3 Minutes to read
Alexandre Dana, founder & CEO of LiveMentor
Learning Inspiration 🌈 #50
Alexandre Dana is the founder and CEO of LiveMentor, an online entrepreneurship training startup. Alexandre started in education at the age of eighteen, first giving private in-person lessons to high school dropouts and students from preparatory schools and universities before transitioning to online lessons. Since 2016, LiveMentor has provided individual support for entrepreneurs and currently employs around one hundred people.
Who is your biggest source of inspiration?
My sources of inspiration change based on my difficulties and issues. I try to find the best person in a given field for each new problem who understands. And, I consume all the literature possible about it.
This year my main problem was to increase productivity while improving our service quality. I looked for a work organization methodology suited to the business I want to build. I came across Régis Medina, who introduced me to Toyota’s Lean Deployment, a strategy for organizing work and learning methods. Over the past ten years, large companies like Pixar and Amazon to French startups such as Qonto and Theodo have implemented it.
How do you keep learning on a daily basis? What are your learning routines?
First, I identify my urgent problems. Otherwise, I can’t find the motivation to learn. For example, I am thirty-two years old and don’t have a driver’s license. I never had the urgent need to drive until this year. Lockdowns and restrictions have made it essential to drive to be able to move around more easily. Today I’m doing everything to get my driver’s license ASAP.
Then, I find a source of information, a person familiar with this issue, who helps me go more in-depth.
Finally, I focus on knowledge assimilation, which involves consulting, reading, and ingesting all possible knowledge. Most importantly, I put what I learn into practice because all knowledge not applied is knowledge forgotten.
What are your favorite books and why? 📚
I love biographies such as those about Fernand de Magellan, Stefan Zweig, and Marie Antoinette. Biographies made me want to write about others’ life journeys. This is what I do with LiveMentor’s Odyssey, the magazine that tells the stories of self-employed people.
What is your favorite podcast, and why? 🎧
I listen to many French podcasts. I love this format.
- GDIY by Matt Stefani
- Crackopolis by Arte is an exceptional podcast on crack consumption.
- Le Gratin by Pauline Laigneau
- Au Coeur de L’Hisoire by Jean des Cars
What are your favorite articles that you have read recently?
“Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” by Gay Talese: A long time ago, this American journalist wrote Frank Sinatra’s biography. Gay Talese impacted the history of journalism because he created a new trend called New Journalism where the journalist “immersed themselves in the story as they reported and wrote,” very innovative for the time.
“The Pitchman” by Malcolm Gladwell: An exceptional article about the story of a family who created home shopping in the US. This article teaches you about determination, selling, and the ability to build an audience. Gladwell explains how he wrote this article in this Masterclass.
“1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly: He clearly explains how the internet makes it possible to generate income from any activity as you have a thousand real fans.
What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome this year, and how did you do it?
My biggest challenge was introducing my team to a new learning process, to create a collective learning dynamic around me. I was blown away by my product and engineering teams’ determination and involvement with adopting lean deployment. I heard when a leader brings something from the outside to the employees, often, it leads to a problematic situation. They give everyone a book that nobody cares about or reads.
Whereas for me, it was the opposite. A manager on one of my teams started buying more books on lean deployment, another person took training, and another joined a learning community. It was exceptional to be part of this dynamic learning group. Mainly, I think this happened because they are deeply curious.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell the 18 or 25-year-old version of yourself?
I would tell myself to start scheduling learning moments earlier in life. I was working non-stop, so I quit reading books and forgot that the brain is a muscle and you have to train it all the time.
If you were stuck alone on an island and allowed to bring one item, what would it be?
A computer. There is so much knowledge on the internet. It would be hard to go without it. I subscribe to five newsletters that I devour each week. They are very dense, but I would not want to stop receiving them.
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