Back from Paris.

The 2022 edition of Autonomy Paris will remain for a long time in my mind.

I moderated this fantastic panel with François Denis (Geotab) and his customer Bertrand Mathieu (VAC Location)

10 of my students joined me there to support me during my sessions and to get inspired by mobility leaders. I could have not been prouder to share this moment with them.

My students and I at the show opening

For once, I’ll put my modesty slightly on hold and recognize that I sparked this opportunity.

Let me tell you the story: A few weeks ago, I told my class I’d be speaking at Autonomy and they should look at the recordings of the sessions for topics they are interested in. 

24h later, a group of them reached out to me: “Professor John, we would like to come with you to Autonomy”.

I was like “What the…” 🤔

I was naïve enough to believe they would be satisfied with recordings… I look at their schedule and of course they have a series of lectures with my other colleagues professors during the day they’d like to attend. Since I am the newbie at the university, I do not want to create tensions that fast… Well, I could not have been more surprised by the flexibility and kindness teachers showed to cancel and postpone their classes. Of course, this would not have been possible without the delicate touch and great coordination of SMACCs’ Head, prof. Zacharie De Grève.

With a free schedule, my students travelled overly excited to Paris. Their participation gave me a feeling of pride that was particularly intense for three reasons:

  1. They looked good. Well dressed, polite, respectful and most importantly bringing intelligent questions and comments during their discussions, this group of young talents was more than noticed by delegates.
  2. My reputation got enhanced. After each of my sessions and on the show hallways, when I heard “Professor John, can we take a picture together?” or “Prof. Fred, that was a great session”, I felt like a (temporarily) movie star. Having then friends and contacts there asking me “Who are these guys” with me answering “My university students. I teach a bit now since we met last time”, you’d probably agree with me that it’s a pretty cool thing to say once in one’s life.😎
  3. I did something good. Most importantly, way above my reputation and the one of the university flattered, I simply realized that I was the enabler of this opportunity. I did something, even very small, that brought happiness for a bunch of young adults. They experienced a moment they will remember for a long time and may make the difference for a soon-coming job interview. Frankly, the most rewarding feeling I have ever felt in my short but intense career.
On the stage with me (left to right) PAVE Europe Co-initiator Lukas Neckermann and Founding Members Gilbert Gagnaire (Easymile), George Ivanov (Waymo), Chris Lichtmannecker (Mobileye). I represented the second co-initiator 😁.

Links to recording coming soon.

Some pictures of the show:

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