Obeo celebrated its 10th birthday a few days ago. If you rank numbers by their symbolic power the number 10 is probably pretty high on the list. It should at the very least makes you look back to what you achieved. In our case it also made us re-design our logo.
Oh, what a ride it has been so far.
I actually had my first day of work at Obeo on the 1st of February 2006. Freshman getting out of school with both a Master and Engineering degree, already quite involved in Open Source and highly interested in Model Driven Engineering and Domain Specific Tooling.
At that time Obeo was 3 guys in a small room with an impressive weekly comsumption of brioche and Nutella. I joined them and made sure to increase the Nutella consumption rate!
Product-wise Acceleo 1.0 was ready to take over the world as an open-source code generator, but we also had model to model transformation, highly flexible reverse engineering, the capability to bring all of this together building workflows and complete traceability information in between all of these operations: from text, to model, to model, to text. Exciting stuff !
At that time we were consumers of Eclipse Modeling but were largely operating outside of it. Then we moved closer to Eclipse – the community – and started working directly on Eclipse projects. In 2007 I was sent alone in California for EclipseCon 2007, we couldn’t afford much more than that back then and my friend Mehdi was kind enough to accomodate me.
This was a great opportunity to meet the Eclipse community. I also gave my first talk in an international event (oh my !) as Obeo and Intalio were announcing the creation of the EMF Compare project. For the record, here is my blog post relating the event.
Since then our involvement in Eclipse grew as the company grew, we became Strategic member in 2008 next to IBM or Oracle! We had this unusual propulsion system enabling us to publish our work as open-source products we would maintain and evolve over time.
We went from consumer to creator of Eclipse Modeling technologies: Acceleo, EMF Compare, Extended Editing Framework, Modeling Amalgamation, Ecore Tools and of course Sirius (and I’m only mentioning Modeling !).
I gave talks about 3 every year and each one was a cause for taking a step back, extracting insights, sharing them and meeting new people.
We built a business model where the success of our open-source products and our capacity to work within this community is a key factor in the success of our commercial products.
I realize how crazy it might sound but that’s genuinely what makes it interesting.
A company growing from 4 to more than 50 people evolves by starting from the founding values (I’m looking at you, chocolate!). It is also shaped by the people forming it and if there is one thing which has been pervasive at Obeo in the last 10 years it is the will to improve, constantly. Improving how we develop, how we design, how we think. This was a powerful driver making us experiment and I learnt a lot in every aspect along the way thanks to this.
Looking back what strikes me is that the most vivid satisfaction I get from this journey truly is about the people. It might be that building open-source products attracts awesome people, it might be pure luck, it might even be that the world is in fact filled with awesome people but either way when I look back and ask myself: “What was the most important thing in these 10 years” my answer is “Getting to know so many awesome people”.
Peoples we could not fit in a single room, sometime people just too far away to come to Nantes for the celebration so I’ll start the 2016 year with the following resolution: if you are awesome and we cross path this year, let’s have a beer and celebrate together!