December 03 2013, by Alexandre Dreyfus
Blog : Alex Dreyfus : 18 years of risks and choices to assume (part1)
Tomorrow, the 4th of December 2013 is my 18th anniversary of a very special day. 18 years ago was the first day of a long journey, and probably the first risk I ever took in my life; Sounds look time ago, but sometimes It feel it was yesterday. It was a Monday, the 4th of December 1995, I did wrote a resignation letter and I did bring it to the principal of the high-school “Jean Perrin” in Lyon. A resignation ? Yes, I wanted to quit this environment, the school, that I thought was not made for me, that was not fulfilling my needs, my ambition, my dreams. While most of my schoolmates wanted to finish this last year of high-school to get the Baccalaureat, the ultimate Pass to another school that are supposed to train you to get a job. I wanted a shortcut, a fast-pass. Story of my life. I was born premature and this gift or curse did followed me all my life. I want everything and now. I’m impatient. Sometimes its a virtue, sometimes not.
Is quitting failing ?
This idea of quitting school didn’t came the week-end before, it was actually a 2 years process. I remember, that I wanted to quit school when I was 16yo, which is the legal age where you can. One problem, you need the authorization of your parents, which obviously they didn’t gave me. I started to check what would be the process to be emancipate, legally. Becoming an adult, before my 18. (i’m 36 and still not an adult, though) It didn’t work out, didn’t worth it I guess. Inside me I knew that what’s I wanted and I knew what I wanted to achieve. We are in 1993 and I already started to work on some projects for the school on CD-ROM and creating some business plan about how to create the Apple Expo, online (? what is online …). I always wanted to use the technology to provide innovation and services to the people. That’s how I started, one of my biggest baby : Cybergone (that became Webcity in 1999), the first internet city guide in Europe, started in my room, with 2 computers. People like me, I meant geeks like me, used a Modem with a Mac or a PC (speed of 14.4k to 19.6k) to connect to another modem in my room, gently provided by my father. Then my server, a BBS (Bulletin Board System), was delivering images (including porn of course), forum, emails, etc .. 🙂 I was provider of emails at that time … putain, in 1994. Long time ago. So many stories, so many anecdotes to share. It will come as a later stage.
1st November 1995, I became 18yo, I became an adult. Well, kind of. I didn’t have a girlfriend at that time. My focus was somewhere else, i wanted to build. I’m a builder. Like an explorer, I like to go where others doesn’t. I like to think that I’m right and prove others wrong. I like to start something from scratch and find out how to make it happening. At the end, when I review my last 18 years or work, I cannot say that I have been successful or unsuccessful, I have been lucky. Lucky to do what I want in life and enjoying it. I can’t say I have a goal, i had so many lives already. More than anybody would ever dream of. I have no right to complain, ever, of my situation (doesn’t mean I don’t). Am I unique ? no. Am I different, yes. All these differences, that makes entrepreneurs like me needed in this world. We are millions, but we feel we are unique. Like Love, each story is different, even if they can have the same pattern.
Our gift is our ability to take a risk and to accept it. I learnt, many times – both personal and professionally – that the worst of the scenario is to not take a decision. There is no good or bad decision, there is only risks that you accept to take, and live with it. This 4th of December 1995, I took a decision that I will never regret. That changed my life and the life of hundreds of people. My best friend at that time, Xavier, who is now the father of my godson, was there with me this day. He is still my closest friend. I gave this resignation letter to the principal, arguing that I was quitting school not because “I was afraid of the exams but because I want to undertake”. My friend still does have the copy of the original letter, it was a clear statement, or should I say a Status that I was claiming. Was I scared ? no, I was freed. My potential, or the one I believed to have, was going to be explored. My parents didn’t approved at the beginning, I’m not sure, but I think my mother slapped me when I came home to told her that I left school. It was deserved 🙂 The day after, they were full support behind me, even if they never understood what I was doing (and still don’t).
Everything is about choices, everything is about risks to take, everything is about what you believe,
Today, I’m at the eve of a lot of significants decisions to take in my life,
Today remind me that the 4th of December 1995 was my last day at school, and that since, i’m learning every day.
ps : sorry if my English is not easy to read, I’m French after all 😉 I’ll try to continue to share some of my stories of an entrepreneur, when I feel it.
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