Paris Founders Event, New York Edition

Rude Baguette is a fantastic English language media covering the French startup scene and I’ve been enjoying the Paris Founders Night since relocating to Paris last year. This one was especially cool, as it was a special New York edition held at Hotel de Ville – the Paris City Hall.

Read about the official event report to learn about the five startups that were featured in this edition.

The PFE format is very well thought out. The highlights are the startup pitches that are carefully selected from a long audition process. What’s special is that they focus purely on product demos. No talk about funding, business plans, or concept videos. Just five cool live demos. Refreshing, right?

And in between, the always exuberant Liam Boogar facilitates discussions between a group of high profile experts on a specific topic. For example, we heard four French founders openly sharing both the gory and glorious sides of setting up shop in New York. Last year, there were 4-5 founders of the most successful French Kickstarter hardware campaigns on stage at the same time. Even the sponsor sessions are interesting because the person representing the brand has a personal commitment, and not just an organizational one…

Liam wrapped up the event by touching upon some of the insights from the latest European Digital City Index to detail how the French ecosystem has grown up and where we might be going next. You can read more about that in this article.

Liam kicking it off
Liam kicking it off

Book event with “The Business Romantic” author Tim Leberecht

In a world obsessed with quantifying everything in order to optimize it, Tim Leberecht invites us to think about work differently. To value what we cannot measure, in order to feel more, feel good, and do good.

His book “The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself” presents ten principals on how to bring romance into our work, both as individuals and as organizations.

And at the event “THE FUTURE OF WORK IS … ROMANTIC // An evening with Tim Leberecht“, I had the opportunity to listen to a 1hr talk that introduced three of these ten principals:

  • Find the big in the small
    • Value moments that don’t scale
    • The idea of “thick” presence (ex. “I am here days“) and “thick” identities (ex. Somewhere)
    • The long romantic trail (ex. Forgotify)
  • Keep the mystique
    • When everything is open, nothing is open
    • People are craving the mystique – things like secret cinemas are very popular
  • Suffer a little
    • “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
      Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
    • The IKEA effect
The talk was followed by a spirited discussion with the two hosts, who had a ton of questions.
As did the attentive audience! I think we all wanted to know how it would work exactly, and is it scaleable..?

I’d just tagged along with a friend but it was a good thing I did! These ideas came at a perfect timing, as I’ve been thinking about ways to approach my time and energy differently so that there’s more sustainability in incubating ideas and exploring bigger themes. Or perhaps the world at large is grappling with this challenge, and this is one of the many hypotheses that will get thrown into the ring. 

Tim mentioned that as knowledge workers, we have the freedom to design how we work. And I think the idea is for people to take whichever principals resonate the most, experiment with applying it to their work, and see what happens. “Is it scaleable?” is not the right question to ask – it’s actually besides the point – and a fully romantic organization or society isn’t the goal. There’s not going to be a checklist of action items, a ten step process to roll out Romanticism in your organization, or Certified Consultants…

Well, I’ll let you know if/how things change after I read the book.

This event was also an opportunity to check out the new co-working space VOLUMES, which is within walking distance of Le Laptop. The Fablab part of the facilities didn’t seem to be ready yet but there were plenty of people milling around and looking Creative 🙂 It’s a spacious facility with a laid back vibe. The mix of open space and glass walled rooms are really nice. This event was great, and I hope they do a lot more.

Thank you, Tim!
Thank you, Tim!