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Finally able to announce I’m working with Orange France Telecom

Automatically inserted editorial note: this post was written 10 years ago, it may no longer represent my own views. Or just be a crazy post from my youth!

I’m delighted to announce that I have (finally) started working for Orange France Telecom on an interesting, but highly topic secret, project they’re working on.

Orange France Telecom

But don’t worry folks; I’m not leaving the Bay Area.

Although Orange France Telecom is a European company with only a tiny commercial presence in the US, it runs a nifty little R&D outpost in South San Francisco, which is where I’ll be working. They seem to cook all sorts of interesting stuff there and yet most Valley people (including myself) aren’t even aware they have a fairly significant local presence.

We’ll soon change that! 🙂

I’ve wanted to announce this for sometime as I’ve been in discussions with Orange FT about the job since January. However a number of developments, including the death of my grandmother and the uncertain process of getting a new TN status (which I only got yesterday) meant that I really didn’t want to announce anything until I started today.

I’ve chosen to remain an independent contractor (hey, it’s tax efficient!) but I’m very committed to focusing on the Orange FT project for as long as they need me. I was very fortunate to have had some great work offers with a number of cool companies – I would have been delighted to have worked for any of the companies I entered into final talks with.

Getting the new TN…

For those of you that don’t know, although I was born in the UK I am also a Canadian citizen and as such I am able to work in the US via the NAFTA agreement.

So yesterday I took a day trip to Calgary, as you do, for the oh-so-arbitrary requirement that the new TN visa/status has to be stamped and approved on Canadian soil. So I said goodbye to San Francisco’s sunshine and 20°C+ weather and prepared myself for Calgary, which was a somewhat chilly and snowy -7°C. Brrrrrr! I landed at 12:30pm and took off at 7:30pm – I didn’t even get to leave the airport!

That’s also another 2k miles to add to my carbon footprint – ouch! Last year I managed to rake up an average of about 4.5k miles a month, which whilst that’s great for getting things like complimentary upgrades to First Class on both legs of my Calgary trip, it’s not great for the environment. I’m already up to about 13k miles so far this year 🙁

So what will I be doing at Orange FT?

I really can’t say anymore at this stage as to what I’m doing at Orange France Telecom. But I’m delighted to be able to utilize many of my different skills (if I say which, it might give the game away) and it’s also nice to be able to draw on my experience of the European market – which clearly is important for Orange France Telecom. Don’t worry; I believe the product will be launched globally, however.

Why not a start-up?

I’m answering this here because I know I’m going to be asked it a lot. First up, it is very much my intention to work on a start-up in the Bay Area in due course. However, having spent time with Citizen Agency’s start-up clients I realized I really want to do my own rather than work for someone else’s.

I think my cross-over technical, business and product skills make a great combination and it would be silly not to utilize the opportunity at some point. However now isn’t the right time for Sofia and I to take some of the risks associated with this, especially as there are complications and further risks associated with the fact we are on visas.

In the meantime I’m looking forward to continuing to formally and informally advise a number of startups run by my friends and keep my hand in the scene that way. I may also get going in my spare time with some prototypes of a couple of ideas I have to see whether any of them get some traction.

More announcements soon…
There are also some more announcements coming very soon, which I alluded to so watch this space.

No, Sofia and I are not going to have baby – I mean business announcements. 😛

Published in News

15 Comments

  1. Lee Wilkins Lee Wilkins

    Congratulations Ben

  2. Ben Metcalfe Joins Orange FT

    Good friend, and pal, Ben Metcalfe has just announced he is joining Orange France Telecom
    Ben is one the smartest and street-wise people I know. Whatever it is he is doing over @ OFT, I am sure it’ll be successful
    Congrats Ben.

  3. mark Simpkins mark Simpkins

    Congratulation Ben, sounds good.

  4. Congratulations Ben, glad to see you got something sorted

  5. Congrats mate – I hope it goes fantastically for you!

  6. bobby bobby

    highly topic secret

    Aaaagh… just tell me before I shit myself with anticipation!

  7. “Ben is one the smartest and street-wise people I know”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Sorry. I lost it there for a second. Well done Ben. You’re certainly one of the most dedicated i know and i’d ire you for my IT team in a New York second. Good luck.

  8. Rock on Ben. Sounds like a great opportunity — keep us posted on how it goes!

  9. Sorry to chime in late here! So much travel…

    Anyway, congratulations! That sounds like a great opportunity. The people at Orange are very nice, indeed.

  10. Lee Lee

    Hi dude,

    Congrats. Don’t know if it’s relevant, but before they axed their R&D team in the UK, Dr. Norman Lewis and Imran Ali were both trying to do some good stuff – they might be worth tapping into for experience of how to take great ideas through the business, which is (shall we say) “challenging”

    Ping me if you want an intro.

    All the best!

  11. Axel Axel

    Howdy hi new colleague 😉

    Don’t forget that the correct expression to talk about France Télécom R&D labs is now “Orange Labs”…

    Good luck and welcome!

  12. Ben Ben

    Thanks for all the kind words of support!

  13. Belated congratulations Ben. Glad to hear that this all worked out for the best.

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