An open letter to the french bashers,
Who i really am ?
Rémy Bigot, the French frog (Linkedin profile)
I’m a webmarketer and an entrepreneur since 2003, my objective is simple : to help small businesses to grow thanks to marketing.
I also worked for eBay as affiliate account manager in London last year. Contact me here.
Right now, i’m working for a great french startup called Wimi (a productivity tool for small businesses)
Why am I « upset » ?
The « french bashing », something that seems to be an English and American pastime, I need to understand why…
First of all, i just want to make something clear: I love Britain and America.
I lived in London for 8 months last year (A very enriching work experience for me at eBay / ROEYE ) , and I really love English language, culture and business style (the same for America).
The French are arrogant…are you not all insular?
I just want to understand something. Some of you usually says that we are arrogant and agressive, but, who is arrogant in reality ?
Some examples :
- Some people claim that the English language and the American culture are THE best.
- Some of you claim that French language needs to leave the olympics forever (and the planet if it’s possible). I just ask this who re-invented the Olympics? why french is an official language?
- Some of you claim that France is an old country with nothing interesting (just wines and old buildings, and smelly cheeses that the foreigners seem to love?)
- Some of you claim that we are a Communist country (This is really funny to be honest!). We just have workforce unions who are a bit like this, but they are not representative! Would you want us to judge you by a section of society…footballers, bankers, politicians?
In reality, France is more « right-wing » than socialist or communist. François Hollande was elected because the french hate Nicolas Sarkozy rather than they love Hollande. Look at this interesting graphic. It shows that right-wing (in blue) was a lot more present than left-wing at power since the beginning of the 5th republic in France (in 1958).
In my opinion, France is between right and left (close to the middle), it depends the situation.
- A lot of you think that we are lazy because we work only 35 hours a week. First of all, it’s untrue for a lot of us (the real average working week is 39.5 hours). Secondly, it’s not about how long we work, but how well we work (productivity and efficiency : $57.7 of gross domestic product per hour).
- Some of you claim that France is a bad environment for entrepreneurship and wealthy people (it’s not always true but I can accept this one to be fair with you)
- Some of you pretend that we are not in a good shape (maybe you’re right). But, don’t forget that we are still the 5th more powerful country in the world (by GDP).
A « private » message to Boris Johnson (mayor of London)
Hi Boris, hope you are well in London. I have a message for you :
Before trying to welcome some french entrepreneurs to move to the UK, can you just try to solve some real problems Londoners faces ? One great example : The tube.
I lived 8 months in london and I can really see the nightmare it is for a lot of londoners…
It can be reasonable for you to look at yourself and try to fix real problems before talking about France. (A good example here)
« Give me a reason to love you ! »
Can you just take 5 minutes to try to better understand our country and culture before bashing us ?
It’s not because we are really bad in english (which is a disaster I have to admit) and sometimes too much proud of ourselves that we are bad and arrogant people.
Maybe we are just a little bit different, with another point of view…
Britain and US versus France
Again, the English language is great, American and British entrepreneurship too. It’s definitely true and I love it (for example, i’m a great fan of the ABC show called « Shark tank« , I really hope that Kevin O’leary or Robert Herjavec will read this post one day : Thanks guys for your great show, kiss Barbara, Lori, Diamond and Mark for me please!)
3 hours a day, are you kidding me ?
If it’s true, we are definitely the most productive people ever! Look at the numbers a little, and you will understand that it’s simply IMPOSSIBLE.
We are not robots! We can’t achieve this GDP per hour, it’s nonsense.
Maurice Taylor is just plain wrong in this situation. I respect his entrepreneurship but not his accusations, sorry…
A lot of « clichés » (90% are wrong, do you know which ones?)
France is a beautiful woman
France is just different, a woman with a lot of strenghts and weaknesses (like every country I think)
She has many problems to solve (especially concerning money and business) but she also has other great things and is one of the best in terms of quality of life (world-class research and development capabilities, landcapes, quality of life, culture, food, science, solidarity*, the best health care system…and many more). You can find some great things about France on my Pinterest board here.
She’s trying to solve a massive cultural problem : balancing between rich and poor and austerity versus investment.
She’s always trying to do the good thing, the thing who doesn’t hurts a lot of people, it’s her real « problem ». She doesn’t want to let a lot of people down because of business for example…
Maybe too idealistic ?
It’s maybe not the solution in this difficult situation (eurozone in trouble), you’re right. But it’s the way we work, we believe to the famous (at least in France) « Liberté, égalité, fraternité » like a religion.
We believe in equality, such a thing is very difficult in this world, I know.
We prefer to help the famous 99% « poorer » rather than the 1% wealthier.
Maybe it’s right, maybe wrong, we’ll see what’s happens.
But, please, just try to understand who we are really before bashing us.
As Mr Gallois said : “People have to understand that France is a special animal, We could be more business-oriented, but only if we ensure justice and fairness for everybody.”.
Can we discuss together around a glass of Bordeaux ?
Thanks a lot guys, i’d love to exchange with you on this post, don’t hesitate to bash me in comments (not too hard please, it can be interesting to have a real debate not insults or racism…), I love it (debates, not racism…) !
PS : Heal the world, and « Vive la France » !
A message to UK and US borders
Please, let me go travel to your country sometimes without lock me in jail in seconds (because of this article), I have still a lot of things to do in your great countries ! Thanks.
* (As an aside about charity, don’t forget to help Chuckroast, a great US developer who is in big trouble with his medical expenses)