Lesson from a bakery

On the 30th of August, 2019, I received a message from Louis, a baker based in Dijon, the capital of Burgundy.

In his email, he mentioned his mindset, his ambition, his will to scale and grow his business! Surprising, touching, intriguing.

Ibanfirst, our discreet portfolio company despite its impressive results, has its engineering team based in Dijon. With Pierre-Antoine, the CEO, we went there a couple of weeks ago to meet with them, and have diner with Louis Tortochot and his wife the evening before.

Amusing part of the story… when Louis and I started our thread few months ago and until very recently, I didn't know that he was participating in a national tv contest and would be soon rewarded with the title of French best bakery.

We discussed about many things in regards to the expansion of his business during that diner. But one question was still unanswered : where did his ambition come from?

A couple of years ago, he reached out to a successful entrepreneur based in Dijon. After a couple of genuine conversations, this person invited Louis and his wife to fly over to Newport Beach where he would meet with even more successful entrepreneurs. There he learnt the meaning of ambition, that most boundaries are the ones we set for ourselves rather than just constraints from the world.

After this inspirational trip, he came back to France with the will to build something bigger than a local bakery.

Louis has all the qualities from our best entrepreneurs: he is obsessed, he works hard, he never stops learning, he experiments a lot, he takes risk, and also take some radical decisions.

But more importantly, he's rationally limitless. Louis is an incredible example to follow, an entrepreneur at heart who pursued his ambition, reached out to people with the right approach, and traveled abroad to open his mind.

We encourage often our portfolio entrepreneurs to fly over to San Francisco to breath the fresh air of peer pressure and ambition. They are sometimes reluctant to do so…

Afraid to be far from the team? learn to be present while absent. Detect operational or team discrepancies thanks to your absence.

It's not going to be a game changer? You don't know what you don't know. Don't draw conclusions so fast, very very very few people regret that trip, or often it's because they didn't engage properly with the local ecosystem.

As for Louis, regardless if he builds something big or not, he made me realise that ambition is within reach of all people, and that it’s mostly tied to the limits we set or think exist.