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The Family’s European Tour
European Straits #90
Last week saw me travelling back from Berlin to London by way of Paris. Berlin was for a fireside chat about my book Hedge with Stripe’s Sandro Gianella, as well as a few meetings on the side. The chat with Sandro was filmed and so I’ll make sure to share the YouTube video when it’s ready! In the meantime, here’s the news I wanted to share with you this week.
The Family’s European Tour
As you remember, last week in Copenhagen was the first of The Family team’s visits to European capitals to reach out to talented entrepreneurs and supportive investors across the continent. You already know that , so it’s our mission to attract the most ambitious founders into our portfolio, wherever they are based.
The approach we have designed is not to open offices all over the place, but rather to make sure that The Family is known and that we have the right allies on the ground. So roughly every 2 weeks from now until April, our team (incl. my cofounder Oussama Ammar as well as Hugo Amsellem, Mathias Pastor, and other colleagues) will visit a European city known for its vibrant ecosystem. They’ll spend 2-3 days there for open meetups, office hours with selected founding teams, and networking with local players.
All the information is on this website. But I wanted to point out the next dates so that you could share the information in your network and connect us to relevant people you know in each city: 🇪🇪 Tallinn (October 17), 🇳🇱 Amsterdam (November 7), 🇵🇱 Warsaw (November 21), 🇧🇪 Brussels (December 2), and 🇨🇭Zurich (December 20).
BTW I’ve already written on two of these ecosystems: check out past issues of this newsletter dedicated to and . And for everything related to The Family’s tour, you can also write directly to my colleague Hugo Amsellem ➡️ firstname.lastname@example.org
Engaging discussions in Paris
Last week I discussed Hedge in two different settings in Paris:
The first was the official presentation of the book to The Family’s community in Paris. Because our firm is about supporting entrepreneurs, I wanted to highlight the entrepreneurial dimension of imagining and building a new Safety Net. I invited three of our portfolio entrepreneurs to join me on stage to discuss it all: Hind Elidrissi of Wemind (who provides very simple and effective insurance policies to freelancers), Pierre Mugnier of Side (a platform to make it easy and rewarding for students to work gigs on the side), and my colleague Younès Rharbaoui of Lion (a school founded by The Family and led by Annabelle Bignon, where employees learn the startup mindset from entrepreneurs themselves). The Entrepreneurial Age is also about entrepreneurs taking things into their own hands! A video (in French) will be online soon.
The second talk was the next day at SCOR’s headquarters in Paris (picture here). SCOR is one of the leading players on the global market for reinsurance and my talk was part of a 2-day conference they organize every year for their top clients and partners from all over the world. As it was mostly insurers in the room, my key message echoed Chapter 11 of Hedge: the current paradigm shift brings about new risks, which means that there are many opportunities for insurance companies to reposition themselves in their industry’s value chain. It’s an idea that I discussed more in a . The audience was receptive, I think, and I had the pleasure to pursue the discussion with participants from London, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia while signing copies of my book.
Off to Copenhagen, then the OECD, then the US
🇩🇰 I’m headed to Copenhagen later today for a talk about Hedge at Founders, a startup studio and pillar of the local ecosystem. The talk is tomorrow (Thursday, Oct 11) at 4:30pm, and you can register here. Also, if you know people I should meet there to discuss things related to tech and policy, please connect us: I have a few final slots available in my schedule until Friday afternoon.
🇫🇷 Next week I’ll be in Paris again, this time for a meeting of the Expert Advisory Group of the Going Digital project at the OECD. I’ve already discussed what this group is about in a . But this will be the first meeting since Hedge appeared, and so I very much look forward to discussing again with my fellow members who will be visiting from all over the world.
🇺🇸 Lastly, I’m currently finalizing the program for my trip to the Bay Area, which will be from November 3 to November 10. There are already several talks and meetings planned, but I’m certain I didn’t think about everyone. So, again, if you have suggestions as to who I should meet in San Francisco or elsewhere around the Valley, please let me know by simply replying to this email!
Enough with short-sighted problem solving
Only one Forbes article this week! If, like me, you’re fed up with politicians becoming soulless, technocratic problem-solvers, you’ll be interested in the idea that we should approach policy problems in terms of missions rather than solutions.
What I love in the world of entrepreneurs is the long-term horizon and the high level of ambition. By contrast, what has disappointed me a lot in the world of politics is the pusillanimity and the misguided passion for a centrist, moderate approach to problems. It’s time politicians rediscover the values of ambitious entrepreneurship, like they once did when they wanted to win wars or send a man to the moon. I’m glad that resounding voices like that of Mariana Mazzucato, Carlota Perez and Bill Janeway have revived that idea. My (short) article owes a lot to their work. You can read it here: It Takes Missions, Not Solutions, To Solve Today's Problems.
More readings on mission-oriented policy
The Two Innovation Economies (William H. Janeway, April 2013)
A New Age of Technological Progress (Carlota Perez, Policy Network, August 2014)
Finding Your Big Idea (me, November 2014)
Entrepreneurship Is the New Politics (me, The Family Papers, January 2016)
Centrism Is Dead. Time To Rebuild the Left (Teryn Norris, February 2017)
Mission thinking: a problem-solving approach to fuel innovation-led growth (Mariana Mazzucato, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, March 2018)
Power flows (Anthony Painter, The Royal Society of Arts, June 2018)
What makes states entrepreneurial? (Rainer Kattel, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, August 2018)
Warm regards (from London, UK),