Tag: tech business

How to become a lucky tech millionaire

What if you could be a tech millionaire? We were glad to have Marc Defosse on Tech Brains Talk podcast to discuss ‘How to become a lucky tech millionaire’. He shared his journey from which you can find inspiration and lessons. Through this article, you will see his struggles and the attitude that overcame the difficulties. 

Marc’s start on tech career

Marc started his career at Accenture in the French office. While working there for some time, he had excellent friends that had bombarded him with their dream of going to Australia. Marc had always felt the urge to go to Australia. So, he asked Accenture if they could transfer him to the Sydney office in 2000 when the Olympics were happening there. Although the company transferred him, he did’t like the experience since the company told him that he had to pay for his own expenses.


He decided to move to Onyx Software, which was a key company in his career since most of his achievements were due to the experience he gained from this company. He worked for Onyx Software for three years in Sydney until they moved him to Brisbane, where he had one of his biggest clients. Then, he started a job with Sony Music which he knew absolutely nothing about. Marc always tells people “if you are feeling out of place, don’t worry, it gets better.”

Marc’s tech journey in the UK

When he arrived in England, he was working as a freelancer with a French entrepreneur. He was doing online training, marketing automation, and many other things, which were advanced for 2003. 2 years later, a guy from OnyX Software called him and offered him a contract in Islington and Ealing Council. He had an advantage compared to others since he was in a niche market, which very few people knew about. Marc was told to make a CRM to manage books but he didn’t find this very logical. Since he was going to manage the project, he took the opportunity.  

After a while, he argued with OnyX Software as what he had done for the company didn’t quite match his salary. As a result, the company fired him. He then proceeded to start a job at Carbon Trust, but unfortunately, the company fired him.  

In 2008 people were really struggling to find a job due to the 2007 financial crisis. Even Marc, who had project management experience in well-known companies, wasn’t an exception. He sent hundreds of resumes over three months, and he didn’t get a single interview. He went back to Macmillan Publishers and asked them if they had any jobs available. They offered him a job that was only for 45 days. One of his tasks was to review a quote of £300,000 from Onyx Software. He realised that it was made with offshore resources. Therefore, he would have expected a lower price. He wrote a summary with this note: “If that product was going to be built in England, it would cost them £296,000 with a contractor like me”. 

Later, the company contacted Marc and asked him if he could make a presentation on that proposal to the board of directors. Marc didn’t have experience in giving presentations at a director level, but, with help from his sister who was working at IBM, he managed to win them over with his pitch. The reason for his success, Marc believes, is down to luck in him being there at the right time, at the right place.

The start of Ribbonfish

Since he showed his capability, he gained the trust of the company. He hired people and continued to work with them. However, Macmillan Publishers decided to make everything in house, which lead to him taking another tech journey. He contacted someone he knew in London asking if they would be interested in hiring someone like him free of charge for one month so that they could see Marc’s skills and talent. He reached out to the Business Systems Director and even got the opportunity to go to New York where he met Salesforce. At that time, he didn’t know anything about Salesforce but managed to implement the new system for the company. 

Through his various tech experience, he established Ribbonfish, which aims to solve problems in the publishing sector by CRM and business integration technology. The company then became partners with Salesforce.

From his tech journey, we can identify 3 key things on how to become a lucky tech millionaire:

  • Seize the opportunity

Take advantage of an opportunity when offered. Marc’s friends inspired him to go to Australia, where he gained new experiences that influenced his career path. When Macmillan Publishers gave him a job, he not only carried his task but also produced a proposal which brought about his new projects. Think about how you can utilise an opportunity. Even if you are in a difficult situation, it might be an opportunity to improve yourself and change your life. 

  • Reach out to people 

When Marc moved to the next step, he reached out to people and asked for their help to seek new opportunities. He asked his sister for help when he needed to deliver a presentation and got in touch with his contacts when finding a job. You don’t need to do everything by yourself, rather, try to see if someone can help you. It might be more efficient and you may get an even better result than you anticipated. 

  • Be tenacious 

You will see from Marc’s journey that he never gave up. He went through several difficult times, including being kicked out, being unable to get a single job interview despite his experience, and working for free. Despite these challenging times, he always persevered . We can see that he is a tenacious person who overcomes challenges by always trying no matter the circumstance. This character might be essential to become a tech millionaire. 

About the speaker 

Marc Defosse studied engineering in Paris and La Rochelle. Afterwards, he completed a post-grad in business administration in Marseille. He joined Accenture in Paris, a big five technology consultancy. He worked on CRM projects for the likes of Hewlett Packard and transferred to Sydney within a year. After a few months, he joined a CRM vendor, Onyx software, that he worked for, for three years. In 2003, he moved to London and, within the first two years, built and managed a Day-trading website targeted at the French market. He made a living from ads and the training he was running online or face to face.

