Interview with the CEO Part 2: Working with Stellar as a collaborator

By 2 October 2020 January 17th, 2021 Stellar

Stéphane Bourgogne

Stéphane Bourgogne


Welcome to the second part of the interview! After asking you questions about « Working with Stellar as a client » (Part 1), now is « Working with Stellar as a collaborator » (Part 2).

Hello, nice to be here again! We covered a lot of interesting topics in the first part! Don’t miss it if you’ve not seen it already.

Well, we are going to ask you the very same question again: Why should people work with you? But on the company staff side this time! The young people and the old people.

Same program, good program!

Let’s start with the young. Young people are excited to work at Stellar. Why is that?

Well, let me tell you a story. I’ve seen it time and time again. Almost every student that comes to the space industry comes here because he or she has a dream. Space always attracts creative and inspired minds. Nine times out of ten, there’s a special event in their life that triggered the desire for space. Looking at the stars with their grandfather, visiting a place related to space, seeing an astronaut on television, being offered a telescope for Christmas… Whatever the trigger, it’s usually very deep and persistent. You won’t be able to make them deviate from their will to work in the space domain! I promise you… Those students are usually brilliant at school. They graduate from prestigious universities, and then they find a job, very often in a big structure, such as a large company or a space agency. And then, boom! The dream starts to clash with reality. They face the reality of what a big structure is: rigid procedures, endless bureaucracy… Everything is slow, everything is complicated, for reasons you can’t understand. Critical thinking is exercised at your own risk (caution, it may backfire!). Intellectual talent is underused. As a teacher in SUPAERO, I hear the same story every year. Many of my former students (not all of them course, but often the most curious, active and enthusiastic) are disappointed and feel like their skills are used to do annoying paperwork. So, those talented students come to our industry to change the world, and they end up being frustrated all day long. We think this is a shame. We think bright minds deserve an exciting professional life, not some uniform, unicolor, predefined, bureaucratic routine. But don’t worry… We’ve suffered the same frustration before, and we have a solution! Why do you think we created Stellar? We want to create a framework for young talents to be creative and useful to others. We want to get rid of the useless noise, and focus only on the essential: achieving good work. This is our plan. So, we have a different approach, and the young people feel it. They want to be part of it. They’re excited about it. We want to make it real for them, and not disappoint them.

That’s exciting. But let’s get down to the facts. Practically, what do you do all day long?

Our main field is data analysis from the Earth observation missions. So we process satellite measurements, calculate orbits, perform simulations, improve geophysical models, solve linear systems, invert matrices, build software, debug code… A paradise for mathematicians and coders. We also develop interactive websites for data visualization. Both fields will stimulate your intellectual and artistic senses. We like space mechanics, spherical harmonics, linear algebra, shell, fortran, C, python, javascript and other exotic forms of intellectual gymnastics… We have regular and entertaining discussions with Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Gauss, Lagrange, Legendre, Fourier, and other inspiring legends. We like to teach each other and support each other. We will gladly admit that you have to be kind of a geek to do what we do, but we are actually having fun doing it!

Let’s suppose I want to join Stellar. What personal qualities are you looking for?

Well, here are some traits we are looking for. Let’s fire them in a bulk: love of science, strong roots in maths and physics, curiosity, imagination, creativity, passion to solve problems, pragmatism, reactivity, reliability, personal responsibility, patience, courage, spirit of service, taste for sharing knowledge, taste for helping others, availability, sense of humor, kindness… That’s a long list of words, but our requirement is simple: we will be working with you everyday, so we want to be in good company. We want to know that we can count on you. We want to be entertained and delighted by your intelligence, and we want to miss you when you’re away. And we want our clients to feel exactly the same about you.

As an employee, who will I be working with?

