They say that building a startup is like riding a roller coaster: sometimes you face really hard times and fall on your face. Sometimes, you achieve a big milestone and feels sky high. Today, we are sky high as we have great news: Tristan Nitot, of Mozilla fame, is joining Cozy as Chief Product Officer!
Let's rewind to a few months ago; we were looking for someone to handle the communication and the marketing of the Cozy project. In short, we were looking for a charismatic evangelist. Due to our technical background, this was a tough task. Finding the right person to handle this role doesn't come naturally to us. We did not even know where we could post our job offer or how to properly run our job interview for this kind of profile. We needed someone who can point us to the right direction. So, we asked for assistance of Tristan Nitot - founder and former President of Mozilla Europe. The Mozilla community is fantastic, and we were convinced that this organization could help us again with our hiring needs (they already hosted us in the startup acceleration program WebFWD). It was a great starting point for our candidate search.
Tristan accepted to help us and tweeted our job offer to his 80 000 followers. The result was more than satisfactory. Thanks to him, many talented people contacted us to apply for the job.
Then Tristan decided to leave Mozilla in order to write a book. He contacted Benjamin back: "hey, I've been thinking about the job description. It's something I would love doing. I think we should work together". Needless to say that we were amazed (I believed that our world stopped spinning at that instant). Having a strong profile like Tristan would be a major step forward for the project.
One month ago, his departure from Mozilla became official. It was a surprise for many people.
If you don't know Tristan Nitot, here is a short presentation. His relationship with open source and free software all started in 1984 when he met Richard Stallman and started using emacs and discovered the Internet (in a Unix command line at the time). He fell in love with the Web in 1994 and published his first Web page in 1996. He was hired by Netscape back in 1997 and was part of the team that announced the Mozilla project in January 1998. He founded Mozilla Europe in 2003 and became its president until the organization merged with Mozilla Foundation. At Mozilla, he was involved in Community building, PR, marketing and many other things. Tristan is also member of the French Digital Council (CNNum) where he advocates for open solutions and net neutrality.
When Tristan decided to leave Mozilla, he had several very exciting job offers but he decided to go and join the Cozy team. As he was working on his book about on-line privacy and mass surveillance, it became clear to him that the world needed Cloud solutions that were more decentralized and based on open source.
Just like an open source Web browser was needed 17 years earlier, a free and open source decentralized cloud solution is needed to avoid the silos and the negative impact they have on data control by end users.
For Tristan, it became obvious that joining Cozy was a unique opportunity to make this happen, just like building Firefox a few years back.
Tristan came to us and told us that. He was joining the Cozy crew! "Champagne!"
So today, I'm very proud to hand over the baton to one of the most important tech influencers in France. Among his many tasks, Tristan will inform the Cozy community of our progress via events, our forum, our social accounts (1, 2) and this blog. With your feedback, he will pick the right features to add to Cozy. With his reach and insights, he'll work with hackers and business partners to build a strong meaningful platform and ecosystem.
While Tristan takes over these tasks, I will personally focus on the technical community and the developments of Cozy to provide you with better software.
Tristan is followed by many people and he is one of the rare person on earth that had the experience of growing a user base from zero to hundreds of millions with free and open source software. His experience will be key in achieving our mission of building an open source decentralized alternative to big cloud services. We will do our best to fulfill his dream, your dream, and our dream to make the web respectful of users again.