Random Thoughts by Fabien Penso

French don't network

Note: This is a cross post with my other San Francisco blog.

A few weeks back I was at WWDC (San Francisco), the Apple conference. Something strikes me, every time I hear French I usually say a few words asking where they’re from and so on, and 50% of the time they patronize me.

They look at me as I’m a little student who came from Paris, for a week or two, I only worked since my 18 (I’m turning 33). It usually comes to a point where I say I actually live in San Francisco (well not for long now as I’m thinking of not coming back after my Parisian vacation in July), the discussion suddenly changes, but not all the time. They then want to know how I’ve managed to be here, and how they could achieve the same.

A few days ago I was at Summit (better than coworking space to my opinion), a great Coffee shop in San Francisco with lots of developers hanging around on day time, working on startup ideas. I heard 2 French guys, obviously Engineers, and talked to them. They patronized me (again!) and didn’t even say hi, they just didn’t want to talk.

American Engineers very rarely have that attitude, they’re always very happy to meet new people, and I’ve met numerous people at Summit and other places while not going there for that purpose. Even non Engineers love networking, and San Francisco is the only place where I can wear a short, t-shirt, flip flops and talk to a CEO with a $400 shirt without him patronizing me. Engineers are the people making startups happen, and they’re very aware of that.

A French friend of mine actually noticed the same and don’t talk to French people anymore while going to conferences. If you’re French, don’t do that. Network is important.