9 to 5

The Godmother of my daughter called to wish her happy birthday and asked me about our plans. And I told her about our plans. I told her about the plans for the summer and for the next year. I love her a lot because she loves us. And I can feel it. And I think it is a great reason to love somebody, just because they love you.

I told her about the company I am building and that I am planning to make it French-American and that starting this summer the kids and I will spend some part of the year living and working in Paris. And another part here in California. And I told her that I am really into the product we are doing and into the idea of what it will be in a few years from now. And she told me not to kill myself over it. She told me that she thinks I should save money and buy a house. And have a stable home for the kids and myself.

And I told her that I am not planning to kill myself or die in the intent of building something, however, if I were asked if I would be ok to die in 5 years from now if I manage to build a large company and pay well to my employees and make sure that each of them can buy a house I would go for it without thinking. If I was asked if I would be ok to die in 5 years from now in exchange for a beautiful house for the kids and myself I would definitely say no. A house has no value by itself for me. I would love to have one as a by product while I strive for my goals.  Impacting hundreds of lives for the better does have a lot of value for me, it is something I would easily give my life for.

We will all die eventually. On a larger scale, as part of the mankind, it does not really matter whether I live 45 years or 85 years. What matters is if I was able to impact the world to make it a better place for this generation and for the future generations. And then I thought that it is very related to the 9 to 5 mindset. You either work based on hours (effort) or based on impact. While there is a certain correlation, you have to chose one or the other, there is no in-between. And there is no right or wrong answer. The world needs both types of people.

Our mindset is deeply routed in our heart. From there come all the conclusions and we say that we want to have 9 to 5 life or that we want to go and fight for something better.

I want to fight for something better. For better lives for people around me, for people in Europe who do not have that access to money and growth. I was talking to the head of the largest French investment bank last week and he said that many French startups come to Silicon Valley for growth and money but that he does not know of a case of an American startup going to France. He was a great guy and he said “You will be the first one if you want to go crazy.” And I said “Yes, let’s go crazy”.

My kids’ Godmother loves us a lot. She called me back and she said that I should find a soulmate and that I should find a place that I can call home. And I said I will. Because I did not want to be confrontational and also because I know I will. My family moved permanently out of Moscow when I was 12 and we moved countries year after year. Sometimes I really wish there would be a place I could call home… And strangely enough I found home in the night sky. I feel home when I look at the stars at night. No matter where we live I can recognize the stars on the sky. And they are the same from San Francisco, from Paris, from a tansmedeterranean cruise ship in the open sea, from Moscow, from the Pyrenees, from Norwegian villages in the Arctic circle, from our Barcelona balcony. Looking at the night sky always makes me feel home.

(This is why I am getting my daughter a real telescope on her 9th birthday. We will assemble it together tomorrow and look at the stars.)

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