Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.
So I’m am the Next08 conference watching some start-ups that give a five minute elevator pitch. I can’t understand them all, as not all the German entrepreneurs here are as smart as Amazee, Jupidi, Mikestar and Toksta, since they present in German. I’m sure this is more comfortable for them as it’s their native language, and of course, most of the services are focused on the German market, but something doesn’t feel right here.
There have been many discussions about the advantages of building a start-up in Europe. The most mentioned advantage almost always is that we Europeans speak several languages, which makes us localization experts. Yet after a few months of traveling through Europe and visiting start-up communities in London, Geneva, Paris, Brussels, Gent, and now Hamburg, I’m starting to believe the language thing is our biggest weakness as well.
You know, most of these young aspiring entrepreneurs are obviously giving a good show here, since the German-speaking audience here is really excited, to say the least. But do they realize that there are some of the most influential web professionals walking around here, who don’t understand a word of what they’re saying? While hundreds of start-ups are dying for some attention from influentials like Steve Rubel and Stowe Boyd, these presenting entrepreneurs just ignore them by speaking another language.
So whether you’re from Germany, Holland, Italy or France, an international attitude really pays of at an international conference. Even if it’s just a mention on a blog, like Amazee, Jupidi, Mikestar and Toksta got. Viel glueck!
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