Pedro Selva Recommendations

on 4 Apr, 22:48

PoP now automatically generates the GraphQL-like query to fetch data from an external site

PoP now automatically generates the GraphQL-like query to fetch data from an external site

When fetching data for a component, PoP allows to point to an external domain. Until now, the external site had to have the same components installed as the origin site, to guarantee that the response would be what was expected by the origin site. Undoubtedly, this was less than ideal.

This is solved now, and very elegantly: whenever a component fetches data from an external site, it automatically generates the URL to query, including all the fields that need be retrieved. Similar to GraphQL, this request will fetch only the required data, and because it is automatically generated by the application, there are no possibilities of manual errors from creating the query, and if any field is updated or a new one introduced or removed, the query is automatically upgraded too. The automatically generated query looks like this (assuming, in this case, that is the external site).

Through this feature, PoP sites will be able to share data effortlessly. The developer will not even need to code a query to fetch data, but simply arranging all modules inside each other will do. PoP takes care of the rest.

As usual, enjoy!

on 1 Mar, 00:36

PoP is being migrated into components

PoP is being migrated into components

PoP has historically been called a “framework”. The reason for this is that, having started as a project for WordPress, its architecture expected to manage the whole website. Then, if you wanted to run PoP, it had to be a PoP website. It was an all or nothing situation.

However, this situation will soon be drastically improved: We are currently migrating PoP from a monorepo into a set of components, each of them hosted under its own repo, and all of them managed and tied together through Composer. The components can be installed independently of each other and, quite importantly, they will be CMS-agnostic. Having an architecture based on components, PoP is not expecting to take over the site any longer: components be added into any website to improve its capabilities, providing specific features (such as the component-based API)

Our aim is to release the components providing an implementation for WordPress and, in the future, provide an implementation for October CMS (given the availability of time and man power for the task). We expect to start releasing the first components around May 2019.


on 1 Mar, 00:12

PoP now complies with PSR-1 and PSR-2

PoP now complies with PSR-1 and PSR-2

PoP is now compliant with PHP Standards Recommendations PSR-1: Basic Coding Standard and PSR-2: Coding Style Guide. This involved a huge refactoring of the whole codebase, renaming all functions from their snake case form (such as get_modules) into their camel case equivalent (getModules). As usual, enjoy!

on 12 Dec, 18:40

The new PoP API can now be installed!

The new PoP API can now be installed!

We have started releasing the new PoP. This is the first time ever that PoP can be installed without fear of it breaking up: originally the codebase was not split into plugins, so if certain plugins were not activated, everything broke, greatly impairing the chance of developers being able to use it (for which the project barely has 50+ stars on GitHub). After 10 months of heavy work and tears, it started being ready. Hurray!

To download the new PoP API, simply head to the repository on GitHub and follow the instructions.

The overall migration is not finished though: only the API layer is ready, the rendering layers (for both client-side and server-side) are still under development, so they will be released in stages as soon as they are finished. We expect everything to be up by 2nd quarter 2019.

This is a major release: The new PoP API is fully based on components (we believe this is a primer among APIs, we’ve never seen or heard of one before), and will be able to offer unique capabilities, making it extremely easy to build any kind of website, from simple sites to decentralized social networks.

We will keep blogging about the new capabilities alongside each new release. Enjoy!


on 26 Feb, 16:51

PoP quits Station F

PoP quits Station F

TL;DR: This is the story of how and why PoP quit Station F starting from March 2018, as a consequence of Station F staff’s lack of accountability and professionalism, of their operating with favouritism and breaching of the trust put in them, and of Station F itself not living up to its stated inclusivity values.

In the screenshots from Station F’s Slack below, the usernames, names and avatars on the posts by Station F residents have been blurred. Station F staff info has also been blurred, however the "-staff-stationf" bit on their usernames has been kept intact for ease of understanding. All screenshots have, as a title attribute, the date in which they happened.

Hi, I’m Leonardo Losoviz, creator of PoP. I will recount how and why I decided to have PoP quit Station F, the biggest startup campus in the world, which is located in Paris.

