"Exit" doesn’t feel like the right word though. If I had to describe what the last few months spent meeting the team and integrating their family felt, I would say we just found the perfect home.
Welcome to the Jungle is an amazing and unique company in many regards, one that I’m actually proud of being a part of. Jérémy and Bertrand are probably the most forward-thinking, down-to-earth and atypical duo of founders I’ve ever met. Watching them lead the company through exponential growth by nurturing a culture of creativity and openness has been an exercise in humility and wonder.
How it all started
I created dotJS back in 2012 after a few years spent co-organizing TEDxParis. It really started as an experiment: what if we organized a TED-like developer conference? The energy and audience feedbacks at that first edition were so thrilling that the very same fateful evening, at the afterparty, I asked Ferdinand if he would join me and launch a whole series of conferences based on the same format.
The rest is history! In the following 7 years we would go on to organize 32 events, host hundreds of speakers and gather tens of thousands of attendees. Ferdinand turned out to be a great CEO and closed deals with hundreds of happy partners. I was lucky enough to be able to hire my brother Vincent, who quickly became pivotal by managing the entire attendee experience.
But it wasn’t all roses. We always had trouble growing the team because of our narrow focus on extremely technical content. The lowest point came in 2016 when an accidental fire at the Mogador theater made us relocate dotJS with just a few weeks’ notice... Only sheer luck and Dorothée’s logistical prowess allowed us to narrowly escape bankruptcy.
We also struggled to build a larger media platform around our events. In 2014 we launched The dot Post, an online magazine for developers and dotJobs, a directory of hacker-friendly workplaces.
Both seemed to be logical extensions of the conferences but they failed to reach critical mass and we shut them down a couple years later. We learned then that a media company needs a strong DNA, unrelenting focus and continuous excellence.
So when Jérémy first reached out to us, although we were initially surprised, we soon realized Welcome to the Jungle had what it takes to build a successful media, and then some. They were planning to launch Behind the Code and wanted to scale up their events. Perfect match.
What comes next
Our roadmap for the next few years is simple: we will continue to grow and improve dotConferences and help making Behind the Code successful.
Acquisitions always lead to some uncertainty, but there are a few factors that make us very confident this is very good news for everyone.
First, Welcome to the Jungle has an exceptional team. We have been working closely with Aurélia and Hortense for a few months and they are already an integral part of dotConferences. We also couldn’t be happier about our 96 new colleagues that bring us joy and energy every day.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, joining an organization with such a sense of mission will make us strive to become better at what we do. Today, along with our acquisition, Welcome to the Jungle announced they would become a B Corporation. We have known this for a while and it is part of the reason why I announced at dotJS 2018 that all our events going forward would be carbon neutral.
Breaking new ground with initiatives like this really brings us back to the rush of excitement we felt while experimenting with the TED format back in 2012. It is new, it is important, and in this case, we hope it will have a lasting impact on all other tech events.
Credit where it’s due
A special thanks to all our faithful attendees, volunteers, partners and speakers. We wouldn’t be in this position today without your trust, and we will continue to work hard to earn it.
Finally, dotConferences wouldn’t exist today without the help of a core team of people I want to thank deeply for their work and friendship over the years: former teammates Florie Manson, Elisa Lucchini and Dorothée Hachez; co-curators Thomas Bassetto, Maurice Svay, Francesc Campoy and Diogo Mónica; emcees Daniel Steinberg, Christophe Porteneuve, Daniel Glazman, Blake Mizerany, Una Kravets and Dave Cheney; tech crew members Jean-Laurent Latour, Christopher Esclapez and Sébastien Jacquet; photograph Nicolas Ravelli; artists Florine Pigny and Margaux Etienne; advisors Arnaud Breton and Ori Pekelman; and last but far from least our stage designer and the love of my life Eliane Zimmer.
See you all soon!