Dealing with money as a couple

Most people have a complicated relationship with money. Now, add one more person into the mix and... boom, enjoy the show. Money within couples tend to exacerbate many trends and behaviors. I'm building a life with Mathilde for more than 18 years -we've met when we were 17 years old- so we spent our fair amount of time dealing with the topic, taming it, ultimately mastering it according to who we are, what and how we want to build our family.

Unknown, ‘View of the Bank's printing room in 1854 as featured in the Illustrated London News’, Britannia Quarterly, 1980, Bank of England Archive: PW1/31

Assorted links from week21, 2024

💬 since I started tracking my screentime a long time ago, I know for a fact chat-based apps are taking more and more of my time. So when Sriram wrote about how group chats rule the world, I did agree with many of his thoughts.

Most of the interesting conversations in tech now happen in private group chats: Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, small invite-only Discord groups. Being part of the right group chat can feel like having a peek at the kitchen of a restaurant but instead of food, messy ideas and gossip fly about in real time, get mixed, remixed, discarded, polished before they show up in a prepared fashion in public.

Salons and groups have always existed but why the recent shift to private discourse?

Assorted links from week20, 2024

🇫🇷 if you’re in Paris -two interesting events are coming this week 👇

  • on wednesday evening at 48 Collagen Café is Fashion Conversations dinner -more info and RSVP here. ​The Fashion Conversations think tank was created in 2019 to foster authentic relations among fashion professionals who are pushing the boundaries for our industry. The community includes founders and leaders discussing new models and solution-driven technology building the future of fashion.

  • on sunday for a brunch with 2 very special people, Jenni and Patricia. The topic couldn’t be closer to my heart. I wish I could be there -more info and RSVP here. Patricia wrote about it here as well: a sense of place.

🪩 the question asked by Emily on GQ was utterly interesting: why members-only clubs are everywhere right now? I think that one below could sum up everything:

And will the prospective members find sex, connection, and community all under the guise of private networking?

Artwork courtesy of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A few observations after one week in Lisbon

I spent a whole week in Lisbon, Portugal last month. I was with Mathilde and both our kids -we celebrated their 5 and 3 year-old birthdays over there- they were psyched. We stayed with very close friends who live in Lisbon for many, many years. We have a special connection with the city. We visited for the first time in 2016 and fell in love right away. We then decided to move permanently and settled during the summer of 2018. We finally left a bit more than 3 years later, at the end of 2021. Both our kids are born in the city. Our oldest used to go to a local kindergarten, his first words were in portuguese. We came back to Lisbon during the summer of 2022 and both our kids went to this kindergarten for 2 months. We enjoyed a unique relationship with our neighbours -local teachers and actors- and got lucky enough to call our neighborhood -Penha de França- home for a little while.

I've been a vocal advocate for Lisbon for a while. I remember enthusiastically attracting many people to the city. Unfortunately I grew disappointed. What I saw last month confirmed my fears. So in the spirit of my post following my latest US trip, below are a few observations in no particular order. Needless to add: all of the below is heavily biased, non-complete and subjective.

Assorted links from week19, 2024

👯 Some tenets of the ‘friendship theory of everything’ Ava highlighted really resonated:

  1. You accept that in choosing who you spend time with you choose who you are.

  2. Almost everyone who’s unhappy is unhappy because they feel isolated. The best cure for isolation is a strong friend group. So much of happiness is having someone you can get a last-minute dinner with on a Monday night, or ask to water your plants while you’re gone for a week. The opposite of loneliness, as it were.

🍪 I got lucky enough to get a sneak preview on the draft of this post. Itay went through points truly close to my heart. It made me remember an old debate at home when I was a kid: if we should get an ‘all-in-one’ TV-VHS combo or not -we decided we shouldn’t. Designing for a single purpose.

Owner Vera Van Stapele with fresh-baked cookies

Thoughts on the post-individual

I read The Post-Individual essay yesterday; written by the writer and entrepreneur Yancey Strickler -today behind Metalabel, before that behind Kickstarter. I highly recommend it. It goes back in history and the creation of the individualism. Here are the first 3 paragraphs:

On the internet we can be whoever we want to be. We can choose from any number of qualities, real or imagined, and express ourselves and live our lives from that point of view online.

To go online is to become re-individualized — an individual in a whole new way and place. You still exist in the physical world, but you gain a new social existence that floats over-top of, around, inside of, and as a force within almost all other areas of life.

Because of the internet we don’t need to define our identity based on where we physically live, who we’re born to, or what we look like, as has been the case in human history until now.

Assorted links from week18, 2024

🇪🇺 Andreas post is a kinda perfect follow up for my US observations above: Dear Europe, please wake up – eu/acc. I share his feeling below:

Europe is special to me as I consider myself a proud European, but damn we need to talk.

I am equally extremely bull-ish on Europe and equally extremely bear-ish.

🚴 like Taylor, I bike everyday, under any weather -kids included- so taking this as an example for his comfort ≠ happiness made me smile: Any sacrifice for comfort is a waste.

Public Domain: Roman Odintsov/Pexels

A few observations following my latest US trip

I spent 2 weeks in the US last month -first in NYC and then in SF. I've been surprised by a few things. In no particular order:

🌎 immigrants are everywhere. Like somewhere else you can meet them in low-status jobs but unlike somewhere else you also meet them at every other layer of the society -all the way to the top; and whatever that 'top' would mean exactly, you'll meet immigrants there. This is so empowering. I remember the story of a brown couple living in Paris for 15 years, they loved the city and their lives over there but when their kids were teenagers they realised that the only examples for them of people with the same color skin were in the kebab restaurants so they left. They now live in Boston. Their kids can still meet people with the same color skin in local restaurants of course, but also as researchers, big company manager, startup CEO, politicians, journalists, you name it.

Portals of the Past from the San Francisco Chronicle

Analog activities and their impact on happiness

When do I feel the happiest? I'm actually not sure 'happy' is the right word here. Maybe it's closer to 'feeling at peace', 'feeling complete', 'whole', a deep sense of 'calm and serenity'. I still choose 'happy' because there is a layer of joy, adrenaline sometimes, a genuine feeling of fulfillment.

Going back to the question itself, well, the straight-forward and instinctive answer is: playing with my kids, alone time with Mathilde, deep discussions with people -sometimes animated but not necessarily, building stuff -which might imply deep and animated talks with my co-founders, exploring outside, skateboarding, boxing, distraction-free reading -good coffee not optional. I could go on for hours. Typical example being: I hate running -the activity itself- but I would 100% put 'running with Mathilde' up there in the list of moments where I feel the happiest. I don't golf but again, I would 100% put all the mornings I spent with my grand-father 20 years ago on a golf court up there in the list. I'm not a foodie but again, well, you get the point.

Photography by Alisha Jucevic | For The Times