In April 2017, PoP was accepted to be part of Station F’s Founders Program, for which I took the decision to move to Paris and start operations there. However, because I am not a European citizen, I need a visa to be able to move to France. I flew to France and joined Station F from the day it opened its doors in early July, under a tourist visa, and immediately started searching for ways to obtain a permanent visa.

On 17th July 2017, after the first startup founders meeting for our guild, I explained my situation to Station F’s Startups Relations Director, who from now on I will call Jacques (not his real name), and he told me that Station F’s Founders Program would soon be accepted as a partner of the French Tech Visa program, a scheme recently implemented by the French Government which allows foreign entrepreneurs to obtain a visa to live and work in France for 1 year, and renewable for up to 4 years. I had to wait though, since the French Government would not indicate when Station F’s fast track to become a partner of the program would come through. After being told that by being part of Station F’s Founders Program I could obtain a visa, I returned to Malaysia in September 2017, and continued working on my Paris-based plans under the understanding that the fast track would soon come through and I could then obtain the visa.

I initiated the process to get my visa in Kuala Lumpur, in October 2017, and waited for the fast track to come through during October, November, December 2017 and then January 2018, all the while paying for my membership and regularly communicating with the Station F staff concerning progress of the Founders Program’s fast track. On 18th January 2018 the fast track finally came through, meaning that I could finally ask Station F to grant me the Lettre de Reconnaissance (Recognition Letter), an official document required for applying to the French Tech Visa. This was the last document I needed in order to get the visa and move to France. However, to my utter surprise and chagrin, Jacques (Station F’s Startups Relations Director) had a change of mind, and on 1st February informed me that, since they were not obligated to help me in the process of getting my visa, they would not do so:

Screenshot from 01/02/2018

The content of this email is unmistakable: in barely a few words, Jacques, who back in July 2017 had told me that by being part of Station F’s Founders Program I could apply to the French Tech Visa, contradicts his assurance, completely disrupting the plans I had been working on for 5 months, and the goals I had laid out for the future.

Jacques’ behavior is certainly troublesome. I could have attempted to talk the situation through with Station F’s Director, however, I was discouraged to do so because this person had actually been CCed in the email (this is not visible in the screenshot having had the names blurred), suggesting that Jacques’ actions are supported by the management. If the management is aware of Jacques’ initial pledge in July 2017, and later reversal in February 2018, of that I have no information. (As far as I can tell, there is no paper trail of what happens behind the scenes: as Jacques mentions in his email, Station F is a private enterprise that has no obligations towards, or be accountable to, Station F’s residents.)

The whole episode triggered many thoughts in my head over the following days. Feeling disturbed by the staff treating me without the respect I deserve either as a person or, more importantly from their perspective, as a paying customer, I started reviewing all my interactions with the Station F staff, as well as all public interactions between the staff and all residents, and discovered that it was riddled with unpleasant situations and half-truths.

The result of my observations is this blog post. In it, I will show how the Station F staff have subjected me to a very unfair and unjustified treatment when they decided to not grant me the document required to obtain my visa anymore. We will also see how my situation was produced by the inherent conditions at Station F, under which residents are constantly frustrated for one reason or another, even up to this day (end of February 2018.)

My post on Slack from August 2017

Let’s start analyzing Jacques’ email. In it, he justifies not helping me obtain the visa by accusing me of:

  • having a bad tone
  • having a bad/negative attitude
  • complaining about not having some services (like VCs, printers, lockers, construction work, directory, Wifi, etc)

At the end he says:

Our role is to […] always improve based on your feedbacks but there are certain ways to do it. The long list of questions you had in August, your last emails make wonder if our offer matches with what you expect.

He is referring to a message that I posted on Station F’s Slack on 29th August 2017 (that is the screenshot he added in his email), which is the following:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

That day, the atmosphere at Station F was experiencing extreme negativity, due to residents feeling particularly frustrated from several ongoing issues, such as: deafening construction noise taking place inside of the premises, Internet not working properly, lack of information/feedback concerning promised services, tickets requesting information or fixing some problem being ignored or mishandled, and others (a more complete list of issues can be found in the Appendix at the end of this article). Many of these issues had happened regularly since Station F opened its doors in early July (such as the Internet not working properly), while others started taking place only a couple of weeks earlier (such as the construction noise). The improper handling of these issues by the Station F team led, that day, to an outburst of anger from some residents.

