Marc Rougier is a repeat entrepreneur of the digital economy.
Currently co-founder and president of Scoop.it, the leading publishing-by-curation platform for professionals and businesses, he specializes in early stage, Intellectual Property-strong ventures with international potential. He has co-founded 4 start-ups (including Meiosys, a software vendor in the virtualization space, acquired by IBM in 2005) and has experienced the start-up scene in Asia, Europe and North America.
He is actively involved in promoting entrepreneurship in the digital economy as a mentor, business angel and member of several associations including France Digitale and the TIC Valley or as a TEDx speaker.
Oops…No, No…Marc is not asking you to get out of here on this picture BUT he is rather showing you the direction to follow !
Get him right ! And bear with me, you can trust him !
To me, Marc is clearly one of those who behaves as an elder brother in the ecosystem.
Marc knows what he is talking about when it comes to innovation !
He was living in Canada when Marc get the entrepreneurship virus…
Recovering from a motorbike accident which had certainly teached him all the precarity of life and things, Marc was fascinated by the Canadian action driven and pragmatic mentality.
For our Canadian fellows entrepreneurship is simply about having an idea, some will and tenacity… Nothing more complicated than that.
That is probably why now, despite belonging to the most “bankable” French entrepreneurs, Marc remains an example of simplicity and humility !
On stage, he is also the first one to use humour and self-derision…
You get it, Marc is a true biker and this leds him to develop a unique and so relevant metaphor about entrepreneurship, it is clearly one my favourite and 100% Marc’s credit :
« Rifting ability and the necessary schizophrenia of an entrepreneur ! »
We all have the image in minds :
In a curve a biker has to bend over rifting until the extreme limit to optimise his/her speed and trajectory…the risk of crash being permanent and completely accepted !
Marc teaches us that it is exactly the same for an entrepreneur who has to find a fragile and mysterious balance between tenacity / resilience and not being too much obsessed by a new concept, idea or technology…
The border between the 2 being that narrow it can mentally drive you mad…
I would add that it is even all the beauty of it and precisely the reason why entrepreneurs can easily recognise themselves between each other and speak the same language all over the planet…
Exactly like in the Katie Melua’s song :
It has been the closest thing to crazy but the closest thing to you ! To me…To all of us…
Thanks Marc for this very rare mixed moment of Philosophy, Poesy and Action !…So you !
My very artistical way of pitching things should not mis-lead you :
Marc is first of all a brilliant engineer !
He and his co-founder and CTO Marc Vertes had notably registered 21 patents in Apps virtualisation that IBM valued acquiring his former company Meiosys allowing Marc to go for an exit and live extraordinary moments.
One of them was when celebrating this acquisition at IBM, Marc was told by his interlocuter scrutining the stock quote at the launch of the séance :
We are going to know immediately if we did well to acquire you guys…
And they didn’t have to wait for long to get their response since the IBM stock was literally growing up, few minutes later…
But if Marc is who he is today, it is probably because he also experimented difficulties and even disillusion as an entrepreneur !
With another of his former company called Goojet, Marc maybe get right too early without finding the right positioning and seeing giants like Facebook and The Apple’s iphone revolutionizing the usage of online and mobile content sharing…
Timing is that key in a success that if forces every entrepreneur to be very humble !
In the same range of ideas, about [highlight]the benefit you can get from a failure[/highlight], Marc is used to telling an anecdote that happened to him when he was trying to raise funds from a US VC :
When he get asked to tell about a fail he already had, he gave a fuzzy response !
You know this kind of answer given by a candidate in a job interview, failing in being authentic to sound more positive…
As a result although his pitch and proposition were good, allowing him to get the money he was looking for from another investor, that VC told him that he won’t be in…Why was that?
Because the VC was considering that :
Every entrepreneur should be able to tell a sincere and true failure experience that he/she had and made who he or she is today…
I let you all think about this…
I know he would not claim it but for all those reasons, to me, Marc is one of our Star Digital Entrepreneurs !
So when Marc Rougier accepts to go through a Frenchy questionnaire, we thank him thousand times and it looks like that !
Frenchy : Your favorite word ?
Marc : « Holistic »
Everything is part of a greater whole. Feel the big picture.
Frenchy : What would you change if you had a magic wand ?
Marc : « Make people love, or at least be inspired by differences. »
Frenchy : What is your favorite quote ?
Marc : « Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever – Ganhdi«
Frenchy : What could seduce you immediately ?
Marc : « A smile. »
Frenchy : What is, according to you, the secret of happiness ?
Marc : « Sharing a glass of rosé on a sunny terrace with your friend ;
Or speculating why conscious observers perceive the particular Hilbert space factorization corresponding to classical space rather than Fourier space ;
Or interviewing French VCs and entrepreneurs…
As long as it’s being yourself. »
Frenchy : If you were a dessert ?
Marc : « A Tiramisu«
Frenchy : What in your day to day life remains so French/American?
Marc : « French: I can talk politics, love and food during working hours.
American: While in business, I negotiate to win, not to be right. »
Frenchy : What do you enjoy the most in the US/Fr way of life ?
Marc : « Have a smarter way to save time (a great sense of service, leaner social protocols).
Have a richer way to spend time (terrace, wine, love and every other possible non ROI-st things in life). »
Frenchy : One thing where American/French people are particularly good at that you would like to develop yourself ?
Marc : « Americans are particularly good at looking forward, with a lesser attachment to the past (which contribute to explain why they accept failure better, as entrepreneurs). If I were more American, I guess I’d move faster. »
Frenchy : In the US, failing is seen as the first step to be successful later, how to bring such a state of mind in France ?
