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Denis Lacorne: "Let's All Be Billionaires! The French Dream of Silicon Valley"

Monday, January 27, 2020 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Stanford University
Bishop Auditorium
Lathrop Library
518 Memorial Way
Stanford, CA 94305

Join us in welcoming Denis Lacorne to Stanford for a lecture on his new book!

Lacorne analyzes the development of French tech entrepreneurship as a function of boosting France's image on the international stage. How should we understand the culture and why has it been difficult for the French to reach the forefront of digital economies? 

From the publisher:

The American economic model has never had good press in France. And yet, Silicon Valley is the object of boundless admiration, with all that it symbolizes: youth, risk-taking and the creation of thousands of young shoots in hypergrowth. This admiration literally exploded at the end of François Hollande's presidency and was then magnified by Emmanuel Macron. It revealed an immense ambition: to modernize the French economy to make it a Startup Nation. To this end, it was necessary to facilitate the emergence of future champions of the digital economy, these famous "unicorns" (companies valued at $ 1 billion), which the Elysee would like to have at least 25 in 2025. Where is the "French Tech Mission", created in 2013 to feed this ambition, today? It seems that it has not fulfilled all the hopes of its designers. France, overtaken by the United Kingdom and Germany, is not at the forefront of European digital economies. Our technological ecosystem is not efficient enough and remains surprisingly dependent on state aid and subsidies. This is why the most ambitious French startups do not hesitate to expatriate to the United States. This book, on which the talk is based, covers twenty unpublished interviews, most of them conducted in Silicon Valley. It allows us to understand what is the "startup culture", its mixture of imagination and passion, supported by an incessant quest for new funding to better grow and devour the competition, without ignoring the criticisms raised by this culture.


About Denis Lacorne

Denis Lacorne is senior research fellow with the CERI (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales) at Sciences Po, Paris. His books in English include The Limits of Tolerance: Enlightenment Values and Religious Fanaticism (Columbia UP, 2019), Religion in America: A Political History (Columbia UP 2011) as well as With Us or Against Us: Studies in Global Anti-Americanism (Palgrave, 2005) and Language, Nation and State: Identity Politics in a Multilingual Age (Palgrave, 2004), both co-edited with Tony Judt. He is also the author of L'invention de la République américaine ("Inventing the American Republic", Paris, Hachette, 2008) and of La Crise de l'identité américaine: Du Melting pot au multiculturalisme ("The American Identity in Crisis", Paris, Gallimard, coll. Tel, 2003).




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