AXA’s Dominique Senequier: Refreshing frankness (FT)

Interrogatory interviews with business leaders are a dime a dozen and the format can be impersonal, leaving the reader with “answers”, but no impression of the person.

Last week’s news of HP CEO Léo Apotheker‘s ouster led me to investigate HP’s Board members, including Dominique Senequier of AXA Private Equity.

Amoung the citations was a short interview last year by the Financial Times‘ Emma Jacobs.Though her interview is a mere twenty questions, Senequier’s answers reveal a few personal qualities that inform her leadership. She is no-nonsense and confident while also ready to acknowledge her personal passions and her heartfelt values.

What are your three best features?
A long-term perspective; swift to act; ability to laugh.

What do you like most about your job?
It is challenging, inspiring and changing. You never stop learning from the people you meet.

When was the last time you lost your temper at work?
With myself, last month. It was over a missed opportunity. I very rarely lose my temper with other people. I think the ability to control one’s temper is a sign of maturity.

Has your job made your personal life suffer?
No. The trick is to be committed in all aspects of your life.

How do you want to be remembered?
A woman of laughter, spirit and heart.

(Senequier recently resigned from HP’s board. Apotheker sits on the supervisory board of her firm’s parent AXA, France’s largest insurer. Fellow board member and ex-CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman replaced Apotheker as CEO.)

Great job descriptions (HN)

I see many great job postings on HN, 37S, Prag and elsewhere, mostly for software  startups. Why do they stand out? They all are:

  • To the point.
  • Confidently informal.
  • Friendly, engaging, not intimidating.
  • Funny and enthusiastic.
  • Lacking self-promotional b***sh** and tired, empty career promises.
  • Offering contributing roles.
  • Offering a team of peers.
  • Expect you will bring your best.
  • Acknowledging you’ll learn on the job what you don’t know.

Most of all they addressed to peers and telegraph that a particular person (or team) is looking for an equally passionate, opinionated person to join in a meaningful work experience. They are refreshing.

Everytime I read one like this, I want to meet these folks, work with them, join their cause.

Until “mature” organizations get over themselves and talk to me this way, I’ll be looking to startups for challenging, rewarding, satisfying opportunities.

Here’s one I saw on HN this week:

“…You’ll be expected to punch above your weight class and grow into a team pillar, and will be rewarded as such.

You must:
– Get sh** done
– Thrive on responsibility and freedom
– Bulldoze through problems
– Not be an a**h***

A background in … is awesome, but not required. Just be ready to learn quickly.

We can promise two of these five things:
– Daily inspirational quotes read in-person by William Shatner
– Truly interesting and meaningful technical problems
– All-you-can-eat caviar breakfast, lunch, and dinner
– Weekend Lamborghini rentals
– An incredible team that will challenge and respect you (and drink with you too)

We…can offer market salary…, etc. just like everyone else. But what’s most important is the work you do and who you do it with. Everything else is just icing on the cake. …

What jobs grab you? Write about one that sticks in your mind and inspired you.

The web UX sucks

Well, I knew that. I just hadn’t thought about it for a while.

Just reading Joe Hewitt’s Twitter rant about web dev.

Clearly, I’ve got some catching up to do vis a vis the power of Cocoa.

I am ranting because I want to drop Cocoa and go back to the web, but I am upset about how much power I have to give up to do that.

@joseph_wanja unfortunately I would recommend Cocoa [rather than web languages] at this point. Wish I didn’t have to say that.

The State Of Web Development Ripped Apart In 25 Tweets By One Man, in TechCrunch, April 30th, 2010.

Going to YCNYC, Monday, Sept. 26th

I was still in the midst of a triathlon when I glanced at my inbox and saw YC’s invitation. Excellent! (No, I wasn’t racing, I put ON the race.)

Now I’ve cleared the decks of work. Just have to arrange travel and I’m set.

I’ve been a YC fan for a while and been slowly building my startup network and chops, so I’m psych’d to jump in with the big boys, network face to face with people I wouldn’t normally cross paths with, and put myself out there: growing NYC startups, VCs, and enthusiastic developers and designers. UX has been “maturing” and flexing its professional status, but the excitement is still in the garages, so I’m going to them.

Looking forward to lots of smart, engaged people and tons of learning!