» 40 and 5

40 and 5

I’m forty today and woke up with this view.

view

A weird feeling as so many people think about being forty as a really big deal in your life, that only probably makes it a big deal for anyone.

A good moment to take a step back and look at your own life. Can’t help to think I’m hoping it’s half of my life, I lost my father from a cancer when he was 53 so it wasn’t half for him, I can’t celebrate today without thinking about missing him and also my sister that died in her thirties also from cancer and some remaining complications of a huge car accident she encountered when she was little kid.

Having those thoughts I feel actually even happier and fortunate that I’m having such a good life. I have  a wonderful family that I love and loves me. Being 40 and having already three teenagers is fantastic. That’s how I chose to spend this day, this week, with them and my wife Geraldine. I kite surfed, played cards and spend the day yesterday pretty much hugging them and playing with them, same program today. 

I’m fortunate to have so many great friends, too. Offline and online, close and not close. People say generally you make your closest friends for life around your college years, it’s true for me but our move to San Francisco 5 years ago definitely changed me a great deal. I used to interact 90% of the time in French with french friends or connections and now it’s the opposite, I’m mostly in an english or international environment all day long. That doesn’t make me less french, or maybe it does, but it clearly changed me.

“You’re defined by who your friends are” told me once Yossi Vardi.

If that is true then I feel very accomplished by having incredible friends around the World. I enjoy quality close relationships with few friends (that some tend to be on Path, which is great) but I could not leave without my broader online/offline friendship. I have extraordinary real life friends and I’m learning from them every day. Joichi Ito taught me blogging and social networking in 2003 and changed my life, I learned to live with many online friends every day and some of them I met and became really close with. I can’t live without my online friends even though it’s a weird feeling of course, I have about 90k followers on Twitter, 150k on Facebook and 1m+ on Google+ (but I was featured there so that number is artificial) that’s plenty to interact with. Definitely frustrating too, in a way, I’d like to meet them, and so many of you that I have never met helped me so much. Thank you. 

It’s five years this summer we moved to Silicon Valley.

When we moved we were wondering if it was something temporary for a few years and back to France. We’re definitely in Silicon Valley for the long run and got permanent residence with our green cards, we feel more and more attached to the brilliant and vibrant entrepreneurial community that happens no where else in the World. New York is tempting us, though, we might try to live there someday but no short plans. While I still feel very european and french in the way I think, I feel more and more american in the way I work. Faster, more focused on being efficient. I don’t mind a two hour lunch from time to time though. No I won’t get here into the Europe versus Silicon Valley debate, I love you european friends and yes you’re doing fantastic, entrepreneurship is great in europe too and so on. I just feel the energy, ambition and general atmosphere in Silicon Valley feels better for me and is a great environment for my teenagers to be inspired.

Phil Libin of Evernote came to brunch at my house recently and was surrounded by my boys asking him about his incredible success with Evernote. Now they want to do the same. Ask them and they will tell you they want to be entrepreneurs and build something great. Just that is an accomplishment for me. I don’t think everyone should be an entrepreneur but I think my boys should be, or at least be inspired by being entrepreneurs in anything they do, should they choose a different life than technology startups, which would be fine, of course. 

I feel very happy and fortunate.

I have not always succeeded and it’s not surprising, I have succeeded enough to feel happy. 2012 treats me great so far as we took risks to launch LeWeb in London and I think we were very successful in our first non Paris based event with 1400 participants from 50 countries, wow. I have been struggling with Seesmic for 5 years, pivoting 4 times and not reaching success yet, still trying hard (we just killed a bunch of products to focus on one, Seesmic Ping and monetized it with hundreds of happy paid customers already and a nice growth). A big change.

Success doesn’t come where you expect it most of the times. It’s unrelated to how hard you try to focus your efforts and your time on something. I have spent 95% of my time the last five years on Seesmic and 5% on LeWeb. Seesmic hasn’t been what I have hoped for (even though I’m still trying hard) while LeWeb has become a true international brand and a profitable business without me doing much more than inviting speakers. Big lesson here. I thank my wife Geraldine for LeWeb’s success and blame myself for not having been able to make Seesmic what I had in mind. I still have good hopes we can make it something good, growing and profitable. Time will tell and I don’t give up, even if sometimes I actually should. I will have to write more about the pivots, I have been thinking a great deal about them and what happened next. I think we had a lot of head wind, to take a sailing image. I have a great team and I’m thankful my business partner Bastien Vidal and my team (past and present) went through so many challenges with me.

