I ran across this UK newspaper column by Paul Carr on the Le Web conference. It's great, funny writing, but it also reminds me why America's the best place in the world to be an entrepreneur. Paul takes great glee in tearing down everyone involved, including the startups:
"… entrepreneurs from around the world each pay €1,500 to meet their
peers, demo their startups and generally try to pretend that their
businesses aren't completely and totally doomed."
Bob Sutton gathered a brilliant summary of the academic evidence that being negative about other people increases your status. One of the studies concluded “Only pessimism sounds profound. Optimism sounds superficial.”
What cynics like Paul don't get is that most of us in the startup world are well aware that the odds are against us, but we think it's worth doing anyway! US culture celebrates that risk-taking, but Britons tend to shake their heads and tell themselves it will all end in tears. Most of the time they're right. The trouble is, Google and Microsoft were crazy ideas in their time, and would have never made it without a lot of people supporting them despite the risk. By sneering, Britain guarantees they'll never build a world-class tech company.