Michael Arrington has a business to run. That business is driven by traffic and traffic can be slow on the weekend. So he occasionally stirs the pot a little and to be honest they are some of my favorite posts.
This is a particularly great example...
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.
Look, Europeans value different things. I have personally sat at a Paris cafe and had a group of French businessmen explain how American Entrepreneurs are "a little touched in the head" for working so hard. Their culture believes the point of life to be self gratification and that's fine with me. It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round and I have no problem with there being places where they value leisure more than hard work.
But where I object is when those people try to claim their philosophy also produces as much in the results category. Europeans want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to believe they can produce as much as people who work really hard and still live a life of leisure.
But that argument doesn't stand up to basic logical. It's a justification and that is what's at issue here. This isn't American arrogance it's Europeans' wanting to believe they're so perfect that they can produce as much as Valley workers while still giving themselves all the things that those in the valley deny themselves. So they create an irrational bubble around themselves that says "we're just as Entrepreneurial as the Americans"
Oh, and like any irrational bubble they drown out anyone who dares try to pop it.
Now just to be clear, I am not saying there are no hard working European entrepreneurs. One need only look at Netvibes to realize there are. But in general Europe is a culture that doesn't value working day and night to make your business great so most end up moving to a culture that does, namely the United States.
Which is my final point. This really isn't about the United States vs Europe. Japan, India, Singapore and many other countries have the same rampant innovation as the U.S. It's about societies that encourage and embrace innovation being given credit for it and those societies that don't realizing the consequences of their actions.
Update: I don’t mean to pick but this makes my point so perfectly. From the blog of Oliver Thylmann (a European)
The important thing is that Michael gets it totally wrong. The idea by Loic that we go to have 2 hours of lunch is just said to make a point. Relationships are deeper here in many cases. Above that, it’s not about what you push into it, it’s about what comes out at the other end that is important. No matter how much you work, the end result is important. And if somebody makes it on 2 hours while somebody else takes 8, then that’s something called productivity.
Any reasonable person would realize it’s impossible for one person to do a job in 2 hours while the other takes 8 (provided one of the people isn’t completely incompetent). But this is exactly the kind of justifications that are necessary to form that bubble of irrationality I described above. What’s funny about this is that people who make statements like the above one are the same people who go on and on about American arrogance.
“I can do work 4 times faster than you but you are the arrogant one”