The most valuable aspect of my job is the interaction with people: I work with so many different people, sharing ideas and beliefs, and we are all learning so much from each other.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Usually the shorter way that people use to define me is : ”GEEK”.
From a professional standpoint, I was an expert of Flash development during 10 years. After 6 years working on As1, 2 and 3 developments, I built a team of 10 Flash people at Business Interactif, that become later Digitas France. Now, I’m a Creative Technologist for the Digitas Labs unit. I accompany agency’s clients towards innovation on all the digitals channels, from mobile to point of sale, through the latest technologies. That's a very exciting era, their is so much technologies out there, that's a fantastic playground for me and the agency.
What do you do for inspiration?
My main source of inspiration comes from browsing my Twitter and Rss feed, I'm also addicted to ffffound.com, but the most important thing for me is time, time to imagine new ways to use technologies and create valuable campaign for our clients.
I think that working on personal projects is also a good way to open your mind.
As much as possible, I try to attend conference. The last one I saw was Hyper Island Conference in Paris, I consider it as the best digital conference of the year, very inspiring speach from @masakawa from party.jp and @aszolty from breakfastny.com
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
ffffound.com, theFwa.com, mashable.com
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
My latest and biggest achievement was the realization of the Nissan Stage Juk3d project, an idea that came true thanks to the trust of our client Nissan Europe, that really puts the digital in the core of its marketing strategy. I designed this project in the frame of Digitas Labs, the transversal innovation entity serving the agency. This project idea is born from technology proving that technology can really be a creativity source. When I saw the project starred at the Adobe Max conference this year in Los Angeles after weeks of hard work, it was like a dream come true!
How many hours do you work each week?
Physically I'm at the office for 45 hours a week, but I never really stop working, my brain has a kind of background process :)
How do you relax or unwind?
I swim twice a week and I also try to spend as much as possible time with my 3 kids
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
This is hard to say, I used to work in the print industry 12 year ago but I found it boring. Internet was the biggest thing that happened to me, but I imagine I could work in any other industry mixing technology and creativity.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
The most valuable aspect of my job is the interaction with people: I work with so many different people, sharing ideas and beliefs, and we are all learning so much from each other. My colleagues are brilliant and creative people, I can't imagine working alone.
I have to admit that the hardest part of my job is Powerpoints !
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
A few years ago when I was a Flash developer, I could stay working at the office for 2 days without sleep, just having a rest on the sofa…
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
The turn-point of my career was when I left the print industry to start learning Flash.
I need to thank my Jedi Master @st3fx for this, he was a true mentor for me
All the concepts I have learned with Flash can now be re-used while working with other technologies like HTML, native mobiles app, social networks or point of sales.
What software could you not live without?
Google Chrome, TextMate & Charles who is a tool that analyses networks, you can learn a lot of things from other website with it and debug your own!
In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?
I'm very interested by native extension that comes with Air3.0 for mobile, if I had more time I would like to play more with OpenFramework and Arduino
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
My very first creation wasn't a website, I have designed a Flash CV and sent it by email to find a job, it was so ugly but it worked :)
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
I'm running an e-commerce website who sales second-hand kid clothes named RoseIndigo.com. I have learned a lot about e-commerce while working on it and that's also valuable for my works at Digitas. I have always worked on sides projects (twittearth.com/, Geocodearth.com …etc.), it’s a creative gateway for me.
What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?
I love the CinerMur application http://cinemur.fr which I think is a very creative way to use social media. I'm quiet bored with useless Facebook applications, a share button isn’t sufficient enough for virality! This CineMur project is a good example of a good use of social network to create real social interactions.
The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?
Absolutely ! Most of our project have now a dimension out of the web, notably in the retail environment. The agency isthough evolving to adapt itself to these mutations.
Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?
The world isn't supposed to end next year ?!
In 10 years, I think Html5 will be released in all the browser :)
To be serious, I do think that in 10 years, or even before that, digital and real life will be merged. We already can see that coming, there’s many challenges to face for interactive agencies.
Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?
I'm very proud of nissan-stagejuk3d.com I think it demonstrate how Flash can be used to create great content. I'm also very proud of the team who work with me on this because they did a great job and specially in term of Flash development
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Digitas has became Nissan Digital marketing partner in June 2008 and then set-up a dedicated team called DNA to design and develop Nissan Europe’s online strategy. Set-up the Nissan European website was the greatest challenge we faced with Flash. I had to manage teams to build a full scalable and dynamic flash website in nine months, to be rolled out in 25 languages. This innovative interface contrasted radically with mainstream interactive methods for automotive marketing, it uses dynamic, rich media such as video and high resolution 3D. It was the hardest project I have ever done, but the website was a success and 2 months after its official launch, the site was recognized for its creativity and breakthrough ideas by the FWA !
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
If Adobe continue to push it forward yes for sure. For now, you can do thing faster and smarter than with any other technology, html5 is great for some kind of website but flash can still go further. There is a big trend nowadays about HTML5 but we have already seen that in the past with dhtml and Ajax…and flash is still there.
There is perhaps a shift in web use these days. We are seeing a decline in the purely experiential sites in flash with huge production efforts, to a relationship with clients based on tools and services, that many times have simples interfaces. How do you see that trend developing? Will Flash suffer?
I absolutely agree that our scope has evolved since 2 years and our agency is more and more working on tools for our clients like social and mobile apps, CRM programs, and digital for point of sale.
I truly think that flash can’t suffer, it’s a invincible superhero :) Yes the way we use it is changing and I'm really happy with that, we no more have to use Flash for carousel and banners instead we are using it for 3D experiences, branding contents, mobile applications or even on tactile point of sale screens and projections.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
1/ Be innovative : Do never re-do or copy existing stuff, just try to always came with something new
2/ Keep it simple : Often we over complicate things and in the end they don't work or don’t get understood
How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?
I follow the right people on Twitter to be sure to be aware of the new stuffs, and I spend time with the great Digitas Flash guys to figure out what can be done and how to translate these technologies into something great and innovative
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
Teleportation, "Beam me up, Scotty". Captain Kirk
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I think I have learned Flash like everyone did :
1/ I failed a lot but never gave up
2/ Read a lot of documents and forums
3/ I learnt a lot from my Jedi master @St3fX, he used to sat next to me and he was a great help when I was stuck so:
Find a master, test, learn and don't be afraid to fail !
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
Definitely thanks to Twitter
What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?
US and Sweden ! USA because most of the technologies came from there and Sweden because they have a lot of very innovative and daring agencies
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
I can't talk about it now because it’s secret but I hope to submit it soon to the Fwa :)
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
A noise reduction headset, great for traveling and working
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it”. Alan Kay
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
Thanks you very much Rob!