Construction noise was making it difficult for the residents hosted nearby the construction area to work properly, and so they were asking/complaining about the situation. A resident posted the message below on 21st August:

Screenshot from 21/08/2017

Both the noise and residents’ frustrations intensified during the following days, leading to more explicit protests, like the message below which was posted on 25th August:

Screenshot from 25/08/2017

Finally, on 29th August, the noise reached a crescendo that many residents could not cope with anymore, making the atmosphere inside the campus incredibly negative. One resident asks the Station F staff to stop the noise, since it was almost impossible to work in those conditions. A Station F staff member replies saying "it’s almost done", to which the resident complains to have been told that for 3 weeks, yet the noise continued unabated:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

A few minutes later, the same resident uploads a video of the construction noise to Slack, and threatens with sharing it with his 25000 followers on Twitter:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

The video shows the noise inside of Station F at the time:

Download video

25 minutes later, the same resident threatens once again to upload the video to Twitter, since no Station F staff is answering his concerns, and all the while the noise continues:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

25 minutes later, the Station F staff promises that construction will continue for only 40 minutes more, and then it would stop:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

While some residents were venting their anger by cursing, others were releasing their frustration by making fun of the situation:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

2.5 hours later, the noise resumed, prompting some residents to claim how the handling of the situation was a failure, and even questioning the credibility of the staff:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

Only after 30 minutes or so later the noise finally stopped. The Station F staff posted a message announcing it, including a GIF image which was unsuitable to the set of circumstances:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

The GIF is this one:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

It was at this stage, noticing how residents were angry and frustrated, yet the staff did not comprehend the seriousness of the situation, that I felt compelled to write my post. In it, I pointed out that the real issue was a lack of proper communication inside of Station F: residents knew all along that Station F was still under construction and they accepted it with no objections; they only requested to be told, in advance, when the construction would take place, so they could prepare accordingly. The message suggested that all that was needed was a small gesture to handle the situation properly, and avoid making residents angry. And most residents seemed to agree with the message: a full 39 people showed approval (through Slack reactions), making it among the most-upvoted posts on Slack ever posted by a resident (even to this day, and even taking into account that Station F had fewer residents back then):

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

Furthermore, a few residents replied to my message, showing their support. In particular, a "thank you" note to me posted by a resident was itself upvoted by 13 people. This act of support by other residents shows that my message had achieved its intended objective, bringing back a sense of peace to the environment.

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

The Station F staff apologized about the ongoing situation, while addressing the many issues mentioned in my message:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

However, my message was not itself about getting a response for those specific issues, but to point out the actual underlying problem: the lack of proper communication at Station F. In addition, because my goal was to improve the situation for everyone, I claimed that us residents should be patient with Station F staff since they were also learning all along. So I posted a follow-up message on Slack:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

My message was immediately acknowledged by the Station F staff:

Screenshot from 29/08/2017

No more messages were posted on the Station F open channel on Slack, signalling that the issue had been overcome. One day later, however, Jacques contacted me through a direct message on Slack, accusing me of being pissed and causing a scene:

Screenshot from 30/08/2017

I explained to him that, on the opposite, I was the one trying to improve the situation, not the one who originated it:

Screenshot from 30/08/2017

He seemed to understand then:

Screenshot from 30/08/2017

Finally, I gave him a more detailed account of what happened, while praising Station F for what had achieved, yet claiming that it still had to improve on the tiny details:

Screenshot from 30/08/2017

He didn’t reply back. The whole episode seemed to be clarified, and would hopefully lead to a positive outcome: posting the message had been the right thing to do. Fast forwarding to 1st February, I received Jacques’ email (already shown previously):

Screenshot from 01/02/2018

I had never expected, back then, that posting my well-intentioned message on Slack would lead to such dire consequences for me, as making Jacques decide to not grant the Lettre de Reconnaissance to me anymore, thus denying me the chance to apply for the French Tech Visa and be able to move to France. Unfair, isn’t it?

