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You must feed your mind with reading materials, thoughts and ideas that open you to new possibilities ~Oprah
Words of Wisdom | Mind

Words of Wisdom | Mind

I often hear that one can do anything… as long as you set your mind to it. So, I shall ask: can one become anything? One thing I have tested is happiness, believe me: happiness is not something that happens to you, happiness is something you choose. There are many theories and books about hapiness. It’s somewhat a fashionable thing to be happy… Worth a try, don’t you think? Always better than being miserable. Take today. Lyon, France, outside temperature: 100 Farenheit degrees. Simply breathing is making me sweat. I just spent seven hours in a non-air-conditionned classroom listening to students presenting about the exact same case study. And most of them did not blow my mind. I feel sticky, my legs are twice their usual side and my make-up has not survived the 8 a.m. bus ride. Today I wish I was bald. Would be easy to fall into that trap, wouldn’t it? But instead, I choose to be happy. My boyfriend is in a different country so it doesn’t really matter that I don’t look my best, my students are not perfect, and it’s okay, they’re here to learn, and it’s hot as hell… ok, that sucks, but oh well, I’ll get through it, like I do every summer. Overall, I’m surrounded with friends, in a beautiful city where some of the public transportation is air-conditionned. I’m happy. The mind is everything. What you think you become. –Buddha I think I’m free, successful and happy. What do you think?...

Five WordPress plugins to help you up your online game

A couple of weeks ago, I spent my Friday geeking out at Lyon’s first Wordcamp. Take all of Lyon has to offer in terms of WordPress fanatics, add some guests from Grenoble and Paris, spice up with visitors from Nice, Marseille, put all of them on a barge on the Rhône river, bring up the temperature and feed them with coffee and sweets… and you’ll have an idea of what went down that day. Among other very interesting conferences, I particularly enjoyed the plugins-related sessions which inspired this list of… 5 WordPress plugins that will change your site for the better Easy Digital Downloads Easy Digital Downloads is a complete e-commerce solution for selling digital products in a light, performant, and easy to use plugin. Rather that attempting to provide every feature under the sun, Easy Digital Downloads makes selling digital simple and complete by providing just the features you need. Our favorite feature: the earnings and sales charts. The ratings: 4.9 out of 5 stars UpdraftPlus UpdraftPlus simplifies backups (and restoration). Backup into the cloud (Amazon S3 (or compatible), Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, Microsoft OneDrive, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV, OpenStack Swift and email) and restore with a single click. Our favorite feature: the automatic backup on a repeating schedule The ratings: 4.9 out of 5 stars All in One SEO Pack All in One SEO Pack optimizes your WordPress blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Our favorite feature: the built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality The ratings: 4.4 out of 5 stars BuddyPress BuddyPress is a suite of components that are common to a typical social network,...

Snapshot | Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Back in February I was introducing you to Five startups to follow. Young entrepreneurs I was lucky to work alongside of and coach a little closer for some. Around that time, I also was introduced to De Rigueur an innovative brand in high quality leather goods, that got selected to join the BoostInLyon program. Although I had less time with Adrien and his team, I cannot say that any of them worked less than the other toward the ultimate goal: to launch and to succeed. And it has been a pleasure to spend time with “my boys”: Yannick & Louis-Rémi from Prototypo, Adrien from DeRigueur and Antoine & Thibault from Cy-Clope and see them and their project grow. On March 28, I had the immense pride and pleasure to see all them be distinguished with a Young Entrepreneur of the Year prize. They ruled the pitching game, they convinced the various juries and they climbed on stage to receive their prize. Couldn’t be happier to see their efforts being crowned by the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Where are they now? After winning the Lyon Startup Contest, Prototypo is being courted by several investors, business angels and venture capitalists. Negotiations are in progress and the new version of the SaaS is to be released in September. DeRigueur just raised a few thousand euros on the French crowdfunding site KissKissBankBank, to increase the size of its product catalog and explore new territories. And Cy-Clope signed their first client and the concept is becoming a media craze as the fight against cigarette buds is spreading like wildfire in major French cities. As for me, I have...
Words of Wisdom | Power

