeo Platform. I was very impressed by witnessing all the tools that have been set up, from the integration chain to all the automatic tests.
If you had to decorate your part of the office eccentrically, what would you do?
My choice would be to decorate the office as a sailboat, but I already hear some employees wondering if it might not be easier to use a sailboat as a remote office anyway...