In January 2022, Thierry Bedos joined the Jellysmack executive team as Chief Technology Officer.
Within this role, Thierry is tasked with leading Jellysmack’s global engineering teams across several key initiatives that are vital to the success of the global creator company’s long-term mission.
Bedos brings more than 25 years of experience overseeing international teams for large scale, digital-first organizations, including Hotels.com and Expedia. For both organizations, he played a pivotal role in architecting the end-to-end trip planning platform.
Ready for a new challenge and intrigued by the prospect of joining an up-and-coming industry, Bedos has hit the ground running since his January onboarding. He has been quite busy building out top-tier teams, introducing new workflows in day-to-day operations, and mapping out the logistics of bringing Jellysmack’s ambitions to life. This includes introducing solutions to support creators at all stages of their development.
We caught up with Bedos for a quick Q&A to see how things were coming as he approached three months into his Jellysmack journey.
Why did you decide to join Jellysmack?
Thierry Bedos: I wanted a change of scenery. I was looking for three main criteria. First, I wanted a player that had a lot of potential in an interesting, high-growth industry. Second, I wanted to work with a team that was a little bit more European-based, but also had international ambitions. I wanted to work with a team where my international experience from Expedia would actually help.
Lastly, I wanted to find a business with an interesting mission, something a little bit different, beyond making money. With Jellysmack, I found a company that is trying to help smaller creators get much bigger on the international scene and across multiple platforms. Jellysmack just hit those criteria like tick, tick, tick.
The cherry on top was that when I met with the team, everyone was so amazing. I enjoyed my talks with them and by the end, I knew this was the company for me.
What does it take to scale an organization as a CTO?
Bedos: You have to have a vision of where you want to go. That’s something the leadership team has been working on. We’ve been outlining our ambitions in terms of product. If this is the mission we have, we have to think about how we’re going to structure the team.
We’ve implemented [the framework] AGILE at scale with Jellysmack which is great, because it allows me to have tribe leads and gives me the infrastructure to scale the business under these leaders.
It all starts with the vision you have and the products you want to build to support it. You sort of work backwards from there.
What kind of hires are you looking for to bring the mission to life?
Bedos: We’re looking to hire developers, data scientists, research scientists, applied scientists, and a wide range of roles in the engineering discipline. There will be a lot of growth opportunities for team members to grow with the business.
As far as the type of tech we use: We use the public cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS). All of our services are web based. We use Python as one of the main languages for back end services, Vue.js as the front end technology, several AI technologies, and a whole range of data storages like Red Shift. We train our machine learning models and deploy that into data stores that we then surface for our data users and creators.
What are the biggest challenges of building a global tech team?
Bedos: Part of the challenge will be the difference of culture. As you start bringing people from different cultures and languages, it’s important to define what the company culture is, and to always be inclusive of other cultures. When you start expanding, you need to be mindful about different time zones.
There’s also the question of leadership and ensuring that you can build a leadership team with leaders usually based in the same country. So it is a bit more complex.
But what you gain from that is diversity of thought. People with different experiences and different skills. Some have been in startups, some have been in large organizations. And all of this means you can innovate faster.Jellysmack’s Chief Technology Officer, Thierry Bedos
What do you like about Jellysmack’s culture?
Bedos: Number one is that people are really nice and friendly. They are willing to learn. It sounds a bit cliche, but you know, companies have values. And what I love about Jellysmack is that some of the values, such as being agile and being innovative, I feel this is really in the DNA of this organization. People are eager to embrace new challenges, they are really here to learn. They don’t have big egos, where they feel they know everything. They welcome new experiences from others and they learn to enrich their own life. It’s really quite amazing.
How will technology shape the creator economy in the future?
Bedos: If you look at the way creators have been going about doing their work, there’s a lot of manual steps. What we do at Jellysmack is automate these steps, mainly using the power of machine learning. We gather a large amount of data, then we can train models to determine what will work best for a creator. In the past, creators had to figure out by trying different approaches. Now, the data is able to help us guide them toward what will make the most sense. I think that’s really where the power of Jellysmack is going to come in to play, taking all this data and automating a lot of the steps that today are very manual.
What are some of the projects you are most excited about working on?
Bedos: There are a few projects that are really at the forefront of Jellysmack’s strategy for 2022. First, there’s Catalog Licensing, for which we have earmarked half a billion dollars. It’s something we’ll be coaching and developing throughout the year. It’s what we call creator finance, the financial side of our project.
Second, we recently acquired a company called Kamua that has a very interesting, AI powered technology around video editing, helping editors do things like reframing, blurring elements––things that are very manual today. We are going to help reduce the time it takes to edit and reformat videos.
Do you have a favorite creator?
Bedos: The main creator I watched prior to joining Jellysmack was Nuseir Yassin of Nas Daily. I think he exemplifies the best of what it means to be a creator. He uses his platform to highlight innovative entrepreneurs with climate-friendly solutions to big problems. I think we need more of that.