If you are considering becoming a 1M/1M premium member and would like to join our mailing list to receive ongoing information, please sign up here.

Subscribe to our Feed

Serial Entrepreneur: Philippe Courtot (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Feb 1st 2007

In this next iteration of the Serial Entrepreneur series, I had a rather long interview with Philippe Courtot. He is an exceptionally driven and talented individual, and also brings a tremendous amount of successful experience to this series. In what will likely be one of the longest interviews in this series, Philippe really gives us incredible insight into being a successful individual and entrepreneur. We start in this first section by talking about his childhood, to see where the roots of entrepreneurship come from.

SM: I would like to start by asking about your childhood, where you come from, how did you become this entrepreneurial personality; highly creative and innovative and all of these things? What are the roots of that in your background? PC: I can give you a little bit of my background. I was essentially born the first day France was liberated from German occupation, officially, which was on August 26th. My mother was from the Spanish side, so since a very early age I had the opportunity to go on vacation in Spain and learn the ways of both cultures. As far as I can remember I was a child of a lot of curiosity. I had a lot of energy and it took me some time to focus myself because when you are interested in many things your tendency is to disperse your energy. Over time I got better at focusing myself, but essentially as long as I can remember I was a curious child. I was raised with a strong Catholic background, and I went to Jesuit schools and I was questioning when I was 11 years old many things in the Bible and they could not give me a good explanation, one which satisfied an 11 year old mind, and I started to gradually lose my faith.

SM: And what did your parents do? PC: My father was an administrator of companies, he was a lawyer. My mother was a Spanish teacher.

SM: What particular values did your father teach you? Was there anything he taught you when you were growing up that propelled you into this line of expression? PC: I think that they both had a difficult life in many ways. My grandfather was a peasant and he educated himself. My father’s values were more about learning and understanding, so his value was essentially work. He had a very good mind.

SM: And your mother? PC: My mother, in fact, was an illegitimate child of my grandmother at 16 and a half years old, and was given an education by the nuns until she was 16. At that time they normally stopped a full education at 12 years old. My grandmother, who by the way was the youngest daughter of a family of 13 girls (6 of whom died very young of diseases), ended up living alone in Spain. She raised my mother alone, and also managed to establish the French High School in Bilbao. She was then kicked out, along with my mother, during the Spanish revolution and once again had nothing and had to start everything all over again. Then World War II came, which was difficult for everybody. That is the background. This was during a time that a lot of people moved into the big cities. I saw the Cold War, I remember that well. I remember the noise the communist movement was making as they were trying to take power in every municipality possible. I remember my mom making soap and toothpaste. I lived during that connection, if you will, over the bridge between generations. A lot of people have no idea that life existed.

SM: But you chose a completely different life than communism, in fact you chose the complete opposite. PC: Yeah, it was pretty clear to me, I mean, again like the Catholic Church, people tell you how to behave and how to think. I was very young, and always a very independent thinker. It was clear to me that it was not a progressive way to live.

SM: Where did you do College? PC: I went to the University of Paris. My parents, especially my Father was pushing me to go into math, physics, scientific things… which I liked, but my heart was pushing me to be an architect. I caved in and went to the University of Paris to study Physics. But I still miss … I loved painting at the time, and I will probably come back to painting one of these days. I kept the artistic expression in me. When I take companies, I have a notion of sculpting if you will, and I suppose I channel my artistic desires into sculpting companies.

(to be continued)

[Part 11]
[Part 10]
[Part 9]
[Part 8]
[Part 7]
[Part 6]
[Part 5]
[Part 4]
[Part 3]
[Part 2]
[Part 1]

This segment is part 1 in the series : Serial Entrepreneur: Philippe Courtot
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Hacker News
() Comments

Featured Videos


[…] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: Philippe Courtot (Part 2) Friday, February 2, 2007 at 8:39 AM PT

[…] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: Philippe Courtot (Part 3) Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 11:25 AM PT

[…] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entreprenuer: Philippe Courtot (Part 5) Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 11:28 AM PT

[…] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: Philippe Courtot (Part 7) Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 11:30 AM PT

[…] [Part 7] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: Philippe Courtot (Part 8) Friday, February 9, 2007 at 8:42 AM PT

[…] Lance Glasser, Guest Author [In the Philippe Cortout interview, we heard a lot about focusing on the Customers. Here is Lance Glasser’s view on the same […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Customer Equity Thursday, February 15, 2007 at 8:35 AM PT

[…] [Part 10] [Part 9] [Part 8] [Part 7] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: Philippe Courtot (Part 11) Thursday, February 15, 2007 at 8:47 AM PT

[…] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10] [Part 11] […]

Atanu Dey on India’s Development » Challenge to Indian Entrepreneurs Friday, February 16, 2007 at 6:03 AM PT

[…] from the perspective of Collaboration and Security. (You can read the Courtot interview here: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10] [Part […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Saas: Webex & the Extended Enterprise Monday, February 19, 2007 at 5:26 PM PT

[…] And if Google does want to consider beefing up Security, here’s a discussion with Philippe Courtot, CEO of Qualys, a leader in security SaaS. […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Google Enters Enterprise 3.0 Collaboration Friday, April 20, 2007 at 11:07 AM PT

[…] Serial Entrepreneur Philippe Courtot, where Philippe tells many stories, including how he outsmarted… […]

Forbes Column: The Next VMWare - Sramana Mitra on Strategy Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:49 AM PT

[…] Philippe Courtot – a very young 63-year old CEO of Qualys. * Zack Rinat – CEO of ModelN; got together with […]

Top 20 Serial Entrepreneur Interviews - Sramana Mitra on Strategy Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 3:35 AM PT