Thursday, October 27, 2011

3 Startup's New Offices

The same night was the opening of the new shared offices of three startups: Codage, which makes customized cosmetics; UrbanLinker, a recruiting agency specialized in the Web and whose CEO Jonathan Azoulay came to the April CWC; and Green Republic.fr., a startup marketplace for bio and eco green products.

The Vitrine's Pop-up Shop

Online shop The Vitrine had it's pop-up shop opening at Storie (20 rue delambre) on Thursday, October 27th. (http://www.storieblog.com/?p=486) The Vitrine presents selections of American-based artists and designers featured on the website but who have not shown their work in Paris before.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cocktails with Courtney ~ October 26

The magic of Cocktails with Courtney is working in Paris as witnessed at the October 26th event at the Tuileries Bar. It was reported this night that two guests from September's event chatted, one gave the other a contact and now this contact is in talks financially advantageous for the other! I have to be a little vague because of the sensitive nature, and unlike most reporters I won't break confidential news until it's ready to be released. It's just who I am.

You may notice in the U.S., putting an "i" in front of a word seems to "internet-ize" it. Well, here in France, the key words seem to be "Myeasy." I've written about Romain Lehz of Myeasypet.com and this month's Cocktails with Courtney welcomed Edouard Maitre and his partner Augustin de Beaurepaire of Myeasygolf.com.  Myeasygolf.com aims to be the one-stop-shop for anyone planning a golf vacation. With links to courses, spas, hotels and restaurants, it is easy to plan a golf trip for yourself or with friends.  If you're going solo, Myeasygolf.com helps you partner up with other golfers to play with for the trip. Edouard and Augustine were such nice, bright, young gentlemen with the classic French background it was a pleasure to meet them and chat about their business, the e-commerce aspect (selling American golf products to Europeans) and our new iPhone 4S's.

Nina Andronikof told us about her developments with the International Freeride Film Festival that will take place in St Lary in the Pyrenees: http://www.festival-freeride.com/home-en.php. Sounds fun indeed! She and long-time friend Nathalie Ohana (OMGmother.com) were catching up just before we did a little musical chairs for guests to meet other people.  Financial and insurance advisor Dominic Jerome came by after meeting me at the AMEX Soiree where I presented my business in June. He and Stanley Gehry (klgates.com/) enjoyed the conviviality typical of Cocktails with Courtney. Afterwards, Irene Toporkoff-Mayer (Worldcrunch.com), Nathalie Ohana and I went out for some delicious Japanese noodle soups at Higuma restaurant.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Réseau Entreprendre

Earlier the following week, on Wednesday, October 19th, I met with Hugues Franc, Directeur of Réseau Entreprendre, a network of over 200 business leaders who help entrepreneurs start their business, or help bring them back to life. Each year the association selects from a large pool of candidates and nurtures them to success. The track record is impressive and was born from an idea of Andre Mulliez (CEO of Groupe Phildar). Andre and several members of his family felt the following principal "To create jobs, you need to create the employers" was essential for business and the economy.  Today, Réseau Entreprendre is comprised of 42 associations in France and was identified as a national non-profit by decree of the Council of State January 15, 2003.  Réseau Entreprendre®Paris was created June 4, 2004 at the initiative of Hugues Franc and Gonzagues de Blignieres (Président of Barclays Private Equity). To learn more about this wonderful organization and all the many ways it offers invaluable services to entrepreneurs, visit: http://www.reseau-entreprendre-paris.fr/

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cocktails with Courtney ~ September

Cocktails with Courtney, held on the 28th of September at the Tuileries bar in the Westin Hotel, was another intimate affair. Kigo.net's Shawn Convroy and I caught up since last meeting at the Harvard Angels France presentation and dinner in June. He and Emmanuel Cassimatis, who also attended the Harvard Angels June evening, had an opportunity to delve more into their businesses. Tim Eustis, an old college friend came by for a respite and chatted with antique professional Alain Cartier. Karine Maj  popped over after just starting three days with her latest venture working in web development and brought along friend Susana Herrera-Masias, who's the Director of Business Development at Sofitel. Groupon's Eva Lane sparkled in her tales of Groupon, Google and Apple. Between sips of refreshing "boissons" and bites of some salty snacks everyone mingled amidst the lovely garden setting on the balmy September night.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Why the Vistaprint.fr website sucks

