Meet Antoine: Training Lead

Apr 25, 2019 | Careers blog

This week on the blog we introduce Antoine Vaba who works for 5CA as the Training Lead. We interviewed him about his job, his hobbies, and his start-up, Monkey Bidouille!

Q: How long have you been working at 5CA?

Antoine Vaba: I started working for 5CA in 2017, first as a work from home agent on various projects. I then joined the Beoplay team, just before moving to Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Q: I know that you have been promoted within the project, could you tell me more about how it happened?

AV: I started with B&O (then just called “Beoplay”) as an agent, and then became the senior agent for the EMEA region. The project started with only a small fraction of the B&O portfolio. During this period, I got the opportunity to meet the client and partners I was working with on a daily basis in the flesh. This changed my perspective of the different parties. At the same time, some other changes also took place: 5CA began supporting the entire Bang & Olufsen portfolio (I like to think I was part of this change)! It’s also when I became the Training Lead for the project and the team doubled and now reaches approximately 35 people.

Q: What things do you enjoy most about your job?

AV: First of all, learning myself. As a trainer, I think it is absolutely crucial to continue to train yourself, to be attentive to new things, and always ask yourself how to do things better. Learning myself and finding a logical way to teach people are what I love the most about my job.

Q: I know you have been working remotely before, how did it work out for you?

AV: Working remotely was a great experience. I believe it is in general easier to focus when working from home, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best part about it. The biggest advantage is definitely the time you’re not spending on commuting. That helps tremendously when you have a lot of other activities!

Q: You work with a brand loved by audiophiles, so I have to ask about your favourite music genre, DJs, singers?

AV: I have always loved music, so it’s never easy to find one genre, DJ or singer. I would say I’m interested in most music genres, but my favourite would probably be electronic music. Of course, growing up, I got to enjoy a lot of different styles, from all kinds of rock music (mainly 70s punk, grunge, hard rock), soul music (and rhythm n blues) and funk. With that mix, you can bet I love French house in general. Let me give you a little taste; here’s what’s been on heavy rotation at my place: Caballero et Jean Jass – SVP / Group Home – Supa Star (and the entire Livin’ Proof album (the most terrific beats in hip hop music!) / Mr Oizo – M-seq / Gil Scott Heron – The Bottle / Curtis Mayfield – Move on Up / Guts ft Laurine Chia – Open Wide / The Brothers Johnson – Celebration / MOON – Hydrogen / Emapea – Laka / Shag – My Mind

Q: What are your hobbies? Rumour in the office is that your passion is taekwondo!

AV: I love a lot of things! I love to listen to music and also love sports in general. I used to be a martial arts instructor. I stopped though when I arrived here in the Netherlands. I still have connections with taekwondo; my brother will be fighting in the French national competitions soon! I think the great thing about sports, martial arts and, in my case, taekwondo, is that it teaches you how to improve yourself. First physically, then it becomes a lifestyle, and it’s something that’s helped me in more ways than one.

Q: How did you become interested in building PCs?

AV: My first computer was a desktop with Windows 3.1 and an Intel 80286 socket. This thing didn’t even have a sound card by default and had a 700mb hard drive. Growing up, I got interested in hardware in general. First to be able to play imported games, and then to increase the general audio and video quality of older hardware. I started doing this first by modifying my old Sega consoles: adding 50/60hz switches, adding component output on a Megadrive, using modded bios on a Saturn… Eventually, I ended up doing the same with old audio hardware (mainly Japanese audio electronics such as Sharp or Pioneer): replacing the inside with newer audio hardware, and as much as possible, trying to keep the case and original buttons and LEDs intact. That eventually led to PC case mods. I built my mod from a high-end DVD player from Pioneer.  

Q: Maybe you could tell me a bit more about Monkey Bidouille? How did it start? What is the product and brand about?

AV: Playing around with mods eventually led to the development of a completely new product. It’s a project I started very naturally with my associate and friend, Maxime. We both share the same interest in audio, design, and PC hardware. So we decided to come up with our version of the desktop computer. We now offer a compact desktop computer, made of maple wood and aluminium, built in France with very little plastic. The PC uses a mini ITX board and a Ryzen APU, and is delivered with a Digital-To-Analog Converter (DAC). The potentiometer on the front panel controls the output of the DAC/jack ports, and the sound experience is simply amazing using this machine. The build quality is also sensational. We’ve manufactured a very small batch of units that we will start to sell directly on www.monkeybidouille.com

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