Hi, I’m Fred

Frédéric de VillamilI’m 36, French, and I build things that work.

Let’s talk about me

I’m a system engineer

I’m a server whisperer. Marketing people call me a devops but it’s a mistake. I’m much more than this. In the past, I’ve been developer, Web application designer, teacher, tech journalist and QA manager. I’m equally excited by fine tuning an Elasticsearch cluster and optimising a conversion tunnel. « It’s simple, clean and it works » is the best thing you can tell me.

Before I became a computer engineer, I’ve studied literacy (specialised in Latin), History, Law and Politic Sciences. People say I’ve an original record because they worry they can’t find a box to put me in.

The things I love

I love too many things for a world where days last 24 hours and week only 7 days. There are too many projects to start, too many things to learn, too many worlds to discover to fit in one man’s life. One of my friends once said about me « if you think he’s too random, he’ll probably think you’re very boring ». I’m the kind of guy who can browse Wikipedia until dawn to end millions miles away from what I was looking for at in the beginning. I love to learn lots of new things and explore topics entirely, which is not always compatible.

I spend most of my free time visiting expos, contributing to open source projects, reading, writing, playing tennis, doing urban or mountain hiking, or experimenting in photography. There’s a million things I’d love to try, and even more things I want to improve at. I’m doing my best, but it’s not always enough. My latest side project was a time contracting machine but it’s a total failure.

My job

I’m director of infrastructure at Synthesio. We’re a French company with offices in New York, London, Singapore and people working remotely from more places than I can think of. Don’t pay attention to the title, it’s just here to flatter my ego. My real job description is something like rant, build, fix and rant again, in no particular order.

Don’t tell my mum we’re doing e-reputation monitoring, she believes I’m doing big data in the cloud. If you want to know more about this, please have a look at my LinkedIn profile.

I love taking new challenges and I love being challenged. Over the years, I’ve developed a masochist tendency to look for people who’ll push me out of my boundaries. If you’re someone like this there’s a chance we’ll get along.

The blog

You’re visiting the place where I write my thoughts about the Web, startups, productivity and many more things. I started writing here in January 2006 when I decided to split my blog into personal and professional stuff. I closed the first one after 4 years and about 5000 posts but that one is still alive and kicking. I publish something every day, 6 days a week (or at least do I try)

I started this blog to write about answering RFPs for French public companies. Then, I spent a few years dealing with Web standards, accessibility, UX, startups… It’s a picture my personal and professional path. I love the way it evolved and how I avoided writing around in circles.

I always tell my mind, like it or not. When I love something, I say it, when I have a rant to write, I do it. You can pay me to write about your product, but there’s a chance you won’t like what I’ll say. I write what I want, when I want, and if I don’t like something I’ve written, I won’t publish it.

Blogs are dead since 2007!

I started blogging in 2002. I wanted to relearn how to write freely, after my studies in Politic Sciences tried to teach me formal writing.

In 2014, I’m still blogging because I like it. I also write 2 novels each year so I remember how to write fiction. People may say microblogging killed the blogging stars, I still believe you can’t build your thoughts with 140 characters.