Artificial intelligence

Empathy, Evolution, and AI: Olivier Thibault’s Transformative Journey from Aspiring Scientist to Tech Innovator at OneLocal

Olivier Thibault: From Science Dreams to AI-Driven Business Success

In this compelling episode of “The Bright Founders Talk” podcast from Temy, an international software development company, we delve into the insightful world of Olivier Thibault, the Chief Operating Officer of OneLocal. 

Olivier, with a decade of rich experience in the realm of business and entrepreneurship, brings a unique perspective to the table, merging his early dreams of being a scientist with his eventual pivot into the world of business. From his initial steps into pre-med, followed by a foray into business school, Olivier’s journey is a tapestry of opportunistic decisions and explorations. His career has spanned various roles, from IT project management in a Fortune 100 company to embracing the vibrant start-up culture, ultimately finding his calling with OneLocal. 

In this interview, Olivier sheds light on what makes a great boss, his methods for unwinding after a hectic day, and the transformative power of side projects and student engagement during his university years. His reflections offer a window into the fluidity of career paths and the value of adaptability and passion in one’s professional life.

Olivier Thibault: From Science Dreams to AI-Driven Business Success

Picture this: a bustling downtown Montreal, streets alive with the rhythm of the city. It’s here we find Olivier Thibault, OneLocal’s COO, strolling with his dog, unwinding to the sounds of a podcast. It’s these simple pleasures that ground Olivier, a man whose business acumen has been shaped not just in boardrooms but in the very heart of life’s everyday moments. “It’s all about empathy,” he shares with a chuckle, reflecting on what makes a good boss. It’s a statement that resonates with authenticity, echoing through the parks and avenues of his Canadian urban landscape.

As our conversation dives deeper, Olivier’s narrative takes a nostalgic turn. Once a young boy with a microscope, dreaming of a life in science, his journey took an unexpected detour. “Business school wasn’t my first love, but it became my passion,” he confesses, recounting his shift from pre-med to the bustling world of startups. This wasn’t just a career change; it was a voyage of self-discovery, exploring various roles, from IT project management in a Fortune 100 company to diving headfirst into the unpredictable sea of startups. His voice carries a note of excitement, “I was quite opportunistic… and that’s what led me to where I thrive today.”

But Olivier’s story isn’t just about his professional evolution. It’s a testament to the transformative power of education and real-world experience. Recalling his university days, he notes, “The real learning happened outside the classroom.” He mused over the potential of today’s students running side businesses, learning hands-on through platforms like Shopify. “If I had those opportunities back then, who knows?” he laughs. His journey, marked by a blend of education, real-world experiences, and a relentless pursuit of passion, offers a fascinating glimpse into the ever-evolving landscape of business and personal growth.

It’s all about empathy… not working with robots, not working for robots

Olivier Thibault: Mastering the Art of Leadership in the Dynamic World of Startups

Olivier Thibault, the charismatic COO of OneLocal, is no stranger to the exhilarating rollercoaster ride of working in startups. In our vibrant chat, he sheds light on the unique allure of startup culture. “In a startup, you’re not just a cog in the machine; you’re part of a close-knit team, shaping the company’s destiny,” he explains. This ethos of impact and intimacy is at the heart of Olivier’s professional philosophy. With fewer than 100 people at OneLocal, Olivier highlights the significant impact each member has, likening their teamwork to a sports team vying for the Stanley Cup. This close proximity to management and a broad range of duties, he notes, comes hand-in-hand with additional responsibilities and pressures – a challenge he embraces with open arms.

But Olivier’s journey hasn’t been without its lessons. Reflecting on his transition from a large corporate job to the startup world, he credits his early experiences with teaching him resilience and political savvy. “Every job I’ve had, I’ve taken something valuable with me,” he says, emphasizing the importance of adapting and growing throughout one’s career. Olivier believes in the dynamism of the job market, where the younger generation can experience various work environments. He points out the value in both corporate stability and the hunger and chaos of startups, encouraging people to find their fit in a culture that aligns with their personality and aspirations.

As we delve into his managerial style, Olivier’s passion for leadership becomes evident. “I only want to work with adults,” he states, valuing professionalism, transparency, and the ability for team members to manage up. This approach, he reveals, helps attract the right talent while allowing others to self-select out. “I might be demanding, but I’m supportive,” Olivier admits, acknowledging the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. With ambitions of turning OneLocal into the next Canadian unicorn, he understands the importance of his role, balancing high expectations with the support his team needs to thrive in the unpredictable yet exhilarating world of startups.