I have had the unpleasant experience of having to work with Vistaprint on two occasions and both times were painful. The first time I was placing an order for an association's business cards. After going through several iterations of uploading the cards, and having to reselect the model we wanted, we are forced to go through at least five screens of promotional items that Vistaprint is pushing. We check out and pay. The cards never arrive. (Okay, this was a problem of the French postal system, which decided that since I wasn't available when the cards were delivered they wouldn't bother to put a notice or attempt other deliveries.)

After calling Vistaprint and complaining, I finally head over to the Post Office to see if they perchance have these cards. They do. They are ALL WRONG. Each card is off center but just a little bit, but obvious enough to be disconcerting.  We must call customer service, explain the problem and have each order redone. They arrive, two days after the day we needed them--for an event.

Nearly nine months later I need to order one more set. I decide to go ahead with the dreaded Vistaprint (who's president is an alumni of the association I am doing the cards for) and take my chances.  We upload the business card. It's exactly the same as the others (different name and email) and once again, the card is slightly off-center in the Proof. Our file is dead-center correct. We fudge our file so it's on-center for Vistaprint. (A risk, I know).

Next. Payment time! We once again go through the five or seven screens of forced promotional items they are pushing on us. (Is this where they make their money?) First problem is we cannot find the screen where we can add our "store credit." We call customer service. It's back at the beginning somewhere. We find it. We go through the eight or nine forced screens before we get to the shopping cart.  We see the order. The discount is not reflected. We are hesitant to push "Place the order" in fear of not getting this precious discount. We call customer service again. The agent walks us through all the same steps again. He assures us it's okay to push "Place the order" button. We do. It's placing the order but the discount wasn't credited!

We get to the confirmation screen. We must click on "My orders" and then the most recent order to see, voila! the discount applied at the very last minute, behind closed doors, to the order.

Very disconcerting. Not very user-friendly at all. Never again, Vistaprint. Mark my words, "never again!"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

June - July Tempo

June is a busy month in Paris. There are "end of the year" parties almost every week as people begin to prepare for the summer, which is serious business here in France. Many people leave Paris in July, and August is a literal ghost-town. (For proof, see my photo-essay on "Closed for the Summer.") Thus, the next Cocktails with Courtney will not be until September! Have a great summer everyone!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

OpenCoffeeClub klatch - July

While most of Paris (nay, France) shuts down in the summer, the weekly OpenCoffee Club Paris stayed open for business each week.  Like usual, there was mingling and sipping of coffee till about 10:30 am when Laurent Tatford (the event organizer) opened a discussion around "What's Your Business Model?" Several attendees brought up Spotify and the crowd-sourcing option like People for Cinema (http://www.peopleforcinema.com/). Others mentioned LaFraise (http://www.lafraise.com/) and Archiduchesse (http://www.archiduchesse.com/) (which is a play on words in French for chaussettes). Just before leaving two young chaps overheard me speaking English and introduced themselves. Julian Ezenwa and Aman Brar are two interns with Le Bridge (http://lebridge.org/), an association focused on building connections between Paris and London (and other European cities) for startups.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Club Amex soiree/presentation

Yann Emilian and Courtney Pulitzer
There are certain large corporations that create a real community among their workers.  And sometimes these corporations even have networks for former employees. Such is the case for American Express. Here in Paris, an enterprising Yann Emilian (now General Director France & Benelux for Affinion International) helped found the Club Amex, which brings together former Amex employees for monthly cocktails.  Sometimes they have a presentation by a company or individual.

