Introduction letter to my team at Zendesk
I'm Nicolas Cava, 32 yo, dad of two: Illiana Cava (6 yo) and Liam Cava (3 yo). My kids are French and Canadian citizens, born in Quebec City. I'm not married but in a common-law partnership (I love this term) with Coralie Court (38 yo, French) since 2008. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters, and an infinite amount of nephews and nieces (let alone cousins). I can say that my family is very distributed, like Zendesk.
My values in life are freedom, family, and simplicity.
I have an approach in business: I try to be as transparent as possible about me, my intentions, and what I'm building. I follow the “build in public” philosophy. I think it helps me build trust with my teammates or audience and also distribute free content as a nice side effect (for marketing or knowledge sharing). This letter is an illustration of this approach.
I was born Mediterranean French in Béziers, in the south of France. My parents are Spanish-born in the Albacete region in Spain. I now live in Montreal, QC, Canada. I may be still a Spanish citizen also but I think I lost it when I was younger and refused to do mandatory military service in Spain (sneaky me).
I'm from Capestang, a small village of 3000 souls close to the Mediterranean sea in the south of France surrounded by vineyards.
I have 12 y+ of tech industry experience (startups + scale-ups). I worked for bootstrapped startups and VC-funded scale-ups exposed to ultra high-growth. The maximum number of employees I had to collaborate with was ~270. I had an important burnout in 2018 that was a life-changing lesson for me (in a good way).
I have a degree in electrical engineering, one in computer science and IT systems design, and one in web marketing from Béziers, France. I did 3 years in university. I also did two years in a specialized art school in Nîmes, France, before pivoting to electrical engineering. It was a nice part of my life for various reasons.
I founded 5 companies in my life. I currently have a side business on building a remote working OS for people and companies to help solve their challenges in the future of work. One of my products is Meet Crew. I also want to write articles and record podcasts on what I advocate. While I'm an entrepreneur, Zendesk is where my focus and energy are dedicated to my professional life.
I advocate WFA (Working From Anywhere). I truly believe that location-independent organizations and people will make us more resilient, free, happy, and fulfilled. You can find more on the "why” on my website. I also wrote a manifesto a while ago that I try to keep up-to-date because I strive to grow as a person, and thus, my vision on things may evolve. Never changing scales better!
I'm very active on Twitter: I talk about my semi-nomadism project, build my side-business in public, and tweet about WFA.
Being an entrepreneur is my passion outside of my job (well, you may tell me it's like job, and you'll be kind of right). But I'm also passionate about gaming. You can find me online with the nickname Ysu or Ysurian. My top 3 games of all time: Morrowind, Secret of Mana, and The Witcher 3. Usually, my types of games are Strategy, RTS, and RPGs, but I'm not picky at all.
I'm very into travelling. So much, we want to build a semi-nomadic life with my family (several months abroad by year). We already did that during our time in Europe, and it was a splendid experience for my kids that I want to keep.
I also love watching Rugby, even if it's hard to watch it from Canada. I practiced yoga when I was in France for 2 years and I loved it. I cannot wait to practice again, but I have to find the time.
I work on my personal growth. I try to understand who I am to know what to improve (or mitigate) and build confidence in myself. On the MBTI personality test from 16Personalities, I'm an ESTJ-A (Executive).
I love order and embrace honesty, dedication, and dignity. I'm someone highly-organized that likes taking leadership and making decisions. I also take pride in bringing people together. Traditions in social interactions are fundamental to me: family dinners on Sundays around a Paella, Discord with close friends during the week, and talking with them on Messenger of everything and nothing.
I think trust and authority must be earned, and I try to lead by example. I have difficulties with laziness and cheating. It's also hard for me to work without a vision and planning for the long term. I need to build this structure to execute my projects, which can slow me down when I spend too much time planning instead of executing.
I'm aware of my surroundings, and I progress in work and life with clear principles even against heavy resistance. I'm willing to dive into the most challenging projects, planning actions and sorting details along the way. I love making complicated tasks as easy and approachable as possible (system-thinking). I expect reliability and work ethic to be reciprocated.
I try to meet my promises, and in consequence, if I'm jeopardized with laziness or dishonesty, I don't like it at all. I can sometimes be seen as inflexible because I truly believe in what I value. I try to be clear in my expectations.
Maybe I'm a maniac, but I think all the time in systems that can be designed to be simple and scalable, and IMHO, be applied to everything in work and life. It's called system-thinking. I also built a second brain system for myself where I invest a lot. It's like a repository of notes and interconnected knowledge that I can reuse anytime when needed. Like a neural network with a search interface. Every time I learn something new and find it valuable, I write it in this system. I can progressively refine and curate this knowledge to deliver content or anything of value.
With the right system, you can reach a balance between efficiency, scalability, and simplicity, and it enables you to gain a tremendous amount of time to focus on what matters.
- I had my first grey hair at 16.
- I don't have any sense of smell. I'm the perfect friend to invite for cleaning when parties go crazy.
- I built and maintained a crypto mining facility.
- My parents didn't have electricity when they were younger and here I am working in a digital-first company.
- I have thalassophobia, even in gaming (I can't play Outer Wilds or Subnautica).