9 Questions with Alain Broustail co-founder and CEO of Blockchain EZ

October 29, 2019

Meet Alain

Alain Broustail has an appetite for challenges: helping startups grow, launching new offers and supporting disruptive but often overlooked technologies. Through his different roles with Fimasys (nowLinedata), SmartCo (now Neoxam), Sword Apak (now Sopra Banking Software) and Sword Group, he has had the chance to help large organizations – and in particular financial institutions - innovate and deal with technological breakthrough. In his last job as an employee, Alain was managing a team of 60+ expert consultants. He has been an early adopter of blockchain technology, but it was only in 2018 that he realised the market potential for a dedicated blockchain consultancy. It did not take long for him and his partners to found Blockchain EZ, aiming to facilitate the blockchain adoption by both the public and private sectors.

Alain completed an MBA at the ESCP in 2001. He is a fluent English, French and Spanish speaker.

Best piece of advice you were ever given?

Twelve years ago, over a poker table in Paris, I remember this old but very experienced player giving me a bit of advice after having watched me literally sweating over a difficult decision. “Young man, you need simple rules to make difficult decision quick. Mine are easy. If you hesitate between paying or raising a bet, always raise. If you hesitate between paying or folding, always fold. Do not spend your energy hesitating. Play the game aggressively. You lose or your win, but at least you do it fast.”

That was my first experience of the “fail fast” theory, and I try to stick to it in my everyday life decisions.

What books are you reading at the moment? 

I have just finished Tokyo Vice and The Last Yakuza by Jake Adelstein. I cannot recommend them enough; they are wonderful books for discovering the underground Japan. Somehow, Jake Adelstein himself as a journalist illustrates perfectly what is dedication to a personal and professional goal.

I have heard that in his latest book he talks about blockchain and bitcoin, I can’t wait to start it!

When did you realise you were wrong about something?

I’ve been wrong so many times in the past that I can’t even name one specific event! I only hope that I have learnt from these mistakes. The first step is to be open to critics and external feedback and be able to face them. The second, more difficult step, is to accept them. The third, and this is the hardest one, is about reacting correctly, breaking the ego and changing directions if needed.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced along your career path and how did you overcome it?

Being a business developer, working for startups, launching new offers is all fun and games when you face success. But more than once in my career I also faced failure: sales objectives not reached, project lost, unsatisfied clients. This is where motivation and determination is key. Continuing to work hard even when there is no satisfaction, no reward, just you knowing that good work will reap rewards eventually.

How do you ensure you focus on the right activities?

Good question, I wish I had an answer! I am personally still looking for the right balance between long-term investment (strategy, marketing, partnership management, training etc.) and short term revenue generation (client projects, sales, etc.).

What one piece of advice would you give a CIO looking to develop a new modern culture in their technology organisation?

Keep your team young! Make sure you regularly recruit recent graduates even if sometimes you would prefer more seasoned employees.

What is the most interesting technology to you right now?

It goes without saying that Blockchain technology is the one I would first advise every organization to look at! Blockchain can be used in so many different ways that even a small enterprise or public institution would learn a lot just by thinking about some of them!

In addition to Blockchain, RPA (Robotics Process Automation) is also a technology that needs to be investigated. I have been lucky enough to work as a consultant on RPA projects, and I can confirm that well conducted RPA projects in the right place can bring massive benefits!

Finally, but this is no news to anyone, machine learning and other AI technology are now mature enough to be relatively easily implemented in most enterprises, in some cases causing very disruptive – and positive - business changes.

What is the best example you have seen of an organization that has used technology to transform itself

Possibly Amazon. They defined devops processes to manage their own operations that were so good that they literally invented the cloud hosting as we know it today to become the largest cloud operator in the world with their AWS division!

What is true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

That my football team Paris Saint-Germain will one day win the Champions League!

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