Addressing Jacques’ accusations of bad tone/attitude from my side

As I mentioned earlier, Jacques told me on 17th July 2017 that I could apply for the French Tech Visa through Station F’s Founders Program when the fast track came through. Because it was not known when the fast track would go through, and not under their control (they were themselves waiting for procedures from the French Government), he suggested that I should also consider other avenues of applying for the visa, so I wouldn’t have to wait.

Between July and September, I attempted to get my visa through other means, but was unsuccessful. Then, upon the expiry of my tourist visa on mid September, I returned to Malaysia and announced to the staff that I would initiate the visa procedures:

Screenshot from 09/09/2017

On 12th October I had an interview at the French Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. One day later, they informed me that I must present the "Lettre de Reconnaissance" to apply for the French Tech Visa:

Screenshot from 13/10/2017

Because Station F could not grant the Lettre de Reconnaissance before being a partner of the French Tech Visa, and because they didn’t know when the fast track would come through, they got me in touch with a representative from the French Government to ask them directly. I did so, but after a few days, I still didn’t get a response to my inquiry.

Then, on 23rd October 2017, I asked Station F’s Startups Junior Manager to ask the French Government’s representative to reply to my email. Please notice how this email explicitly states the understanding between me and the Station F staff: once Station F Founders Program’s fast track got through, Station F would help me get the required documentation to apply for the visa:

Screenshot from 23/10/2017

Dear reader, would you think that the Station F staff replied to me saying that this information was incorrect, that the Station F staff had never told me they would grant me the Lettre de Reconnaissance? No, this person did not do that, did not deny any information that I said, thus demonstrating that what I said was our common understanding of the situation.

Instead, and as I had requested, the Startups Junior Manager forwarded my inquiry to the French Government’s representative, and also CCing Jacques in the email (this is not visible since the name is blurred):

Screenshot from 23/10/2017

Indeed, in all our communications between September 2017 and January 2018, the Station F staff NEVER indicated that they would not grant the required documentation to apply for the visa. The email below is another example: on 17th January 2018, Station F’s Startups Junior Manager informed me that:

French Tech Visa is almost done with their process, it is a matter of days, we’ll let you know as soon as they announce it!

Screenshot from 17/01/2018

So, just 1 day before the fast track went through, and less than 2 weeks before Jacques’ email on 1st February, the Station F staff still evidenced that they would grant the Lettre de Reconnaissance to me.

Fast track comes through, Jacques changes his mind

On 19th January, I was informed by the French Government’s representative that the French Tech Visa fast track finally went through:

Screenshot from 19/01/2018

I immediately notified the French Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, who were waiting for me since end of November to present the Lettre de Reconnaissance, that I could finally apply for the visa:

Screenshot from 19/01/2018

And I asked the Startups Junior Manager to process the Letter de Reconnaissance for me:

Screenshot from 19/01/2018

However, the Station F staff never replied to me. I asked again 5 days later.

Screenshot from 24/01/2018

Once again I got no response, so I wrote again one week later. Since I had first written almost 2 weeks earlier, the French Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was waiting for me, and the Staff was ignoring my emails, I mentioned that I was getting frustrated:

Screenshot from 01/02/2018

And then, Jacques finally replied my email. However, utterly unexpectedly, he informed me that they had decided to not grant the Lettre de Reconnaissance to me anymore, thus effectively barring me from moving to France, under the justification of a negative attitude from my side when I posted my message on Slack, my demands, and the tone I employed when addressing them on my emails. Once again, this is Jacques’ email:

Screenshot from 01/02/2018

In summary: I waited for the Founders Program fast track to come through for several months, all the while paying for my membership and making plans to move to France. One day the fast track finally went through, and I requested the staff to grant me the Lettre de Reconnaissance; however, my emails were ignored, prompting me to ask for feedback again, only to be ignored again, and finally be flatly denied the document I had waited for, and which the Staff had evidenced they would provide to me.

