Americans are taught on day 2 of their lives to tell the world what they think. Don’t be bashful. The world wants to know what you think.
After 28 years of living in Europe, I think I know now how the average European – who is raised quite a bit differently – thinks when confronted with the talk big American style way of thinking/ living.
There is an overwhelming desire to tell people to shut up.
There are many things which keep me in London, happily working with European entrepreneurs, but one of the big ones is – I have to admit – a more muted approach to marketing. I find European entrepreneurs on the whole to be much more talented in fundamental and significant ways than their American ones, but lacking in classic marcoms approaches that – say what you will – drive the tech industry.
I advised Alastair Lukies, who founded Monitise, from its time inside of Morse, the systems integrator, in 2004 all the way through their IPO to December 2012. Ariadne Capital, my firm, raised capital, introduced talent (two Board Directors, two mngrs), encouraged them to focus on the smartphone early which led to their J curve when the NatWest iPhone ap came out, identified acquisitions and partners, and promoted them. Still today, people thank me for having given them the heads up on Monitise as they made a heap of money as Monitise became a billion pound British tech giant.
But I’ll never forget when Jack Dorsey came to town and made the cover of WIRED UK talking about Square, his new (at the time) mobile payments start-up. Given that Alastair and his team had done the pioneering work for 6+ years at that point, I irked to no end that here was yet another American entrepreneur who knew how to ‘own that space’, and got everyone thinking that he had pioneered the industry.
Frequently, I think I should become the head of marcoms for the entrepreneurs we work with at Ariadne Capital. I despair when I see lesser players take cover stories because they’ve activated their PR machine.