Christophe Cesetti, “An organization that embodies my values – that’s OuiShare”

Co-founder of the association ‘Valeureux’, Christophe Cesetti presents us with the slightly less exposed but equally important aspect of OuiShare’s future. He tells us about journey, his current activities and their role within the community.

“Activating resources within a community”. To understand Christophe Cesetti, one must first understand the principle of Valeureux’, the association, which he co-founded. “Value, we believe, cannot not solely be measured in numbers and metrics (like GDP and accounting), but through the connections we create and the quality of our environment.”

Christophe had already started questioning traditional ideas surrounding resource use in 2000. After having spent two years working on logistical operations in Cameroun, he takes a position as accountancy manager at a company for temporary employment.

Making change happen from within

During this job, Christophe notices that many of his colleagues are “frustrated with implicit demands and a lack of consideration”. Though the turn-over in the company was increasing, the quality of the work was diminishing. The clash between Christophe’s personal values and the company’s inability to make social ends meet eventually becomes significant enough that, in 2003, Christophe is burned out. “I had served my duty, but this was no longer something I wished to support.”

Instead Christophe decides to complete his MBA in accountancy, during which he shows increasing interest in sustainable development. “The birth of my first daughter motivated me to create the world that I wanted her to live in”, states Christophe. He joins a company for facility management, where he sees himself as the ‘link between different parts of the company that ensure the right decisions are made”, not the guy who simply ‘pushes around numbers’. This vision is however is not always shared by his bosses…so his position is eventually eliminated and Christophe is put in charge of sustainable development.

After a year of ups and downs, Christophe leaves and begins developing his ideas of wealth and managing resources with the guidance of coach Alan Fustec, an expert on intangible assets.

Experimenting with new ideas

In 2008, Christophe gives the Social Economy (ESS) as shot, but again he is disappointed. “Disguised as serving a social purpose, several companies were still mistreating their employees” he notes. He quits his job to participate in the founding of the think tank “Scop, la Green Team,” where he pursues his research on intangible assets together with a diverse group of philosophers, sociologists and engineers. ”It was a great experience, but unfortunately only lasted a year”, he states with regret.

Finally in 2010, Christophe attends two seminars on collective intelligence lead by Jean-François Noubel. Inspired by this he launches a project called “monnaies libres” with Dino Bendiab in a Parisian studio. Soon enough, there are ten of them, and at this moment ‘Valeureux’ is born, with the goal to develop the tools and an adequate Internet platform needed for agile communities like OuiShare to manage their resources. However, research in a pioneering field is not always simple, especially when you have a family to support.  “I now had two daughters – but luckily also a few savings.”

It was then that he came across Antonin Léonard. At the time, Antonin was launching his blog about the collaborative economy. The following year, Christophe hears that Antonin’s plans to co-found a community.

“At the time they were still hesitating between the “We” and the “Oui” for OuiShare, but something exciting was definitely happening. I was keen to meet the other members and follow their development.”

OuiShare as an agile community

At OuiShare, Christophe still remains more or less an observer, or “practicing sympathizer” as he likes to put it. He frequently attends events in Paris and enjoys the casual atmosphere of this community, its free-floating structure and the diversity of its people. Also a ridesharer since 2007, he is involved in various types of collaborative initiatives such as the ‘Mouvement des Colibris’, ‘Disco Soupe’ or ‘ShareLex’. “Still remaining a part of Valeureux, I seek to serve the OuiShare community through small contributions, listening and general support”, says Christophe.

He sees OuiShare as an embodiment of his values, “a place where diversity lives in symbiosis, like the black and white of the Yin and Yang. People take care of each other. OuiShare in turn helps him promote his projects, for example, during the first OuiShare Fest, where he presented his project WeZer with Sybille Saint-Girons.

“When the money is missing, one must give oneself the authority to take action in order to create resources. At OuiShare, this principle has been well applied!”Naturally, the community must establish its own rules and discover how it wishes to evaluate individuals’ participation by keeping track of time worked and introducing exchange systems. “

OuiShare demonstrates that things can happen “organically”. Its economic model is decentralized and dynamic. Because there is no real hierarchy or fixed positions, OuiShare’s dynamic is defined by its results.”

Results as a key values

Christophe encourages the members of the community “to count the things that matter” and to evaluate the “quality of their connections, and not only their actions”. But the phrase “what you have done is technically speaking very good, but on a social level you could do better” is neither an easy criticism to give nor to receive. While money enables you to socially detach transactions, Christophe believes the quality of the exchange is what really counts.”

Managing the balance of between under and over-involvement in a community is a true challenge however. While being engaged is good, the community loses valuable resources if people get tired out and leave.

“Investing in a community is like breathing, or like mimicry in nature. It’s a continuous balance between needing others and offering them your help.”

Christophe believes that “OuiShare is a smooth transition between a world which is dying and the world to come. We are faced with a society that is more responsible and more feminine; where connections are as important as goods and ‘being’ is as equally valuable as ‘having’. The tipping point comes when the community is sufficiently large, conscientious and well connected. Judging from the current energy and enthusiasm of OuiShare’s members, I feel this moment is not far away. ”

 This article was translated by Bianca Pick.