This month, on July 7th, they asked lil' ol' me to present. It was quite an honor and quite an impressive turnout.  Over 60 people came to catch up with former colleagues and friends and to savor good wine and hearty hors d'oeuvres. I met Dominic Jerome, who works in travel and insurance; InterContinental Hotels Group's Director of Development (France & North Africa) Brice Marguet who said he might have some nice hotels for my next soiree (great!); and Oasys Consultant's Elodie Warnod. La Banque Postal's Director of Marketing, Card Offers and Daily Money (hmmm, interesting division) Béatrice Delanau brought several colleagues, including the friendly Rémi Desert.

Starting around 7:30 PM, there was plenty of time for networking before Carrefour's Strategy Director Corinne Moulin introduced me and I gave my brief presentation (in French!) to these friendly and welcoming folks.  There were a few questions and many smiles as I invited them all to the next Cocktails with Courtney.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June "Cocktails with Courtney"

The June "Cocktails with Courtney" was a notable affair on Wednesday, June 29th, at the Westin Hotel's Tuileries Bar, as we were able to feature special guest Kevin Werbach. The Parisian entrepreneurs were fascinated, and I think mutually interesting to Werbach. Kevin was in town for an invite-only conference held at the OECD on the Internet and Economy. "Internet Economy: OECD high-level meeting on generating innovation and growth." [Many topics were discussed, among them: "Business: Unequal Opportunities - why entrepreneurs thrive in some countries more than in others."]

Taking advantage of being in Paris, Kevin came over with the family for some touring.  His wife, attorney Joanne Werbach is working at yorn.com (Yes-or-No), which is a real-time survey service as general counsel and VP of Operations. I think it's such a neat, instant-gratification service I will try it out myself! (http://yorn.com/cocktailswithcourtney)

Considering Kevin teaches a course at Wharton on "Gamification," Kobojo's Karen Hunt and Youssef Faury, partner of CAPPTAIN.com, had a lot to chat about.  Youssef's business helps web and mobile apps publishers and developers with acquisition, retention, monetization and offers real-time analytics applied to constant customer engagement and touchpoint.  (whew!) I met him through his partner, Laurent Lathieyre, who's been to CWC in New York years ago. Youssef was in NYC from July 3 - 9th meeting companies for partnerships.

MyEasyPet.com's Romain Lhez stopped by and brought along Florent Tardivel whose site (Mayoz.fr) allows amateur and professional photographers have their photographs voted on, then the winner's image is available for purchase, printed on beautiful hardwood. He brought a sample, which we felt would be a good addition to the existing artwork.

This month's cocktail, as the previous three others, was hosted by Recursion Ventures, which creates secure solutions for the world's most critical systems. If you haven't noticed before, Recursion's team has long-time heavy hitters like Henry Bar-Levav, Bobby Mbom and Michael Tiffany. We all know a secure system is a valuable system, so if you want more value--give them a call!

A long-time friend of mine, Victor Le Broussois, stopped by for a quick hello. Victor used to own a company called Stock on Web, but now is in charge of his family's business Country Corner and Interiors. If you crave gorgeous French Country style furniture, you must check them out.

Victor also happens to be the initial reason why I am now living in France. It was thanks to him that I met my husband! Cocktails with Courtney always strives to be personal, and this month was very personal-nay--familial! My Parisian cousin Hillary Goidell stopped by (chic as ever and flawless in her French) and got to hang out with one of my Dallas cousin's who was in town visiting: Randy Pulitzer.  Randy's family business prints all kinds of promotional products, including my Cocktails with Courtney napkins. As his business card says, "the fine art of sticking your logo on cool stuff," if you need quality products and excellent service, check them out: pulitzerpromos.com.  Randy came with his Paris-based girlfriend, Karen Lowett who has one of the coolest jobs: a middle-school Science teacher at the American School in Paris.

Fellow newish-parents (like me) Angela Peterson Newton and Andrew Newton stopped by for a respite from toddler-dom. Angela and Andrew have been working on several projects around corporate responsibility, the impact of the financial crisis and raising a 2-year old daughter in Paris.

Worldcrunch.com's Irene Toporkoff-Mayer stopped by for a drink, made new friends and reconnected with friends-of-friends. Worldcrunch offers English-language translations of articles from leading newspapers like Le Monde and Die Welt. It's recently gotten a write-up in the New York Times and is gaining momentum.  OMGmother.com's founder Nathalie Ohana also popped by with Jean-Marc Larhantec to mix and mingle. Jean-Marc brought his own liquor--it's his own brand he's promoting: Hedonist.  Ooh la la!

