How Documenting Your Interactions With Others Can Make You More Successful

This post was originally posted on Forbes

As an entrepreneur, I’ve met many people over the years, from investors to journalists, from customers to suppliers and from engineers to janitors. I always prided myself on calling them by their first name and tried my best to show them how important they are. Like William James, the father of American psychology, said: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” 

However, I was facing a big problem: Over the years, my memory began to fade. When meeting with somebody I had only met a few months prior, I found it challenging to remember details about them. Therefore, my rapport with them was not as warm as I wished, and I felt like I didn't get the full potential of the discussion. 

I remember precisely when I decided to take action against my faulty memory. It was in 2016 during a meet-and-greet in San Francisco. I was chatting with John for an hour when he suddenly whispered into my ear, "No offense taken, but my name is Paul." I was ashamed of myself, and I'm almost certain this mistake cost me a big business opportunity, as John — sorry, Paul — was the perfect prospect for my business. 

Enter Moleskine

I read that, over the course of his life, David Rockefeller (former Chase CEO) wrote about 200,000 notecards to document his interactions with world leaders. So, I decided to buy a Moleskine notebook dedicated to taking notes on people. I started to populate the pages with everything that came to my mind. One page per person. I would write contact details, names of their loved ones, jobs, hobbies, food preferences and even bullet points on what we discussed when we last met. 

However, I was quickly confronted with the limitations of a paper notebook. The notes started to pile up, and I was running out of space on each page. For instance, the person I documented on the first page of the Moleskine was full, so I had to start another page near the end. I needed to write “see additional notes at the end of the notebook” — not ideal. The second problem was that I was not always carrying my "people’s notebook," so I wasn't always able to review my notes prior to meeting someone, especially when the encounter was random.

So Long, Notebook; Welcome, Technology

Naturally, my smartphone and computer have replaced my Moleskine. I was able to transfer and organize all my notes and easily retrieve them anytime, anywhere on my pocket device. It is essentially an extension of my brain now. It's easy to pull up and skim through previous interactions just before meeting someone; it's like magic. 

What I also like a lot is the ability to keep track of the next steps. I put reminders in my calendar so that I never forget important dates and deadlines.

To me, that’s the beauty of technology. With proper usage, it supercharges our brain and allows us to focus on what’s most important: to extract the best of human interactions. Like Dale Carnegie explained, it’s not so difficult to win friends and influence people when you have the right system in place.

Documenting Your Interactions 

I’ve tried a lot of tools, from spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel to dedicated web apps like Monica or Folk, but so far, my preference goes to a personal relationship management workspace (PRM) like Notion or Airtable. These platforms are designed to be easy to customize, safe and secure.

Here are a few tips to help you better document your interactions with others and maintain your professional relationships:

Take notes during or immediately after meetings. If the former, be sure to ask the individual if they mind if you jot down a few things during your discussion.

Create a to-do list, and set reminders. This way, you don't lose track of important dates and opportunities to reach out.

Pay close attention to little details. Maybe it's something like, “I’ll have to leave in 15 minutes because tonight is my son's graduation” or “Next weekend, my husband and I will visit Yosemite.” This information can serve as the perfect ice-breaker the next time you meet.

Before each meeting, check your notes and social media. LinkedIn and Twitter, in particular, are very valuable sources of information that can help you stay up to date with each of your professional relationships.

Follow up. Be proactive and reach out. For example, there is nothing worse than making an intro between two people and then never receiving an update on how it went.

I also recommend skimming your PRM once a week. By doing this, you avoid missing an opportunity to reach out to someone for little things (like an anniversary) or to ask about a specific project. In the long run, you’ll be amazed by all the opportunities this simple trick brings.

When you meet someone and you are able to pick up the conversation as if you had never left each other, it proves that you are genuinely interested in the relationship. It shows seriousness and conscientiousness. And that creates a warm bond. Whether it is a business meeting or a casual chat, I guarantee your discussion will end well.

I tested the Jet Suit and hovered like Iron Man!

Jet packs were invented in 1919 but really started to fly at the end of the fifties. They were very hard to control and there range was very limited as they were relying only on hydrogen peroxide-powered engines.

