Humans of Claro: Meet Cyril Maury

At Claro Partners, we have purposefully built a diverse team of passionate people from different cultural and professional backgrounds to solve problems from multiple angles. In this blog series, we proudly introduce you to all the Claros and Claras in our office, and share the personal journeys that brought them to Barcelona. In our previous HoC we talked with Cate Conte and now it is time to meet Cyril Maury: our dedicated director!

Could you tell me something about your personal background? 

I grew up in Grenoble, a small, friendly town near the Alps. My mother is from Vietnam, but she moved to France before I was born. One of the things I really like about France, besides the cheese of course, is the fact that people like to argue and debate. If you go to a party or meet up with friends, people are always talking and arguing about politics or philosophy, which policy would be better than this or that…

So, unsurprisingly, I first studied political science! During that time I did an exchange programme in Santa Barbara in California, and I think this experience made me want to discover more places and cultures. So, when I came back from the U.S. I took the decision to keep studying, and started a Masters in a Business School in Paris. And of course, I did another exchange program, this time in Brazil. I liked the South American vibe so much that I decided to do my final school year in Buenos Aires (another exchange program) and Bogota (to write my Master thesis). In the end, out of three year programme, I spent only one year in Paris.

What did you like about political science and how did it combine with your business background?

I was always interested in making sense of societies, understanding what moves people, how they congregate together and what leads them to make decisions. Understanding societies from a macro level: understanding what is fair, just, equitable, efficient…

Business management has more similarities with political science that one would assume. Just think of how people organise themselves, what motivates them, what’s the most efficient way to run an organisation…

My final thesis research was about street vendors in Bogota. It was basically ethnographic fieldwork, I talked to a lot of vendors to understand what their motivations were, what led them to choose this path. That is when I realised that this was something I wanted to continue doing. Linking these individual stories to economic theories, was super interesting for me.

How did your path continue after your thesis?

I went to Barcelona and started to work in an innovation consultancy, together with Rich (a partner at Claro). After three years, my girlfriend (now wife) and I decided to take a break and travel. The idea was to move to Paris, but an opportunity to work in Tehran came along: launching the first 3G operator in Iran – from scratch. It was a great experience, such a beautiful country, incredible culture, the nicest people, delicious food. And did you know that only 30 minutes from Tehran, you have the most amazing ski resorts?

After Iran I moved back to Paris and worked at Capgemini Consulting for a few years. I was fairly lucky as they sent me to work for one year in Reunion island, a French territory in the middle of the Indian Ocean. After that, we moved back to São Paulo, where I worked for a couple of years – I was in charge of the international expansion of a large start-up. Then when the crisis hit Brazil in 2016, we decided it was time to move back to Europe. After ten years, back to where it all began: Barcelona!

What did you learn from living and working in all these different countries?

That you should always try to put yourself in the shoes of others. Whatever someone does, is always a consequence of something. So always wonder why he or she is saying something. If you can understand the context, you are better positioned to understand them, and then more able to help and assist them.

You moved back to Barcelona and joined Claro Partners. How would you describe your role at Claro Partners? 

I always kept in touch with Rich and by then he had co-founded this new company: Claro Partners. It seemed really interesting, especially the blend of social science and business, which is hard to find. It is a really nice place to work, we are all from different backgrounds, everyone is really smart and that pushes the thinking forward. We focus on strategic projects, not only looking for specific solutions, but really understanding big and complex problems.

My role here? For me it is important that people are happy to come to work on Monday, to help them grow and succeed in whatever they are doing. I would say my responsibilities have three pillars: one third content – pushing insights forward within the team and presenting ourselves as thought leaders; one third business development – going to events, writing proposals etc.; and one third operations –running the office, making sure that operations is able to do their job and staffing for example.

What are your personal areas of interest?

I am focusing now on some of the main current disruptions: AI and mobility. I think mobility is a fundamental topic. How people move from A to B actually changes everything: how cities are built, how people use their time, how they combine work and leisure, basically the overall relationship people have with time and space.

And of course, we just finished a project together about Generation Z. Which for me is really linked to the shift of entering what I call “a long tail world”. Not only online, where it has been happening for fifteen years, but also in the physical world. People are now expecting products and services to be specifically tailored to fit their unique needs. So, when you’re a large company, how can you scale niche products?

Could you share a memorable Claro moment?

The freshest in my mind is when we were doing the research on Generation Z in Chicago. Our recruiter had planned a session and we were on our way there in an Uber. The driver said something like ‘wauw, are you really sure, it is pretty far South and people usually don’t go there’. We drove ten or fifteen minutes more and started to pass by areas where houses were rundown, windows were broken, groups of people hanging out, with well it didn’t seem like the best intentions – basically the Chicago South Side! So the driver started joking ‘well, when I arrive I will just slow down and then you can just jump out of the car…’ pretty intense! But, when we arrived at the interview, we met the nicest people ever. The mom had prepared tons of food, of the forty or so interviews we did, it was the only family who hosted us like that, and the kids were incredibly thoughtful and nice. It was a great reminder that there are no rules, and if there is one, it is probably that people who are in the most difficult situations go above and beyond to help others and create this sense of relationship. A memorable and insightful experience.

July 11, 2018