A bit more than twenty years ago, a friend of my father gave me a pile of hifi magazines (such as the one presented below) as he knew I was interested in technologies. He was himself what you could call an 'audio freak'. He didn’t know by then but he massively impacted my life that day and more than twenty years later I keep on reading daily news, blogs and forums about audio & video stuffs and that really is because of (or thanks to) him!
Few years down the road, I happily spent my first earned summer money on a used Cyrus stereo amp, a CEC CD player and a pair of JPW bookshelf speakers. This was the start of a great (and expensive) journey. The kind that also never really stops!
Summer jobs were good to get the first gears but it was not going to make my living so I decided to study what was the most obvious choice back then, I mean Electrical Engineering. Although not the ideal choice to meet your next girlfriend, it allowed me to experience my first steps in the AV industry.
At twenty years old I courageously crossed the channel and went all the way up to Wrexham (yeah no kidding), Wales, at the NEWI university labs for an internship where I decided to build a ZEN class A amplifier, from the honourable Nelson Pass design. I learnt a few things about analogue design, major point being that I don’t like it, but most importantly I strongly improved my drinking and partying skills. I guess I also seeded a certain appetite for experiencing life abroad.
My second experience, much more studious this time, lead me to meet with Mr Charles-Henri Delaleu, a well known figure of the hifi scene in France. I worked on digital electronics design with him and realised this was more my kind of things. The best of it was of course that along with the development I was working on (on his 3DLAB product line) we were testing the products with some pretty fancy high-end pieces and old speakers he designed years ago that were using top end Dynaudio drivers. That was sweet!
After six years studying EE and roughly two years of internships combined, I started realising that although I loved the technology and the products, I was not fancying so much the development work. I wanted something more human centric so I went back to school and got myself a second Master in Business Administration this time and started focusing on Product Marketing.
At the end of this last year of study I managed to get an internship in the digital TV industry, the DLP rear projection TV to be more precise, in the SAGEM group. I certainly did not really get inspired with their Marketing, as Sagem was clearly not a strong consumer brand (they actually stopped all their consumer based activities since then). It was however a good experience and beta-testing 56” jumbo TVs in my 12m2 Parisian living room was super cool although slightly intimidating for visitors.
When I finally graduated and after seven years of busy college years, I settled for a Marketing Product Management role at Philips Lighting. Although not yet connected to the AV industry, I began during the exciting birth time of LED lighting, back in 2006. My role was to support the controls portfolio and the projects that started pouring as the LED buzz was growing. I travelled around the country supporting the team in some of the fanciest French professional lighting projects of this time (see some in the slideshow below). This was also the time I started working on projects with designers and some were pretty well known like Patrick Jouin or Matali Grasset. Slowly but surely I developed an interest for interior design, modern furnitures and of course how lighting can enhance your living.
After few years, supporting a lot of projects and events and introducing many products on the French Market (concluding with the newly acquired Color Kinetics portfolio), I moved on and settled in Amsterdam to work for another newly acquired team, Dynalite. These products, developed in Australia were among the most sophisticated home automation and lighting controls solutions for the home and commercial buildings. During those days I was managing the European business development mainly focusing on distributors and system integrators.
There you go, I managed to get back to my first love affair, the AV world. My customers were some of the finest distributiors or system integrators in Europe and although we were supplying the lighting controls gears, their solution were turn-key meaning window treatment, speakers, audio-video gears, door access…
In 2012, Philips launched the surprisingly successful Hue connected lamps. The product and the marketing around it seemed to be coming straight from the valley so when Leon Van de Pas, the new GM freshly appointed in early 2013 asked me to join the team, of course I couldn’t say no. I then joined this happy new IoT industry (Internet of Things), or call it Smart Home if you prefer. Still today, Hue is one of the most successful connected lighting and smart product for the home.
My role within the Hue team was more B2B oriented and is still confidential at this point so I won’t elaborate too much but I was deeply integrated in the team and participated in many activities related to partnerships and roadmap developments for instance.
Despite a rich experience and plenty of good learnings during these first ten years of my career, I have always felt the desire to start something on my own and therefore decided that it was time to move on and fulfil my dream!
But what should that be?
Simply put I decided it had to be a fun project and around topics I have been most passionate about during these last twenty years.
AUDIO & VIDEO
However, what ended up fully convincing me is how today more than ever these fields interconnect and merge together. They also become more accessible while proposing a fantastic technologic development outlook. At the same time, consumers can easily get overwhelmed and confused with the profusion of information and the fast development pace.
I truly believe many consumers would want to embrace the technology if guided in the right direction. The rich and wealthy always have the possibility to consult designers and system integrators but it represents a niche which I think today can be opened to a broader audience.
And so this blog started...
The Dandy Domain goal is to inspire, showcase and guide people who share the same fascination for technology and design and ultimately help them fulfil their dreams!
You made it through the first post from The Dandy Domain!
I guess you should know by now what this blog is about and hope you are excited about it.
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