Share the joy
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Curioso – o deprimente, dipende dai punti di vista – lo scontro nato dopo l’edizione 2008 LeWeb Paris tra l’organizzatore Loci LeMeur e Michael Arrington di Techcrunch.

Tutto inizia da qua:
Conference organizer Loic Le Meur (a French entrepreneur who moved to Silicon Valley for his most recent startup Seesmic) says that Silicon Valley moves too fast, and that Europeans enjoy a good two hour lunch just to experience the joy of life.

My response, at about 17:40: the joy of life is great, but all these two hour lunches over a bottle or two of great wine and general unwillingness to do whatever it takes to compete and win is the reason why all the big public Internet companies are U.S. based. And those European startups that do manage to break through cultural and tax hurdles and find success are quickly gobbled up by those U.S. companies. Skype (acquired by eBay) and MySQL (acquired by Sun) are recent examples.

The crowd jeered but the stark reality of it all is unavoidable. And the fact that the panelists on stage, all either American or living in America, suggested that you can somehow succeed with a startup while maintaining a healthy work-life balance is unfortunate. Too many people choose to be entrepreneurs as a lifestyle, without realizing that it takes everything you have and more to win. And if you aren’t in it to win, why not just take that nice job down the street that gives you five weeks of vacation.

Two hour lunches are great. But when you have investors to answer to and employees (and their families) to provide for, something has to give. Perhaps that’s why many of Europe’s hardest charging and most successful entrepreneurs tend to move to Silicon Valley, where they are surrounded by like minded people.

In sostanza Arrington sostiene abbastanza duramente che l’Europa è ancora molto in ritardo rispetto agli Usa. Un offeso LeMeur replica:
I would never say that nor did I write it on a post. I like controversy on stage and on blogs, I do not mind it makes the conference much more fun, and so obvious it is a game. I was very tired as you can imagine during the last panel and my brain had troubles fighting back to defend Europe versus the US. Don’t even think about starting a conversation in Silicon Valley by “how was your week-end” or “how are your kids”, they all want you to go straight to the point and no time to lose. I never thought inviting someone I really liked to know better to dinner would get me an email from his assistant “why would you like to invite him to dinner?”. I do not think europeans are lazy taking the time to know each other and build deep long term friendships that are not limited to business and I do not think this hurts Europe in any way. On the contrary.

Chicca finale: Techcrucnh che parla di censura.
But I do think this is a dangerous precedent. If journalists, bloggers and speakers know that they may be punished for what they say on stage, you can’t expect a genuine dialog to occur. There is a chilling effect to merely ask if someone should be punished for expressing opinions that some find objectionable. Will the Guardian also be ejected next year for calling the event boring and reporting that there was no Internet connectivity or heat? I expected more from the European community.

E voi, che ne pensate?