Engineering Leadership: France & the US

Plato is a company that’s dedicated to helping new engineering managers learn from experienced engineering leaders. We recently put on an event in Paris to bring together engineering leaders from France and the US.

Plato’s mission goes way beyond Silicon Valley

In Paris in June 2017, Plato organized our second event to help Engineers become better engineering leaders. We believe the best way to learn is from others who have been in your shoes, so we brought together 200 CTOs, VPs of Engineering, and other engineering leaders from the best companies. The energy was incredible!

Check out some of the highlights from the event below (or head over to our YouTube channel to watch the presentations from the event).

Check out the highlights of the event in this 2-minute video.

The typical engineering career path in France

France is a country of great engineers. French engineers see management as a way to grow, and most of them typically want to become managers after two or three years of coding. They want to be technical leaders, but tend to forget that once you become a manager, it’s not about code — it’s about managing people.

Francis Nappez, CTO, and cofounder of BlaBlaCar

We brought six speakers from the US to share their knowledge on engineering leadership and discuss their thoughts with the best engineering leaders in France.

French Engineers want to learn and look towards the United States…

When asked, “Why did you come to our event?” the majority of people said they wanted to learn.

The transition from engineering to engineering management is hard enough on its own, and it’s even more difficult when you’re not familiar with what to expect. People want to meet each other, share their challenges, hear about other mistakes. Because we’ve all screwed up. And we’ve all learned the hard way. And the best way to learn is to learn from others’ mistakes.

Additionally, there needs to be more in-depth education about management and leadership. Those concepts are very evolved in the Silicon Valley.

… and there are many people in the world, full of wisdom and good karma, who want to help

Six speakers flew from the US to talk at this event. Some of them came earlier to visit Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower, but most of them came for just a day or two to talk for a few minutes on stage and to meet with French engineering leaders and share their knowledge.

One day before the conference, the Plato team with speakers and mentors

We’re grateful to our mentors for generously sharing their time and advice with the attendees at our event.

Benjamin, during an office hour with an attendee

A small conversation can help you think about the right things, make big decisions, and save you months

We organized Office Hours with some selected attendees of the audience. All the speakers agreed to arrive an hour before the event to speak one-on-one with attendees.

After the office hours, we asked attendees, “How valuable was the advice you received?” and 80% answered that it was absolutely valuable. And this was (only) a 20-minute conversation!

France, we’ll be back

We’ll bring more of this, wherever you are. Because we’re building things everywhere in the world, we have engineers (and consequently Engineering Managers) everywhere. And we need good leaders everywhere, too.

Thanks to our sponsors Algolia and Hired who believe in our mission to train the next generation of engineering leaders!

Hired is the first two-sided job search marketplace that’s focused on simplifying the way jobs are found. Algolia’s mission is to enable every developer & product team to build consumer-grade search.

Thank you to TheFamily for the conference room and your support!

Don’t wait for our next event in your city to meet the Plato mentors. Sign up at to meet hundreds of mentors, in real time, who have been in your shoes before.

Check out all the photos from the event below! If you’d like to watch the presentations, head over to our YouTube channel.