Xavier Niel inspires hero in new book

Sep 21, 2012
Vote on Hacker News

With all the news about the iPhone5 coming out and no 4G in France (or not?), it seems all the more appropriate that Free Mobile founder Xavier Niel, who also invests his fair share in seed-stage startups via Kima Ventures, has become the source of inspiration for French writer Aurelien Bellanger for his latest book, La Théorie de l’information (The Information Theory, if you missed that). The fictional tale recounts the last 40 years of technical innovation, from the French minitel to 3G, with its main character being aptly inspired by Xavier Niel, an entrepreneur who’s ventures have gone from Minitel to modern mobile networks.

01Net, in an interview with Bellanger, asked what Niel had thought of his fictional likeness, and Bellanger said that Niel had indeed read the book, and while he found fictionalities, he quite liked the exaggerated success he felt the main character had, stating that “the launch of Free mobile wasn’t as successful” as depicted in the book.

Stephane Jobs?

Niel has long been called the Steve Jobs of France, referring to his stage presence as that of an “American salesman,” and having continued to invest in the success of his projects for decades. While Niel and Jobs differ not only in their level of success, but in their approaches to business & lifestyles, there is something to be said about creating a “hero” for France’s tech scene. Between Xavier Niel, Jaina Capital’s Marc Simoncini, and a few of the ISAI investors who are particularly outspoken, French tech are growing in the number of success stories that can also be counted as good role models for aspiring entrepreneurs.