Ok I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a book addict! Books for me are like candy: I simply can’t have only one! About 10 years ago, tired of getting regular phone calls from my bank, I forbid myself from entering a bookstore… only to get hooked on Amazon, buying and selling my books (and DVDs for that matter) every few weeks. So as I was looking through my Amazon seller account stocks, my eyes fell on a book I had completely forgotten about. And wow it all came back to me : this man, Jerôme Adam, really is amazing!
So who is he ? At the age of 37, Jérôme has already founded 3 companies in fields as different as software edition, consulting and video production. But his impressive resume doesn’t end there. In 2005 he taught entrepreneurship at Sciences-Po Paris (Higher education institution which specializes in social sciences, politics and international affairs). In 2006, he published the book he co-wrote with Patrick Blanchard Entreprendre avec sa différence (which you could translate as Start with a Difference, unfortunately only published in French). Today he is a speaker, offering conferences on managing diversity and entrepreneurship. He is also the treasurer of Renaissance Numérique (digital renaissance), a think tank gathering academics and French internet leaders, whose purpose is to reduce the digital divide and think through how digital technology changes our society.
What else? When he was 20 years he became the French Handisport Champion in running. Oh, did I forget to mention that Jerôme Adam is blind? He lost sight at the age of 15 because of a brain tumor. But as he strongly believes, this is not his identity, only a difficulty he learned to live with. And this difficulty, Jerôme Adam for sure got over it. As he explains in his book the most important thing is to go beyond appearances to find and encourage talent. You have to believe in your lucky star, act and find a balance in your personal and profesionnal life while accepting your differences and those of others.
Start with a difference
Born in a family of wine growers, he naturally decides to become an entrepreneur. The time he spent in the United States during his sudent years will define his career choices. At the Tulane University AB Freeman School of Business he discovers the concept of “friendly », meaning everything that is easy to access or to use. He later came up with the idea to use disability as a source for innovation, following the example of the TV remote, originally invented for paralysed people.
Back in France, at the age of 23, he founded his first company Visual Friendly with 3 partners. This software editor that employed 15 people specialized in usability and accessibility of websites taking into account international guidelines of accessibility W3C-WAI (Web Accessibility Initiatives). Visual Friendly definitely was a pioneer, but came too early on the market and had to declare bankruptcy by the end of 2004.
Deciding he was not finished with his original idea he created Easylife Conseil in 2005. This company was specialized in assisting businesses in the development of solutions to simplify daily life and accessible to anyone. But he also worked on his own projects and in 2007, partenered with Florence Daumas – expert of vocal technologies – to set up Easymetros, « the metro map which talks to you ».
His last adventure led him to create with another associate a company which has developped the video program J’en crois pas mes yeux (i.e I can’t believe my eyes). Their motto : use humor to change our behaviour and better communicate whatever our differences.
If you find him as interesting as I do, don’t hesitate to have a look at his website and share your thoughts in the comments below!