I'm impressed by the French startups and entrepreneurs I've been meeting the past two days. Lots of passion, energy, smarts, and great ideas.
I'm totally surprised because I had a totally different expectation. France has a reputation for bureaucracy ( a French word), for strikes, (the taxi drivers were on strike on Tuesday), and for archaic attitudes such as a strong belief in a maintaining a work/life balance, six-week vacations, a 35-hour week, and making it near impossible to fire a worker (you will receive as much as three years full salary if you are fired).
It seems amazing that France's economy hasn't shattered into pieces by now, and the country hasn't fallen below the waves of the ocean as a modern day Atlantis.
Instead, France has the highest labor productivity levels of all the G8 nations. And the quality of its entrepreneurs (another French word) is excellent.
I will be writing in more detail about some of the companies and people I've been meeting, later this week. And I'll be diving into why there is such a great current of innovation happening in France.
The French model might even become a template for other countries. That's because people from other countries are coming to France to set up their startups. Other countries risk a brain drain if they don't act to create a similar environment.
I'll let you know tomorrow about some of the reasons why France is enjoying an upswing its startup communities. I think you will be as surprised as I was.
[I'm in Paris all this week as part of the Traveling Geeks, a collection of journalists, bloggers, and PR people meeting with French startups and also attending LeWeb, France's premier Web 2.0 developer and business conference.]