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Carmudi’s CTO on Infrastructure, Processes and Achieving Scale

Jean-Jacques Borie, chief technology officer of Carmudi, recently spoke to Babar Khan and shared how his knowledge has allowed him to go from global architecture as well as helping developers in deep coding issues. His role, as we will learn more, goes beyond engineering and Jean contributes to corporations’ strategic visions and alignment with IT. Edited excerpts of the discussion follow.

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Please describe the scope of your role at Carmudi.com and the impact of your work.
My role is to manage the technical teams to have a scalable platform that is reliable, fast, secure, easy to maintain and cost efficient at a global scale.

My teams are composed of experts in the field of web and mobile development as well as infrastructure. It is my role to ensure that the entire IT is aligned with the strategy and goals of the enterprise, to remove blockers that could slow the company down. I also need to make sure that current decisions don’t evolve into problems later.

A CTO in a start-up like Carmudi needs to have a solid knowledge of global scalable architecture. He needs to share his vision and then ensure that the team is committed to achieving it. However, it also needs to have great coding skills to quickly fix issues and make the right decisions when there is an emergency situation.

Building a project like Carmudi can be complex. You want to have a platform that is faster than any competitor’s in any country you are present. The internet connection quality can vary a lot. You have to optimize your application as well as to find the right connectivity solution for your markets. You need to work closely with your product team in order to challenge, optimize and simplify new features.

What advice do you have for aspiring tech entrepreneurs in terms of scaling companies to be globally successful?
Rocket Internet’s approach is very good and I suggest following their 4 pillars:

Infrastructure
Unparalleled experience in scaling world-class Internet businesses globally
• Deep technical and operational expertise
• Strategic partnerships and framework agreements

Processes
• Highly structured / best practices
• Centralized IP with regional execution
• Repeatable and scalable

Rocket Network
• Founding 10 new companies p.a. on average
• Consistent returns across network of companies

Technology
• Proprietary technology platforms allowing rapid global deployment
• Comprehensive KPI analytics driving continuous optimization
• Provision of shared services to jump start new businesses at low cost

To conclude, what would you like our readers to know about the culture at Rocket Internet and what fresh incumbents can expect to experience?
On your first day working as CTO for Rocket and also the following days, you are immersed in their culture. You have an internal CTO’s channel of communication where every venture shares its experience, gives feedback and explains the problem it is facing and are trying to get rid of.

You have to understand that every venture is growing at a very fast pace, which from time to time can lead to some technical challenge and can count on help of an internal network. Rocket shares best practices with their ventures therefore minimizing risk. You have a standard process methodology to handle production. We have KPis defined on every team with target to achieve thus at central level as well as local level.

Venture’s start with a first release of a product done by Rocket-Internet that you have the freedom to adapt it and re-factor once is endeavor to you.

Thanks for sharing your time with us, always a pleasure.


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