“Businesses cannot sleep if they want to survive..

So says techpreneur Didier Rappaport, the brains behind Dailymotion and happn

Some people can go their whole lives without one killer light-bulb moment, but French entrepreneur Didier Rappaport has, perhaps somewhat selfishly, already had two. His first big idea was Dailymotion, otherwise known as ‘the other’ video-sharing platform, which he launched in 2005. Second only to YouTube, and with 105m unique users a month, it was bought by Orange in 2013 for €61m. The tech guru promptly turned his (professional) attention to the dating scene and cofounded the hyperlocal dating app happn. In two years, it has already secured 1.4m users. You’re going to want to hear what he has to say…

Beware of first impressions “Several times in my career, I’ve realised I shouldn’t necessarily trust my opinion of people when I first meet them. If they’re late or don’t send the right signals or say the wrong things, you really want to end the meeting there and then. But have patience. I’ve often found that the conversation turns a corner and you can end up with very positive outcomes.”

Break the tension “When Dailymotion was just getting going, I attended a very important meeting in Germany with the team from a huge company. I was there with a fellow director and they were being very tough on us, fighting for every cent in a deal. My colleague fought back and accused them of not caring that we were a start-up. They couldn’t believe that he reacted like that and I had a feeling the deal had been blown, so I just leaned back and laughed out loud. No one was expecting that and, thankfully, it made them laugh too. It relieved a tough situation and we were able to get back on track.”

Break bread “At Dailymotion, we used to have a party every Tuesday night. We would have a few drinks and get together, and everyone used to enjoy it. Today, we do the same thing with a regular pizza lunch for all the staff . We sit together on the same table as friends – not as colleagues – and have a chat and get to know each other. It makes for a healthy company.”

Stick with it “Results don’t happen overnight and you have to keep focused. When I left the company I was previously working for to build Dailymotion, everyone was puzzled by what I was doing. I would explain I was building a platform so people could record and share their lives, but they couldn’t really get their heads around it. I went to see business angels and presented to 20 tech experts, two of whom fell asleep while I was talking. However, I was sure that rich-media video would be the next way to express ourselves – and I was proven right.”

Keep it simple “The best businesses are built on basic human needs. Dailymotion was inspired by the need to express ourselves, and my new venture, dating app happn, is built on the need to meet people. Today, you have big cities with massive population densities and a disproportionate number of single people. The fact is, there are very few opportunities to meet other people, so we try and put them together.”

Embrace competition “Three weeks after Dailymotion took off, YouTube launched. But competition is something I have never been scared of. The simple fact is, if you have a competitor it proves you have a market. I’d be much more nervous if there was no competition.”

Everything changes “In the online dating industry, 10 years is like a century. Just look at how the internet has impacted on relationships. And mobile technology is changing the world again: it changes the way we get the information, how we connect with others and how we live. Businesses cannot sleep if they want to survive.”

This interview was carried out by SIM7’s Simeon de la Torre and first appeared in easyJet Traveller magazine. To read the latest issue (and the entire back catalogue of magazines), visit: https://ink-global.com/our-clients/portfolio/easyjet-traveller/