Is that what a normal person would call "such demands and tone every day"? Not really, right? His accusations of bad attitude and tone from my side are completely unfounded, simply evidencing a dislike that this person has towards me.

Analyzing Jacques’ behavior from his email

Jacques’ emails is revealing in that it exemplifies how Station F staff operate, evidencing lack of professionalism, favouritism and exertion of undue power, among others.

Lack of responsibility

In his email, Jacques says that he will not deal with my demands for feedback concerning the Lettre de Reconnaissance:

I will be honest with you: I can’t deal with such demands and tone every day (and I won’t deal with it).

Jacques is Station F’s Startups Relations Director. Obtaining the Lettre de Reconnaissance, which is the last document I needed to obtain my visa, is indeed no small matter for me, a Station F’s customer, yet he repeatedly ignored my emails and finally said that he would not deal with my demands. Hence I wonder, what is the Startups Relations Director’s role for then?

Lack of respect

Jacques seems to ignore the fact that I am a (paying) customer, or at least he doesn’t treat me with the respect that I deserve as such. He may dislike me, but that doesn’t give him the right to treat me with comtempt.

Absence of due process

Jacques had initially said I could obtain my visa through Station F’s becoming a partner of the French Tech Visa program, yet later on, once the fast track finally went through, he changed his mind and denied granting the required document to me.

Hence I wonder: How did this happen? Was the decision reviewed/approved by management, or taken by a single individual following his whims? Why wasn’t I given the chance to explain the situation before such drastic decision was taken?


It is apparent that I was denied the Lettre de Reconnaissance not as a general policy, but due to having fallen into disfavour with the staff. When I mention that they decided to not grant the Lettre de Reconnaissance to me, we need to pay special attention to these keywords: To me. Whenever any member of the Founders Program requests the Lettre de Reconnaissance, will the staff also deny it, as a general policy? This doesn’t make sense at all, since the obvious reason for having the Founders Program be a partner of the French Tech Visa program is to allow its members be able to apply for the visa.

Moreover, Station F’s Director Roxanne Varza explained that hosting international startups is among the top priorities for Station F:

From the first day I joined Station F, I promised myself I would do everything I could to make Station F as international as possible. In fact, being international is so important that it quickly became one of our 3 core principles at Station F. We strive to integrate international elements into everything we do — whether it be hosting international startups, […] or seeking out administrative solutions to help foreign entrepreneurs coming to Station F… and the list goes on.

In other words, the Station F staff are giving unfair preferential treatment to its startups/customers, deciding who they help obtain the visa and who they do not, purely based on the whims of their staff, and giving the residents no recourse about it.

Indeed, I am not the only person who sufferend Station F’s staff favouritism. In the screenshot below, another resident complains about staff giving preferential treatment to residents when asking for help (the context for this screenshot is given on section "Improving situation, but not quite there yet" below):

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

I guess it depends on who posts

The lack of equal treatment for residents indicates a possible rotten culture, in which residents who raise an issue at Station F may be punished by some disgruntled staff, who has the power to grant or deny a needed service. And since Station F is not accountable to its residents, there is no due process to contest the decisions taken by the staff.

Breach of trust

I have been waiting, and paying for my membership, for a full 5 months. Had I known that I would get the Lettre de Reconnaissance denied, I could have left earlier on. This is not just 5 months of wasted time and energy into the venture, but also almost 1200 euros in membership fees (195 euros + VAT / month) that I paid for nothing. While this amount is negligible to Station F, it is a considerable amount for me, taking into account that I have been working for non-paying non-profits (such as this one, this one and this one) for the last 5 years. The Station F staff were aware of this fact: during their selection interview, I explained the philosophy behind PoP, claiming that the goal was not to create a multi-million dollar business, but to help NGOs own their own online platforms and control their own data. In addition, I am not profiting economically from PoP, having decided to share its code as open source software. And working in open source may be quite hard: sometimes it is even difficult to make it to the end of the month.

It is under these conditions that I accepted to pay for Station F’s membership all these months, trusting that I could eventually obtain my visa through Station F’s Founders Program, as Jacques had told me in July 2017, so I could move to France and start operations there. When Station F finally had the power to grant me the Lettre de Reconnaissance, they refused to do so, effectively breaching the trust I had in them.

