Inouk Bourgon is leading the technical development of startup Airboxlab and product Foobot. We asked him to share his day-to-day as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of such a startup and innovative connected object. Get more pieces of advice from Inouk during the next Adopt A Developer matchmaking event as well.
(Image Credit: Foobot)
What is Foobot?
Foobot is an indoor air quality monitor paired with a mobile app to make air quality understandable by everyone. It takes care of the air you breath by controlling your ventilation or purification system based air pollution readings.
What is your role as a CTO?
My role is to translate our overall strategy, as a business, in a technical path. That’s supervising R&D, product development strategy, and make sure that we stay ahead of the competition in the main tech areas we operate in. I also help the team growing new knowledge and develop existing ones; sometime by pointing out some tech or methodology to look at, but more important, I contribute to set up a good environment to try new things and develop new skills.
What were/are the main issues you had/have to face?
The challenge is to have the best team and the best products to work on. Building from scratch connected products requires a quite diversified stack of knowledge, from offshore manufacturing to electrical design and embedded software to iOS SDK development. To do that you need a team of senior experts, but all of them also need to have a broad vision and be curious.
What does it take to develop a connected object, on a daily basis?
You need to be both meticulous and flexible. Meticulous, because hardware isn’t forgiving. An error on your PCBA, a bug in a firmware or a process and it’s quickly hundreds of thousands of dollars waisted. Flexible, because dealing with off shore manufacturing in China, customers and business partners in the US and northern Europe requires to navigate different culture and working habits.