In November 2006, when Jean-Marie exposed his idea to build a set-top box with a x86 processor for Internet Service Providers, I immediately said yes. I had been working for Mandriva for 7 years, and even if my job was interesting and fascinating, I was seriously in need of something new.
What a strange name! This is often the first comment we hear when saying the name of our company, even stranger when we realize this is not the correct preterit for “to split”. But our idea to build fanless computers, in France, aroused curiosity. The first years, up to the launch of the “Hello” product, by Orange, allowed SDS to become known as the little French company expert in thermal management and fanless computers. I was the very first employee, officially from April, 3rd, 2007, a few days before my first marathon. We were in our first offices in Orsay. GwenolÃ© joined us in June, then Vicente, Boubou…
The hard life of a small technological start-up in France
The Hello project allowed us to be noticed as a company, unfortunately this was not enough to convince investors to help us finance a factory in France. Luckily several business angels believed in our project and we managed to progress. Life on top of the Saclay plateau is really different from life in the center of Paris, where were located Mandriva offices. No more bars or roller party after office hours, but on the other hand, far cheaper rents and a quiet and green working space in the park of Saint-Aubin, close to the French Atomic Agency (CEA). Years after years, our economical situation stays fragile, various economical crisis, the new competition from smartphone and tablet against PCs, the ultra-low-cost war from Asian manufacturers preventing any sensible European production…
Sport and Work
In June 2010, Leeloo and I decided to move from our Paris apartment to a closer one in Gif-sur-Yvette, 5.2 km by walk, 7km in bike, a good way to have my daily sport quota reached! I used to walk or bike, depending on my motivation and the weather, very rare were the days I took the car or the motorbike, no more than a few tens in 7 years. Working for SDS has always been extremely exciting, we worked on a lot of different topics: computers, electronics, thermal, mechanical… Then we got married, Leeloo and me, in September 2011, and I managed to arrange a three months trip to South-America from January to April 2012. On December, 24th, 2012, was born our first child, Alice, and thanks to the closeness of my work, I could spend some time with her every day of her first year.
During summer 2013, we spent three weeks of vacations in Gap, at my parents’, while they were visiting Ireland. During lunch with Jackie, my best friend Aline’s mother, I learnt that she wanted to sell her bakery. That same evening, I had the idea to buy it, to come back to Gap, to be closer to my family and my childhood area, and to do something different, there were a lot of reasons. For the next six months, the idea grew and I quit SDS at the end of January 2014, to go to Gap to work for one month in this bakery and see if it would be possible to settle there, to go on a new adventure!