[Here are some pics from the fete.]

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Harvard Business Angels presentation

Earlier in the month, on Thursday, June 23rd, Nathalie Ohana of OMGmother.com invited me to accompany her to a Harvard Business Angels event at the Restaurant Misia.  This evening included cocktails and networking, short presentations, longer presentations, and then dinner.  Among the quick presenters were Nathalie's OMGmother.com (of which I'm on her Board of Advisors) and Worldcrunch.com.

The longer presentations, which included financials were: Yoopies.fr which offers various services to parents; Kigo.net offers complete web solutions for companies (and individuals) in the vacation rental business. Distribution of digital books for children was the service offered and presented by Paul Van Den Bossche, who has 5 children so he knows a thing-or-two about kids and books. For the finale, we each got to inspect a gorgeous handmade leather handbag, created by Ragazze Ornamentali.

Over dinner I had a good trip down memory lane with Julien Ulrich, who was in NYC during the big boom with his former company Upoc and is now the Digital Marketing Consultant at Juan. I'm not too sure how many actual Angels were at this dinner, but all the entrepreneurs had a good time meeting each other and comparing notes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cocktails with Courtney ~ May

Imagine the scene: it's rush hour in New York City. Fifth Avenue (or Sixth Avenue if you like). You're between 34th and 42nd Streets and the sidewalks are separated from the street by Police barriers. You've called for a cab (you have to because there are none available). He can't stop because there are police everywhere and there's no where to stop.

This was my circumstance as I headed out of the e-G8 conference towards my "Cocktails with Courtney" event on Wednesday, May 25th, evening. My cab found me though, and after traversing the City of Light we ambled our way up the hill towards the Pantheon. Just below was the little Corsican epicerie (grocery store) that specializes in wines, cheeses and charcuterie from Corsica. The owners also own a trendy cafe around the corner; this one (A Loghja) is opened just when they want or for their friends. Thankfully, one of their friends is a friend of mine--Ms. Nathalie Ohana of OMGmother.com. Sponsored again by Recursion Ventures, we settled in some chairs on the cafe sidewalk, sipped our refreshments and nibbled on some delicious cured hams and cheeses while the other guests arrived. First up was Romain Lhez of MyEastPet.com. Next was Alain Cartier and his friend from Stockholm. Alain was introduced to me via Elizabet Swenson, a long-time friend of CWC. Sarah Besnard of Western Union came after hearing about the event from the Club Amex and Karen Lovitt of the American School came after hearing about it from one of my Dallas cousins! Small world. And it all comes together face-to-face in a simple cocktail party. Some things never change.

Stay tuned for next month's CWC where we'll be featuring * exciting * guest * Kevin Werbach!

e-not-so-Gr8?


The second day, May 25th, the e-G8 seemed to have lost much momentum. I headed back in the afternoon to catch Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's "conversation" with Publicis's Maurice Levy. It wasn't so much a conversation as a halting question and answer session. Poor little Zuckerberg was baffled a few times by Levy's attempts at banter and his thick French accent left several questions and comments falling flat. Zuckerberg was bravely sweating it out, literally, though. Poor guy was just in a t-shirt and jeans but kept sipping his Gatorade the entire grueling 90 minutes. Wait a minute! Poor guy--he's got millions--never-mind! He can sweat it out for a few minutes. Which he did, while we hung breathlessly on every word.

