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This article was published on December 14, 2008


    The tech industry needs global citizens, not nationalism

    The tech industry needs global citizens, not nationalism
    Ernst-Jan Pfauth
    Story by

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth

    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.

    It’s funny and sad. The tech scene is an industry where people travel the whole world for conferences and meet-ups, so you’d expect most to be global citizens. McLuhan’s global village and all that. Yet right after Europe’s largest web conference, almost everybody who has the guts to speak up is ranting about each other’s countries.

    A-listers start a discussion – Michael Arrington criticizes Europe’s work ethic, Loren Feldman “bans” France, Loic Le Meur finds himself defending Europe all the time -, and a large group of followers starts to bash anyone whose not from their country.

    worldIn the TechCrunch discussion, it took about twenty comments when Godwin’s law was once again proved. At Loren Feldman’s, some people used vivid and hostile examples to fight prejudice: I’m French and you’re right, I shower only once a week. Right after I bang your wife. Plus, in the heat of the discussion, Loic le Meur and Michael Arrington justbroke up.

    Screw all that.

    I’m lucky to work for this blog. The Next Web team send me all over the world. Everywhere I came, from London, San Francisco, Geneva, Paris, Krakow, Beijing, San Francisco, Shanghai, and even crazy Kathmandu – I found people to level with. Guys and girls who are working to make their dreams come true.

    Maybe they’re taking a two hour lunch – but they might as well skip some sleep to work.
    Maybe their English is terrible, but they’re helping out millions of people world-wide who speak the same language.

    Maybe they don’t have a passport, but thanks to the web they appear more like global citizens to me than most tech people.