Nikesh Arora, responsible for all EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) Operations at Google, just took the stage at LeWeb in Paris. Conference organizer Loic Le Meur will interview him about the European start-up scene.
In 1989, Nikesh graduated from the Institute of Technology in Varanasi, India with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. After that he worked at Deutsche Telekom and with two investment companies in Boston. Now he is at Google where is specializes in squeezing more Euros, Dhirams, Dinars, Shekels and Rands out of us. Or as Google puts it “responsible for creating and expanding strategic partnerships in these regions for the benefit of Google’s growing number of users and advertisers.”
And he has one major fear…
The Google big shot confessed to Le Meur that he’s pretty afraid of the “two guys in a garage. “The next Google will come from a garage”, he assured the audience. “So people will have to step up and take the risk”. Arora regrets the fact that Europeans generally have a lower appetite for risk. Unlike Americans, we don’t see failure as an opportunity. “That’s the structural reason why the US has more start-up activity.”
Don’t target your own market
Another mistake we Europeans make is focusing on our own market – the one we know best. “There are 1.4 billion people connected to the web, that’s more than … million people from Austria. So why would you focus on the national market? That’s a fatal flaw. 1 percent of a billion is much larger than 1 percent of 1 million.” Instead, do it like Twitter and Skype and start creating something that a billion people find useful”.
And while you’re at it. Focus! Companies like Apple and Google were both created in times of economic downturn, because they focused. the climate does not dictate whether you’re successful or not. Redefine your product.” Arora said. “I want to congratulate all the entrepreneurs in the room”, he conclude. “These are the times, if you can survive for 12 to 18 months in Europe, you’ll come out with great business”.