Start In Paris is a monthly community event for startups, made by some startuppers for the startuppers (this is how I understood it in the first place, we’ll see later, that definition needs some correction). It was created by Laurent Kretz (@laurentk) and Jonathan Benoudiz (@bJonathan), the two co-founders of Submate. It’s a pitch competition with the intervention of a main speaker. This time it was Michel de Guilhermier.

There are 3 phases happening before the actual event :

  1. you submit your startup for the pitch competition with a little description
  2. a jury composed of “specialists” makes a first selection of 15 projects
  3. then, the public vote for the 5 startups that will be allowed to pitch in front of the audience

The actual event went well and was very quick. This is the list of the 5 startups that pitched during StartInParis #3. Every team had 5 minutes to present their startup, their business model and make a small demo.

1. Wizme
A recommendation engine built on your actual social network. Of course it’s hype, and the competition in this space will be hard. The demo shows a functional system. Not sure how it will differentiate from others. AND, the guy showed up a video for the last 2 minutes. In my opinion, showing a video when the competition is about pitching is completely off topic and too easy. Very disappointed.

2. Hopcube
A green badge that e-merchant can put on their website. It’s a synthetic representation of several metrics combined in one. Of course, a synthetic metric is more readable. But, well, is it more understandable? Not sure… This team has in fact already built a company, running for 1 year and half. Not really a startup IMHO. Very disappointed.

3. Dress-Me
Social network around dressing. Personal shopper and friends can give you some advices on your clothes and your dressing. You must first provide photos of all your clothes! Idea is cool, not sure the target is very huge, but making hundreds of photos could be very harassing. And finally, the service is about fashion right? Well, the website is a little but ugly for the moment… Not enthousiastic.

4. Super-Marmite
Share some portion of what you cooked to strangers, view portions from others, order online. I can see the target, even tough it’s not very huge IMHO. The team behind the project looks cool: they presented as a team, the slides were clean, the pitch was clean, the actual app is clean (and the logo is wonderful!). Maybe the market isn’t reachable, but I could see that on the “american POV”: show me how you can build a business model around your idea! Besides, if I should hire some Rails dev and some designers, I would hire this team, because they seem to have done a great job. Very enthusiastic by the team, not by the business opportunities. I voted for them !

5. Scrumers
Disclaimer: we proposed MasterSieve at StartInParis #3, a competitor to Scrumers, but we didn’t make it through the 3rd phase (public voting).
Scrumers is a project management tool built for the Scrum methodology. I know a little bit of scrum (we do MVP, Standup Meeting and this kind of stuff, although we’re mainly an XP/Lean shop), but I didn’t really understand the technical demo… And it failed completely at showing the iPhone app. Why did he try so hard to show an iPhone app? Just concentrate on some main points, you just have 5 minutes!

Finally, the event was generally cool and we should have more of this kind of events! And IMHO StartInParis should state a clear set of rules. For example: project in early stage (no company, or company created the last 6 months). They should also repeat a lot more: you just have 5 minutes!

Now, for my conclusion about MasterSieve, the project management tool we’re currently building. I don’t think I would have done a better job at demoing and pitching MasterSieve as a startup project. Maybe I have some better pitching skills (went through 2 Ignite, spoke at several conference, etc), but MasterSieve as a product is not good enough for pitching in front of startuppers. So for now, we’re currently thinking on how we really differentiate from others. How we can make a difference? Think Blue Ocean and Purple Cow. And we have already some new funky ideas and some new path to follow (thanks to our neighbour in the gaming industry).

A new coworker


While buying some stuff in a Puma store in Strasbourg, I asked brazenly if it was possible to buy those cute little pinguins they in had in the shopwindow. The shopgirl answered that, unfortunately, it was not possible to buy them. But! But, at the end of the season, in june or july, they will find new homestays for their penguins. We let our name, and voilà, 6 months later, a new coworker in the CPPlex !
A quick poll on twitter and Facebook help us find his name : welcome Pen Pen ! Thanks to @nmerouze who was the first one to suggest that name.

