Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Common sense for start-ups

Laurent Kratz, the CEO of Jamendo and someone I respect a lot as a person, sent me a link to this excellent post continaing very sound advice for Infotech start-ups. The article is really full of common sense and I subscribe to the author's views 100%. If you are to build a durable business, then you cannot afford to be just hype and fad-of-the-day compliant. Yes you do need a sustainable business model that you and your team can actually bring to life... which of course brings us back to what is a the very center of any successful business: people with a purpose using their capabilities in a way that best matches their values in an environment compatible with who they really are. And somehow this requires to know thyself, which brings us into the realm of introspection, philosophy, meditation and other forms of the art of living... How much of that will I do today "to be the change I wish to see in the world"? That's an interesting question for me today... and perhaps you will also want to use it as food for thought...

So it does seem that the prime challenge for business success in the coming years is the people factor that is not adequately addressed today by most HR management precisely because HR is about resources and people are people not resources. So here's the question of the day: what do I do today to help my human counterparts bring their best contribution? Whether these counterparts are my partners, clients, employees, bosses or event competitors is irrelevant I think... The game is not competition and war, but it can also be that. The game is in essence coevolution, which transcends and includes a form of respectful competition I believe.

Monday, July 17, 2006


There's been a hell of a lot of talk about the business value of networking in the past few years. That prompted the publication of numerous books and the creation of online services aimed at facilitating "networking".

All this is fine except that "networking" is first and foremost about people, not systems, about relations, not parodies of relations. I don't believe in tools that are supposed to facilitate contacts between people who don't know each other, have not met once, but are supposed to be willing to "network" and transact just because they are registered in some online tool which established 2nd, 3rd... degree ties between them. It is better to have a small network of people who really know you and who you really know rather than a large online virtual network of people who have never seen your face, nor heard the sound of your voice. Again business is about people, not systems. Will we end up solely relying on databases, online systems, avatars and agents impersonating people?

Friday, July 14, 2006


Assumptions form the foundation of business action: mere hypotheses regarded as "reality" about the market, the customer, competitors, partners or colleagues. Some of these assumptions are simply necessary to make decisions, while others cause trouble more than anything else. Perhaps the most influential assumption is about the intentions of other people. How would our work lives look like if we were to accept the following statement?

"Each and every person does the best they know / can do at any given time even if what they do is not necessarily acceptable or nice"

This is not an invitation to tolerate any and all behavior, but simply a way to accept it as forming part of the environment and to react to it with peaceful determination.

I think this would have been a useful resource to a couple of entrepreneurs I met over the past few days; it woudl have helped them deal with investors and government officials supposed to support them... I think it is a useful resource for many of us. trying to apply this rule, I have found it to be tremendously empowering.

Monday, July 10, 2006

PGAS and Compassion

Perfect Green Apples (PGA) without aroma nor taste are popular these days. We like what seems flawless. Nations fall for politicians whose image is carefully crafted by spin doctors. Our society is one of cruel judgement without heart and sensitivity. That's what I call the "Perfect Green Apple Syndrome" or PGAS in short. PGAS is pollution of the mind..

We have developed talent in executing the usual suspect; talent in destroying our fallen heroes (Zidane being only the last and today more than ever, I just love Zidane). How much energy will we accept to wastebefore we realize? Have we lost the Way of the Heart? Are we negating the legitimacy of a green apple that does not hide its imperfections? Can mandkind be standardized to fit one mold? Can the mold be forced into producing only "standard Agent Smith-like products"?

I just spent a few days of NLP training exploring the path of compassion. The path of "feeling alike without fear nor judgement". Compassion is not commiseration. Where compassion is, fearful finger-pointing and judgemental fear cannot be. Only then can we trully feel and understand any human experience. Only then can each cell of our beings feel the spark of humanity in each monster and the monster's share in ourselves. Only then can we trully accept each shade of humanity, with its visible and its hidden aspects. Only when we realize that for light to exist there must be a shadow which is well worth celebrating. Only then is there true light: light that comes from within. And that is actually the essence of true team-spirit. Is that path easy to walk? It is all a matter of attitude even though the first steps may feel uncomfortable. Would that help a business? You can bet on it!

Saturday, July 1, 2006


Please take a look at David Dossot's blog for an excellent article to which I subscribe 100%, even if "counter-culture" or "alter-culture" is in fact part of the larger system that has Gloomywood (nice word by the way) as an established player. One thing cannot exist without its opposite; light cannot be without shadow and vice versa. Harmony stems from the coexistence of opposites and the combination of similars...

Hence my question: how do we combine fair creation and respect for necessary intermediaries? Intermediaries will always exist because mankind is relational. They are neither "good", not "bad". It all depends on how they play their role.