ZUCKERBERG'S "CONVERSATION"
Some of those words were:
* "The best thing about the Internet is it gives everyone a voice."
* "The basis of being grounded in reality makes Facebook Facebook."
* "The Internet lets the best things rise to the top" (People will select what they like and the services that aren't useful fall by the wayside. Zuckerberg is a true Darwinian.)
* "Location is getting bigger and bigger." (My father always told me, "Location, location, location." Oh wait--that's for Real Estate!)
* "The Internet is competitive and the users make The Best win."
* Zuckerberg thinks there are only 1 or 2 things that companies can do well. He gave Gaming companies as an example. Doesn't think companies should try to be all things to all people. Focus on what you do best and just do that.
* "Social design" - a principal for designing something - is something Zuckerberg takes seriously for Facebook. He "bakes" this concept into all apps going forward. An example was the Friend Request. Initially you had to respond "yes" or "no" to a Friend Request. Through his studies of psychology he knew it made people uncomfortable and that there were real-world consequences for a denial. Changing the "yes/no" to "accept/not now" made it easier for people to politely decline a friend request.
* Advice for entrepreneurs: "Believe in what you're doing."

The first question from the audience came from a Frenchman asking a typically French-styled question, which baffled Zuckerberg, even after Levy tried to translate it. It was about the "transparency" of Facebook and could you trust people's sincerity. After several attempts at understanding this question, once even eliciting a huge laugh from the audience Zuckerberg was even more determined to understand it and answer it. He finally was able to frame it, and responded with, "one of the things I've noticed as the company is being built up is how similar people are and not how different they are."

He said they are "really gearing up for mobile development and have some exciting things coming out." "Most of the world will be accessing the web via Mobile and not computers."

Zuckerberg really kept downplaying Facebook's influence over the Jasmine Revolution. In a final comment, he summed up it all with, "[he] really cares about people being sure they can share their lives with each other." I guess that really does say it all of what the Internet can do for us.

FINAL NETWORKING
The big hype was over and the final "recap" panel had no less than 11 people on it! I stepped out for some air, and to meet some new people before there was total dispersion. Chatting with Qwerly's Max Niederhofer was Linkedin's EMEA Marketing Director Laurence Bret. I also met Advocate-Hypermedia.com's Stanislas De Livonniere and Whoog's founder Geurric Faure who described (in French) his company's service utilizing mobile phones for emergency communications. Back over by the water/juice/soda bar I met Vincent Barbey, Adminium's Director General, who also was celebrating his birthday this day. Adminium's stores all your appliance and utility invoices online. Its real use comes into play when you're at Darty (http://www.darty.com/) (or BestBuy for example) and you have a broken stereo tuner but not your receipt. No problem, log into your Adminium account, find the doc, and have it emailed or faxed to the store from your online account. Pretty nifty, huh?

On my way out I met New York-based ScrollMotion founder Josh Koppel and Scoop.it!'s CEO Guillaume Decugis who described this service as a publishing platform between Blogger and Twitter, helping people find content, and thus users, by locating pertinent items for your site.

Locating content for my site wasn't a problem this week. Thanks e-G8!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

e-Gr8 NETWORKING

Immediately after the opening speeches on Tuesday, May 24th, I ran smack dab into John Perry Barlow and Juliette Powell. They were bubbly and while cynical about Sarkozy's speech, I think we all had Hope for what the rest of the conference could bring.

Shortly after, I ran into the famous Colette Ballou (Ballou PR) who graciously let me stand with her and watch the parade of fans come by to connect with this ultimate connector. She introduced me to Vincent Picou of SquareClock who explained his 3D realtime platform for personal and professional uses and Victoria Ransom, Wildfire Founder and CEO who's grown her business from 7 to 110 people in record time. Some gents gathered round our table for lunch were Ari Wegter of Mogul Associates, Andrew Scott of Urban Horizon, Frank Kelcz, VC/entrepreneur, Richard Titus of Octavian Ventures in the UK and Sokaratis Papfloraratos whose company TrustedPlaces just got acquired. I met Toussaint Roze of Notrefamille.com (which has now grown to 70 people) and has the enviable domain name of genealogie.com (take that geneology.com!) TechHub's Co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Varley was friendly while TechCrunch's Mike Butcher was busy looking at his phone the whole time we chatted.

Other folks spotted in our Internet Celebrity Bingo game were: LeWeb's Geraldine & Loïc Le Meur (who had their own group of fans), Personal Democracy Forum's Andrew Rasiej and the legendary Esther Dyson of EDventure. Gathered in their own little cluster were Ann Winblad (Hummer Winblad), Timothy Draper (Draper Fisher Juvertson) and the other money-holders.

