Today, 16th of October, we are celebrating International Boss’s Day. In honor of this occasion, we are having a look at the life of a company owner, and appreciate the hard work.
What does Vox Teneo mean ?
Denis: Vox means voice in Latin and has the meaning of communicating and sharing.
François: Teneo comes from Tenere in Latin and means owning the knowledge. The correct combination of the both should be Vocem Teneo, but we think Vox Teneo sounds better. We chose a name that implies the notion of sharing.
How did you meet ?
François: Denis and I met at university.
Denis: We later met Patrick during our experience as freelance consultant.
We have always known we wanted to become entrepreneurs. – François
What does it mean for you to be entrepreneur ?
Patrick: In French, undertake comes from the Latin words “inter prehendere”: to “grasp with the hand”. This young humanist notion was born in the Age of Enlightenment. According to this Age, a “good” life is to bring our contribution, even modest, to the Human progress. Or to modern philosophers such as Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, to have an intense life free from barriers. This “gesture”, an individual action to undertake, is sometimes perceived as an “individualistic” approach. You are indeed choosing alone to undertake, but you are also choosing to build something reflecting who you are and refuse to follow norms. Your conviction is to build something else. This misunderstanding surrounds the entrepreneur’s life as building alone doesn’t work… doesn’t make sense. Unfortunately you are sometimes perceived as if you are doing it alone. You then need to explain, convince, prove by your acts, put yourself at risk. Your surrounding, friends, family, collaborators that you are trying to bring together in your own world see your enthusiasm but also sometimes feel anxiety: “Where is he going?”, “Is he going to make it ?”, “But he’s crazy!…”.
Denis: Having the support of your family is essential. Knowing that your surrounding believes in you and in your projects is vital. Not having that would make the workload much heavier. We are lucky that our wives have been supporting our ideas since the beginning.
What difficulties are you encountering now with the company ?
François: Because now it is no longer just the 3 of us, when there is an issue in the company we are the last level of the hierarchy. This means it is our responsibility to find a solution. No one can do it for us. Synchronizing the communication in between the countries where we have offices is another challenge. We sometimes realize not all offices are aware of projects in other offices. We are aware there is room for improvement in the communication area weather internally or externally.
What does a day in the life of a boss look like ?
François: One day is full of unexpected situations.
Denis: You know you cannot fill your agenda because it will not be respected and it will change a lot in a short period of time. This means that you often need to catch up on work at night.
François: The amount of work and your implication in it is permanent. You do not ever really disconnect.
Denis: Our work has changed a lot in 15, 3, even 2 years. We are not doing the same thing we were doing a couple years ago. Because at first it was just the 3 of us. We were doing everything and everyone’s job. The 3 of us we were the administrative assistant, the IT support, the developer, the project manager, the sales director, the HR director,…
François: As Denis said, we went through all positions and we know what is done in the company.
Denis: Understanding the work of our employees is what distinguishes us.
What are your plans for the future?
François: We want to focus more on the entrepreneur aspect of our work and delegate more and more the operational side of it.
Denis: We now delegate more of our operational responsibilities.
François: The 2 last sectors we still need to delegate are HR and Sales Management. As far as the company goes we want to continue the company’s growth of 10%/year minimum. For the business, we want to develop partnerships with our clients and partners and our 10 start-up products. We would like to have collaboration relationships.
Patrick: International development is a key aspect. We keep working with our partner Tanya (a boss too!) in Bulgaria and Macedonia and our team in Asia to create more opportunities.
How did you find the idea of Vox Teneo’s activity?
Denis: We knew more or less what we wanted to do. We know we want to catch opportunities when they present themselves to us. When we see opportunities we take them. We do not think too much about taking a chance because we know from experience that if we do someone will jump on the opportunity and take it before us. We do not want to live with regrets.
Patrick: Computer science has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. So more than an idea, it was a natural development.
How has your friendship evolved ?
We are each other’s support and we trust each other. – Patrick
François: For example Patrick would call me to tell me he feels Denis is stressed out. But his call is caring because we want to support one another. It’s not like two of us are talking about the third, we never do that. Our actions are always positively founded.
Denis: I believe being three is better than being two because being an odd number is what helps us decide and take perspective. But I also believe than being a larger group makes it harder to take decisions. But I would not do this entire journey by myself. For example, because Patrick lives in Indonesia, François and I often go outside for lunch but we do not call Patrick less for that reason. When François and I eat outside we of course include naturally Vox Teneo in our discussions but it does not sound like a meeting.
François: Our motto is to believe in each other’s projects even if we have doubts. We are really working with friends in a friendly atmosphere, our friendship is based on trust.
Denis: We also stress to not talk about our doubts in front of others. But there is nothing a conversation can resolve.
Patrick: We are lucky to be 3 partners. I often say a company is like a rock band: if the Rolling Stones or the Beatles had a success for so long it is mainly due to a human dynamic. Our entrepreneur friends have often shared the weight of their loneliness facing responsibilities.
Vox Teneo is technology centered but mostly human centered. – Patrick
A company is a group of people, personalities, envies, joys, angers, successes and failures. But it is also and even more a place for freedom: freedom to invent, learn, understand tomorrow’s world.
Our strength is that we are different but complementary. – Denis
Denis: We help with one’s problems weather professional or private. François is in charge of Management and Finance, Patrick is taking care of foreign development and I am focusing on technical, innovative and research and development.
François: We also always make sure to split everything in 3 equal parts. It makes it easier and is balances everything. Moreover we find it natural to do it this way and we would never do it any other way.
Denis: This is our ground basis.
Thank you for believing in us !
Read more about François impression of Vox Teneo’s 15th anniversary here.