This month, we got some time to sit down with VP of Marketing, Christophe Limpalair! Many of you may know him from taking an AWS course or from an email that he’s sent you, but what about when he’s not working? You may find him catching the latest Game of Thrones episode or discussing cats with lasers.
Currently listening to: Santa Barbara by Rebelution. Great band!
1. What do you do at Linux Academy?
I started working at Linux Academy on January 4th of 2016. At the time, I was an AWS Course Author working on an AWS Lambda Deep Dive course, but we were only 7 employees and we wore a lot of hats. My background is in development, so I also helped with our Hands-On Labs platform. Along the way, I found that my passion intersected between technology and business, and now I work with a fantastic marketing team as the Vice President of Marketing.
2. What did you do before this?
I started a podcast called ScaleYourCode almost exactly a year before joining Linux Academy. The reason I transitioned from running the podcast to joining Linux Academy is a bit of a funny story… I was looking for sponsorships and reached out to Linux Academy’s staff. After a bit of back-and-forth via email, I asked the CEO/Founder to hop on a phone call so I could “close the deal.” So we hop on that call, and the first thing Anthony says is “tell me a little bit about yourself.” After sharing my story and why I started the podcast, Anthony said: “we’d like to hire you.” Although at the time I wasn’t looking for a job opportunity, after a fairly lengthy conversation and some back and forth over a few weeks, I realized that we were aiming to serve a similar goal and that combining forces made a lot of sense. Here I am!
3. What do you like most about what you do?
I went to an AWS Summit in New York after I had completed a refresh for our AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified SysOps certification courses. AWS held an after-party, which I attended, and I ran into a group of guys who seemed to be having a fabulous time. They greeted me over as I walked towards them, and as they were about to ask me who I worked for, they glanced over to the Linux Academy penguin logo on my shirt and gasped “Do you work at Linux Academy?” After I responded yes, one of the guys blurted out “oh wow, you’re the author of the CDA course I’m going through right now!” “Your courses have literally changed my career!” They took me out to drinks and we had an amazing time getting to know each other and talking about AWS.
Even though I knew we had a lot of students going through my courses, it never truly hit me that all of these students were individuals just like me, and my courses were literally changing their lives – at least not until I met this great group of guys hanging out at a roof-top bar. It was such a humbling and invigorating experience that helped solidify the fact that we truly are helping people, and I have to say that is one of the most rewarding feelings and one of the main reasons I love what I do.
Another main reason I love what I do is the team that I get to work with. Our entire organization has rallied behind our mission of helping people, and you’ve got a team putting out their best work because they know it will impact how others interact with our platform and with our brand. It’s so much fun.
4. How did you get your AWS Certifications?
I studied on Linux Academy from Anthony’s courses (the same ones I later refreshed, he he he). He must have been a good instructor, because I have yet to fail an AWS exam.
5. What’s your favorite part of working at Linux Academy?
The freedom and support to pursue ideas that we believe will benefit students. It’s amazing to work at a place that not only supports experimentation but also recognizes employees who do.
6. What do you like to do in your free time?
I really enjoy reading. Whether it’s reading online blogs or books, there is such wealth of information out there waiting to be consumed. Give me a rainy day, hot tea or coffee, and a good book, and I’ll spend hours on the couch in my library. I also enjoy playing video games (I’m really into Battlefield 1 right now, but have played a lot of Starcraft 2 and League of Legends), fishing (especially salt water), and mountain biking. Otherwise, I like watching shows like documentaries or, of course, Game of Thrones.
7. Favorite food?
French, bien sur!
8. What do you like to collect?
Ships – wooden ships. I’ve got a really big one in my home office!
9. Favorite quote?
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
10. If you could interview one person (dead or alive), who would it be?
Elon Musk. The changes he is inflicting on society are awe-inspiring.
11. What’s something you’re really excited about right now?
It’s really hard not to make this about work because we have so many cool things coming out in the next couple of months and early next year… but nobody wants to read about that so I’d have to say that I’m excited to get back into writing a bit more. I enjoy writing whether it’s for work or for my own journals, but lately, my mind has been focused elsewhere. I’m starting to get back to a point where I can spend more time per week writing my thoughts down.
12. If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?
Either time travel (if I could do it without altering the past/future) or else mind reading. Time travel because I’d love to see what it was like back in the day during some of my favorite time periods. Mind reading because people don’t always feel comfortable sharing what they truly feel or believe – even when they could be right or what they are thinking could help the person/situation. Honest feedback can also really help me grow as a person, even if it stings for a short period of time.
13. You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?
Vantablack, because it is the darkest color in the universe, like the black hole.
14. Teach us something we may not know in 10 sentences or less.
My last name is Limpalair. Translated from Breton (I was born in Brittany, France), it means “The Emperor.” However, after looking up our family history, we believe we come from a family of fishermen and that there was a fishing bird called “The Emperor” – which is where our name likely comes from. Or, maybe I’m a descendant of Napoleon… I guess we’ll never know 😉
15. What is one thing on your bucket list?
Publish a book.
16. What are you most excited for about AWS re:Invent this year?
I’m definitely going and I’m really excited about it too, for a couple of reasons:
- It’s an incredible conference for us because we get to meet hundreds of our students which never gets old!
- It is such a good team-building exercise. Going to a big event like that requires a ton of planning, creativity, and teamwork. It really does help strengthen bonds between co-workers.