Paying attention to Station F’s championed inclusivity values.

Jacques’ behaviour, including his reversing his assurance that I could get the visa through the French Tech Visa and his not respecting me as a paying customer, made me wonder: how can Station F employ people with such behavior, given the values it claims to hold as an institution? Which then led me to wonder: is Station F the place I believed it to be, the place which had attracted me to apply to their Founders Program in first place?

Station F claims to be a place that operates according to principles. For instance, during Station F’s inauguration, Director Roxanne Varza stated that she hoped Station F would "make entrepreneurship no longer all white, all male, all MBA". In addition, one of the three programs run by Station F (most other programs in campus are run by 3rd parties, such as Facebook, Zendesk and others) is the Fighters Program, which hosts 13 startups coming from unprivileged backgrounds for 1 year, for free. Finally, they state that the startup founders participating in the Founders Program (which is another one of the three programs run by Station F) are 40% female.

The inclusivity message does sound very enticing, and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to be part of Station F in first place.

However, while I was physically at Station F’s campus between July and September 2017, what could be mostly seen on campus were white men. Yes, there were women. Yes, there were non-white people. But, from the impressions that I got, they were a minority. To make sure if my impressions were right, I checked if their claims of inclusivity can be backed-up with numbers or not, summarized below. Please notice: I am not asserting that the numbers below are representative of the actual demographics at Station F, since I do not have that information, however I believe that they can be considered a good proxy to estimate the real situation.

I browsed all Station F’s newsletters (a total of 25 up to late February 2018) and paid attention to the section "Meet a founder", in which startup founders are featured on a weekly basis and showing a picture of them, and counted how many of each group (men/women, white/non-white) there are. For a total of 105 people featured in the newsletter (mostly founders, and also their team members in a few cases) from several programs on campus, run by both Station F and 3rd parties, the results are:

  • Men: 83/105 => 79%
  • White: 94/105 => 89%
  • Men and white: 74/105 => 70%

If we just limit the search to members of the Founders Program, which is run by Station F, for which it is claimed 40% of its founders are female, from a total of 51 people featured in the newsletter we get:

  • Men: 43/51 => 84%
  • White: 40/51 => 78%
  • Men and white: 34/51 => 66%

These results are revealing to me. These numbers suggest that 70% of founders from all programs, and 66% from the Founders Program, are male AND white, and Founders Program’s female founders are only 16% of the total, instead of the publicized 40%.

The inclusivity factor was one of the reasons I wanted to be part of Station F. However, it seems that inclusivity at Station F is more wish than reality (or just a publicity stunt?)

This is the end

I find Jacques’ decision to not grant the Lettre de Reconnaissance anymore to me both morally wrong and gratuitously harmful. Operating without due process or respect towards a paying customer, an action taken by a single Station F staff member has the effect of producing profound repercussions on my life, such as denying me the chance to move to France.

Dear reader, let me ask you: how would you feel if you rely on some institution to grant you the documentation needed to apply for your visa after being told by their staff that you could do so, to then having this person change his mind and disrupt your plans?

How would you feel if such a decision was taken due to your doing the right thing, when you posted that message on Slack to calm people down and reduce the negativity in the atmosphere? And even after explaining the whole episode to this same person who is accusing you of bad attitude?

How would you feel knowing that you are not respected as a paying customer, and that you have been singled out because some person with power doesn’t like you, and makes use of that power to affect your life?

I can tell you how it feels: horrible.

However, as with every horrible experience, I learnt a lesson: I discovered that Station F is not the place I had believed it was, the place where I wanted to be. I accept a few problems here and there (no organization is perfect), however I could never be part of an insitution which doesn’t abide by its stated values, with an unprofessional staff that treats its clients with favouritism and that exercise their power to do harm.

So I decided that I don’t want to be part of this anymore.

For all of this, Station F, I’m saying goodbye to you. I do still hope that you shall improve and change your direction, if only for the wellbeing of the startups you are hosting. I hope they are never let down as I have been, which, I can tell you, is no fun.

