Last Monday we had the pleasure to welcome Nicolas Colin, co-founder of The Family. It was fun and inspiring and we just wanted to recap some of his insights. You can listen to his interview by Nikolaj Groeneweg on the FrenchTech APAC podcast below.
The Family is an accelerator created in Paris in 2013. It was co-founded by Oussama Ammar, Alice Zagury and Nicolas Colin with the aim to differentiate themselves from the competition -which was already packed at the time. It started in an private apartment and now has been running hundreds of events, educated thousands of entrepreneurs and invested in more than 250 startups.
We were really pleased to have Nicolas COlin with us to talk about what is takes to be an entrepreneur, about The Family, about the digital age and his new book, Hedge.
Here’s a few interesting quotes and topics to get you thinking. Careful it’s not your conventional clickbait wisdom!
The entrepreneurial age
In the industrial age, what mattered most to be a winning market was to have big corporations, typically like car manufacturers. Today we’re entering the entrepreneurial age. This means that “What will make the difference between markets today is if they have entrepreneurs”.
The cockroach entrepreneur
Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator introduced the concept of the “Ramen entrepreneur” and “Ramen Profitability” in a 2009 article. He gives a simple definition: “Traditional profitability means a big bet is finally paying off, whereas the main importance of ramen profitability is that it buys you time.”
TheFamily is looking for another kind of entrepreneurs that goes beyond that: the cockroach entrepreneur: the kind of folks who will keeps struggling and going forward in spite of unknown and changing environments. Just like cockroaches, nothing can kill them! As he puts it: “The intensity of the founding team, this is how we choose our startups”
“Good startups like to be laser focused on their products, which is why in a coworking space, all the good people leave and all bad people stay.”
Ouch. He’s got a point, right?
“We started TheFamily in a very small apartment in Le Marais, Paris. We were hosting small events of 20-30 people. Then obviously at some point we got kicked out by the owner. We found a great place for us but it was very expensive and we couldn’t afford it. So we designed an educational program called Koudetat, and we sold 100 of these for 2500 euros each in 3 weeks. That allowed us to fund the place.”
What is the essence of digital?
- “Both quality and scale are made possible today with digital, and you can’t survive as a company if you don’t have these entrepreneurs who can do quality at scale.”
- “In the digital world there’s more power outside than inside companies.”
- According to Nicolas, in ordered to be considered a tech company you need to do 3 things
- You need to deliver an exceptional experience to customers: fast, cheap, easy, personalized
- You need to collect data about what users are doing, regularly and systematically
- You need to use this data to generate more scale and start a virtuous cycle
Hedge, the book
Nicolas’ new book is based on a simple idea: “In the digital world there’s more power outside than inside companies”. This is a fundamental shift compared to the traditional, corporate-centric system we were born in. As such it needs a new, radically different safety net focused on entrepreneurs.
Podcast – interview with Nicolas Colin
Below is a full interview done by Nikolaj Groeneweg for the FrenchTech APAC podcast. Ready? Go for it!