Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sarkozy's eG8: why it is a good initiative

I have been invited to Sarkozy's eG8 and I'm going. I believe this is an important initiative that goes in the right direction and I think that the many conspiracy theories that start to spark all over the net are simply quite ridiculous.

Indeed, I see that lots of people seem to think that Sarkozy is out to "destroy" the internet by controlling it, reducing freedom of speech, end of net neutrality, etc. This is illustrated in a few articles (like this one or this one) and an early movement, the "G8 vs Internet", that aims at making people "come together and use [their] creativity to reject any attempt at turning the Internet into a tool of repression and control". An invitee, Cory Doctorow, has even stated that he won't go because he doesn't want to lend credibility to a "whitewash": "I believe it's a whitewash, an attempt to get people who care about the Internet to lend credibility to regimes that are in all-out war with the free, open net".

In my view, this is b*s*. And on many levels:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Le Temps article

Nice picture of Junjun and I in an article on us in Swiss newspaper Le Temps.

My first Financial Times interview

on being disruptive, article here.

The 9 rules to avoid divorce when working with your wife

Or – how come I’m still married while being the CEO of a start up…

Starting a company with your wife can be the best thing in the world or… the worst. In our case (I co-founded HouseTrip with my wife Junjun), we’re lucky, it’s great. But that’s because we try to follow a set of pretty defined rules:

  1. Define your respective expertise
    • I am good (well, hope I am) at being CEO and Junjun is good at being CFO. We respect each other’s territory and do not question – much – the other’s decisions in their area of expertise.
  2. Clear cut division between work and personal life
    • Every evening there is a point when we tell each others "no HouseTrip anymore" and literally will stop any mention or thoughts about HouseTrip. Being constantly "at work" is perhaps the sneakiest danger to avoid.
  3. Do not question each others in public
    • Because you want to show a "united front" to the world and also because being questioned in public is generally not well received by the questioned party...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My journey so far

The idea
Junjun and I came up with the idea of HouseTrip while in our 4th year of study at the École Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) – the world’s foremost hospitality management school – based in Switzerland. We both had strong entrepreneurial DNAs (our respective parents being entrepreneurs, hers in China and mine in France) and we were both full of energy and ambition. We knew that after graduation would be the perfect time to launch our company, we had nothing to loose: we had no money, no children, no possessions, literally nothing to loose. 
Al Gore serving coffee to Junjun and I in Lausanne :-)
At that point, we had also understood something else: we really didn't want to work in hotels. We found the hotel industry way too conservative for our tastes. This could be seen at EHL: