Le blog de Keyvan Nilforoushan

Anglo-Japanese realities

This is meant as a hit piece on Japan, but it’s unreal how every single sentence applies better to post-brexit UK. Except the part about enjoying peace, prosperity, and highly functioning public infrastructures.

Japan was the future but it’s stuck in the past

N’espérez pas vous débarrasser des villes

We see the world as we are. Trite, but true : no matter our focus of the moment, we will tend to explain everything through that lens.

So unsurprisingly I explain away a lot of what is wrong in the world through the fundamental brokenness of the housing market. And specifically, the fact that we could, but won’t, build nearly enough housing where it matters – creating every incentive for people to spread apart when we know that individuals are happier, and society more productive, when we congregate in denser cities.

I have already written a bit about this. But this piece is clearly better as it quantifies both the supply gap (the wedge between build costs and housing prices that directly measures the cost of restrictions on new buildings), the productivity gap between small and large cities, and how restrictions on new housing development directly drive increases in inequality.

The housing theory of everything – Works in Progress

The story of VaccinateCA – Works in Progress

This is one of the best things I’ve read in a long while. It goes to show what happens when we do not believe that big problems are by definition someone else’s problem, it’s a tale of ownership, of entrepreneurial pragmatism, but also an unbelievably sharp read of what drives some (government) decisions : a sum of totally rational decisions leading to a clearly irrational outcome.

The story of VaccinateCA – Works in Progress

And also a great reminder that “those given gifts must use them on behalf of society”

Pourquoi nous avons créé Virgil

Beaucoup d’entre vous le savent : avec mon associée Saskia Fiszel nous avons lancé Virgil afin d’enlever certains obstacles retardant inutilement l’acquisition de la résidence principale. Convaincus que cela ne sert à rien d’entreprendre sans savoir pourquoi, nous avons rédigé un petit manifeste que j’ai le plaisir de partager ici.


Vous croyez en l’égalité des chances ?


Nous oui. Passionnément. Et c’est pour cela que nous avons créé Virgil.

Si l’on n’a pas eu la chance de grandir dans une maison pleine de livres, ce n’est pas forcément facile de naviguer les études supérieures, choisir les bons stages et débuter une belle carrière. Mais c’est possible. Et parce que c’est possible, à chaque génération certains essayent. Et nombreux sont ceux qui se surprennent à y parvenir.

L’égalité des chances, cela veut dire refuser que certaines portes soient fermées pour les mauvaises raisons. Refuser que quelqu’un soit injustement bloqué sur le seuil.

Pourtant, l’égalité des chances s’arrête au seuil de la résidence principale

Certains deviennent propriétaires très jeunes grâce à un coup de pouce familial. D’autres n’y arrivent jamais. Ils ont beau se priver de sorties, de week-ends et de cappuccinos, ils ne parviennent jamais à réunir les dizaines de milliers d’euros nécessaires, et chaque mois leurs revenus se consument en loyers.

Devenir propriétaire, c’est devenu héréditaire

Pourtant, acheter sa résidence principale, c’est le principal moyen de commencer à constituer un patrimoine. Ce n’est pas de la spéculation, c’est simplement remplacer un loyer par une épargne. C’est se serrer – un peu – la ceinture aujourd’hui, pour être à l’aise demain.

Le principal intérêt d’être propriétaire, c’est de ne plus payer un loyer. Le principal frein à devenir propriétaire, c’est de payer un loyer. En d’autre mots, il faut déjà avoir de l’épargne pour avoir le droit d’épargner. Cela n’a aucun sens.

Il n’y a pas d’égalité des chances sans égalité des choix. Mais un choix qui n’est offert qu’à une minorité, cela s’appelle un privilège. Et nous aimons bien les abolir.

C’est pour cela que nous avons lancé Virgil.

Nous croyons en l’égalité des chances.

Nous pouvons changer la trajectoire de toute une génération.

Nous allons éviter à une génération entière de rester à la porte.

Nous sommes Virgil. Et nous allons briser le plafond de pierre.

As one, still.


As many of you, it is with great sadness that I’ve heard the news about the British vote. The sad reality of human endeavors is that it takes mere minutes to unravel the work of several generations.

onefinestay in Paris would be nothing without our British – and more generally foreign – members of the team. Not only have they been a cornerstone of our common achievement, they’re the reason we smile every morning when we come to the office and hear the sheer musicality of different voices speaking in different langages, they’re why we approach every problem open to the idea that a different history might enrich us with a different perspective. They’ve made each of us better, and will continue to do so. This is the true wealth of the Indies.

I’m sad, but not concerned.

Europe is not a treaty. It’s not a parliament, and it’s not a set of institutions. These are just visible trappings of an idea that predates us and will outlive every single one of us, the idea that every layer of superficiality and falsehood we peel away brings us closer to Man, not as he is, but as he ought to be – United. And Europe is nothing but a first step in that journey.

In the admittedly better words of Saint-Exupéry, “He who is different from me does not impoverish me – he enriches me. Our unity is constituted in something higher than ourselves – in Man… For no man seeks to hear his own echo, or to find his reflection in the glass.”

