Mindset differences between Europe and the US

I've been thinking a lot lately about the differences between Europe and the US. I'm a European first -I grew up in France- but I've always felt strongly attracted by the US. It's been a love at first sight since my very first visit in Boston when I was 16 y/o. Since then I've been countless times and I got lucky enough to live in LA, California and a few years later in Boulder, Colorado. We now have a routine with Mathilde and the kids, we go back to the US altogether every year, home-swapping for the whole summer.

As an entrepreneur, I've experienced firsthand the biggest differences in terms of mindset between both places. But it is only now that I spend more time over there as a parent that I realise how impactful -for life- are all these differences. Many of them can be trace back to some of my observations following my last 2 weeks over there.

Golden Gate bridge by Joshua Sortino

I'm a firm believer in Europe of course, which is why I've been touched by Andreas's article 'Dear Europe, please wake up'. I consequently joined his eu/acc initiative. In their own words: "🇪🇺 eu/acc is a decentralized community movement to accelerate progress in Europe through innovation, technology, and a Europe-positive mindset.". Their first project is 'a standardized legal entity for Europe', which makes sense to me. Especially as someone who's been advised his whole life to create 'Delaware, Inc.' if you're ambitious.

Now, I also think that the biggest challenge ahead will be about the mindset towards risk. Europeans are risk-averse while Americans take their chances. And this gap has enormous impacts. This is the main reason why most people around the world who 'want to take their chances' are still migrating to the US [or dreaming of], which only widens the gap.

People [Asians, Europeans, Africans, well, you get it, pretty much the whole world] want to move to the US to make a life for themselves, take their chances, build the future. They want to spend time in Europe to enjoy a drink, slow down on the beach, see really beautiful -and old- things, buy luxury items. Of course I'm caricaturing but still, when you ask people to describe their time in the US in one word, you'll quickly hear 'dynamism', 'vibrant', 'energy'. When doing the same about Europe you'll hear 'beautiful', 'relaxing', 'charming'. Don't get me wrong, I also embrace the idea of a beautiful life. But as always, there are nuances. Museums and beaches are beautiful -and definitely great spots to spend some time in- but I don't want to feel stuck in neither of them.

If we push this to an extreme we get a country like Portugal where 'one in three people ages 15-39 has left for overseas'. We get great italian engineers building the future in the US. And the list would be way too long.

Tom published a long post recently titled: Taking Risk. His observations and comments are spot on. Even though he focuses on the UK, my experience living also in France, Germany, Portugal, Spain matches his views.

So much of the UK felt like it was pushing against me as an aspiring entrepreneur. It was like an immune system fighting against a foreign body. The reception I got in the US was dramatically different - people were overwhelmingly encouraging, supportive and helpful.

there’s a pessimism in the UK that often makes people believe they’re destined to fail before they start. That it’s wrong to even think about being different. Our smartest, most technical young people aspire to work for big companies with prestigious brands, rather than take a risk and start something of their own.

When we're thinking about where to let our kids grow up -- we definitely have all of this in mind.