Alexandre received 3 degrees in Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics and had his first publication at the age of 21. He obtained his first Masters degree in Mathematics at the age of 23 from one of the most prestigious French University (ENS-Cachan) and was offered a full scholarship to Stanford to pursue a second Master degree in Artificial Intelligence. All the while, he held two positions as a Research Assistant for the last 4 years under Sebastian Thrun (founder of Google X) and Silvio Savarese. At the age of 25, with more than 6 international publications, he has co-founded with Dr Emile Contal and Dr Sebastian Thrun a company in Artificial Intelligence, Crossing Minds, and raised almost 4 million dollars to create the most personalized and empathetic recommendation engine named h.ai In 2017, Alexandre became a global sensation after YSL featured him as their AI ambassador and was also invited to the International St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland as one of the 100 leaders of tomorrow.
He shared some thoughts on his career and leadership journey. This is his Network Capital interview.
1. What do you do?
Mostly research in Artificial Intelligence.
I am currently splitting my time between my Research Assistantship at Stanford University (AI for Ultrasound Analysis and Reconstruction) and the Start Up Crossing Minds (Next generation of AI for recommendation engine) co founded with Dr Sebastian Thrun and Dr Emile Contal.
2. Why do you do what you do?
Because this is to me the most meaningful way I found to contribute to the betterment of our civilization and life.
3. What is the one thing you believe to be true but others rarely agree with you on?
There is so many! That self awareness and wisdom are more and more underrated, that Deep Learning is only a sub sub sample of AI with too much hype, that our generation will live until 100 yo in average 😃 … there is a lot of topic where you can disagree with me, and for the best
4. Which failure or apparent failure set you up for success?
Once again, there is much more than one. I would say the most “game-changing” one was my college admission. In France, it goes by national exams, years of preparation in order to be accepted in the school of your dream. I failed to enter the one “I thought” I wanted. I wanted to be an engineer, and stay as far as possible from academia and research as I could. I ended up at Ecole Normal Superior de Cachan, or in other words, the most academic and research oriented formation possible haha. But I made the most of it.. every single quarter, stayed and worked during the holidays, published my first international publication during the very first year, graduated with the honors.
5. What is the best investment you have made in yourself?
Moving to the US and keep focusing on research.
6. Has your career been planned or a function of serendipity?
A little bit of both, it would be foolish and arrogant to say that it all had been planned, and a lie or illusion to say that it is solely function of serendipity. But I do believe that I have a good star, in addition to be lucky for being born in France and receiving such an education, both from my parents and the system.
7. What is the role of mentors in your life?
Mostly to inspire and kick my a**. I never saw mentor as direct advisor or micro manager, but as a source of inspiration. The best way to really teach isn’t it to do more than to say?
8. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?
Work Harder hahaha. To not stop because it is uncomfortable, and to embrace every challenges as they are occasions to grow.
And secondly to not limit my ideas to what I only see. It is not because no one else around hasn’t done something that you shouldn’t or can’t do it.
9. How can men and women work together to create a more equitable and conducive workspace?
By empowering each other respectively, with nothing else but kindness, empathy and impeccable respect.
10. What next?
Next? I hope an inspiring story or lesson to one day tell and share. And more eminently, a few papers, and a little revolution for the world of recommendation engines