Liberté, égalité, sororité: women in the French tech space

I naturally get excited when I come across a young entrepreneur. But, in the male-dominated tech environment, I get even more excited when that young entrepreneur is female. 

Here is a look at 3 French start-ups founded by 20-something-year-old ladies.

Leetchi (@Leetchiweb) 

The company is founded by 27-year-old Céline Lazorthes (@celinelazorthes) and is a platform that simplifies group purchases or payments. Leetchi is one of the first companies to receive funding from Jérémie Berrebi and Xavier Niel’s seed fund, Kima Ventures.

MonShowRoom (@monshowroom) 

MonShowRoom is a feminine fashion e-commerce platform founded by 20-something-year-olds Séverine Grégoire and Chloé Ramade. The company has received funding from Crédit Agricole Private Equity and Alven Capital.

E-citizen.com (@citizen_team)

26-year-old Alix Poulet is co-founder of the e-commerce platform that sells organic products. For all purchases, 5% is contributed to organizations like the WWF, PlaNet Finance and Handicap International without asking for an extra penny from the consumer.

Geeky in Pink.

In France, there are actually quite a few women in the tech space – and several lady networking groups to go along with it, including WiFilles and Paris Geek Girl Dinners.

Sister Cities: San Francisco and Paris

Now to top it all off, what if we brought San Francisco’s Girls in Tech to Paris? It would connect the Paris female tech scene with the rest of the GIT chapters and vice versa. Jackpot. So ladies, if you’re a girl in tech and you’d like to get involved, please let me know. Otherwise, stay tuned for more info…

l’Académie française: Has Micro-blogging Killed le Vouvoiement?

Disclaimer: this post is probably more for myself than anyone else. 🙂

Remember that terrible 80’s song by The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star”?

Well, if video killed the radio star, I’m pretty sure that the evolution of web 2.0 – with my figer pointing at micro-blogging in particular – has killed le vouvoiement.

French 101

For anyone that doesn’t know, vouvoiement refers to the French use of a formal “you” to address someone with respect. It is often the default “you” when meeting someone for the first time, in business relationships and when in doubt. Vouvoiement naturally creates a distance and establishes a hierarchy between two people – which isn’t found in English.

Micro-blogging: guilty as charged.

I don’t think web 2.0 as a whole is to blame. I highly doubt many people on Linkedin are going to dare to immidiately bypass vouvoiement when initiating contact, for example. Generally, the closer we get to an email-type format, the more traditional the language gets. But Twitter and the integration of micro-blogging on various platforms (Facebook, Linkedin…) has dramatically changed the hierarchical communications patterns.

@vous?

What I can’t seem to figure out is why. Is it because, with the 140 character restriction on Twitter, “vous” is simply illogical (4 letters versus 2)? Is it the combination of realtime web and the @whoever function, which creates a more chat-like and casual environment? What?

Yo, Monsieur le Président.

Part of reason may be a result of the current French demographic currently using social media and various micro-blogging platforms. At the end of the day there may be certain people – like, oh, Sarkozy – that will never shake off their protective layer of respect, even on Twitter. Or maybe they will, who knows (we’ll need to get him on Twitter to figure this one out, perhaps).

L’Académie franglaise.

In a way, I think it could be beneficial to shake off the hierarchical power structure. At the same time, we are talking about messing with a linguistic tradition. What’s funny to me is that the Académie française (which some jokingly call the “French language police”) sits around making up a French version for the word for “email” (“courriel”, which nobody uses) but has turned a blind eye to the lack of vouvoiement on micro-blogging platforms.

For any French companies that use Yammer, on the other hand, I’d be interested to know if the same phenomenon is observed.