An unforgettable place you’ve travelled to in the past year? Last summer holiday, I went with my wife and daughter to Loutro in Crete which we loved. We had a cheap apartment on the sea, the food was great, there were no cars in the village, and the water was pure heaven.
The book on your bedside table? I have Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, which I have not really got into yet. I have nearly finished Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way by Lars Mytting, which I loved; and I have Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, which is an essential read if you are trying to figure out how business works in France.
The last meal that truly impressed you? It was at The Standard in Copenhagen, where two of us had seven courses, each with a wine pairing. The meal lasted four hours, with a bill that was crippling.
The last music you downloaded? I have great internet in Paris, so I no longer download music onto a device, but stream it straight from the internet. I have been listening recently to the Magnetic Fields, a US band with lyrics that I like. I often listen to Nick Cave and think the album Skeleton Tree — released after the death of his teenage son, Authur — is very good, but obviously immensely sad.
The item you are eyeing next? I have now reached peak object, and don’t need or want to buy another thing. I never want to own a motor car again, as my subscription to Zipcar gives me the use of one when I want without the hassle of ownership. I am now spending quite a bit of time and money attending events and courses. Unfortunately, the thing I am eyeing next is another set of French lessons.
The one thing you will always find in your fridge? A selection of great French cheese, including a Comté, Époisses, Reblochon, a soft chèvre, and, obviously, always an Italian Parmesan. I have a great fromagerie on Rue Faubourg-Saint-Denis, down the road from my apartment.
The best gift you’ve given recently? I bought my wife a Margaret Howell Jersey that looks very Mad Men.
And the best one you’ve received? I received a Paul Smith petrol blue, velvet jacket from my wife for my last birthday that needs a vodka martini to complete the look.
The place that inspires you? I find South Africa very inspiring and love returning. There are lots of young people who are not yet cynical. There is a lot of passion and energy and that is always inspiring. Obviously, the space and nature is very inspiring too.
A recent special find? It would be LinkedIn. I moved to Paris two years ago wanting to create a world-first event about new mobility and did not know a soul in the city. I started building a community by writing articles and posts on LinkedIn and am now connected to 4 000 people in the new mobility space from around the world. I spend a huge amount of time reading, writing, and connecting to people on LinkedIn. This has created a digital intimacy, which makes it a lot easier when you meet in person. If you are able to come up with unique ideas and express them in English you can connect to the most powerful and interesting people in the world. I have recently connected to the inventor of the Mountain Bike, Gary Fisher, and we are now communicating about how to increase the use of e-bikes in cities.
The last item you added to your wardrobe? A wetsuit for open-water swimming from Alpkit.
Favourite city? Paris, without a doubt. Firstly, the size of the city makes it incredibly manageable by bike. I always find it amusing that I can arrive at a meeting with a massive company, employing 200 000 people in 30 countries around the world, by bike with a smartphone and mapping app. Secondly, I like the values of Parisians, as they are not as materialistic as Londoners or New Yorkers. There is a real sense in Paris of trying to find a new economic order that does not destroy the environment or concentrate the wealth in the hands of the very few.