We build Europe every-time a French student hops on a train for an Erasmus year abroad – and either stays there forever or comes back with wider eyes and a bigger heart. We build Europe every time someone graduates in London and thinks that, just maybe, Paris would be a great place to learn more than a foreign langage. We build Europe when a cross-border wedding leads to kids without borders, learning two langages well enough to realize that langage doesn’t matter. We build Europe in the pub when 10 Frenchies instantly switch to English just because a foreign colleague joins. We build Europe every time someone starts working in our Paris office and decides to continue their onefinestay journey in Rome.

We build Europe by our example, by what we do, and make it a little stronger every day in the hearts of the people we meet. And we will continue to do exactly that, because no vote in the world can take that identity away from us.


(PS: The words above are not an official statement. This is just me.)

The Map that never was

The Map that never was

Harry Beck’s 1951 Paris Metro Map (from Intelligent Life)

The tipping point

The tipping point


This past Saturday, an entire apartment building in Shanghai collapsed. […]

Sounds like there was a problem with some nearby flood prevention walls at the Dianpu River, but there’s no hard evidence as to why this huge building simply fell over.


(Via: Everything you can imagine is real.)

Of Mice and Entrepreneurs

Peut-être la souris la plus déterminée du monde (via Kottke)

Entreprises gigognes

On dirait que quelqu’un qui s’est amusé en structurant les relations intra-groupes:

Tarrant Capital Advisors is the sole shareholder of Tarrant Advisors, Inc., a Texas corporation, which is the general partner of TPG Ventures Professionals, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, which is the general partner of TPG Ventures Partners, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, which is the managing member of TPG Ventures Holdings, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, which is the sole member of TPG Ventures Advisors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, which is the general partner of TPG Ventures GenPar, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, which in turn is the general partner of TPG Ventures, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership (the “TPG Fund”), which directly owns the shares of Common Stock of the Issuer reported herein.

Source : Naked Capitalism 



Hilarious as it may be, [Inspector General of Police Bhaskar Rao] has been corresponding with himself for the last 26 days as an officer wearing different hats. 

“I have to do my work and there has to be consistency in correspondence. There are times when I have to dictate a stern letter to myself beca­use of the delay in res­ponse from myself fr­om the other office,” 

The trees of Chernobyl

Vue en coupe des arbres de Tchernobyl

Let’s guess when it happened.

The trees of Chernobyl.

Le Flâneur on Vimeo

Le Flâneur on Vimeo on Vimeo

viaLe Flâneur on Vimeo.

Volkswagen Sphere

Pretty fascinating piece of art (via

Volkswagen Beetle compacted in a sphere

Quite an angry critter

Not your usual feline fix.


A time for decisions?

A time for decisions?

Paris, now and then

I can’t embed this, but it is really worth the click: photos of the same places in Paris taken in 1900 and 2013, with a slider going from one to the other:

Paris 1900-2013 en photos : pilotez notre fabuleuse machine à remonter le temps | Rue89 Culture.

Skittles Sorting Machine

Pretty much self-explanatory…

Skittles Sorting Machine 2 – YouTube.

Is Amazon a charitable organization?

This is absolutely great business irony:

That’s because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. The shareholders put up the equity, and instead of owning a claim on a steady stream of fat profits, they get a claim on a mighty engine of consumer surplus. Amazon sells things to people at prices that seem impossible because it actually is impossible to make money that way. And the competitive pressure of needing to square off against Amazon cuts profit margins at other companies, thus benefiting people who don’t even buy anything from Amazon.

viaAmazon Q4 profits fall 45 percent..

Derniers voeux de l’année?



Voici donc à nouveau la saison des voeux.

Avec l’étrange soulagement du retardataire qui s’aperçoit qu’il ne sera pas en fait le dernier arrivé, j’espère que ces voeux bien tardifs signaleront peut-être le crépuscule mais pas pour autant la fin de la saison festive.

Le sapin n’est déjà qu’on lointain souvenir, le petit sourire né avec le premier flocon est reparti avec la dernière averse, et nous sommes désormais fermement installés dans cette partie de l’hiver qui ressemble furieusement à un automne sans fin. L’année passée est finie – notre terrible voyage achevé – mais la suivante semble avoir commencé plus tôt que prévu.

Bref: il est grand temps de rallumer les étoiles – en quelques mots que j’espère plus poétiques que kilométriques.

Je vous souhaite donc une année sans demi-mesure, de joie et de bonheur, d’espérance et d’insouciance, de santé et d’accomplissements. Beaucoup d’enthousiasme aussi, et tout autant d’innocence. Je nous souhaite avant tout, si d’aventure nous venions à croiser l’enfant que nous avons été un jour, qu’il veuille bien nous honorer encore de son amitié.

Et la chanson continue, belle.

* J’ai omis les marques de citation pour ne pas alourdir le texte, mais j’ai librement emprunté à Blake, Whitman, Apollinaire, Whyte et Rilke. En espérant qu’ils ne m’en voudront pas trop!

Ukraine’s got talent (too)

Well worth the watch.


Kseniya Simonova – Sand Animation (Україна має талант / Ukraine’s Got Talent) – YouTube.

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