Arrington on the entrepreneurial lifestyle

This from Arrington’s report on Leweb:

And the fact that the panelists on stage, all either American or living in America, suggested that you can somehow succeed with a startup while maintaining a healthy work-life balance is unfortunate.  Too many people choose to be entrepreneurs as a lifestyle, without realizing that it takes everything you have and more to win. And if you aren’t in it to win, why not just take that nice job down the street that gives you five weeks of vacation.

Two hour lunches are great. But when you have investors to answer to and employees (and their families) to provide for, something has to give.

Couldn’t agree more.

  • Link, Nick, givvus the link! 🙂

  • Link, Nick, givvus the link! 🙂

  • nic

    Sorry Terry – I’d spotted this mistake and thought I’d fixed it. Sorted now.

  • nic

    Sorry Terry – I’d spotted this mistake and thought I’d fixed it. Sorted now.

  • Hi Nic. I was just being lazy, trying to give you a hard time, etc. Thanks for all the blogging & for tweeting it too (otherwise i’d never see it, as I gave up on RSS).

    T

  • Hi Nic. I was just being lazy, trying to give you a hard time, etc. Thanks for all the blogging & for tweeting it too (otherwise i’d never see it, as I gave up on RSS).

    T

  • …with the caveat of a few exceptions Nic; this was my take on it, and with an interesting reply!

    famebook – December 13th, 2008 at 10:55 am PST
    In case anyone is tempted to accuse you Michael, of generalisation within this article, I can only confirm that as someone based in the UK and finally about to close our funding strategy for the first and second rounds, in the US, I have learnt much about the difference in entrepreneurial culture between Europe and the States and have concluded that it is not just about pessimism, it is more deep rooted than that. My conclusions are also substantiated by the experiences of several very old friends who have succeeded in America, building multi-million dollar businesses and in one case one just shy of a billion dollars.

    Having spent many years at the top of the music industry working both sides of the Atlantic and now hopefully at the early stages of building a very high profile and potentially disruptive online brand I can say without exception that I would rather deal with an American every time. At the heart of this is the fact, once again highlighted by Obama, that in America you guys get behind someone who looks like they’re gonna fly and start blowing hard behind him/ her to push them higher. In Europe, almost without exception we do the opposite.

    We trawled most of the European VC’s before looking over there and with a few exceptions their approach was totally control orientated. It was the same old process; patronise, belittle, devalue and then control. These guys have ego’s the size of houses and they have a class or culture issue of having to be the puppeteer, not the supportive partner or fan any entrepreneur is really looking for. They don’t look at a new entrepreneur as a bird that needs wings, they see them as something to own and manipulate…or at least that’s been my experience.

    The other problem, which combined with the above is that practically, they don’t understand big scale, so any investment is always based on a localised proof of concept and a model which can then be gradually escalated. Perhaps that’s because the US has hundreds of examples where big vision = big pay off, but mostly its because I think European investors think small and hope big.

    When my US friends have functions like this, they all have an electric sense of a bunch of people looking for the next cool thing which everyone can get behind…I suspect that the European model is more akin to a platform to show off a load of existing ego’s and projects which in reality are small scale, in the hope that they can introduce some US influence to their projects and widen the market. That’s why you were invited btw…

    Most importantly, and why ours is now a US business, is that we want to be surrounded by people who believe that we can build a company that will not only survive and thrive in this recession but can realise its maximum potential with the right team behind it. When the chips are down here, the type of investors who want to put reins on you and ride on your back are all too busy sticking cash in their mattress to help us anyway. Besides which there are a distinct lack of bollocks around here too.

    If Europe were to host the right party to marry the two worlds properly, then it should be called ‘Style & Tech’. You’ve only got to look at Amazon, to see the US isn’t 100% perfect and maybe we both have something to learn there. Move all VC’s to the States and base all your design teams in Europe and all would be well…..in my opinion!

    reply
    Peter Cooper – December 13th, 2008 at 12:33 pm PST
    At the heart of this is the fact, once again highlighted by Obama, that in America you guys get behind someone who looks like they’re gonna fly and start blowing hard behind him/ her to push them higher. In Europe, almost without exception we do the opposite.

