“Vive” Las Vegas! France earns praise at the CES.
In recent years, the English media hasn’t been very kind to France. It even warrants a full Wikipedia article! So when Fortune, Forbes and the Huffington Post praise France, its engineers and start-ups at the CES, it should be celebrated!
On January 8, 2016, Fortune.com published an article titled “At CES, France is Tech’s Unexpected Powerhouse”. On January 5, Forbes called the French wave “A French Tech Startups Invasion”. On January 6, it was the Huffington Post’s turn with “La Techno Française, star du CES 2016 à Las Vegas” (French Technology Stars at CES 2016 in Las Vegas).
CES is the “Consumer Electronic Show”, which is the must-attend, technological innovation expo intended for the general public. It’s simply the place where the products of tomorrow are introduced. In the past, many iconic technologies took their first steps at this event, including the VCR (1970), the DVD (1996) and the Xbox (2001). This year’s CES just wrapped up in Las Vegas, where it took place at the beginning of January. This time, France garnered much honor and attention there.
Why were so many eyes on France at the CES?
First of all, because of France’s overwhelming presence! According to Fortune, France was the expo’s 3rd most represented country with 200 exhibitors. Even more surprising is the fact that the 128 French start-ups comprised a third of all start-ups represented.
Secondly, because of the quality of exhibitors. Many French companies have won prizes for innovation due to their originality and commercial potential. Because of this, Apple became convinced to sell Devialet’s high-end speakers in their top 14 stores. Or 10-Vins, one of the most remarkable start-ups found at the expo. This Nantaise company’s flagship product decants wine in less than a minute.
France’s keys to success at the CES
The Fortune article was by far the most informative. The magazine highlights the French engineers’ high quality of education:
“French engineers receive a very interdisciplinary education, allowing them to better marry software with hardware, which is essential for creating consumer tech.”
But Fortune also described the effectiveness of French Tech and how France has simplified the process for start-ups to create companies:
“The government has made a concerted effort to lower the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs. This included tax incentives as well as significant reduction of red tape that entrepreneurs face when they launch a business”.
Reduce the fear of failure
Fortune raised another good point about the underlying fear of failure so prevalent in French business culture. In a December 8, 2015 article, Les Echos cited Fleur Pellerin, former minister for SMEs and the Digital Economy:
“Someone from France takes eight to nine years to recover from a professional failure; a German, six years; and a Norwegian less than one year”.
My compatriots living in the United States would probably agree, whether they’re French or German. Here, failure is no big deal. At the same time, not trying due to fear of failure is poorly understood. According to Fortune, the French government has stopped blacklisting companies that have gone bankrupt for the first time. I agree with Fortune: this is a good measure to encourage start-ups!
Photo credit: © stock