A Frenchie spends time with the London Office
In Daniel Balavoine’s song: Le Chanteur, “Je m’présente, je m’appelle Hélène...J’voudrais bien réussir ma vie, speak English”
Two months ago I travelled by Eurostar for the first time, leaving behind my adopted city of Paris to arrive in the Anglo-Saxon metropolis of London with my big red suitcase!
“LOOK RIGHT, LOOK LEFT”, - the best advice a Londoner ever gave me. Just for this, I disagree with Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “England has built London for its own use, while France has built Paris for the world” – they thought of all the poor and disorientated foreigners who arrive every day in this amazing capital. I even love my commute in to work. If you have ever visited Paris you will know that the metro is always crowded, and Parisians have a habit of planting themselves in front of the door, so that you can’t get off at your stop because they want to get in first…that used to make me really nervous! Here in London the tube is no less crowded but the people are so much more respectful that it’s become a pleasure to take it…(I know, I’m an anomaly!)
I now spend my days at TechHub: startups, Silicon Roundabout, new technology, social media, Twitter, Facebook, entrepreneurs, high-growth companies, online shopping, and video streaming. It’s all new to me…ok it doesn’t seem so scary but it’s all in English! It’s not so much that it’s disorientating, but rather the fact that you are faced with so many cultural surprises: the TechHub office is a big open space with numerous young entrepreneurs, hard-workers, putting their legs on the table, removing their shoes – I’ve never seen that before in Paris. At the beginning it’s weird, but now I love it!
One thing I find different in England vs. France is the networking. Last week I got to experience the British style of work hard/play hard at the Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100 (a ranking of Europe’s most promising start-ups) in London where I was part of the hosting team and responsible to welcome the guests. It was great fun and interesting to meet people from Europe’s top media and start-ups. In France, we have a mode of learning that is more theoretical than in England. Here I think people use more pragmatism and more easily blend drinks and a big party with getting to know others in the industry.
I am so happy to have found the Ballouettes team. Every day, even when I look at them with big eyes thinking to myself “what are they talking about?” they are always patient with me, and do their best not to leave me in any confusion. So, that’s a quick introduction to my time in London - so far. Keep checking back for more stories about my London adventures!