    This is known as tall-poppy syndrome or Jante Law. It’s more prevalent the further north you go in Europe, though is a common social model in Europe generally.

    reply

  • …with the caveat of a few exceptions Nic; this was my take on it, and with an interesting reply!

    famebook – December 13th, 2008 at 10:55 am PST
    In case anyone is tempted to accuse you Michael, of generalisation within this article, I can only confirm that as someone based in the UK and finally about to close our funding strategy for the first and second rounds, in the US, I have learnt much about the difference in entrepreneurial culture between Europe and the States and have concluded that it is not just about pessimism, it is more deep rooted than that. My conclusions are also substantiated by the experiences of several very old friends who have succeeded in America, building multi-million dollar businesses and in one case one just shy of a billion dollars.

    Having spent many years at the top of the music industry working both sides of the Atlantic and now hopefully at the early stages of building a very high profile and potentially disruptive online brand I can say without exception that I would rather deal with an American every time. At the heart of this is the fact, once again highlighted by Obama, that in America you guys get behind someone who looks like they’re gonna fly and start blowing hard behind him/ her to push them higher. In Europe, almost without exception we do the opposite.

    We trawled most of the European VC’s before looking over there and with a few exceptions their approach was totally control orientated. It was the same old process; patronise, belittle, devalue and then control. These guys have ego’s the size of houses and they have a class or culture issue of having to be the puppeteer, not the supportive partner or fan any entrepreneur is really looking for. They don’t look at a new entrepreneur as a bird that needs wings, they see them as something to own and manipulate…or at least that’s been my experience.

    The other problem, which combined with the above is that practically, they don’t understand big scale, so any investment is always based on a localised proof of concept and a model which can then be gradually escalated. Perhaps that’s because the US has hundreds of examples where big vision = big pay off, but mostly its because I think European investors think small and hope big.

    When my US friends have functions like this, they all have an electric sense of a bunch of people looking for the next cool thing which everyone can get behind…I suspect that the European model is more akin to a platform to show off a load of existing ego’s and projects which in reality are small scale, in the hope that they can introduce some US influence to their projects and widen the market. That’s why you were invited btw…

    Most importantly, and why ours is now a US business, is that we want to be surrounded by people who believe that we can build a company that will not only survive and thrive in this recession but can realise its maximum potential with the right team behind it. When the chips are down here, the type of investors who want to put reins on you and ride on your back are all too busy sticking cash in their mattress to help us anyway. Besides which there are a distinct lack of bollocks around here too.

    If Europe were to host the right party to marry the two worlds properly, then it should be called ‘Style & Tech’. You’ve only got to look at Amazon, to see the US isn’t 100% perfect and maybe we both have something to learn there. Move all VC’s to the States and base all your design teams in Europe and all would be well…..in my opinion!

    reply
    Peter Cooper – December 13th, 2008 at 12:33 pm PST
    At the heart of this is the fact, once again highlighted by Obama, that in America you guys get behind someone who looks like they’re gonna fly and start blowing hard behind him/ her to push them higher. In Europe, almost without exception we do the opposite.

    This is known as tall-poppy syndrome or Jante Law. It’s more prevalent the further north you go in Europe, though is a common social model in Europe generally.

    reply

  • …On the issue of two hour lunches, which seems to have struck a nerve given the 340 replies to Michael’s piece – Any true entrepreneur who is likely to be successful doesn’t need anyone else to measure the effort they put in and if they do by definition they are not a pure blooded entrepreneur. Most successful entrepreneurs I know are working every waking hour, because success is their raison d’etre. People who talk about how hard others are working are usually those who are trying to impress someone else. I only care about impressing myself and if I decided to have a two hour luch with you in Paris Nic, it would purely be so you’d give me £10m or so for a venture. If the wine was good and we liked each other that would be a bonus…but not why I showed up!

  • …On the issue of two hour lunches, which seems to have struck a nerve given the 340 replies to Michael’s piece – Any true entrepreneur who is likely to be successful doesn’t need anyone else to measure the effort they put in and if they do by definition they are not a pure blooded entrepreneur. Most successful entrepreneurs I know are working every waking hour, because success is their raison d’etre. People who talk about how hard others are working are usually those who are trying to impress someone else. I only care about impressing myself and if I decided to have a two hour luch with you in Paris Nic, it would purely be so you’d give me £10m or so for a venture. If the wine was good and we liked each other that would be a bonus…but not why I showed up!