Meet our Member: Florent Sabourin
by Tribes Inspiring Workplaces, on 13 Jul 2018
At Tribes Utrecht Central Station, we’re meeting Florent, Managing Director in the Netherlands and Belgium, from a company with a catchy and, above all, a cheerful name: Smile. Smile develops and takes care of the evolution of digital business platforms, responsive websites, mobile applications and collaborative solutions. But first; we want to know more about Florent himself, because although you can hardly hear it, we’ve noticed that charming French accent!
From the Eiffel tower in Paris to the Dom Tower of the most central city of the Netherlands: that’s the journey of Florent Sabourin. Two and a half years ago, Florent was looking for a place that would be more peaceful than Paris. A place where he could communicate in English with other business nomads, as well as for a place with a nice green environment. He ended up in the Netherlands, in Utrecht to be precise. ‘Besides that, the Dutch are always coming to France for holidays, so I was curious about how life was in The Netherlands!’
Smile is the European leader in integration with open source outsourcing solutions. Florent explains: ‘With 1300 employees – or as we say, 1300 ‘Smilers’ – in seven countries, we are specialized in digital transformations. In the past years, companies have started to focus more and more on digitalization; as they need to embrace new models to perform in a modern economy or simply survive against new players. People are always and everywhere online; and so is the consumer. So, as a company you should be present as well.’
Florent continues: ‘Today, some companies have a digital existence only, such as AirBnb, Blablacar and Uber. Airbnb owns no room, Blablacar owns no transportation means and Uber does not have a single taxi car of its own. These B2C companies are inspiring. They are fostering innovation in their industries and further. There are also traditional B2B companies who haven’t made the transition to the online world yet, and Smile can help those companies find an appropriate model, design the experience, and set it up with open source solutions. We work across four business lines: digital, business apps, embedded & IOT and infrastructure, with which we can serve those companies in their online transformation from A to Z.’
Well, although we are at Tribes also updating our own website, those words are making us dazzle! Florent gives us two examples that are well-known open source platforms: ‘Smile is the number one European expert on Magento, the world-famous eCommerce platform, and proud to be recognized as the Global Elite partner. We also provide services on game changer solutions like Akeneo, a Product Information Management software that helps collect, enrich and spread catalogue information to all B2B partners’.
One and a half years ago, Smile ended up at Tribes, as one of the very first members of this location. ‘Before that period, we rented somewhere else. But I was looking for a workplace that would offer more flexibility. I was curious about the new and hip flexible way of working. With smaller and more cozy places, in a building where you could meet up with other people who work for other companies, and that is something I really like. In addition, this location won out over the other options because of its central location. We work in the middle of the city and at the same time it's easy to reach for everyone, whether you come by train or by car'.
Florent: ‘I heard that Tribes, when they have opened a new location again, organizes a social get-together with coffee or a drink. That sounds good. Very nice to meet other business nomads! I also regularly hear the ping pong sound at the tennis table back in the corner. I think it's nice to test whether the players I hear overthere, are as competitive as we Smilers are! Who dares..?’