Appendix 1: #StationFrustration in screenshots

Frustration at Station F had been steadily accumulating since the day it opened its doors beginning of July 2017 and, on the particular day of 29th August 2017, the negavity reached a peak, having a resident threatening to showcase the construction noise to his Twitter 25000 followers, and many others sharing their grievances openly on Slack, which prompted me to post my message on Slack trying to calm people down.

Residents have had plenty of reasons to feel frustrated about at Station F. From the first day and even until today, negativity and frustration have gone up and down, as we can discover in the screenshots below, which can roughly be grouped into the following categories:

  • Construction problems
    • Holes in the building
    • Bathroom problems
    • Showers not working
    • Water leakages
  • Improper services or infrastructure
    • Microwave queueing
    • Temperature problems
    • Bad smell
    • Alarms going crazy and nobody turning them off
    • Malfunctioning internet
    • Malfunctioning printers
  • Improper maintenance
    • Dying nature
    • Cockroaches
  • Improper communication
    • Concerning construction noises
    • Un-answered tickets
    • Unfulfilled requests for information or features
    • Improper handling of printers/lockers not ready for a long time

The list of screenshots is quite extensive, so I have compiled these on this separate post. Below is a subset of them, showcasing some of the most salient examples of frustration.

Whenever in French, the screenshots have been translated to English.

Construction problems:

Screenshot from 26/09/2017

Screenshot from 18/08/2017

Screenshot from 17/08/2017

Mayday it’s raining behind my post (ie inside station F mezza block 7)

Screenshot from 05/12/2017

We found out why it’s cold and why we hear work from outside…
There is a beautiful opening on the outside between the two beams!
River-side, Mezzanine, Block 7, (Impulse-Partners Program)
@… it would be super nice that you could send someone to watch what can be done. The … and … teams thank you in advance.

Screenshot from 25/01/2018

Image name: Dangerous ramp. Block 7 mezzanine

Improper maintenance:

Screenshot from 09/08/2017

Screenshot from 22/11/2017

Screenshot from 06/11/2017

Improper communication/Lack of information:

Screenshot from 25/08/2017

Screenshot from 18/09/2017

Screenshot from 17/07/2017

Screenshot from 21/07/2017

Improper services or infrastructure:

Screenshot from 28/09/2017

Screenshot from 05/09/2017

Screenshot from 25/01/2018

Screenshot from 02/10/2017

Screenshot from 18/07/2017

Screenshot from 24/07/2017

Screenshot from 19/09/2017

Screenshot from 20/09/2017

Screenshot from 22/09/2017

Screenshot from 12/10/2017

Screenshot from 10/11/2017

Screenshot from 19/09/2017

Screenshot from 22/09/2017

Screenshot from 28/09/2017

Screenshot from 11/11/2017

Otherwise, you have to be a developer to understand how to print here ?? 😡

Screenshot from 22/02/2018

Ethernet still down block 4 … it’s been days that it works badly, and I do not have the impression that Station F cares..

Improving situation, but not quite there yet

Starting from late October 2017 the situation improved remarkably, since a staff member started being very responsive, by not just solving residents’ problems but also giving them reassurance and positive feedback through Slack.

However, frustrating experiences still happen regularly, giving way to occasional episodes of extreme negativity and anger. The situation below happened on 23rd January 2018, when that same responsive staff member openly accused a few residents of inappropriate behavior and double-discourse, prompting Station F’s management to intervene to bring tensions down.

The situation started with a resident complaining about the Internet not working properly:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

Help problem of internet connection block 8 side Zendesk! Wifi and wired HS!

