In praise of Tristan Nitot

There's a high probability Tristan and I met when we were kids. We were both hanging around the same places at the same time to have access to computers. We met again during the early years of Netscape, while I was leading everything web-related at Électricité de France. Later, he was of course the first one to greet Peter and I when we joined as sherpas in november 2000.

On the 15th of july 2003, Tristan, Peter and myself were on the "special" conference call about a "reorganization". In the next minutes, all our colleagues from the US sent a farewell message and Netscape was no more. After the summer break, Tristan, Peter and myself met at Peter's apartment in Paris to discuss our future. I suggested to take advantage of the OSS nature of Mozilla and launch a software company, but Tristan and Peter had only one idea in mind and it was already called "Mozilla Europe"... I eventually launched "Disruptive Innovations" alone while they remained focus on their project.

Tristan and Peter worked incredibly hard to achieve that, giving Mozilla a unique and powerful presence on the Old Continent. After the official launch of Mozilla Europe, Tristan became ubiquitous. He was so present in European media I started the Tristant-Nitot-Tracker as a joke. Newspapers, Web magazines, radios, television channels, there has not been a single day between 2003 and 2011 without multiple appearances of Tristan everywhere in Europe, and sometimes beyond. I never understood how Tristan found the time and energy to make Mozilla so visible in the media here.

The face of Mozilla Europe is - we'll soon have to say was - Tristan. There's that classic and completely stupid french proverb that says "nobody is irreplaceable"... If someone you hired is replaceable, it only means you have to improve your hiring process. Successes are built with irreplaceable people.

Tristan is irreplaceable, because he's not only giving work, skills, energy and talent. He's doing it in a way that is from my perspective unique: tons of humor in absolutely all circumstances, extreme dedication, convinced and convincing spirit, ability to discuss with absolutely anyone from geeks to politicians, outstanding spoken and written communication, indisputable loyalty, inspiring everyone.

I'm not a Mozilla employee. But Tristan has been, as Mozilla Europe's leader, a crucial person to my company. So let me thank him deeply and sincerely for all the fish he gave me, all the fish he gave us all.

Tristan, all I can say is that you now have more free time to ride your motorbike to come have lunch with me in Saint-Germain! Best of luck for the future, the coaching and the book!


1. On Wednesday 4 February 2015, 03:16 by bituur esztreym

yeah man. lo has clavao.
je me souviens, - et c'est rigolo comme c'est ressorti récemment, tes posts de mémoire comme ceux de keltounet, et d'autres, les vieux moments fondateurs, et le CMI.. je passai souvent devant, mais ni comme toi ni comme tristan, je n'avais / n'eus, la lancée / incentivo (es - the same as in en) d'entrer, et m'approprier les machines..
c'est un moment. ton post le pose bien. merci man.

2. On Wednesday 4 February 2015, 05:50 by Tristan

Awww :-)

Such a nice post, thank you!


3. On Wednesday 4 February 2015, 08:50 by Da Scritch

Oui, c'est exactement ça : l'énergie, la confiance, l'ubiquité.

Et oui, s'il n'avait pas été là, s'il n'y avait pas eu de Mozilla Europe, je me demande même si Firefox 2.0 aurait eu la même popularité.

4. On Wednesday 4 February 2015, 09:03 by Jacques Pyrat

J'aime beaucoup ta façon de voir « Nul n'est irremplaçable ». Encore une conséquence du Jansénisme qui fait confondre humilité (être à sa place) et humiliation (se rabaisser).

5. On Wednesday 4 February 2015, 10:41 by tth

« around the same places at the same time to have access to computers »

Ça, c'est le plan IPT ? Si ça se trouve, on s'est croisé là-bas :)

Et je pense que ce plan, malgré les apparences de l'époque, n'a pas été un «fail», parce qu'il a donné à pas mal de gens l'envie de maitriser la machine informatique. Maitrise que beaucoup de jeunes ne connaissent plus, persuadés qu'ils sont que «liker» sur facebook, c'est maitriser l'informatique...