Following attacks, Paris startup scene is back to work, almost

Nov 16, 2015
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To say that it’s been a difficult weekend would be an understatement, but I’ve spent so much time talking with people about the Paris Attacks of November 13th, that I’ll leave it at that for now. This morning, many woke up hoping that the beginning of a new week would mark the beginning of ‘after.’ The weekend was spent following Twitter hashtags, watching 24 hours news, calling family & friends, and hoping that no one who we hadn’t heard from would turn up in the news.

France’s museums have opened, and, for the most part, it seems that tech companies have gone back to work. All my emails are filled with “stay safe,” and I almost feel bad wanting to discuss partnerships, let alone get pitched by a startup who had the misfortune of having something to announce this week. Paris’ startups are checking in with team mates – some have lost team members, and that’s just a fact of life – and most are just getting their composure together.

My inbox is filled with events that have been postponed or cancelled – TheFamily closed its doors for the week, Maddyness postponed their MaddyKeynote, and plenty of brands like Tommy Hillfiger, HP & Sony cancelled their events. Meetings with people coming in from out of town have been postponed.

If you’re feeling like it’s tough to work today: that’s OK. It is, and it should be. The Rude team is working internally on plans for 2016 today, talking about things that don’t require immediate action or reaching out to others.

Make no mistake: Paris is only getting stronger

Don’t let the somber attitude, the emptier than usual terraces, or the quieter than usual streets lead you to the false conclusion that somehow Paris has been weakened. This city, its companies, its entrepreneurs and its professionals are figuring out how to move on, and they will move forward stronger than they were before. I’ve read commentary from Americans surprised that their French counterparts insisted meetings go on this week, I watched super-angel Marc Simoncini make a call for French entrepreneurs to double-down their efforts and work twice as hard, saying that the country needs hard-working people now more than ever.

Rude Baguette is lucky, in that we don’t have any events coming in the next two months – no need to pretend everything is normal, which is a tough thing to pretend right now. However, the next time we get on stage, the next time we receive news from tech companies, we’ll speak loudly, and we’ll write twice as hard, because that’s what Paris is. A bunch of hard-working entrepreneurs who are constantly building, rebuilding, improving, solidifying.

Fluctat Nec Mergitur – “Tossed but not sunk” is the motto of Paris, and is as appropriate for the Startup scene as it is for every Parisian today. Paris’ startups have overcome being laughed at, being a gimmick on stage, being told ‘no’ simply because of where they are from. If Republican Candidate Jeb Bush accusing them of working three days a week doesn’t sink them, you can bet that a couple of f_cking a$$holes (to quote Jon Oliver) won’t stop them from growing, expanding, dominating.