Europe, Where Does Innovation Come From?

On Monday, I was hosted a track on creating a cool company at Gotocon (a developer conference) in Aarhus, Denmark. I was rather impressed by the geeky crowd, most of who paid around €2,500 per person to attend the 3-day conference. The price tag and the size definitely made me think of LeWeb – although most of the topics covered were way more technical. But if there was one thing that really caught my attention more than anything else, it was one of the questions that was asked by an attendee.

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Parents, Stop Exploiting Your Children via Social Media

This is a topic that is not necessarily France-related but has been on my mind for a while now. It’s a bit of a difficult subject – I want to be sure that I don’t offend any friends or family that could be concerned by my opinion. And hopefully what I say will not come as a surprise to any of them, hopefully they will have already considered what I am about to say and the implications of the content they publish featuring their children. But for anyone that hasn’t, well, it’s definitely something to think about.

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Confessions of a Tech Blogger – Part 1

This past week, a friend of mine from college reached out to me from halfway across the globe. He mentioned to me that he had launched a (pretty damn cool) startup and was seeking advice on how to get in touch with the tech press – TechCrunch, Mashable and the likes. This most definitely isn’t the first time a friend has reached out for this kind of advice. I figured a  number of people could benefit from it, so I’ll just post some of the questions and my answers here. This definitely isn’t completely comprehensive, but it’s my 2 cents on some of the basics…

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What do Louis Vuitton and Sacre Coeur have in common?

I wrote a (rather exaggerated) post a while back about how French startups seemed to be going after 3 basic areas: food, fashion and flirting. And since writing that post, I’ve discovered even more e-commerce and dating sites popping up. In fact, I’m at the point where I almost don’t want to write about another dating startup for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I love new ideas and I love innovation. But I’m kind of baffled as to why everyone is trying to cram themselves into the same little space. Are all these new sites really making any kind of a difference? Or better gyt, do they even generate any revenue?

The startup help-o-meter.

At the end of that same article, I pointed out how I was rather surprised about how there were so few French sites that seemed to address the needs of tourists and international students – who flock to Paris with money to burn pretty much non-stop. If France is the world’s number one tourist destination and I’m still getting people sending me an email everytime they want to know which hotel to stay in or how they should go about renting a flat, there is clearly a need in the market for a good service that specifically addresses a foreign (cash-baring) population. But when there are still needs that are clearly not being addressed and room to innovate, why-o-why is everyone trying to cram themselves into Meetic’s space?

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French Innovation Trends: Food, Fashion and Flirting

It’s funny how often the subject of conversation goes back to “Why is there no Google or Facebook coming out of France?” Some people like to point fingers at investors, saying French investors are too risk averse. But then there are others that say this is simply because the local exit market is, well, almost nonexistant (yes, I’m exaggerating but only slighly). But if you think about it, there are some things “made in France” that pretty much sell themselves.

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