• Hands-on investing

    January 31, 2010

    Almost every VC in France will claim to be a hands-on investor if you ask what differentiates them. Often even the English expression “hands-on” is used in a French sentence, i.e. “Notre philosophie d’investissement est d’être très ‘hands-on’ avec nos sociétés en portefeuille.” Reminds me of the town near Lake Wobegon where all the children […]

  • Voice mail

    January 24, 2010

    I’m notoriously inept at managing my voice mail. The reasons are multiple: Habitual: I forget to check it. Practical: When I do think about my voice mail, I’m usually in a metro, train, plane, or on my bike, which makes checking and responding to it difficult. Philosophical: I’m often traveling outside of France and refuse […]

  • NDAs

    January 17, 2010

    Several times per week I’m requested to sign an NDA. Last I recall this practice was declining in the U.S. VC landscape, but it’s unfortunately alive and well in Europe. I say unfortunately, because excluding a few valid exceptions, an NDA strikes me as a productivity-killer that hurts both me and the entrepreneur. The process […]

  • Top 10 List: Entrepreneurial traits in France

    January 10, 2010

    George W. was only partially wrong when he inquired into the French equivalent of the word ‘entrepreneur’. Obviously, the word is the same in both languages. But is the definition? Here’s what I would consider to be the top 10 qualities I find attractive in an entrepreneur that is starting a business in France. This […]

  • Not the idea, it’s the execution, stupid

    January 3, 2010

    I believe that building a successful entrepreneurial venture, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, is 50% luck, 50% execution, and the other 10% is the idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen these days. Now more than ever, starting a technology business can be done with a negligeable amount of capital. That’s not to say that we’ve […]

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