The differences between Europe and the US is one of the most interesting subjects for me. I have been following the debate between Michael Arrington and Loic Le Meur and have an intermediate position, as I love Europe but think that the US is doing much better than us. One of the best examples I ever heard of this is the Youtube vs. Dailymotion story.
I came to it through an article of Web 2.0 critical Andrew Keen, who quotes Le Meur saying that Youtube grew faster because of the advantages of its native English language and Silicon Valley’s money. Of course Arrington does not agree: he thinks Europeans are lazier. He might be true (in some cases), but the story has many nuances.
Youtube and Dailymotion were born at the same time in different places: San Francisco and Paris. Starbucks vs. brasseries or McDonald’s vs. French restaurants. Youtube grew very fast. Dailymotion has grown but not as faster. At the same time, many other companies tried to copy Youtube and couldn’t. In fact, Dailymotion had to stop growing as money was scarce, which did not happen to risk-capital backed-Youtube.
There are many more differences:
– Bigger market, more money. Youtube’s market (the US) is huge. Dailymotion’s (France at the beginning) is a little bit more than 50 million people. As Meetic’s founder said at Le Web, in Europe you need to build a different brand for each country. Too much effort!
– Better marketing. Youtube’s founders used a lot of online marketing. Nobody knows Dailymotion’s promoters, as they have not marketed their product so much.
– More ambition. Youtube’s founders’ will was probably to sell to Google. And they got it! For Dailymotions’ founders TF1 could have been the best deal.
Can you build a world company from Europe? Hardly. Europe does not exist. Our market is formed out of people from different languages and cultures. Only Scandinavians are using English as a common language. We really have a problem in Europe if we want to build world companies on the Internet, which are not only based on technology (as Skype). Being pragmatic, Dailymotion’s founders would have better moved to Silicon Valley. As Le Meur did, BTW.