The book features in-depth Q&A style interviews with some of Europe’s most successful tech founders including Bernard Liautaud (Business Objects), Saul Klein (Lovefilm), Ilya Segalovich (Yandex), Richard Jones (Last.FM), Kristian Segerstrale (Playfish), Loic Le Meur (Le Web) and Brent Hoberman (Lastminute.com). I was also interviewed for the book and one of the chapters features Ben and I as the founders of MessageLabs.
I think it’s a good read and will act as a useful source of reference for other entrepreneurs facing similar challenges and opportunities. There are no manuals for how to be an entrepreneur – the best way is to either go out and start a business or learn from others who have. So in telling the story of a number of successful European entrepreneurs, the book provides some really useful information that I think many people will be able to relate to.
But the thing that struck me the most is that there are now such a good number of successful tech entrepreneurs in Europe for Pedro to base the book on. Only a few years ago this was not the case and it points to a real strengthening of the European eco-system driven by a recycling of success, and everything that comes with it, including experience, money and an ‘I can do this’ attitude.
I’ve long believed that the most important factor in building a strong and vibrant eco-system is time. People forget that Silicon Valley started in the 1980’s and has therefore been around for more than thirty years. In Europe the tech eco-system didn’t start until the late 1990’s and that proved to be a false dawn with the Dotcom crash a few years later. So it’s important to remember that the European scene is relatively young – it’s still growing up but getting stronger all the time. Europe is also learning to pool its talent and resources from across the whole region, with London and Berlin acting as the main hubs, and this is another really positive development.
There can only ever be one Silicon Valley and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I say that as a Brit who has lived in the US for the last ten years, so I’ve had the chance to see what makes things tick over here. But Europe is building an identity and a confidence all of its own and that’s great to see. Reading European Founders At Work made me feel this all the more strongly and I believe there will be many more European founders at work in the future.
If you are interested in buying the book it is available on Amazon.