Furthermore, in 2005, he received a call from an ex-employee of Onyx and started as a contractor for Islington council. He moved to Ealing council late and then Macmillan Publishers, where he managed a project on behalf of Onyx. Though still a one-person band, this was the foundation for what would become Ribbonfish. In 2008, Macmillan Publishers decided to trust him to deliver the next phase of their projects. This was the start of Ribbonfish.

From then on, Ribbonfish has continued to grow in the Publishing sector exclusively, now with 20 employees. It has an offshore team in India, and prestigious clients in both US and UK. It is also helping small and large publishers like them to automate their business processes and become more efficient through analysing and implementing different solutions. Their favourite platforms and technologies include Salesforce, Azure, WSO2, Java, C# and Javascript. 

Contact him by Email or LinkedIn. Visit Ribbonfish

How to scale your tech business and deliver your vision while working with your competitors


Are you trying to grow your tech business? Have you ever considered to work with your competitors to do so? To explore this subject, Flavilla interviewed Rebecca. She is the Product and Marketing Director of Octopus Energy and works with different teams including marketers, designers and front-end developers. Her work has been central to Octopus’ success as a new type of energy provider. 


Rebecca’s journey in tech


Before she met Octopus Energy, she worked for British Gas for eight years. She says that “British Gas is a great business with great people but very constrained by a base of customers and some systems that were very hard to work with”. So, Rebecca started looking around, until she met Greg Jackson, the CEO and founder of Octopus Energy. Rebecca loved his vision of a fairer society, cheaper and greener power, that fights against climate change backed up by an incredible technology. She felt there that she could contribute to the business while contributing to a new change. Then she decided to move from British Gas to Octopus Energy. For this reason, Rebecca always advises that you should follow your gut instinct.


The vision of Octopus Energy 


Octopus Energy is set up to bring cheaper and greener power to everyone. 

Big traditional suppliers hampered by old systems, used to dominate the energy industry. The founders believed there could be a better way of delivering energy through using technology to bring down prices. Humans need to move to a world where renewable power is the norm. Fortunately, the company has been established with that sole purpose and vision. 


The success of Octopus Energy


Octopus Energy has acquired over 1.5 million customers within four years! Rebecca told us that one of the reasons for the company’s success is the people. The company makes sure they hire brilliant people. The reason of this it’s because they want people that take accountability and responsibility for the job. They believe that customer acquisition flows naturally when you trust smart people, make clear tasks and let them move fast while being creative at the same time.


Another reason for their success is the confident customer experience they deliver. They have trained their staff to deliver very personalised customer service. For instance, if customers call the organisation, they will deal with the customer’s query straight away, not redirecting their call from one person to another.  Therefore, all customers are put into a particular team of energy specialists, so you will always speak to the same people. As a result of having an efficient customer system, they can handle more customers per team member compared to their competitors. 


So, the beautiful balance of the excellent customer service delivered by brilliant people and tighter operating costs is the secret of Octopus Energy’s success. 


How to work with competitors?


It may surprise you that working with competitors helps your tech business grow. Rebecca shared an example of Octopus Energy doing this, showing the benefits it can bring to you.


The energy industry traditionally charges customers a fixed price per kilowatt-hour they use. However, Octopus technology helps us charge customers a different price depending on how ‘green’ energy is on the grid.  Moreover, Energy suppliers including ourselves are also looking for ways to store green energy on the grid for electric cars. Currently, we are running a trial on this while OVO Energy is doing the same in North and Scotland


Obviously, we want to be competitive and get more customers than others, but when you look at a higher level, climate change is one of the pressing issues of our time. We need to move away from fossil fuels and use renewable power instead. There’s a lot of energy companies looking at how they can support the energy industry by transitioning to a world where renewable power is more flexible. Many competing energy companies work alongside each other on projects looking at how to unlock greener power, with the sole purpose of fighting climate change and improving the world we live in. 


Try to see a bigger picture, bigger vision and the bigger purpose. Then, you can turn your competitors into partners to work with. 


About the speaker


Rebecca Dibb-Simkin is Marketing and Product Director at the multi-award-winning energy supplier tech business Octopus Energy. She works with a team of marketers, designers and front-end developers. Their sole purpose is to redefine the UK energy system by using technology, data and great people.


Her work has been central to Octopus’ success as a new type of energy provider. Its 100% renewable electricity, digital-first approach and in-house technology have not just won over 1.5m customers in four years; it’s powered the company’s expansion into Australia and Germany. Octopus is also the only provider to win Which? ‘s recommended energy supplier for three years in a row. Rebecca was previously Head of Product at IOT company Hive, supporting its growth as a smart home provider.

Reach out to her via Linkedin. Visit Octopus Energy’s website.


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