Around the Dot

17 March 2005

French, Seed, Dust and Stars
I have always thought there is something poetic about Physics. Some will disagree and some will argue it has more to do with Philosophy. Anyway, this week’s post (exam week = no time for more) is about physics, entrepreneurship and a big Media corporation, all tied together by a twisted allegory.

The seed is often the image used for a good project or venture – seed money, seeding stage. It’s arguable that we – ze French! – have no word for Entrepreneur, as this word had a different, though close, meaning in pre-New-Economy France and I don’t know who gave it a new twist. However we had no word for “start up” and the word that popped out and is still used by a few is “jeune pousse”, which is precisely what you get from a seed: a first or new branch. How metaphoric!

Interestingly, a young plant will need soil to develop. This soil can be seen as the financing (Sequoia!), the contemporary thinking environment (Apple!), or emerging trends (Orange!). For the NASA and professor James Carter, it is dust. Not stardust though, but moon dirt. To prepare the ambitious plan to go back to the Moon announced by President Bush (this man is spreading mayhem and budget spending everywhere :] ), the NASA and its suppliers need fake moon dirt – to test vehicle, materials and space suits for instance.

So, once again a new venture could emerge from academics research as Prof. Carter secretly protects his know-how. However, competition arises especially from the team who simulated the Martian test ground for the current probe missions with Hawaiian volcanic rocks. Whether this very niche (oops, French word again) market is big enough for all these scientists is another issue. You’ll have to stay tuned to know more.

And in order to stay tuned, follow where you broadcast goes: Viacom One or Viacom II? There are rumours (can we say rumours when it’s on the front page of every Finance newspaper?) that Viacom might split the dust from the stars, in other words its radio and TV broadcasting activities from its cable and film repertoire crown jewels, including the stars of Paramount (logo or actors, you choose). Let’s build a conglomerate, let’s split it… classic Media stuff – which we also have in France by the way (Vivendi).

Hmm, a post starting with Entrepreneurship and ending with Media – sounds just like me! Going back to the metaphor: what I am seeding right now (MBA, don’t get me wrong) will grow and get me from the dust to the stars*. This gets even better: I had this idea in my shower…

Finally, I cannot miss the occasion of celebrating the hundredth anniversary of Einstein’s first article on his particle theory of light. This is the kind of seed we need for the twenty-first century.

*: (memo for Viacom HR: you’ll get my CV…)

09 March 2005

Are You Experienced?
I’m starting blogging again; in English this time. Why English? I live in London now, the student life, and I want to work there or in the US. Also to make sure my new friends can read this and because this might help me in some twisted way to find a job.

Enough with the update... I want to keep my posts short and I have so much to say about this week already. This week provides me with great stuff to look back upon the last couple of years (up to the last Millennium – hooch) and talk about where I’m heading.

CNN had a whole day dedicated to the NASDAQ Crash fifth Anniversary. I just got to see a small part of it before going to class though. Anyway, it was funny (I’m French: irony is funny – it’s in the genes) and in the same time a bit sad – I took my first job in a start up in 2000.

Mark Shuttleworth was interviewed, explaining how he sold Thawte for $400 million, allowing him to be the first African in space (money well deserved and well spent I guess). I wish I’ll go to space one day, meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my stake in SafeLogic to be worth a fraction of that…

As this was not enough, I decided to join the school Entrepreneurs Club tonight to watch "Pirates of Silicon Valley", a movie of very good quality (knowing it was produced for TV). It’s about Apple’s and Microsoft’s debuts and I could feel the vibe, having been involved in two garage-like start ups – especially the last one in my living room (my Paris flat didn’t have a garage…). Needless to say I enjoyed the entrepreneurial experience but I am bitter about the fact that none of these ventures has been successful – yet?

Let’s make this a bit cornier: time for the shameless confession. I wanted to be the next Bill Gates. I am more a Steve Jobs though. I have always had a great admiration for entrepreneurs. This is not going to change and I’ll be back. I need more experience before. At 27, I think I just missed the techie wiz kid express to stardom, but I’m still young for the corporate world.

And because I’m hopeless and I never quit: I read two articles depicting the successful use of blogs by small companies and the incredible success story of online tamagotchi-like pets – two projects that were in the pipeline of my last venture! 1 + 1 = 2, I have to re-launch, find funds, etc. Bad Guillaume! Bad Guillaume!

Anyway, Entertainment industry, HERE I COME! Sometimes you think it’s hard to find out what you want to do with your life. But it’s so easy! I have been playing the guitar for more than 12 years. I love films and I’ve been going to the movies around once a week for 10 years! Since I realised that, my life is much more simple. I know it’s going to be tough. But maybe not! Why not? With some commitment from my part (and yours as a reader), you should be able to find out on this very same blog!

Finally, why this title? It’s not just because I might be looking for a job soon or an internship even sooner and I have to promote myself. It’s more like a joke to link my past to my future. Back in engineering school, I used to label my software programs with the name of the song I was listening to (‘Are You Experienced?’ was playing on my iTunes when I opened Word) AND I’m doing what I’m doing because I love music and especially The Jimi Hendrix Experience – innovation is everywhere.