Obligatory geek reference.

Even though Alsace Digitale is just a few months old, we decided to organize our first Community BBQ.

It was a real success, thanks to our numerous sponsors who provided sausages, flammekueches, coke, lemonade and… tomatoes and watermelons (yes, we have girls too).

It was the first time I really discussed with Tom Brehm and his entrepreneurship adventure with Limonade Min’s (we met a few times before at the BarCampAlsace6.5 for example). Their business model is inspired by Jones Soda. They make traditional lemonade and when you order your bottles, you can provide some fancy logo or image and they will make a special sticker for you. Add to that the fancy QR code, and you have some limonade for geeks 🙂

And for the entrepreneurship adventure, they bought an old bottling machine from Austria and they moved it in a small village near Strasbourg !

Some people have difficult experiences with Ruby on Rails in France. Imagine that : your cofounder is a Rails ninja. Of course he chooses Rails as the main tech for your startup. And then, after some times, he decides to left the company. And now, you have to look for Rails talent. And you now face the hard truth : the Ruby/Rails community in France is quite small. How do you look for Rails developpers in that case ? They are all already employed working on cool projects, or they can simply ignore you (I will let the reader jump to its own conclusions as to why they ignore you).

To answer quickly to the guy who had “problems” with his cofounder. It’s not Rails fault ! it could have happened with any cofounder, be it a Rails ninja or not ! Yeah ok, it doesn’t sooth the pain…

As for the initial question “How do you look for Rails developpers in that case ?”, maybe a better one is “How do you look for talented people ?”. Laurent already stated the obvious : poll your local tech community. There are plenty of tech events in Paris. And they are now easily founded because they really often happen in “La Cantine”, the famous parisian coworking space. And now, there are a lot of coworking spaces and other similar organizations popping everywhere in France, like Alsace Digitale, La Mêlée Numérique, Atlantic 2.0, etc.

But this question remains : will you spend some time looking for talented people ? Do you really want to hire talented people ?

And I will now imagine what would have happened if you didn’t go with Rails in the first place.

Imagine you go with Python (or Scala). Do you really think their community are bigger than the Ruby/Rails community ? And I’m really talking about web dev here (I know that the Python community is quite big outside web dev).

Or maybe you would have go with a more “standard” tech, like Java, C# or PHP. And then, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff ?

So, blaming Ruby/Rails is simple but the real questions remains. And they are not simple.

As for me ? I really enjoy the Ruby/Rails community because it’s full of tech oriented people who constantly test new technologies for the good of all.

PS : BTW, maybe one day all Rubyists will be Node.js developpers, and the important questions will still remain

Lundi 21 juin avait donc lieu à La Cantine à Paris la conférence MongoFR : toute une journée dédiée à la base de données MongoDB.

J’ai eu le plaisir d’être speaker en démarrant la journée en pole position pour présenter “Ruby et MongoDB dans la pratique”. En français donc, histoire de diffuser la bonne parole dans le monde francophone. Vous trouverez ci-dessous les slides de cette présentation.

Quelques mots sur la journée. 10gen, la boîte à l’origine de MongoDB, fait vraiment très très bien son travail pour favoriser l’adoption de leur produit (open source). La journée a été bien remplie, alternativement de sessions en français et en anglais (plusieurs employés de 10gen parlent d’ailleurs très bien le français). Il y en avait pour tout le monde : autant pour les devs que pour les admin sys. Et pour ceux qui se posaient la question, après une brève analyse, je pense que toutes les applications que l’on a développées chez Novelys ces 5 dernières années auraient pu se faire avec MongoDB. On est très content du produit (actuellement en prod ou préprod sur 2 projets) et il est clair que l’on utilisera MongoDB de plus en plus à l’avenir (notamment sur MasterSieve !).

This post is about the MongoFR conference, organized by 10gen, the 21st of june in Paris. As my talk will be in french, the rest of this post is in french.

