An ode to friendship

I had a fantastic sit down dinner with my best friends to celebrate my 35th birthday this Tuesday. It was attended by my very best friends from childhood, McKinsey, OLX and my dad who flew from Nice for the day just for the event!

I was touched by their presence and took the opportunity to express how much their friendship means to me.

The longer video is great as well.

Dad, William, Bryan, Jeremy, Yael, Dan, Avery, Simon, Ariel, Sophie: thanks again for the fantastic evening. I love you all and look forward to continuing to see as much of you as I can!

35: Reflection on the Passage of Time

As I look back on the past 35 years, the overwhelming feeling that shines through is one of immense gratitude. I am grateful for the opportunities provided to me by virtue of being born in the West to great parents. I am grateful to be living in such an amazing age of technical wonder and opportunity. We not only live better than anyone in the history of humanity before us, but have incredible opportunities to pursue our dreams whatever they may be! I am grateful to my amazing friends who have always been there for me in time of need, to my doggies who shower me with so much unconditional love and to lady luck who has allowed me to lead such a healthy and prosperous life!

From such a solid foundation, I confidently embark on this next chapter of my life. I am looking forward to so many things! I want to go to a jungle survival training camp. I want to play in the World Series of Poker. I want to travel the world – climb the Kilimanjaro and the Machu Picchu, go on a Safari in Botswana, explore the Amazon, raft near Victoria Falls, adventure travel through New Zealand and Australia and so much more! I can’t wait to see where OLX will take me. It is still early in the lifecycle of that company and I still feel it has the potential to be huge! Beyond that, who knows where life will lead me – venture capital, philanthropy, public policy? Time will tell. I just hope it will be fun and interesting!

More importantly, the passage of time has taught me to cherish the present. I used to look down at the artificiality of birthdays or New Years which only marked one revolution around the sun from an artificially selected point, but no longer. We humans are quintessentially social animals and if such artificial dates help provide excuses for bonding, commemorating our friendships and the ties that bind us together, then all the better! If there was one thing I could fundamentally change in my life it would be to spend more time with the people who are dearest to me. I did not realize how good we had it when we all lived together in New York with no obligations and seemingly infinite free time to remake the world through our conversations. Today our lives and obligations have taken us afar – Bryan in Minnesota, Amanda in DC, Einat in Israel, my brother Olivier in Sao Paulo, Fulvio in Nice – and even with those who have stayed behind (Dan, Niro, Breo, Steph) the obligations of work and family have kept us apart. I am lucky my childhood friend William lives 5 minutes away and is available as he is. My commitment to my friends from now is clear: I will be a better friend, I will make more time for you!

Interestingly enough, as happy as I am with my life, my biggest fear (beyond my annoyance at our fragility and mortality) is now one of complacency. I love my life – my activities (tennis, skiing, poker, paintball, kite surfing, and intellectual conferences), my friends, my family, my dogs, and my job! Beyond spending more time with my friends and less time on business travel, there is fundamentally very little I would change. I love the person I have become and the life I lead. There is much I still want to accomplish, but I no longer feel the same urgency and inadequacy I felt in my teens and twenties and I wonder if I am not losing my ambition, drive and edge. This is all the more worrying as in fact I have less time to accomplish what I want to accomplish now which is made even worse by the seeming acceleration in the passage of time as we age. Sometimes I wonder if a bit of insecurity would not be a good thing.

Then again, things can’t be so bad if I worry about them and I truly love where I am today! Rest of my life: here I come!