Basically people like you. We want to build a good-hearted and industrious team of people, who like work, and who like to exchange and experiment together about what they do. Passion for science, mathematics, physics, space and code is our primary meeting point (not « comité d’entreprise » or « babyfoot » or « barbecue », even though we do organize some pleasant events sometimes). And to the best possible extent, we will try to privilege activities with customers who have the same traits and vision, so they will appreciate your qualities, and so you will be happy to give your best for them everyday.

What is the role of management?

Management is at your service. We will give you the big directions, so you understand what we are doing and why. We will train you and give you all the necessary knowledge to start. Then, the work will be yours to achieve. It will be your responsibility, and credit, to bring the task to success. Management will be there to make sure you have everything you need. We will be working at your service to make sure that everything is OK, that all problems can be solved, and that your work is running like a well-oiled machine. Contrary to almost every company in the world, we will be working for you, and not the opposite. Then, once you are ready and set up, we will step back and watch, and we’ll just wait to be amazed by your talent. Impress us,  entertain us, surprise us, please us! This is why we hired you after all…

Why should I prefer a small company like Stellar?

Working in a small company is like working on a small ship. Sometimes the water is calm, and life is beautiful under the sun. Sometimes a big storm comes and rocks the boat, and we need everybody to work extra-hard and to help each other to keep the boat afloat. If you have the nerves, the brains and the heart, working in a small company is the most rewarding experience you can have. In a small company, you are very important very quickly. I have more freedom to create the path you will be traveling on. You will find more passion, more freedom, more satisfaction. In return, you absolutely have to be there when people need you. You quickly become an important piece of the puzzle, so your sense of responsibility must be flawless. When we say that we count on you, we mean it. So, in general, people already know instinctively if a small company is good for them or not. If you have the guts and the heart for this, working in a small company will provide you many joys, and the sweet, long lasting, priceless, feeling of accomplishment.

What about money?

Money comes from the value we bring to others. Bring a wealth of value to others and money will come to you.

I am a senior (and I hate retirement). Can we do something together with Stellar?

You already gained our sympathy! Our favorite blues singer, the great legendary B.B. King, always said: « I never use that word, retire ». He never stopped touring and he died at 89 doing the very thing he loved all his life. The most passionate people never retire. They might slow down their activity at some point, but they never stop, because they just love what they do. Of course, laying in the sun and drinking cocktails on the beach is fun, but you also need something to satisfy your intellectual talents… If for you, work and fun are the same, and retirement feels just like a non-deserved punishment, just get in touch with us! Maybe there’s a way to invent your next chapter together. You have the experience and the brains, and the younger people have the legs and the motivation to do what you can’t do or don’t want to do anymore. So we may be able to work something out of this (the Stellar sauce!). We really do like intergenerational cooperation, we think it’s a special privilege for both categories. The young will feel lucky to learn from your wisdom, and in turn, you will be refreshed daily by their enthusiasm and energy. And this time for you, it will be without the constraints, at your own pace and for the fun part of it. And it will for sure provide some extra income for your travels… if you like cocktails on the beach, after all!

When should I get in touch with you?

Good question! Get in touch early (now)! Don’t wait. Sometimes opportunities take time, and are slower to materialize than our immediate desire to hire you. Sometimes, it’s just the opposite, opportunities arise without notice. So it is very important to be in contact early. It allows to be ready when necessary. Just send us an email and we’ll find a time to meet and discuss! It also allows to get to know each other better and to build trust over time. If we feel like we can do something together in the future, we will stay in touch regularly. And hopefully, act when the time is just right! Meanwhile, subscribe to our newsletter to stay in touch.


Any other things to conclude this interview?

We wish everybody the best of luck, and we hope to meet some bright and enthusiastic talents among the readers. Get in touch with us. Stellar is a friendly place. We have a positive vision, we work hard and we want to do good things. We have a taste for doing things differently. As the saying goes: “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra”. We are looking for like-minded people who want to join this adventure. Write us an email and get in touch! Something interesting may happen!

Thank you M. Stéphane Bourgogne, and see you next time for another interview!

Thank you very much! My pleasure anytime.