Hi Alexandre! Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Hi! I have the typical French engineering background, preparatory class then Grande Ecole (Les Ponts). At that time, I remember that I was a bit undecided about my future, I didn't see myself going toward civil engineering or applied math. So to leave myself more open doors I chose a specialty that mixed business with technical skills: economy & financial strategy. Besides, I didn't have any particular interest in coding (the last time I coded was probably 10 years ago!). Then I started to work in consulting in order to quickly gain experience in change management for financial departments of big CAC40 companies. One of the most important things I learned during those years is, without a doubt, the importance of soft skills: you can't make projects move forward without convincing people first.
After these 3 - 4 years of consulting, I decided that I wanted to gain in impact. That's when I came across GitGuardian.
How did you first hear about GitGuardian?
I knew someone from my engineering school working there and we discussed the company — this friend explained to me that there was surely room for my type of profile given the level of maturity of the start-up at the time (Alexandre joined GitGuardian one year ago, editor's note).
I must say that I thought a lot before making my decision. I knew absolutely nothing about the tech world, as I said I was even very far from the start-up ecosystem. I didn't want to join a company of 10 people either, because I knew perfectly well that my skills would not be useful. On the other hand, I knew that I had the curiosity and the desire to increase my skills in very technical subjects - provided that I was given the time of course! Finally, I was reassured to see that GitGuardian is an innovative company that has succeeded in finding its market and that remains very ambitious.
Did you know about the problem of secrets sprawl?
Like everyone else, I was well aware of the fact that we live in an increasingly digital world that software is eating. I had had some glimpses of the cybersecurity aspect during my missions to integrate new tools, but I had no idea of the risk represented by the secrets in the internal code bases. When I discovered the GitGuardian stats, I was very surprised by the magnitude of the problem. The attack surface is considerable.
What did you enjoy the most when you arrived?
When I arrived, my position and my team had just been created. With my COO, who had also joined GitGuardian a few weeks earlier, we wanted to show that we were able to add value quickly. This was exciting. As the Operations team, our mission is twofold: on the one hand, we help the company to structure itself, especially in terms of inter-team interactions, and on the other hand, we prepare for growth. We are growing at a very high speed, so we need to anticipate the needs of the teams.
What are the three top qualities to join GitGuardian according to you?
I would say that the three essential qualities for joining GitGuardian are communication, being proactive, and rigor. Communication means knowing how to listen and hear each other's problems, and how to explain the issues. Being proactive means both getting the information and giving it back in a pedagogical way, explaining it well. Finally, rigor is very important because we are constantly exploring new areas, such as analyzing new data without bias. I think that the Ops team embodies these qualities very well because we must have a general knowledge of all subjects and be able to stand back.
After more than one year here, how do you feel about the company?
I really like the fact that GitGuardian is a young company but already very well structured. The people are competent and caring. Even if we are growing very fast (despite the current ups and downs of the tech sector), we manage to keep a strong collective spirit. We also have great offices that make everyone feel good. I think we've reached a point of maturity, which can be seen in the recruitment, contracts, candidates, and diversification of the company. On a personal level, the flexibility granted to the organization of my work gives me a great feeling of confidence.
Thank you for your time!