Words of Wisdom | Power

Every year, when I first meet a new class, I love to go around the room and ask the students where they come from, and what their passions are. My purpose: getting to know those I will be working with for at least a semester, but also, tailoring my teaching to what is really going to resonate with them. Once, someone said to me “I don’t have any passion”. It made me sad. Not having any passions comes to feeling powerless in the world. No desire to change anything. No hunger for new discoveries. No drive. What can of a life can you be leading this way? I cannot fathom the idea that someone has no passions. Turns out, after digging a little, one-on-one, with this student, we found what was rocking her world. She just didn’t think it was good enough to mention. In the end, she turned out to be one of them most passionate people about the project she was working on. She graduated with honors and is now settling down in her new career. Passion is power. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. ~Alice Walker What is your passion? What is your power?...

Five books that should be on every entrepreneur’s shelf

Following up on last week’s post, I thought it could only be right to recommend my favorite reads. Of course I could mention some of the most influential business books such as The Art of War, The Prince or The Wealth of Nations, but I’d rather pick in a more modern department to recommend ones that are as insightful as they are enjoyable to read. Five books that every entrepreneur should read Blue Ocean Strategy “Winning by not competing”, the Blue Ocean Strategy concept could sound so unfamiliar to all the old-school marketing addicts. But this international best seller upends traditional thinking with principles and tools to make the competition irrelevant. Yes, you read correctly: tools. The book is a fantastic toolbox of methodologies that will help you organize your thoughts and concentrate on what really matters. While first published in 2005, the book’s message is still relevant. Blue Ocean Strategy is worth the time of anyone seeking to increase their success through innovation, whether it’s at the business strategy, product launch or simply marketing strategy level. Principles of Marketing In a fast-changing, increasingly digital and social marketplace, it’s more vital than ever for marketers to develop meaningful connections with their customers. Principles of Marketing helps readers master today’s key marketing challenge: to create vibrant, interactive communities of consumers who make products and brands an integral part of their daily lives. To help understand how to create value and build customer relationships, Kotler and Armstrong present fundamental marketing information within an innovative customer-value framework. Change by Design Need to reinvigorate your business? Think like a designer. In his book, Change By...

Snapshot | Read your heart out!

I spent the last Holiday weekend (May 8th, we’re celebrating the victory of 1945 by not working – yay France!) in South of France. And instead of hitting the beach, I hit the library. A real, old school, one. Not an iPad in sight, but books. Hundreds of them. I was able to touch them, open them, smell them… and it filled my heart like a Proust madeleine. As I was in the train back to Lyon, my neighbour stopped me upon arrival: “I noticed,” he said, “you are reading La Nuit des Temps (The Ice People). Is it your first time?” Of course not, it probably is the 15th. We stroke a conversation. Had I been reading the book on my iPad, he would have not known what I was reading. We wouldn’t have talked. I wouldn’t have missed much, but, the more connected I am, the more this quick human exchange with a stranger is the type of interaction I’m craving. So, indeed, yes I would have missed a lot. In another one of Barjavel’s novel, the world goes nuts with technology until it succumbs to a huge fire. The few survivors are safe until one of them invent the wheel. Let’s hope we never get there, let’s grab a real book instead!...
Words of Wisdom | 90 %

Words of Wisdom | 90 %

Once upon a time, I had an anger management issue. I took everything personally and felt devastated every single time someone had something negative to say about my work. It hurt. It hurt bad. Oh, I wasn’t beating up anyone but myself, but still my manager at the time felt like I needed help and he advised that I read Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Guess what… the book made me angry. Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood [Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you.] was the hardest one for me. I felt misunderstood and I couldn’t fathom the idea of understanding others first. My manager was a good man. He didn’t give up. He sent me to seek help… and that made me angry. Yep, I’m serious. I remember getting in catfights with the shrink about how I was reacting to things: in a raw, violent and hurtful manner. That was the only way I knew how to react. Despite my manager’s best tries, my time in the company ended shortly after that. And it took me another few month to wake-up one morning and realize… Duh… Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll Since then, my life has changed for the better. I’m a much happier person. But I don’t wish to anyone to feel the pain I did. So if I can spark your lightbulb with this post, I’m happy...

