The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

There is Life Beyond the Valley and they might just not speak English

Every once in a while I feel have to take the San Francisco echo chamber to task. It often happens around Le Web oddly enough. I have pasted a few comments from Roberts post below and you will get the idea. The premise is founded on the internet world being centred in California and the tools that are built there, including Twitter and Facebook.

World-brand-building mistakes France’s entrepreneurs make | Scobleizer

So, since you were meeting with us and since we’ve spent precious resources getting there and had sizeable opportunity costs, I figure entrepreneurs should be better prepared. In this case you get to learn from their mistakes.

Four CEOs told me their companies weren’t on Twitter and that they didn’t have enough time to join Twitter. That got me quite angry.

Luckily I’ve found 500 tech company founders who ARE clued in and found Twitter to be important. Why is Twitter important? Well, it might have to do with the 422 venture capitalists and angel investors who are on Twitter or the hundreds of tech company executives (these are your exit possibilities!!!) who also are on Twitter. If you know of people who should be on this list that I don’t know about, please leave a comment here. By the way, when I told off the entrepreneurs sitting next to me a CEO whispered in my ear “I agree.” Who was that CEO? Kamel Zeroual, CEO of Stribe. Who is Stribe? The French company that won best of show at LeWeb, the world’s biggest independent web conference. He and his company are one of the few that were on Twitter.

In North America in particular Twitter, FaceBook, and Foursquare are considered de rigeur and in fact may well turn out to be pervasive global brands. Simple fact – at nearly 400 million users FaceBook is getting close to pervasive, but the others – time will tell. Twitter has an audience of 2 million in France against a population of 62 million. Not a bad start, however they speak French. The VC’s Robert speaks of and the others he suggests that French startups are missing speak English, not French. Robert goes on to berate French for using French in Twitter.

I should have answered back “no, it’s because your Twitter feed is French.” :-)

I could go on. The point I would like to make is that the world is not centred on San Francisco and the Valley. I think Robert makes valid points if you want to get noticed by the people he feels are important to be noticed by, but there are additional subtleties that are being missed by him.

Written by Colin Henderson

December 15, 2009 at 01:31

3 Responses

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  1. Oh, I completely agree with this. Sometimes the North-American centricity of the Valley is astounding. Sometimes, actually, you get them showing up here in Europe trying to sell stuff to us without even checking that they can deal with the local stuff: like multiple languages, date and currency formats, and (even) the local laws.

    Annoying at best.

    James Gardner

    December 16, 2009 at 01:24

  2. Oh, and I forgot to mention my pet hate. They always forget to be accessible. We can’t use 75% of the stuff coming out of the US because of the accessibility laws here. Even Microsoft isn’t compliant most of the time.

    James Gardner

    December 16, 2009 at 01:25

  3. Indeed James … very self centric.

    Colin Henderson

    December 16, 2009 at 10:01

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