What’s next? 

I want to keep focusing on my sons being successful, that’s a very important one for me. I love creating products (we just did that again with Seesmic) and growing LeWeb is a daily source of happiness, especially as it became a real platform of success. There is rarely a week without a LeWeb participant or partnering telling me that thanks to LeWeb they had a business idea, started one, raised funding, did a major partnership or sold their company. Helping others being successful is the best feeling ever. 

Thank you, all, for being such fantastic friends and inspiring me so much.



  • http://twitter.com/remybigot Rémy Bigot

    Amazing post Loic, huge ! I recently have 30, and it was strange but not so difficult finally.

    But, the times runs so fast sometimes ! We need to have simple happiness, and to do all the things we want as soon as possible !

  • http://tedr.tumblr.com/ Ted Rheingold

    I’m older than you? Merde!

    Bon anniversarie!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing this view… and point of view. Beautifully equal, and equally beautiful!
    Bon anniversaire, et que cette nouvelle décennie qui s’ouvre soit encore plus riche que la précédente !
    May these 10 years ahead be more beautiful to you and your friends than before!

    Mark Le Net

    P.S. Oh, and just a last thing: for me 40 was not a big deal. 41 was! So tous mes voeux pour cette année-ci !

  • http://mobilis-in-mobile.com myriam

    40. Be ready for a new life. Extension of the first. Better. Happy Birthday, Loïc. Welcome into the world :-)

  • http://twitter.com/joaofmferreira Joao Ferreira

     Bon anniversaire Loic!
    Un “virtual friend” du Portugal….Bon Spot de Kite à Cabedelo – Viana do Castelo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VREIurerX5k

    Joao

  • Anonymous

    Bon anniversaire Loic, c’est agréable de te lire en mode plus “intime”.
    Beaucoup de kite surf ici sur les plages bretonnes, serait ravi de t’offrir un four hour lunch si tu passes un jour tester le spot :)

  • Anonymous

    HB loic. I am thankful I crossed your path!

  • http://twitter.com/emmanuelyazid Emmanuel yazid

    Happy birthday, Hope you will continue to share with us your experience.

    Bon Anniversaire.

  • http://twitter.com/manfredbodner manfred bodner

    reading your post cheered me up for the day – thanks! happy birthday and a good breeze into the next decade, jump one for all of us!

  • http://rubino.fr joelrubino

    Joyeux anniversaire gamin…

    40 ans et un bel age, comme tous les âges d’ailleurs. 
    Continue de profiter à fond de la vie, de ta famille et de tes amis
    Carpe Diem!

  • Jeff Clavier

    Happy birthday gamin ;)

  • Kenny Lauer

    Really a beautiful post. It caused me to take a moment and reflect. I suppose this is just one example of the type of impact you have on others.

    Happy Birthday
    Kenny

  • http://twitter.com/inryaa inryaa

    Loic, don’t you know that 40 is the new 20? :) Enjoy your life to the fullest and don’t worry about some years on a paper. Our heart is the one that dictates how young we actually are [e.g. I'm always 17] ;)

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    Merci Joel!


    Loic Le Meur

    Join us at LeWeb London june 19-20 and Paris dec 4-5-6 http://www.leweb.co

  • http://twitter.com/Bethybeth Bethybeth

    « La jeunesse n’est pas une période de la vie, elle est un
    état d’esprit, un effet de la volonté, une intensité émotive, une victoire du courage
    sur la timidité, du goût de l’aventure sur l’amour du confort.

    L’on ne devient pas vieux pour avoir vécu un certain nombre d’années. L’on
    devient vieux parce que l’on déserte son Idéal. Les années rident la peau ;
    renoncer à son Idéal ride l’âme.

    Les préoccupations, les doutes, les craintes et les désespoirs sont des ennemis
    qui, lentement, nous font pencher vers la terre et devenir poussière avant la
    mort.

    Jeune est celui qui s’étonne et qui s’émerveille. Il demande, comme l’enfant
    insatiable : “Et après ?”

