We decided to launch this new series as service sector is the one who suffered the most during the COVID-19 crisis. But at the same time while some doors are closed and some companies sink into pandemic bankruptcy, the service sector shows its flexibility and high creativity by opening new doors and looking for fresh opportunities for growth and development.
Our first interview in this new series is with Damien Blanc ( Ai 208), project engineer at homemuse.io
AFAM: Hello Damien. You are a project engineer at a new online platform homemuse.io
Please tell us more about your company and your job.
Damien: Homemuse.io is a brand new online platform that offers a wide selection of professional music teachers for more than 18 different instruments, for at-home or online lessons. The idea was to create a platform where students could focus on their music training and leave the administrative tasks to us. Everything is integrated on the website: zoom interface, schedule, payment 100% secured, dashboard to track progress and exchange with your teacher. So far, we’ve got 100% positive feedback from both our customers and the teachers.
To keep our students motivated, we also organize on a monthly basis, online masterclasses hosting one our teacher, accessible from all around the world for everyone, musicians or not.
On a daily basis as a project engineer I deal with several subject which are completely new to me:
- Growth strategy;
- SEO (the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to a website) which is the key to success for an online platform;
- Marketing: advertisement, making offers, social media's strategy, etc)
- Client relationship (managing request, quotes, feedback, technical issues, etc);
- Managing teachers (recruitment, assistance, masterclass organization, etc).
AFAM: You have been working for Total in Africa and South America for 7 years. How come you decided to work for homemuse.io after all these years at Total?
Damien: I was a field drilling/completion engineer for 7 years in Total which offered me the opportunity to discover the world and work on some nice international projects : development of shale gas in Argentina for 3 years, exploration wells in the Sahara desert for 2 years, several inspection or technical missions in Denmark, Bolivia, Scotland.
Field engineers have to work on site, which are usually remote, far from any civilization (on deserts or offshore), which makes life a bit hard sometimes not to mention the 4 weeks on/4 weeks off rotation system which seems nice on paper but doesn’t allow to have a very stable life.
With Covid-19, the work conditions, which were already not ideal, started to worsen. Companies try sometimes to take advantage of a crisis to reduce benefits, career advancement and I eventually felt under-used. In this kind of big industry it’s hard to make a change and the inertia of decision-making started to wear myself out. I felt that it was time for me to move on to something more exciting.
Example of a drilling site in Sahara desert (photo: courtesy of Damien)
AFAM: What do you like the most in your job for homemuse.io?
Damien: This job is a real breath of fresh air, I had never worked before in a start-up environment (we are a small team of 3), and it is so fulfilling and exciting. What amazes me the most is that you can almost immediately see the effect of your work and its impact on your business. That is what missed me the most in my previous job where the inertia of big companies have the tendency to kill initiative and motivation. I learn so many new skills everyday, you need to multitask and react fast. I think the Arts et Métiers have taught me well to be multifaceted and adaptable.
AFAM: What do you think about the future of services and online platforms like homemuse.io in the aftermath of covid-19?
Damien : At first the idea was to connect students to music teachers locally.
But with COVID-19 the business was jeopardized. It gave us the opportunity to innovate and come with a complete integrated online solution where you can enjoy your music lesson in the comfort of your home. Now, most of our clients go for online lessons with their teachers and so far all our students are really satisfied with the solution we put in place. At the end of the day, COVID has been a great opportunity for us: there are no problems, only solutions.
AFAM: How did Arts et Métiers prepare you for your current work? How does being a Gadz’Arts help you in your everyday tasks at work?
Damien: Arts et Métiers is definitely the school where you can learn how to manage a project.
The disciplines taught are so different that it opens your mind and really gives you the capacity to handle any kind of technical subject. It widens the boundaries of your comfort zone. It becomes wider and it gives you the opportunity to think “out of the box”.
The good thing with Gadz’Arts network is that you can always find someone working in the same area and rely on their expertise to get the good tips, it helps a lot!
AFAM: Thank you, Damien for you time, this interesting conversation!
Damien: I’d like to add that we offer a special discount of 30% off on the first music lesson to AFAM blog readers by using the code GADZ21 on our website (homemuse.io/teachers)
AFAM: thank you for this special offer ! We hope that gadzarts living in the US, members of our community, will enjoy it.