This week the Paris based startup event LeWeb ended with a little scandal it seems. At the end of it the organizer asked on his blog site if Michael Arrington, founder of the famous Web 2.0 blog Techcrunch, should be re-invited to LeWeb next year again. Michael had on his blog shown a fat nobleman picture from the Middle Age hinting on the two hour lunches and 3-star Michelin restaurant dinners, 5-star hotel stays etc. while the “biggest European startup event” itself had mainly US entrepreneurs on stage, no working Wifi Internet access at all and also some big problems with the heating system making it freezing cold in the venue site.
I can relate quite well in fact with both worlds. Michael’s observations is something that I found frustrating here too and why I moved to Silicon Valley. There I found frustrating things as well so I decided to come back to Europe and keep the “good” things I saw while also keeping the good things I value here. These are not 2 hours lunches or 5-star hotels at all but a more deeper and longer-term view of business and business relations. Europe is too complex for most Americans and Michael is no exception, otherwise he would not compare an event in France with European but would say this was a French style event. Too many US startups think still putting an office into the UK would take care of having a European presence only finding out later that they can only really serve the UK and no other major country in Europe such as Germany, France or Spain, Italy not even Switzerland, where they speak typically 3 languages incl. English fluently.
Still I can sympathize with Michael and understand his feelings. I btw knowing what to expect decided to not go to LeWeb and attended business meetings instead. Having had a French client visiting us even who is also not into this stuff. So Michael next time you come to Europe sync up with the real Europeans who might be closer to your values than you might think!
Some other guys from Europe felt the same way and Paul Carr saved us all with his British humor.