    Il défie les événements et trouve la Joie au Jeu et à la Vie.

    Vous êtes aussi jeunes que votre Foi dans la Vie. Vous êtes aussi vieux que
    votre doute. Aussi jeunes que votre confiance en vous-mêmes, aussi jeunes que
    votre espoir, mais aussi vieux que votre abattement.

    Vous resterez jeunes aussi longtemps que vous resterez réceptifs. Réceptifs à
    ce qui est beau, bon et grand. Réceptifs aux messages de la Nature, des femmes,
    des hommes et de l’Infini.

    Si, un jour, votre cœur allait être mordu par le pessimisme, rongé par le
    cynisme…, eh bien, que Dieu ait pitié de votre âme de vieillard ! »

     

    Général MacArthur

    Selon la définition de Macca, Je pense que vous resterez jeune encore très longtemps Loïc.
    Un très beau “special day” à vous.

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    Merci Jeff!


    Loic Le Meur

    Join us at LeWeb Paris dec 4-5-6
    http://www.leweb.co

  • http://twitter.com/marcusnelson marcusnelson

    Like Ted, weird to think I’m older than you. I have a lot of catching up to do!  :)

    Know that you’re loved Loic. You reveal weakness in a truly honorable way, it challenges our thinking for what the measurement of success is, and you continue to inspire us to do more. 

    No one has gone through as much as you have and still maintained the level of integrity and character as you do – remember that. You’re a fighter.

    And we love you for it.

    Keep fighting.

  • Froudj Ik

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Froudj Ik

    A friend send me this with the following caption:
    “PUTAIN MAIS TA GUEULE
    CE QU’ON S’EN BRANLE PUTAIN”

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • http://twitter.com/RobertVaksman Robert Vaksman

    It’s clear that you are entering this new chapter with grace, dignity and plenty of accomplishments; particularly with your family, the most important ones! Happy birthday indeed, and best to you and yours! Thanks for sharing and making us all reflect.

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    Thanks Marcus

  • http://engag.io/ William Mougayar

    That’s a wonderful post that’s hard not to connect with. Joyeux anniversaire!

    And would love to hear more about your pivots & up/down moments with Seesmic. I’m sure there are big lessons for the other entrepreneurs out there that are still in the thick of it. Maybe I should interview you at Le Web Paris for a change & have you in the hot seat to tell it all.

  • Froudj Ik

    Et toute voix discordante censurée en plus. C’est quoi le but de ces posts et la section comments, sucer le maître de céans à volo pour compenser une probable vie de haute tocardise avant de rencontrer le “succès”? Et la prochaine fois qu’on nous contera combien “it feels great to be 50″ avec un air profond et détaché, on criera encore au génie et à la beauté de la vie dans son plus simple appareil?

    Arrêtez les gars, j’ai la larme à l’oeil, Baudelaire n’était qu’un amateur, long live LLM.

  • http://abdallahalhakim.tumblr.com/ Abdallah Al-Hakim

    “I have succeeded enough to feel happy.” I love that line because it shows a considerable degree of maturity yet it shows you are still hungry for more.

    I started following LaWeb recently and think it is great. Congrats on the success.

  • http://abdallahalhakim.tumblr.com/ Abdallah Al-Hakim

    “I have succeeded enough to feel happy.” I love that line because it shows a considerable degree of maturity yet it shows you are still hungry for more.

    I started following LaWeb recently and think it is great. Congrats on the success.

  • http://www.loiclemeur.com/ Loic Le Meur

    Thanks!


    Loic Le Meur

    Join us at LeWeb Paris dec 4-5-6
    http://www.leweb.co

  • Alicia

    Happy Birthday Loic :) What a beautifully heartfelt post.

    Some people measure success by influencing just one person profoundly in the course of a lifetime… and you’ve clearly influenced and inspired so many. 

    Seesmic may have pivoted a lot, but it’s had a profound, qualitative impact on so many people who’ve been a part of it. Just this week I’ve connected deeply with three friends who I never would’ve known had it not been for that company.

    Monetary success could be just around the corner. But even if it doesn’t come, the impact its had shouldn’t be dismissed. Similar to Digg, it’s been a beginning of sorts.

    Thank you, for all that you do and everything you are! Keep enjoying that amazing view :)