Marc : « The French are judgmental. They exercise their right to criticize as Americans their right to own a gun: a fundamental right, the very foundation of a free nation! We need to relax. I think we can all contribute: solidarity and open mind for those who try. Humility (which does not equate to lack of ambition) and fun when trying.
And remember we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take. »
Frenchy : What is it to be a French/American guy in the US/Fr ? Could you tell us a specific anecdote that happened to you ?
Marc : « I’m living in San Francisco. It’s insanely easy to be a foreigner here (total respect and huge praise to California for this). Still… I delivered a pitch a few months ago, with my painful English accent. Went well: won the votes of the audience, ahead of a famous speaker. When I was done the organizer came to interview me and started:
“Well, great… Can you do it in English now”?
To be honest, the French accent seems to be an effective ice-breaker in many situations (I wish we would do the same in France with foreign accents). »
Frenchy : [quote] A French / European GAFA could be possible if…?
Marc : « First, there are successes in France and Europe.
Then, there are hurdles: the financial chain (from BA to exit to fiscal laws), the fragmented markets, the entrepreneurship culture, etc. These are huge challenges.
I hope we can act locally and make little changes: for example, having more and better BAs (there is money in France and there is now also a generation of successful entrepreneurs who are playing again! So there is experience too! Which is new).
One thing I dislike much in the many hurdles in France, is how difficult it is for small startups to deal with big groups.
Big groups need to understand that working with startups is good holistically. For them too. This would release some positive energy. Of course, GAFA are built on B2C success first, so this is just a small part of the equation. But still… »
Frenchy : Who are the 3 entrepreneurs who most inspire you ?
Marc : « I, too, am inspired by the usual suspects; the super heros of every entrepreneur’s pantheon. The Bezos, Jobs and Musk of this shiny world.
In addition, I admire Xavier Neil. A big time disrupter; an approachable human; and someone who keeps playing, investing in the next generation.
I also admire the many entrepreneurs who don’t make it to the headlines but fight hard for their dream. Their faith and dedication, the mix of which I call craziness, inspire me. »
I think the two first are fairly understandable choice.
I hijack this forum to give an example, as number 3, of a new generation of entrepreneurs who “make it happen”, despite the lack of experience and resource. »
Frenchy : According to you, what is the French touch ?
Marc : « In Startups like in rugby: France hasn’t reached the maturity, organization and ecosystem to be world champion ; but given the good environment and ingredients, it can produce a mix of creativity, faith and style to defeat anyone. »
Merci Marc !
The Expert’s Focus
Séverine Godet – Manager Pôle High-Tech Burson-Marsteller i&e, Blogueuse sur La faille spatio-temporelle et Podcasteuse sur lvdlt.com – @Tamala75
It is now said that with the digital revolution « everyone can be an artist » and even « everyone can be a journalist » but can and should everyone be a curator?
May I nuance this statement: artists and journalists have « talents » such as creativity, sensitivity, investigation capacity, deontology, etc and I don’t believe the digital revolution makes any of those magically available to everyone.
However, the digital revolution makes is easier to create and distribute. It thereby dissolves the barrier between « official » artists / journalists and the rest of us.
Doesn’t help with the required talents, but makes Andy Wharol’s 15 min of fame more accessible.
The digital revolution is not about talents but about democracy: and this is good indeed.
Curators need three « talents » :
Expertise on a specific topic ; Open mind ; and Willingness to share…
I think most people have an expertise or passion for a specific topic. I wish most people would be open minded – and many are! And I think our society evolves toward more sharing (of services, physical goods and knowledge).
The digital revolution makes the curators’ work (discover, enrich, share) easier; and in addition, this work is beneficial (it complements the otherwise robot-driven organization of the web).
So yes, everyone is a curator!
If there was one thing that you could instantly explain to everyone, once and for all, about Scoopit what would It be? Its SEO impact? It´s influence dimension? Something else that would instantly convince non users to try the Platform?
To be visible on the web, businesses need to regularly publish content (site, blog, social media, etc). This is called « content strategy » ; curation – i.e. discovering, enriching and publishing existing relevant content – is one weapon in every business content strategy arsenal.
Scoop.it‘s mission is to just make curation as easy, time-effective and impactful as possible; it helps from content discovery to publishing to measuring. SEO is a positive by-product of Scoop.it pages structure and of relevant content!
If Scoopit (and the internet) had existed more than a 100 years ago, which inventor/expert/artist… would you fantasize have used the platform?
In fact, curation existed well before the Internet: as soon as art work and written texts existed (« content »), people spent effort to discover, organize and share it. Let Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria and founder of the Niniveh library be the first curator!
Ptoleme Soter a famous second, in Alexandria. What’s new is not curation as a concept, it’s its importance in the organization of the web, due to information overload and due to the reign of the robots.
Curators shine because they do a good and necessary job!
And as a consequence, another new aspect of curation arose: its value for business (because businesses need to shine and need a content strategy).
Diderot‘s encyclopedia is a landmark of the Enlightenment period. He essentially did a curator’s work: researching, explaining, organizing knowledge; the encyclopedia ended up having more than 2000 contributors. In a world of information overload, of distributed knowledge and of time pressure, I’m sure he would have appreciated the help of a good platform…
Merci Séverine !
More About Marc :
– Interview France in SF
– Conference Osons La France
About Scoop.it :
Scoop.it fills the need that a growing number of people and businesses have to publish content in an efficient and impacting way. By combining a big data semantic technology that helps them quickly find relevant content with an easy-to-use social publishing platform. By sharing ideas that matter, they not only shine on the Web but also make the Web smarter for everyone. Scoop.it launched to the public in November 2011 and attracted more than 75 million people during its first 18 months.