Stephan Dietrich, VP Adobe Campaign, ex-Neolane


Stephan Dietrich is a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in the high tech industry and an exceptional track record growing start-ups from the ground up, all the way to successful exits.

Founder of Neolane in 2001, President North America, Stephan was responsible for driving Neolane’s corporate vision, international business development and its high growth in North America.

In 2013, with revenues in excess of $60M and 400 employees, Neolane was acquired by Adobe Systems for $600M. Prior to Neolane, Stephan was Founder and CEO of CubicSoft and also co-founder and VP of AGDS, acquired by Peregrine Systems, now HP.

Stephan is a recognized thought leader and a Digital Marketing expert. He is regularly interviewed in high-level publications and has spoken at several major worldwide marketing events.

Stephan holds a Master of Science degree from École Centrale de Paris and earned his Master in Business Administration from the College des Ingenieurs.

For an entrepreneur, an exit is rare and then always a wonderful happy ending…

That validates his or her value creation and in other words that means that his or her value proposition, vision and execution were correct and are finally rewarded by the market…

As if Mr Market were saying to him / her :

You did it… CONGRATS !!! You deserve it… You did a great job !

That is what happened to Neolane co-founders when they sold out to Adobe, the US giant, for $600 millions (x10 their turnover) in June 2013.

When such an event happens, that strikes all the actors of the ecosystem, providing to everyone a great doze of energy, trust and hope !

As if Mr Market were saying to all the entrepreneurs :

You see, it is possible… So keep on believing… Keep on pushing hard ! That might be you and your team… one day !

The French Web / Business community was truly tromatized by the missed acquisition of Dailymotion by Yahoo in May 2013 due to the interference of the French Government… So when about 1 month later Neolane managed to secure the deal until the very end, I remember that was perceived by everyone as a wonderful achievement!

And it is now part of the collective memory and heritage that any young entrepreneur should be aware of and use as a source of inspiration, exactely as Business Objects or Criteo IPOs.

The #LFTConf was organised in New-York (and by the way was a GREAT success, CONGRATS to all the organizers, speakers, participants and supporters) but as far as Stephan is concerned is all about BOSTON where he lives and set up Neolane‘s operations since 2007.



Then, Stephan belongs to those very rare Frenchies who are leading a giant US firm and when he goes through a Frenchy questionnaire, it is [highlight]full of learning and inspiration[/highlight] for all of us, so we thank him a thousand times and it looks like this !


Frenchy : Your favorite word ?
Stephan : Monomoy

A magic word describing my favorite kite-surfing spot, south of Cape Cod, where I ride with my son.

Frenchy : What would you change if you had a magic wand ?
Stephan : Inspire positivism in France…

Frenchy : What is your favorite quote ?
Stephan : 

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Hockey Hall of Famer, Wayne Gretzky.

Action trumps everything. You cannot succeed if you do not try.

There is a great talent but they are not enough entrepreneurs in France

Act. Learn. Improve. Repeat…

Frenchy : What could seduce you immediately ?
Stephan : Serena van der Woodsen 😉

A kitesurfing spot with 6 foot waves and a steady 20 knots wind.

Frenchy : What is, according to you, the secret of happiness ?
Stephan : 

A happy wife! (happy life) 😉

Seize the day with a perfect work/family/extreme sports balance

Frenchy : If you were a dessert ?
Stephan : Mille-Feuille

It has many of my attributes !

Sophisticated: hard to pronounce, difficult to make, an art to eat/master properly ;

Multi-layered with soft and hard pastry layers. Rich in flavors ;

International but still so French ;

Also called a Napoleon, one of the greatest French person!

Frenchy : What in your day to day life remains so French/American ?
Stephan :

So French: Going to the Café Vanille bakery in Duxbury and buying an Opera, my favorite dessert

So American: Filling the tank of my Q7 one day, then driving my Tesla to work another day…(extreme ends of the spectrum)

Frenchy : What do you enjoy the most in the US/FR way of life ?
Stephan :

US: The American Dream. It exists, I have met it and I am living it! Everything is possible with talent and hard work in the USA

French: Dining at the terrasse of a Café in Paris at 9:00pm in the Summer

Frenchy : One thing where American/French people are particularly good at that you would like to develop yourself ?
Stephan :

American people: Marketing and selling themselves in a positive way!

French people: Cooking!

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 ?
Stephan : Through education and success stories from the very early days of parenting and at school.

Recognizing failure as a learning experience and stepping stone for future success. Illustrating this with failure/success stories.

Frenchy : What is it to be a French guy in the US? Could you tell us a specific anecdote that happened to you ?
Stephan : Better than the other way around 😉

Frenchy : Who are the 3 entrepreneurs who most inspire you ?
Stephan :

Elon Musk (Tesla, Paypal, SolarCity, SpaceX, Hyperloop)
Richard Branson (Virgin, Necker Island, Kitesurf and extreme sports)
Steve Jobs (Apple…NeXt…Apple)

Frenchy : The 3 most promising French/US start-ups, top of your head ?
Stephan :


Frenchy : According to you, what is the French touch ?
Stephan : The 3F’s: Fashion, Food, Fragrance, what France is really known and recognized for internationally.

I am working on the 4F’s with “Foftware” 😉


Merci Stephan !


More About Stephan :

Forbes Article

JDN Article

Crunchbase Profile


About Adobe Campaign :

Marketers now have an intuitive, automated way to deliver one-to-one messages across online and offline marketing channels. New Adobe Campaign, formerly Neolane, lets you orchestrate personalized experiences determined by the customer’s habits and preferences. Finally, a solution that helps you know what customers want even before they do.

Adobe Campaign is on Twitter.




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