We are all Avengers

Yesterday I went to the movies. I saw Avengers – Age of Ultron. I know: not the indie-smart-obscur-but-romantic piece that you would think a French person, woman with that, would want to see to blow some steam. But hey, I had a long, exhausting, week, don’t judge, I also like a good testosterone-filled, super-heroes, story once in a while. The movie is doing the trick: nothing more or less than the expected: fights, special-effects, more fights, a little bit of romance, did I mention the fights? And, my all time favorite IronMan humour. Plenty. Can’t help it, I’m a total fan of Tony Stark. But, what really happened, is that I got an illumination: we are all Avengers. I can see you wondering: “did she fall on her head?” Bear with me for a minute here. Truth is, the best about the Avengers is that while being the best, they’re also the worst… There is only perfection in imperfection Take any group of people: your colleagues, your family, or an association you belong to. Imagine that group has a common goal. It might not be to save the world, but it could be to launch a product, to protect the amazonian forest or to organise grand-ma’s 85th birthday party. Now observe. I’m guessing you picture a room packed of well-meaning, loud mouthed, ego-tripping individuals whom spend as much time fighting with each other than they are toward the common goal. Right? Last week I participated to a strategy meeting for an association that I belong to. And I guarantee, we spent more time disagreeing or questioning the questions that we did...

Five other “capital of” that Lyon could be…

A few weeks ago, MerciAlfred, published a fun infography about French cities. Of course, Lyon was one of them and its description was hilarious. Hilarious because when you live a city, you learn to love its flaws as much as its strengths. When I lived in Philadelphia, I never understood how people from other cities could appreciate It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, as much as someone from Philly could. It’s only REALLY funny if you can laugh about yourself. Reading this chart, it appears that MerciAlfred had forgotten a slice of the pie, and there are only 90% of Lyon completed… Here are a few suggestion for them to fill the blank: Lyon according to MerciAlfred 10% the capital of gastronomy (no doubt about that) 10% the capital of Gaule (history has spoken, we were indeed) 10% the capital of quenelle (local delicacy, capital we are!) 10% the capital of province (that’s the never-ending fight with Marseille for the place of “second city after Paris”… no comment) 10% the capital of printing (not sure why but we have a museum to prove so) 10% the capital of movies (the first one was made here after all, call us Lyonlywood!) 10% the capital of fishing (?!?!??!??!??!?????!?!) 10% the capital of silk (well, living in Croix-Rousse, I know all about that – and we have a museum to prove so as well) 10% the capital of Resistance (big history in this department, as well as a museum) That’s 90%… so what else? Suggestions: 10% the capital of museums (if you read the list above you’ll understand)? 10% the capital of soccer (French...

Snapshot | Client shout out!

Once in a while, I like to give a little client shout out… Last summer I was contacted by Alpro, a Belgium company with a dream: to distribute their plant-based products in France’s mass-market. But not anywhere, they didn’t want those products to go in the organic aisle, they wanted them in the dairy aisle. Knowing a little how hard mass-market buyers can be and how strict the rules are, I was not betting on their success. Little did I know… With the help of an excellent distributor, it took some time but they got their products where they wanted them. And we were able to start animating the French community with delicious plant-based recipes, and other inspirational stories to better our diet. What I admire about this client: they know what they want and they go for it. They believe in their dreams, they show tenacity and strength but they never push too hard. So when I read on their website: “Alpro is a company with a vision; a vision of a world where more of what we eat comes directly from plants – planet friendly, sustainable and healthy.”, it gives me hope for a better world, and I’m very glad to play a little part in that....