With the new jet engines weighting about 5 pounds and producing 55 pounds of thrust, new generation of flying suits came around recently. One, created by a British gentleman named Richard Browning in 2016 really struck my attention because it was straight out from a Marvel movie.
The first time I saw him fly, in a video, I was determined to meet the man and to try his machine.
Being an adrenaline junky and a petrol head myself (I love to pilot planes, race cars, motorcycles and to skydive), I had to try the Jet Suit!

My dream finally came true last December in Los Angeles.

The jet suit is all 3D printed. It’s made of aluminium. 2 jet engines per arm and a bigger one in the back. Combined, they produce about 1,000 horsepower. Unlike the other jet packs, the Jet Suit is based on the principle of the tripod. You have 3 vectors of thrust, and you control the height with your arms.
If I had to compare the feeling, I would say that it’s close to indoor skydiving in a wind tunnel. After one day of testing I could barely hover, but I really saw the potential and I can’t wait to try again!

Here is the video:

A big thanks to the Gravity team and to Richard. You are awesome ūü§ė!

How Technology Leaders Can Turn Children’s Health Conditions Into Superpowers

This post was originally posted on Forbes.

Consider these facts: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2016, around 9% of U.S. children had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And according to one study from 2012 on the economic impact of childhood and adult ADHD in the U.S., the "overall national annual incremental costs of ADHD ranged from $143 to $266 billion." A Time article also pointed out that between 2003 and 2007, there was a 60% rise in ADHD diagnoses in children from families living in poverty.
The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommends treating ADHD with behavioral therapy first, before trying ADHD medication. ADHD medications work in 70% of the cases, but they can cause a number of side effects, such as sleep problems and loss of appetite. Medication helps reduce ADHD symptoms, but it's not a cure; symptoms will resurface as soon as a child stops taking the medicine. On the other hand, behavior therapies teach and develop executive functioning skills that will continue to benefit them as they grow up, but they require a lot of work and dedication from the parents. To sum up, you typically have two options: to prescribe medication or seek expensive behavioral therapy.
I believe technology can help children with ADHD by simplifying the whole process and by leveraging data to provide evidence-based treatments. The technology could expand access to ADHD treatments, improve their efficiency and reduce the overall cost.
My company created a smartwatch for children that helps them establish routines, so I've seen the potential impact technology can have firsthand. For example, imagine if a wearable device, equipped with several sensors to monitor one's physical and emotional state, could help a child with ADHD. The device could monitor their daily routine and incorporate observations from the child's support system (e.g., their parents, teachers, etc.), and that data could be analyzed by artificial intelligence to help make evidence-based treatment recommendations (with the approval and regular follow-up of a board-certified behavior analyst, of course). This is just one example of how I believe tech could tailor treatments for children remotely.
And from my perspective, it's not impossible. In 2019, the American Medical Association created three new current procedural terminology codes to encourage remote patient monitoring (codes 99453, 99454, 99457). I have no doubt that it’s a matter of months now for startups to start leveraging these new billing codes.

Good Tech, Bad Tech And Its Impact On Children

As a member of the Forbes San Francisco Business Council, I got the chance to write a guest post published in Forbes Magazine about the impact of technology on children. You can read it here.

Octopus Watch, mass production video series

Super excited today for the first days of mass production of our Octopus Watch. More than 1 year of work that comes to life.

Montre Octopus: "L'idée de ce produit est de responsabiliser l'enfant", Sam Hickmann - 25/02

Sam Hickman, fondateur et CEO de Joy, était l'invité de Sabrina Quagliozzi. Son entreprise a imaginé Octopus, la montre connectée éducative destinée aux enfants. Ce dispositif leur apprend les bonnes habitudes au quotidien et la notion du temps. "L'idée de ce produit est de responsabiliser l'enfant", selon Sam Hickman. Joy était présente à la 114ème édition du salon du jouet, qui s'est déroulée du 18 au 21 février à New York. - Le Grand Journal de New York, du samedi 25 février 2017, présenté par Sabrina Quagliozzi, sur BFM Business.

Kickstarter sandbox: From 0 to $777,777 in 45 days

My first Kickstarter campaign was a total failure! It was in 2013. I invented the leaf clip. A revolutionary device that was supposed to replace your wallet. I raised $297! I was ashamed and buried the project. Never talked about it to anyone…

3 years later, I couldn’t afford to miss my second Kickstarter campaign. And I didn’t! Today, I’m glad to share with you our recipe for success. (Read more on Medium)