Lost and Founded Series – Martin Pasquier

Martin Pasquier, Lead Explorer of Innovation is Everywhere, lives up to his title as he travels to learn about innovation, everywhere across the globe.


Martin Pasquier, Lead Explorer of Innovation is Everywhere, travels to a new country every month. He aims to conquer a 6-digit contract which will allow him to fulfil his luxury of buying 2 economy class seats to feel like he is flying business class. He is a strong believer of change but is an ironically rigid maniac when it comes to food and sleep – structure is key. Being bad at figures and online banking has led to his forgetfulness of paying himself, so he pays himself once a year. Join us in finding out more about Martin and Martial (his crazy side) and his perseverant path to success.

People say you are "Martin Pasquier, Founder and Lead Explorer of Innovation is Everywhere". Who do you say you are?

I sometimes say I'm a travelling-writing-machine as my job consists of exploring new countries for my clients, reporting on the innovation happening there, and I usually write a lot about it on our website and with selected media partners. I also say I'm a guide for companies looking to explore digital innovation across the world - I like the comparison with ancient cartographers (the study and practice of making maps) for instance!

What was the best moment in your startup life. It was so good you wanted to fly BusinessClass somewhere with someone, and pop open the most expensive bottle of champagne there.

I'm unfortunately a very money-conscious founder, and the only luxury I was thinking of was to know if I could buy two economy class tickets to have two seats just for myself and feel like I'm in business class. I remember signing my first 5-digit contract and I could not stop myself from laughing as I could not believe it, even though there were months of tough work before. Today I'm chasing the 6-digit contract, then I may buy myself these two Economy seats. Founders, even in joy, should remain frugal.

Have you ever cried? Or what was the lowest, crappiest moment in your start-up life. You wanted to give up everything. You wanted to kill someone. (During your startup career of course) Tell us more!

No cries. At the beginning, the only figure I had in mind was not revenues, but the number of months I could afford not going back to the corporate world which scared me with their processes, hierarchy, hours, small holidays etc. After 12 months, I was having an interview and thought from time to time "oh, well, I might really stop toiling like a dog and take a normal job", but I resisted. Today I'm happy to be where I am even after working for so many hours.

What secret did you hide from your co-founder or partner or parent for the longest time? Why?

I'm usually hiding how much I have on the company account, for a simple reason: I have little idea myself. As many young companies, cash flow is never an easy thing, and I always know "how much I'll have in 6 months' time" and live with this in mind. I'm very bad at figures in general and pay myself once a year for the twelve salaries I usually forget to pay. I'm very, very bad at online banking too.

What's the most eccentric thing about you? If VCs found out, they wouldn't have signed the term sheet then. But hell with that now.

I have two personalities - a cold, determined, pragmatic one that works 80% of the time, and a warm-blooded, chaotic monkey for the other 20%. It has reached a point where most of my friends have given me two names: "Martin" for the normal one, and "Martial" for the crazy one. After a few beers, it's easy to see the difference. I guess it's my way of releasing pressure.

What are you up to today? What gets you up in the morning?

I'm at the stage where recruitment and getting a team begins to grow in terms of priority. I'm also always happy to wake up in the morning and feel there is so much to do. My task list never empties, and I try very hard to limit the number of new projects I want to start. That's why I wake up to make money, hire people, launch a new project, and make more money in a virtuous circle. I have no idea with what I can do with the money as I'm very frugal! I like the idea of Uncle Scrooge's treasure chest that grows coin by coin.

How do you keep yourself physically and mentally fit for start-up life?

I'm a complete maniac when it comes to food and sleep. I eat at precise hours every day, and I always have the same breakfast which takes a bit of everything and a LOT of fruits. I never eat meat or fish or anything twice a day to rotate nutriments and avoid gaps that could tire me or make me sick. If I don't eat at 7.30am, 1pm, 7.30pm I can get angry really fast. I always sleep before 11.30pm, and try as much as I can to switch off all screens by 10pm so as to read, relax the mind in order to have a solid night of sleep. I do sport 3 times a week. I go for regular medical check-ups. If the machinery goes well, I don't see what could stop me honestly!

Offer a life hack (or two) to a young founder.

Don't take too much money from someone else as you lose independence bit by bit. Listen to the advice of older entrepreneurs as they see you as a small goldfish in a small aquarium and have the point of view of those who went through the same path. It will save you time not to make someone's else mistakes.

Movie or song that best describes you.

Tough question, I don't like movies and videos as I just cannot sit for more than 30min on my seat or couch. Songs... Sorry I'm really bad at remembering any that makes sense and for me music has very little impact on my life.

Favourite quote.

"Go then, there are other worlds than these" from Stephen King's "Gunslinger" series, its biggest piece. For me, it means that it's okay to be in motion at all times, to change countries, lives, and that no one is bound to its existence. Change is always possible, it's a matter of will.

Who and what inspires you?

I recently read The Life of Casanova, who, besides the maniac lover he was, was also a traveler across all of Europe during most of the 18th century. He had highs and lows, and always had this instinct of pleasure and travels. He was in turn a diplomat, prisoner, statesman, gambler, spy, lawyer, and more. At the end of the book, he is old and angry to have lost the capability to be fast, in motion and a seductor. It took me a few days to recover from this end, and made me want to move even more and even faster.

Tell me about Martin Pasquier in 2030.

Oh, that's a good question. I will probably feel that the planet a bit smaller than it is today. I might take a look at going to Mars, who knows, or put all my money into transferring my brain and memories to a USB flash disk to be able to continue my life beyond death. I hope all of my friends and family will still be alive and kicking. I'm completely scared by death and other people's death. The rest has no importance.

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