As a child, I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player.
Captain of my team at the Stade de Reims, representative of my high school junior class, preoccupied by the problems of my parent’s small champagne-production business…
A brain tumor lays to waste all my plans shortly before I turn 15.
I leave my humble village and boarding school for Paris and a specialized institute for visually impaired. After two years I ask to return to my high school in Reims to graduate.
I am not yet fully aware of what is happening, but I’m already becoming the captain of my own destiny and no longer a mere victim of circumstance.
At the same time, my brother’s drug and alcohol addiction invites me to look beyond appearances and try to understand what is inconceivable to some people.
Allegedly, my brother had “every reason to be happy,” so how could he descend into this addiction? I try, not without difficulty, to see him as the whole person he is with precious skills, and not reduce him to “an addict”—most of people perceiving him as marginal and delinquent.
People, sometimes even those closest to me, tell me, “You didn’t choose what happened to you, while your brother did.” I wonder, though, deep down, is it really possible to pigeonhole our difficulties? Why try to classify our hardships and catalogue people—lock them up in boxes?
Traveling down the classic road of grief and resilience (denial, aggressiveness, valley of tears, acceptance), I gradually discover my entrepreneurial core.
My experience and life challenges make me aware at an early age that a single decision can change your life forever.
Then, emboldened by a marketing teacher in the United States who considers mistakes integral to learning, and an entrepreneurship course at ESSEC in Paris, I started my first business at 23, (Visual Friendly: 15 employees), followed five years later by my second (Easylife Consulting).
In 2010, my business partner Guillaume Buffet and I created a production company, I Can’t Believe My Eyes (French acronym JCPMY) to produce 75 episodes of a web series that presented a humorous take on diversity in the workplace. The series was broadcast on French network W9, as well as getting over 2 million viewers on the Web.
Subsequently, Guillaume and I documented our training and eventual ascent of Mont Ventoux on a tandem bike, recreating one of the most challenging cycling feats of the Tour de France. This resulted in the half-hour film “Tandem Conquest.”
My own family story led me to produce the feature-length “Every Reason to Be Happy?” documentary. On a quest to uncover the effects addiction has on siblings, I set out to find other brothers and sisters of addicts willing to share their experiences with me. From Paris to New York to Barcelona, I discover the empathy they all have in common, as they strive to protect their own children and the next generation from this scourge…
Teamwork and optimizing individuals’ talents to make the team the best it can be.
What I’m obsessed with?
Never let a situation fester. In my opinion, our difficulties arise above all from our lack of judgement and not making decisions.
I welcome it and use it rather than shun it… exactly like when six months after the creation of my first company, my neurologist tells me my tumour has grown back and it will have to be treated within six months…
Smack in the middle of a €2 million fundraising campaign, what do we do and say? To whom? How do we not crush the initiative and continue to manage the company?
What makes me original?
An unconventional outlook opens up leads and detects opportunities where no one else may see them. A certain propensity to “find something positive in the negative”as my mother used to advise before dying on Christmas Eve in 2005.
As an entrepreneur and a graduate of Science-Po and the ESSEC business school, I am a man of commitment and action. I and Xavier Monmarché created a course at Science-Po called “Être entrepreneur aujourd’hui” (Today’s Entrepreneur). In 2014, I became treasurer of the think tank Renaissance Numérique (Digital Renaissance), rallying key academics and leaders of the French Internet to reflect on the transformation of society in the digital era.
Co-author with Patrick Blanchet of the book Entreprendre avec sa différence (The Uncommon Entrepreneur), I now give conferences professionally.
In my conferences, I share my life’s most meaningful teachings and highlight thoughtfully how others can apply them in their own daily life and work.
I invite my audiences to become more conscious by cultivating
the values —respect, commitment, listening, intuition— that lead to effective action, and to realize that each of us possesses a precious asset: the power
to make decisions.
I offer a fresh, unique and spontaneous perspective on collective and personal behaviors in business and how to transform them to improve efficiency.
My career path exemplifies that “alone we may go faster, but together we go higher!”