Le blog de Keyvan Nilforoushan

Identify your controls

One of Andy Grove’s strongest concepts (from High Output Management) is that of task-relevant maturity. Specifically, that for a manager being hands-on is neither better nor worse, in general, than being always hands-off.

Managers stumble when they are stuck in a mode and can’t adapt ; usually that manifests when they start being really hands-on and can’t grow beyond it when their scope of control grows beyond their technical expertise, or just beyond their available time. Managees stumble when they don’t understand why their manager suddenly becomes hands-on. They feel adversely micro-managed and don’t realize they are growing into a new realm of know-how.

I’ve found however that the advice for the manager to adapt to the task-relevant maturity of the person being managed is not enough. The better advice is to always communicate about exactly how close or how far they intend to remain.

Ways of doing that are excellently summarized here :

Identify your controls. | Irrational Exuberance

Working with the door open

“I noticed the following facts about people who work with the door open or the door closed. I notice that if you have the door to your office closed, you get more work done today and tomorrow, and you are more productive than most. But 10 years later somehow you don’t know quite know what problems are worth working on; all the hard work you do is sort of tangential in importance. He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important.”

You and Your Research

Why don’t airlines hedge fuel prices ?

A lot has been said about how Southwest got a significant edge in 2008 because it had hedged 70% of its fuel costs. It would seem the most natural thing for airlines to hedge against fuel price variations – which are, after all, the biggest contributor to their costs … and the one they have the least control over.

And yet. By and large, they don’t.

Turns out, in an ultra concentrated market with well-defined routes and a mutual interest in not encroaching on a competitor’s trade routes (to avoid mutually assured margin destruction) it’s quite ok to let customers absorb whatever the fuel markets will do.

Loved this counter-intuitive piece explaining it all How Airlines Explain the Economy – by Byrne Hobart

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.

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