Afterthoughts on Lunch with the French President

As many of you know, I had the incredible honor of being invited to a lunch with the French President earlier this week alongside some of France’s biggest names in tech. That’s right, little American me was invited to discuss the state of the French ecosystem. If you’re thinking “huh?”, don’t worry, I was too 🙂 I was sat around the table with the likes of Jacques-Antoine Granjon (Vente-privĂ©e), Marc Simoncini (Meetic), Marie Ekeland (Elaia Partners), Fleur Pellerin (Minister of Digital Economy) and other people I beyond admire. Oh, right, and then there was the French President himself.

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US press ignores French startup successes, and here’s proof.

Prior to the election of French President François Hollande on May 6th, successful French serial entrepreneur and investor, Marc Simoncini, threatened to leave France. Citing various issues primarily with France’s wealth tax (not to be confused with the 75% tax), the founder of Meetic said France could become the last place any entrepreneur would want to be. And guess what – the US press went wild.

Read More US press ignores French startup successes, and here’s proof.

The best France-related questions on Quora

As some of you may know, I used to be a very loyal fan of Aardvark. The famous question and answer service launched as “Mechanical Zoo” in 2007 was acquired by Google in 2010 for $50 million and very sadly shut down last year. I used to get some of the most amazing questions from other Aardvark users – including “what time is it now?” and “where is Paris?” – but you can see my all time favorites here.

Read More The best France-related questions on Quora

Does Europe’s tech scene enjoy self-bashing?

Recently, I’ve noticed a new flood of negativity building up in Europe’s startup scene. Sure, the Euro isn’t doing particularly well and France (and apparently Will Smith?) is a little uneasy with what François Hollande’s government has in store. And Europe isn’t culturally as over-the-top optimistic as its transatlantic neighbor. Still, sometimes it feels like Europe’s tech scene enjoys a bit of self-bashing, whether it be about entrepreneurs’ incapability to “dream big” or VC’s ROI.

Read More Does Europe’s tech scene enjoy self-bashing?

Seeking: talented French entrepreneurs under 30 for recognition

So if anyone has bothered to read this blog over the last few years, you’ll know that I publish an annual list called 13 hot French entrepreneurs under 30. Some of the names who made the list in 2010 include the founders of hot French startups like Deezer, MediaStay, Spartoo, MyMajorCompany, Leetchi, Restopolitan and more. And last year’s list included similar startup stars, like the founders of JolieBox, Owlient, Jimmy Fairly, L’Usine Ă  Design and more.

Read More Seeking: talented French entrepreneurs under 30 for recognition

Thoughts on Being Hungry and Foolish

As you can tell, it took me a while to decide whether or not to write something about Steve Jobs. At first, I thought it was perhaps a little cliché. After all, everyone is writing about Steve right now (yes, we’re on a first-name basis) – my words would simply get lost in the crowd. But then again, how could I not? Steve is one of America’s most celebrated modern visionaries – and the footprint he left will forever mark the development of technology, culture, business and much more. And on a much more personal note, he is one of the most inspirational people I have ever discovered.

Read More Thoughts on Being Hungry and Foolish

Come on Europe, Startups are for Losers.

No matter how much we try to avoid it, people seem to always revert back to comparing the European tech scene with that of Silicon Valley. In many ways, it’s a bit silly and irrational. Like comparing apples and oranges. After all, the European market is highly fragmented in dozens of ways and faces numerous challenges that the US market does not. Then again, it’s a necessary step in understanding why entrepreneurship thrives in certain environments and not others. (By the way, I’ll be moderating a panel on this very topic at the Advance Conference in Germany later this month.)

Read More Come on Europe, Startups are for Losers.