I lived for more than 10 years in Normandy, where the D-Day happened on June 6th 1944. All my youth, we would go to the beaches where one of the most terrifying and pivotal fight of all times happened.
Even as a kid, you can’tignore what happened. It’s still very much present everywhere. See that photo of what’s left today of the artificial harbor that the Allies forces had to build in Arromanches. As you walk on the beaches, you still see bunkers where soldiers were positioned to defend access to the land.
My grand fathers fought that war. It was very real for me. I remember talking to them about it. It felt it wasn’t so long ago and i know it impacted our family tremendously in many ways.
Now that I have a son, I’m wondering what he will think of that conflict, that happened almost one century ago for him. Of course, there are plenty of movies, museums, and books about it. But to him, it will probably feel like those battles that happened at the end of the 19th century feel to me. Distant and from another world.
As a father, I think it will be my role to explain to him what happened and the sacrifice that so many people, who had nothing to do with France, made on June 6th 1944. Those men and women without whom our country wouldn’t be what it is today. Those men and women that we should never forget, whom we should always honor, and be eternally grateful.
It is even possible that he meets one of their descendants. I’d be so proud if he thanks them when that occurs.
This morning, I was listening to Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French prime minister, speaking at the Assembly. Note that I don’t care if he’s from the left or the right. I look at him as a leader for France.
He gave his speech, and I just realized one thing: we don’t need politicians, we need entrepeneurs.
1- An entrepeneur is accountable for every action they take. It fails. It succeeds. But at the end of the day, they’re responsible for it. They accept failure as long as they learn. And they’re humble in success as they know it’s probably short term before the next storm comes up. If the entrepreneur doesn’t succeed, they have to go. There is no period of time where they protected. Politicians are not accountable. They just try to survive for the number of years they are in power. It’s rare to see a prime minister fired these days. And they never, ever, accept failure.
2- Entrepreneurs know they have to try many different things. And they do. That’s because they can accept failures, and they know failures can be turned into success. Politicians, because of 1/, always try to take the approach of the hail mary, which results in no progress.
3- Entrepeneurs don’t blame others. You’re dealt with a situation. It doesn’t matter that much why something happened, you have to deal with the situation, and focus your effort on improving it, learning from it, and move on. Ayrault this morning spent most of his time blaming the previous government. If you do that as a CEO, you’re fired. You have that job because people think you can improve things. Blaming others is already a way to find excuses for not delivering what you’re supposed to.
4- Entrepreneurs don’t lie to their employees. If you do, they won’t trust you and that’s just the end. When I hire people, I always tell them it’s going to be avery bumpy road with high risks and zero guarantees (if they join, you know they’re motivated!). We always set expectations lower. Politicians, mainly because they need to be elected and most people just want to believe anything they’re being told, spend most of their time lying. Vote for me and you will never see A, B or C.
5- Entrepeneurs delegate. The role of an entrepeneur is to hire the right people and let them do their thing. They want as little control on top, and as much independence at the bottom to let people innovate. Politicians want the opposite. Control at the top. It is even more true with folks who are in favor of high state intervention.
6- Entrepreneurs believe in meritocracy. Politicians believe in votes. One will always try to do the right thing for the society and the people involved, the other will do what’s right for them personally.
This would never happen because we have politicians, who believe more in old fashion ideas than concrete actions, but imagine if we could have a prime minister (or minister of economy) in France that says:
- Ouch, that crisis is huge. We’re going to have to go through very tough times. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s everywhere in the world. We have to deal with it.
- The solution is to make sure everybody has a job – job creation and work is the top priority
- As a result, we’re going to make sure France creates 500,000 new companies in the next 3 years, and become the center of innovation of Europe.
- To do this, we’ll make it super easy to
a) invest in France – we’re calling to all worldwide investors to spend their money in France, 0% tax for investments > $250K per company. => this is where the president will spend his time, campaigning investors to put their money in France.
b) create your company – 15 minutes online form to create a company and close it. => this is the #1 prio for the administration.
c) hire people – 10% employer tax only
d) allow universities to invest in projects to turn them into companies, make money and reinvest it to offer better education to our children.
e) allow folks subject to the 75% tax over $1M to invest that money in early stage companies instead of paying tax
f) give companies tax credits (to the equivalent of 6 months of unemployement that would have been received by the employee) if they hire folks who have been unemployed for more than 1 year and keep them in the job for at least 1 year.
- I don’t know if this will succeed, but it’s worth trying. We should have created 50,000 companies in year 1. 250,000 in year 2. 500,000 total in year 3. If i don’t reach those goals, you can vote me out.
I love France. It’s the country where I’m born, and I’m extremely proud of many of the values it carries. At the same time, in the past months, I’m very sad to see what I think paves the way for a huge catastrophy if not the biggest collapse of modern times. I don’t think France will still be able to afford its way of life within the next 10 years.
In France, in the past 20 years 80% of the jobs created were created by “PME”, small and medium businesses. Not the big national companies. Small and dynamic companies, created by entrepreneurs who thought they could change the world.
So in a world where employment is the key to everything (btw, when someone has a job, they can have a family, a house, a decent life, and as a result, spend less time thinking how they can make a bomb to blast a school), why wouldn’t you try as hard as possible to get every single person to create their own business, and create jobs? France is doing the exact opposite. Making it as hard as possible for everyone to create a business, grow it, and make money to reinvest in other businesses.
The latest of all, a new taxes for capital gain at the incredible rate of 60% (instead of the current 32.5%). Yes. 60%. So basically, as an entrepreneur, you put all you have in your business, your savings and everything, and if you’re one of the 10 who don’t lose everything, you then have to give 60% of what you’re going to make to the government. This is even before the ISF, which basically takes over 1% every year of your capital and also different from a new tax of 75% over $1M.
France is sending a clear signal: don’t try to start a business and be successful. We won’t let you do that. But stay at home and jobless and we’ll help you.
Worse, it also sends a very clear message to investors: “don’t invest in France, we don’t want your money to pay for jobs”. Why would someone take huge risks to invest in a startup if it is to give away more than half of the potential gains. This new tax doubles the risk taken by investors. We didn’t really need that. We need more investors. Why not make it super easy and profitable for them to invest?
At this rate, we’ll see less and less PME and less and less jobs. We’ll also see less and less wealthy investors invest in companies based in France. This will translate directly in less jobs, more jobless people, less taxes revenues, and that’s when things get nasty.
This is not about being from the right or left wing. This is about being for jobs.