In a startup, you’re not just a cog in the machine; you’re part of a close-knit team, shaping the company’s destiny

Embracing the Future: Olivier Thibault on Fostering a Global, Flexible Work Culture at OneLocal

Dive into the world of OneLocal, where geographical boundaries dissolve and flexibility reigns supreme. Olivier Thibault, the visionary COO, paints a picture of a company thriving in the post-COVID era, fully embracing remote work. “100% remote since the pandemic,” Olivier declares, with a sense of pride. His team, scattered across five countries, embodies the essence of a modern, digital workforce. Olivier, himself a remote work enthusiast, is miles apart from his colleagues, yet they’re united in purpose and productivity. “Working with adults,” as he puts it, is about trust and autonomy, not about peering over shoulders. This mindset, he believes, is key to nurturing a creative and effective team. “You don’t need a cubicle to make people productive,” he says, advocating for a work environment that treats employees like thinking, feeling individuals, not robots.

Olivier’s journey through the evolving landscape of international team management has its share of learnings. Adapting to various time zones and cultural nuances, he’s navigated the complexities with a mix of flexibility and strategy. “Our biggest successes have come from working within similar time zones,” he notes, revealing the practical side of global team dynamics. The success of OneLocal’s remote model isn’t just about crossing borders; it’s about crossing them wisely. Olivier’s experience with different nationalities underscores the importance of understanding and leveraging the strengths of a diverse workforce. He candidly discusses past experiments, some less successful, and how they’ve shaped the company’s approach to building a globally distributed team.

Zooming out, Olivier gives us a glimpse into OneLocal’s core mission and vision. At the intersection of SaaS and digital marketing, OneLocal aims to revolutionize the way small local businesses approach their online presence. From plumbers to medical spas, these businesses often lack the resources for full-scale digital marketing. OneLocal steps in as a one-stop solution, offering a comprehensive platform that simplifies and enhances their digital marketing efforts. Olivier’s passion is palpable as he describes the company’s ambitious goal – to become the go-to service provider for millions of small businesses across the Americas. He draws a parallel with the early 2000s, when setting up a website was a complex task, to illustrate how OneLocal is demystifying digital marketing, making it accessible and effective for the smallest of businesses.

You don’t need a cubicle to make people productive

Revolutionizing Work with AI: Olivier Thibault’s Take on the Future of Business

In a world rapidly transforming through technology, OneLocal’s COO, Olivier Thibault, shares his insights on the revolutionary impact of AI in the workplace. “Every person in the company uses AI multiple times a day,” Olivier states, emphasizing its ubiquitous role at OneLocal. He draws inspiration from Jeff Bezos’ philosophy of focusing on what truly matters – for OneLocal, it’s about leveraging AI to enhance their services. Olivier likens their timely adoption of AI to a factory suddenly powered by electricity, a change that’s both exciting and transformative. His perspective is clear: the real value of AI lies in its application to specific use cases, a strategy that OneLocal has adeptly embraced.

When asked about the fear of AI replacing jobs, Olivier’s response is both optimistic and realistic. He believes that it’s not AI that replaces jobs, but people who learn to use AI effectively. Olivier recounts his experience at L’Oreal, where creative roles evolved from hand-drawing designs to using advanced software like Photoshop. This evolution, he suggests, is akin to the current integration of AI into various professions. Olivier highlights the adaptability of professionals, like his photographer friend, who leverages AI to enhance his craft. “The future,” Olivier says, “belongs to those who embrace AI, not to those who fear it.”

Shifting focus to team dynamics, Olivier delves into the art of finding the right people for OneLocal. He looks for signs of intrinsic motivation, a hunger for more, and a desire for accountability and ownership. These traits, according to Olivier, are crucial for thriving in a dynamic work environment like OneLocal. He also shares his vision for the company’s internal operations, emphasizing the importance of being agents of change and embracing experimentation. Olivier’s approach is scientific yet practical, focusing on rapid prototyping and assessing results to drive continuous improvement. This methodology not only enhances efficiency but also fosters a culture of innovation and agility within the teams.

Your job is not going to be replaced by AI, your job is going to be replaced by someone who learned how to use AI

Discover More Captivating Success Stories:
Digital Horizons: Navigating the Future of Remote Work with Visionary Mitch DeForest
Recruitment

Digital Horizons: Navigating the Future of Remote Work with Visionary Mitch DeForest

Future-Proofing Business: Pioneering the Remote Work Revolution with Mitch DeForest

Unlocking the Future of Convenience: How myflexbox is Redefining Everyday Life
Supply Chain

Unlocking the Future of Convenience: How myflexbox is Redefining Everyday Life

Revolutionizing Everyday Life: The myflexbox Story with Lukas Wieser

Matthias Heicke: Mastering the Art of Tech Evolution - From Club Motion to Sweap, a Journey of Innovation and Adaptation
Marketing

Matthias Heicke: Mastering the Art of Tech Evolution – From Club Motion to Sweap, a Journey of Innovation and Adaptation

Matthias Heicke: Navigating Startups to Success – A Tech Founder’s