What makes you the most proud of this experience as a CEO?
I’m proud to have created a company in a few years, to have differentiated itself in a market that makes turnover, that is profitable, that has a real business model, that wants to continue to develop, that has built tech… Recently we did ads in the metro, we were sold in Spain… Fleet is a company that is both ambitious and profitable, healthy and balanced.
How do you organize yourself to manage all your projects? Do you have little routines, disciplines that you impose on yourself to be efficient?
Not really. There are days when I take it easy, when I do a bit of teleworking like on Monday or Friday to get into the weekend, then cut back and go into the week more calmly. I’m lucky that my two activities are actually quite similar and have a lot of synergy for Fleet. The business angel aspect actually creates a lot of value for Fleet. I consider them as one activity.
I try not to do 30 business angel calls a week, because I want to find a balance. I also always try to be at zero inbox each evening. I try to really enjoy my personal life. After that, for the moment, I don’t have any children, so I’ll probably have to find a new balance when the time comes. I manage to do a lot of things outside of work: sport, travelling a lot…
Do you have any tools to help you balance all that?
I use Superhuman for my emails, and in fact my emails are my to-do list.
Are there any companies that impress you in terms of vision or execution at the moment in the tech ecosystem?
I’m impressed by Sorare. Such product market fit, execution, simplicity in the idea… I find it fascinating. The partnerships they make too. I like football, and Nicolas Julia (the CEO) is an even bigger football fan. I can imagine what a thrill it is to make partnerships with Mbappé, Zidane, Pelé (editor’s note: French famous football players)… I think it’s rare. But it’s all the more impressive to have a company that becomes profitable so quickly, it’s quite exceptional. And besides, they’ve had the fundraising and the valuations that go with it.
Is there someone in the entrepreneurial world that you could have taken on or that you would like to have as a mentor, someone who impresses you?
There are plenty of them. For example, I read a lot of books about Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk… There are so many people, it would be really hard to choose just one.
Is there any advice you’ve been given that has proved useful in your career so far?
Yeah, I think there’s a good piece of advice I was told at a young age by someone who was one of my first mentors: you don’t distinguish yourself in your career by trying to be average or good everywhere, so don’t work on your weaknesses to become good, but try to become exceptional with your strengths.
And to make a parallel with football, yesterday I was with my associate, and I was watching a match, and he told me that he had read four pages in a sport magazine which said that Messi had a good right foot but that he never used it. 99% of the touches he made were with his left foot. But as he has such an exceptional left foot, it’s not really useful to try to use his right foot at all. You accentuate your strengths, to make an impact and stand out thanks to them.
To maintain your tech culture, what media do you consult?
As I am a Business Angel, I get a lot of stuff, especially decks and reports that feed me a bit constantly. What works, what doesn’t, the verticals that are in fashion and the trends. It’s a big channel. I read a lot of books. I also get the StrictlyVC and Sifted newsletter.
Is there a book that particularly impressed you and that you recommend to everyone to read?
It’s hard to pick just one. It depends on the subject. The hard thing about hard things, by Ben Horowitz, is excellent on entrepreneurship, management, and the difficult situations you can be confronted with.
There is also a very good book on the history of venture capital called The power law, by Sebastian Mallaby.
There are also some very good books on strategy, notably those by Jim Collins, Good to great.
I like books that are a bit epic. There’s a very good one on Nike, Shoe dog by Philip Knight.
And in the tech world or in the product part, is there a product or a technology that has marked you?
In the last few years, I really liked the Figma and Notion tools because they weren’t even about sales or marketing anymore: the product sold itself. Product-led growth is a big trend in recent years.
In the industry, I think that cyber is going to be a big topic in the next few years. I’m also interested in Web3. It’s a bit immature at the moment, but we’ll see if it produces solid and coherent business models and the changes it will bring. At the moment, there is also a lot of talk about generative AI, i.e. artificial intelligences that generate texts and images. Likewise, it’s not yet very mature, we’re in the early stages, so we’ll see what comes out of it.
Is there a personality, a background, a person that you would recommend to me to have on this microphone who would have interesting things to share?
Nicolas Julia, that I already mentioned. There’s also Antoine Freysz, who invested in the early days of Doctolib and Malt. I’m quite fascinated by the fact that success is repeated: once, you can ask yourself if there’s an element of luck or chance, but when there are several unicorns, it’s definitely talent.