Another resident confirms the problem, saying that the situation is unbearable:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

I confirm, it’s unbearable, even the wire does not work anymore, it’s not possible
it gets cut every X min

He complains again 10 minutes later:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

@… it just fell again for several minutes

And again 20 minutes later:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

@… one more time

And again 10 minutes later:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

The Station F staff reacts, sarcastically thanking the resident for pinging him each time the Internet went down, and saying that residents must create a ticket on HAL to have the staff solve the problem:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

Hello @…, Thanks for pinging me every time there is a cut..
But we are not alone on the channel.
You encounter a problem, you open a ticket on HAL, a dev takes care of it and answers you.
Thank you

The resident indicates that he must still have tickets from August still not taken care of, evidencing the frustration experienced from using the ticket system:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

@… oh yes, I must still have tickets from August…

it’s today that we need to work, not in 3 months, we launch product hunt tomorrow, we need a little internet

The first resident supports this message, stating that his own tickets were not taken care of:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

@… indeed the tickets on HAL are often unanswered, the proof being that on our side (…) we have opened several tickets, for the wired network part HS in the mini room but no action has been taken for several months…

To which the Station F staff gathers information about the open tickets from these 2 residents and shares this information on the open channel:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

@… you made 1 ticket. the techs answered you.
@… 0 active tickets from you.
Our teams work every day on the tickets, especially the devs, so stop saying, to facilitate, that we never answer.
Once again, you have a problem, you make a ticket. Not bothering me with each of these things would be cool.

The second resident shows how another resident got immediate help when asking on Slack:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

@… Hello, we have no power in the room "Gondola" in Share River side. Thank you for your help!

@… I send you someone immediately.

And finally suggesting that the staff treat residents with favouritism:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

I guess it depends on who posts

And the first resident explains how their tickets had been closed without verifying if the problem was fixed:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

@… bah yes my last ticket was opened in October and closed by … late November but still the same problem in January a team had to intervene but still not since late November. So easy to close tickets without checking.

The second resident asks what is the purpose of the channel, if not to seek for help about issues:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

Subject of the channel: "Something wrong at STATION F? Ask for help here or send an email at – for specific tech issues, go to #tech-help"
Maybe the channel should be closed then
or specify the topic

It is at this moment that Station F’s management intervenes, to alleviate the escalating tension:

Screenshot from 23/01/2018

I allow myself to intervene. Has the situation improved? Indeed it is better to go through a ticket on HAL, even if we do not send answers to everyone, the tickets are read by the tech teams and they react as quickly as possible.

Only then, the problem was solved.

Appendix 2: series of events that lead to PoP quitting Station F

The following table summarizes all the events as they took place:

Date Event
April 2017 PoP is accepted into Station F’s Founders Program.
03-07-2017 Station F opens the doors to its Founders Program’s residents. I fly to Paris to be at Station F from the first day.
17-07-2017 Jacques, Station Startups Relations Director, tells me that through Station F’s Founders Program I can apply to the French Tech Visa, but I must wait until the fast track comes through.
29-08-2017 Deafening construction noise in Station F, residents complain, I post a message on Slack to calm people down.
30-08-2017 Through a direct message, Jacques accuses me of being pissed, suggesting that I had caused a scene. I explain the actual situation to him, pointing out that I had succeeded in calming people down, which had even been acknowledged by the residents. He seems to understand.
19-09-2017 My tourist visa expires, I return to Malaysia. I continue working on Paris-based plans for PoP.
12-10-2017 I am interviewed at the French Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, to review my documentation to apply for the French Tech Visa.
13-10-2017 Staff from the French Embassy in Kuala Lumpur inform me that I need to present the Lettre de Reconnaissance in order to apply for the French Tech Visa.
23-10-2017 On my behalf, Station F staff inquire the French Government’s representative when the Founders Program’s fast track will come through, after which I can be granted the Lettre de Reconnaissance.
17-01-2018 Station F staff informs me that the fast track will come through very soon.
18-01-2018 Fast track for the French Tech Visa comes through.
19-01-2018 I ask the Station F staff to grant me the Lettre de Reconnaissance, which is the final document I am required to provide to apply for the visa. They do not reply back.
24-01-2018 I ask for feedback again. Still no response from them.
01-02-2018 I ask for feedback again. Jacques replies back, telling me that they decided to not grant the Lettre de Reconnaissance to me anymore, claiming a bad tone and negative attitude from my side.
01-03-2018 PoP quits Station F.

Update 12/03/2018

Roxanne Varza has refunded me the money for the 5 months that I was waiting (that is 1170 euros). This is a nice gesture from her, even though I had never requested the money back.

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