Ralf Haller October 18, 2013
I had the chance to visit the Silicon Valley two weeks ago with some Swiss economic development officers and Swiss entrepreneurs. We saw some of the hottest startups and also some who are – possibly – becoming very hot and set to expand soon – also to EMEA.
Every time I am in the Valley I get this excitement and energy burst that is so special. The folks that came along also felt like that, so it is not unique to me.
Silicon Valley is hot again. Big Data, Software-defined networking, security, cloud infrastructure are some of the current waves that are attracting hundreds of millions USD of venture funding. Companies are hiring and talent is limited and a precious resource. One VC told us that he is very interested in looking at Swiss startup business plans. Of course what they have in mind is moving the people over and profiting from that talent pool. At the same time startups in Switzerland do not understand some of the basics that made the Valley such a success. Stock options and being part owner of a startup is the base of it all, something that is still not understood here as only the founders are owners. As long as that is still back-to-front there is no chance to get even a little slice of the success. Startup culture and Europe seem as far apart in this way as the European and US continents.
Ralf Haller August 27, 2008
Perception is everything in marketing and branding. It seems the exact same is true with economic forecasts. Just last week the overall perception was that the US is up for a recession (awaiting still the full impact of the financial services and housing crash) and while Europe is growing slower compared with a few months ago things look much brighter.
Now suddenly the US dollar goes up against the Euro and also the oil price rises again. Something not seen in quite a while and quite unusual. Market analysts talk the Euro economy down, supported by consumer and company indexes in Germany that show its lowest level in 3 years.
Of course this all makes no sense at all. It is looking at it with the perspective of half a glass empty rather than full. Surveys in the US show that more people are seeing the economy getting better now but at the same time there are 40% of people who say they had cash flow problems in the last 90 days and still 30% think the economy is getting even worse. So it is clear that opinion makers are at it here. If in Europe a survey would reveal such numbers, I think we would consider this as the worst economic downturn since World War II or so…
Warren Buffet is buying US dollars. Ok I would too since the Euro got way too high. But to think now that the one economy is up and the other is down overnight makes no common sense.