What’s an entrepreneur in France?

I was shocked, or I should say, I smiled yesterday when I used Google Translate to obtain an English equivalent of “l’entrepreneur doit être au centre des écosystèmes innovants”; I got “the contractor must be the focus of innovative ecosystems.” It is not a pure accident.

Let me remind you one of my favorite quotes from Paul Graham “I read occasionally about attempts to set up “technology parks” in other places, as if the active ingredient of Silicon Valley were the office space. An article about Sophia Antipolis bragged that companies there included Cisco, Compaq, IBM, NCR, and Nortel. Don’t the French realize these aren’t startups?”

Contractor, concrete, office space… When I was a kid, an entrepreneur was building houses. Google just kept that old meaning. Or is it that old? I will come back on this topic when I will comment (on the French part of my blog) a book I am currently reading “le paléoanthropologue dans l’entreprise ; s’adapter et innover pour survivre” by Pascal Picq. What stroke me there is a description of the Lamarckian style of French companies vs. the Darwinian flavor of the Anglo-Saxon ones… The book may explain many of the cultural differences of these two worlds.

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