French president François Hollande has announced that he will visit the Silicon Valley next month, accompanied by American president Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The visit comes in the midst of an economy that is stagnant, record levels of unemployment & plummeting popularity that would make former President George W. Bush look like JFK. Indeed ,it’s tough times for François Hollande, who is currently caught up in a scandal regarding an affair he is having with French actress Julie Gayet.
With all that on his plate, it’s no wonder Hollande is fleeing to California – the good news is, he won’t be the only Frenchman there. Perhaps, like many before him, Hollande will find inspiration driving down the 280, or staring at Redwood trees in Muir Forest that pre-date Christianity – or perhaps, he’ll get to work on his hand-shaking skills.
Le Silicon Valley
The Silicon Valley is quite the multi-cultural hub. California’s sordid history includes underpaying Chinese labor workers to build railroads, waging war with Mexico for the right to the land, and more recently becoming the center of the Gay Rights movement in the 60’s. In addition, as the epicenter for the technology sector, California has been attracting talented engineers looking not just for the highest salary, but the best professional opportunities – of which California has both.
With a reported 50,000+ expatriates in the Bay Area, France is more represented than any other European country – likely more than most other countries besides China & India as well.
Steve Jobs was a well-known francophile, with Apple’s original European headquarters being based in Paris – perhaps Hollande will have the opportunity to discuss France’s attractivity for tech companies.