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François Hollande in Silicon Valley: the clash of the cultures

The president moves to California this February 12 to meet with bosses of a start-up French located in the United States. An interview that is expected by the e

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François Hollande in Silicon Valley: the clash of the cultures

The president moves to California this February 12 to meet with bosses of a start-up French located in the United States. An interview that is expected by the expatriates, who claim... evidence of love.

This will be the (brief) meeting of two opposite worlds. By choosing to spend a few hours in the Silicon Valley, the Hollywood start-up, François Hollande, should fine-tune its image of president business. No French head of State has set foot in this melting pot of innovation since François Mitterrand in... 1984.

After a lunch meeting with the bosses of the giants of the web such as Google or Facebook, the head of State will meet with entrepreneurs, expatriates, and usher in a "French Tech Hub", antenna in the United States of the vast network of French Tech as Fleur Pellerin, also on the trip, tries to put in place.


A paradoxical gesture that this incursion of the French State in an island that wants so little. "I can't see very well the interest of this hub," says Carlos Diaz, a French entrepreneur installed in the United States, which must meet François Hollande. Anyway, I don't expect anything in particular from the French State and François Hollande, I just want to see if he knows digital, he understood what we did and take the measure of his turn the social liberal." The president is prepared to the exam ? Expatriates are waiting on a firm footing. "I'm curious to know the reasons of his visit and to hear what he will say to us, announces Renaud Visage, founder of Eventbrite, installed in the United States for twenty years. In any case, if he seeks to be inspired and to find examples to encourage innovation, this is the best place."

love the risk

Silicon Valley, land of all freedoms, of all the possibilities. The speech of all those who have crossed the Atlantic - and who have managed to stay - echoes the same accent : the love of risk and the culture of entrepreneurship. "Here, everything seems possible and people dare to", says Renaud Visage. In his eyes, France has two major flaws : too much red tape and taxation and moving, that does not reassure investors. "We pay taxes here and the tax is not necessarily more favourable but there is not as much of change."

France would cut off the wings of the entrepreneurs ? "You have to stop feeding this myth of America," laments Vincent Ricordeau, founder of KissKIssBankBank, a member of the delegation of French entrepreneurs invited to the trip to the presidential. If he admits to knowing very little of the Silicon Valley, he has never cherished the dream of expatriation. "Me I want to stay positive and believe that we can do things in France, but of course, it is good to compare themselves to move forward and blow up some brakes. It has too long regarded digital entrepreneurs as pirates shamelessly."

Not enough love

Another major criticism : a certain kind of protectionism, which seems dated. "The case of Uber seems to me catastrophic. France has the air of archaic and seems to consistently give in to big lobbies to the detriment of start-ups," explains Renaud's Face. For Carlos Diaz, at the origin of the movement of Pigeons between France and its leaders, and entrepreneurs, it is mainly a lack of love. "When he comes in the Silicon Valley, Barack Obama made a hug with Mark Zuckerberg, he says. I would like Holland to do the same thing, that he shows he loves us." Like us but leave us, that's what entrepreneurs have to say to the president...

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