For John Rauscher, the French-born CEO of artificial-intelligence enterprise-software provider Yseop, entrepreneurial ventures have been a lifelong passion. Rauscher first came to America in the 1990s to study marketing at the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to launching Dallas-based Yseop (pronounced easy-op), he founded and led two other companies: Sunopsis, which was acquired by Oracle in 2006 and is now known as Oracle Data Integrator; and Cyrano, which went public in 1998, during Rauscher’s tenure as CEO. Yseop has become a topic of conversation among industry players, thanks to its complex ability to provide automated, solution-based artificial intelligence that writes coherent, multilingual text at a rate of thousands of pages per second.

Age: 51

Hometown: 

Paris, France

First job: 

My first job was as a math teacher. It’s very important to what I do because artificial intelligence is a lot of mathematic science. 

Worst job:

Really I’ve loved everything I have done, even when I was a student working in a small restaurant. A positive attitude is important to become a good entrepreneur.  

In the beginning:

Yseop used to be a bunch of people doing research in a university lab. The manager had been researching for 18 years, and he was the first to make a software robot that was able to speak and write like a human. I had just sold my company, so I had the money and the time. Now our largest customer is in production with 12,000 users of our software on a daily basis.  

Management style:

I am detail-oriented and a hard worker, so I trust people, but I have a look at what they do. I learned this from successful Americans—Steve Jobs was testing every prototype, because the devil is in the details. (That’s a saying from Napoleon that we Americans and French share.) 

Lessons learned:

We cannot have certainty. We need to have convictions—strong convictions. 

“I like to surf in Europe and Bora Bora. I see a parallel between innovation and surfing; if there are no waves, there is no chance to make it happen.”

- John Rauscher

Other careers considered:

My father was a military officer, so that was one. The second was a CPA, and I tried until I realized that there were so many repetitive tasks. That has been important because at Yseop, we automate repetitive tasks. 

Strengths:

I have a knack to detect innovation. 

Weaknesses:

Sometimes I am too nice. In business you can’t afford that, but at the same time, I don’t regret it. 

Biggest challenge:

Keeping a balance between my personal life and my work habits. I’m so eager and passionate, so I want to make sure that passion doesn’t mean selfishness. 

Family:

I have three kids. The oldest is a judge in France, the second works for me in Europe, and my little girl works in advertising. All three have been raised in the U.S., so they’re really American. 

Just for fun:

I golf, and I like to surf in Europe and in Bora Bora. I see a parallel between innovation and surfing; if there are no waves, there is no chance to make it happen.