10gen, la boîte derrière la base de données NoSQL MongoDB, organise une journée de formation/présentation autour de MongoDB le 21 juin à la Cantine.

J’aurais l’honneur d’y présenter “Ruby et MongoDB dans la pratique” qui sera surtout un retour d’expérience sur nos derniers travaux et découvertes en ce qui concerne l’implantation de MongoDB dans un projet Ruby (et surtout Rails), notamment dans le cadre du projet MasterSieve.

And this time, I will try to write some articles in english, some others in french.

Long live the Strassblog !


Originally uploaded by novelysfrance

The BarCampBodensee2010 took place on the 5th and 6th of june 2010.

I didn’t explore a lot of BarCamp in Germany (in fact this was just my second BarCamp in Germany, the first one was the BarCampBodensee2008), but I have to say that the organization was almost perfect: self service for drinks, self service for bikes, 3 meals per day, the wifi worked perfectly, etc.

And, thanks to one of the main figure behind this BarCamp, namely Oliver Gassner, it was an International Barcamp. The rule is plain simple : when you start your session, just ask if someone doesn’t understand your spoken language. This way, if a poor french guy that doesn’t speak german shows up in a “german session”, the session will continue in english (or any preferred language by all the participants in the session).

This is the list of the sessions I attended :

  • Day 1 Session 1 “Cross platform mobile development”
  • Day 1 Session 2 “Self management and Getting Things Done” and the book “Making it all work”
  • Day 1 Session 3 “22 random hints for startups”
  • Day 1 Session 4 “Appstore and the android market”
  • Day 1 Session 5 “Coworking”, with a good introduction quote “Coworking is not about sharing space, it is about sharing time”
  • Day 1 Session 6 “Project Management SCRUM & RUP”
  • Day 2 Session 1 “How to be a social web ninja”
  • Day 2 Session 2 “Scrum & Patterns
  • Day 2 Session 3 “Future Companies – Cultural & Organizational Aspects”
  • Day 2 Session 4 “Android development”

My advice : don’t miss this amazing BarCamp next year !

PS : you can find more photos in this Flickr set.


Originally uploaded by novelysfrance

The BarCampAlsace6.5, intermediate release between the BarCampAlsace6 and the BarCampAlsace7, and the first BarCamp ported by Alsace Digitale, took place the 8th may 2010 at the CPPlex. The CPPlex is the first alsatian coworking place, situated 17 rue des magasins, 67000 Strasbourg, France.

First, the number of attendees : 84. Nice score ! In progression compared to the BarCampAlsace6. The CPPlex was quite crowded.

Second, the number of sessions. With up to 5 sessions in parallel, the barcampers had choice.

Third, the logistic. As the 8th of may was public holiday in France, it was not really easy to setup the food for midday. Apart that, I think the things worked well.

Once again, I was very happy to organize a BarCampAlsace. I hope that another BarCampAlsace will take place S2 2010. And maybe this time with international guests !

PS : you can find more photos in this Flickr set.

Voic la petite présentation que j’ai faite hier soir dans le cadre des Last Thursday au CPPlex.
C’est quoi un Last Thursday ? Les Last Thursday sont des rencontres mensuelles, sur Strasbourg, où l’excuse est une conférence technique. Normalement, c’est le dernier jeudi de chaque mois (mais c’est rarement tombé le dernier jeudi…). C’est essentiellement un groupe Facebook que vous pouvez rejoindre.
Le nom du groupe c’est “Last Thursday” by Alsace Digitale.
C’est quoi Alsace Digitale ? C’est l’association que nous venons de créer avec quelques connaissances et qui veut fédérer les acteurs de l’IT en Alsace et porter un projet de type Cantine.
C’est quoi le CPPlex ? C’est l’espace de travail que nous partageons avec Creative Patterns, Cap Eco et Green Ivory. C’est, de facto, le premier espace de coworking de Alsace Digitale. Si vous êtes de passage sur Strasbourg, vous savez donc où venir trouver un espace de travail agréable, même si ce n’est que pour quelques heures.
Bref, voici enfin les slides :

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