This week, Cyril Vart celebrates his 10th anniversary at FABERNOVEL. A longevity record for this eternal hacker. About that, he told us: “I’ve had an interesting life for the past ten years.”
We met Cyril Vart one Friday afternoon at FABERNOVEL group, back from a meeting at Nexity. He wore a polo shirt, sneakers and pants, all in black. It’s perhaps not a coincidence that Cyril was born in 1966, in the very city that saw the birth of the anarchist movement in 1831 and the struggle of the silk workers known as “Canuts Lyonnais” in France.
Cyril has always been torn between two backgrounds: cinema (daddy) and catering (mommy). Director of the Théâtre des Célestins for years, his father then became producer of - among others – the famous French movie “3 hommes et un couffin” (literally “3 men and a cradle”). He also produced all the films of the legendary director Bertrand Tavernier. His father’s proximity to showbusiness led Cyril to play a role in “Topaze” of Marcel Pagnol at the age of 7; his line was: “It’s not my fault, Sir”.
His maternal grandmother ran a hostel near Lyon and was an excellent cook. Her speciality: le gratin de tripes flambées au Cognac (a gratin of triples, flambé with Cognac beforehand). This special dish was so successful in the area that French actors Philippe Noiret and Jean Rochefort demanded to get some every two days during the shooting of the movie “L’Horloger de Saint Paul” (Saint Paul’s Watchmaker).
From this experience in the catering industry, Cyril got his understanding of the key factors for a good customer experience: the quality of the hospitality and high standards for the team.
Cyril wrote his first lines of code with this personal “made in England” computer. He then designed a “brick-breaker” game. From his tweaking, Cyril has kept this in mind: “At this time it was already quite uncertain, just as now. New technologies were starting to be cheap enough for young people like me to suddenly have access to the "professional” resources (for micro-ordis). There was no clear vision on the direction the market was taking. It finally went well.”
When we asked him about his adulthood, our Executive Vice-President told us that he started by doing odd jobs one after the other (pizza deliveryman, carpet shampoo …). He then got almost fired from his first stable job as a storekeeper at Loriciel because he lost some stocks. However, he was finally caught back at the last minute by the marketing department, who had noticed that he had tweaked a software for managing the same stocks.
From this moment, Cyril’s career went wild.
“In 1985/86, I took part in the creation of a software publishing startup. I set up the training department for the secretaries who needed to use the word processor.
Then I spent 4 years with Lotus France, second world leader in software at the time.
After this experience, I landed in the US as an immigrant; I worked in Boston, still in IT as:
- Product Director for Lotus until its acquisition by IBM,
- Marketing Director of Altavista, first search engine,
- then, Compaq’s e-commerce director.
In 1999, I joined ZiffDavis and developed the business of ZiffDavis University, a website whose value proposition was “learn how to code for $ 9.99 a month”.
When I arrived at the end of my Visa validity period, my wife and I wondered if it was worth asking for the green card. Then one day, back from school, my daughter declared that her classmates told her that the theory of evolution of the species was a trick (it was the beginnings of the creationists movement back then). So we went back to France.
At this point Wanadoo launched a hunt to find a “French who worked in the US and who knows about the Internet.”
Therefore, I went to Wanadoo as DG of the portal division.
Then at the press group Emap where I managed the digital portfolio. When we were bought by Mondadori, after 6 months il resigned. And one day to another, I found myself at FABERNOVEL’s. “
When we asked Cyril how he arrived at FABERNOVEL, he told us that it was his friend Hervé Digne, who organized a meeting at a restaurant with Stéphane Distinguin. ” I could have been the CEO of a big media or a telecommunication CEO but I was unhappy in big corporations. I was coming out of a painful social plan that I had to manage, 600 people were fired. And because my daughters were grown-ups, I said to myself that I could finally take a financial risk. “
Any advice for his young colleagues? No, actually, 3 of them:
- Ask questions to clients! Call them! You will be surprised by the result.
- Between doing interesting stuff and getting more money, always choose the interesting stuff.
- Be interested in technologies, investigate. It’s important to know how it works.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Cyril Vart!
ANDREESSEN, Marc. “Why Software is eating the world”. Wall Street Journal, 2011
BUXTON, Bill. Sketching User Experiences. Getting the right design and the design right. Morgan Kaufmann. 2007.
DAVENPORT, T.H.. The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business.
EYAL, Nir. Hooked: How to build habit-forming products. Penguin, 2014.
KAHNEMAN, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. 2013.
KRUG, Steve. Don’t make me think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. New Readers, 2005.
LOEWY, Raymond. La laideur se vend mal. Gallimard, 1990.
MARRON, Donald. 30 seconds economics. The 50 Most Thought-Provoking Economic Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute. New York: Icon Books, 2011.
RIES, Eric. The Lean Startup : How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Crown Business, 2011.
Le mois dernier nous avons participé au Devoxx, conférence pour les développeurs passionnés. Parce que Fabernovel c’est plus de 100 développeurs, qui...May 03. 19 Lire la suite
Quel est ton parcours ? Après avoir effectué un parcours de sportif de haut niveau dans le foot, en intégrant un centre de formation, j’ai décidé de...Feb 14. 19 Lire la suite
The Side Car is joining FABERNOVEL! Its 12 members' team will constitute a new business unit : FABERNOVEL STORIES. Meet with Luc Dagognet, the founder...Nov 09. 18 Lire la suite