Jacques Lepine – Founder of Slow Control

Take everything step by step.

Having received his MBA at Ponts-et –Chaussés and trained as a general engineer and patent expert, Jacques Lépine specialized early on in innovation. Over the course of his career, he has had several diverse experiences in the fields of design intellectual property.

He has a great legacy and lineage that spans many generations in the medical world. His grandfather, Pierre Lépine, is the inventor of the Polio vaccine in 1957. His great-grandfather, Jean Lépine, professor of psychological clinic, the creator of CHU. His great great-grandfather, Raphael Lépine (brother of the police prefect Louis Lépine, was the inventor of the famous Concours Lépine in 1901, known for important research in the pathophysiology of diabetes. He is the first to define the pancreas as a true endocrine gland. His personal story in the area of invention starts at the age of 26 with the development of an innovative medical prosthesis for the tibia fractures in collaboration with a surgeon.

Today, aged 47, Jacques Lépine leads Slow Control, a company he founded. The company specializes in research of technological and innovative solutions related to eating behavior, one of the challenges of public health in the 21st century.

Where did the idea for Slow Control’s 10SFork come from?

The idea actually came from a concern raised by my wife. She asked me to slow down when eating our meals. I tried to follow her recommendation and, while I tried to slow down my eating, with a lot of concentration, I just wasn’t able to it by myself. It was then that knew I was holding onto a great idea of innovation. I knew that a tool that helped modify deeply rooted eating habits that eventually could lead to poor health, would help millions of users control and monitor their health better.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I maintain a great work/life balance; I allow for ample family time and some hobbies. I have a great understanding of the Importance of good sleep and eating habits as well.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I go through many possible solutions before finding and developing the best ones. I cannot be afraid to throw away the first solutions. I use activities such as swimming, driving or listening to music to clear my head and allow the best solutions pop up. Then work hard to check and build feasibility.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Connected technology! Simple devices that help monitor and improve life.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Writing, especially patents. This is an extraordinary process that forces you into finding the best words or phrasing, thus making your ideas sharper. I am sure even Albert Einstein (not that I would compare to him at all!), took great advantage of being a patent expert.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Starting out as a civil engineer in a very large company doing calculation on bridges made me feel like an ant doing my little part of work. It forced me to become an entrepreneur and build my own path.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I was working on connected watches in 1997. It seemed obvious that this was going to be a big market sooner or later. I tried to sell the patent without success and I eventually dropped the subject. I didn’t even think about raising money, it was not in our French culture at that time.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Take everything step by step.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Have a remunerative activity that can partly finance the innovation activity.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

After creating massive buzz at CES 2013 with the fork, “Hapifork” (renamed 10SFork), we realized we had the wrong strategy and wrong financing plan. We were forced to build it back up, almost from scratch, with slow control and 10S fork through the diabetic and bariatric communities.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

This might be an obvious idea, but will not harm to be repeated – Health, and more and more we will see a movement towards prevention. We can’t afford continue spending as we do now.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Good lunch with friends.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Uber and LinkedIn – so convenient!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

It’s actually a film that I would recommend it’s – “Breastmen” with David Schwimmer. It’s actually a very interesting journey of the life of the inventor of breast implants

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Michel Santi, HEC MBA innovation teacher
Paul Mathely : Patent super specialist


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