Some new folks were:
  • Gilles Babinet who is the president of the Conseil Nationale Numerique, a new council (created by Sarkozy on April 27, 2011) to advise the government on digital subjects. This group does not have much support from the press and it seems it isn't destined to be an effective representation of actual digital enterprises and their needs.
  • Paddy Cogrove, a spritely modest wunderkin has created his buzz by creating a forum for just 150 founders of the companies like Skype, YouTube, Twitter, Wordpress and other leading influencers: F.ounders based in Dublin.
It was a whirlwind once again that I was used to, so I was sad to leave before the big party at Arc...but motherhood demands are more essential than even a hyped-up networking soiree...

e-G8: Opening Speeches by Levy and Sarkozy

Well. You've read the rest, now read the...Cyber Scene! :)

I can't compete with instant twitterers and bloggers, but I do have the scoop that others don't present. I find my position, of living here in France after having run a successful enterprise in the States, offers a unique perspective. For instance, while many reviews of the e-G8 were negative, I found it extremely useful. I suppose in large part this is because for me this was an over-the-top reunion where I got to see old friends from New York and San Francisco and meet new ones from Paris.

It was an the impressive setup (massive fully-furnished, wired and outfitted tents) in the Tuileries Garden. The an entire section of the sidewalk on rue de Rivoli was blocked off just for e-G8 participants. (Imagine blocking the West side of 5th Avenue's sidewalk from 34th Street to 42nd Street.) Then there was the fact that, according to Philippe Le Corre, Publicis Consultants Partner, who lead the organization of the conference, just 3 days before there was nothing--well, nothing save a gorgeous, historic garden created by a famed landscape architect (Le Notre).

SARKOZY'S SPEECH
The first morning, Tuesday, May 24th, there was a steady flow of reporters, press agents, CEO handlers and catering staff running to and fro. Eventually, everyone settled into the grand hall for Publicis Groupe Chairman & CEO and e-G8 Chairman Maurice Levy's welcoming remarks. Both Levy and Sarkozy spoke in French, which would seem to exclude a large number of attendees. However, French law dictates that for all official public speeches, French representatives must speak in French. Such is the love and respect for their language.




Comments about Sarkozy's speech ranged from "passionnante" (the French woman sitting next to me) to "pure rhetoric" (most everyone else). Some commented it seemed like they were hosting this conference so they can understand the Internet, so they can dominate and control it. I thought Sarko's speech was great. What kind of a statesman would a statesman be if he didn't lead off a conference that he created as his own personal marketing vehicle to demonstrate his interest and knowledge on a subject, days before another massive power mash-up, if he didn't have a speech full of passionate ideals?

I thought it was fascinating to watch Sarkozy speak. But perhaps that's because I can sit and listen to the French language, mesmerized, even if I'm not fully understanding it. Among the tidbits I gleaned, before getting the printed version to follow, were:

* This is a new form of civilization
* You've changed how the world looks at itself
* You've changed the relationship to space (not only by abolishing distance that separates man but it works a virtual world which is, by definition, without limits)
* You've changed the notion of time
* You've changed the the perception of History
* In several years you have shaken up the foundation of the economic world of which you are becoming the major actors
* You've changed the world.
* Something unique in History--this total revolution is immediate and irreparably global.
(Of course a French politician has to talk about REVOLUTION! :))
* Something unique in History--this revolution isn't attached to a person; there is not a flag or slogan; it is for the common good.
* Something unique in History--this revolution was made without violence.
* The discovery of the New World had lead to the annihilation of the American Indians.
* The world revolution that you have embodied, it is peaceful. It was not born on the fields of battle but on the university campuses.

He went on to talk about how this revolution has played a determinate role in other revolutions--from Tunisia to Egypt. Sarkozy continued with passion. Perhaps it was a speech related to a world in his own mind, or one that he's afraid of and wants to ultimately learn how to control, but either way--it was great entertainment.

Questions ranged from the Jasmine Revolution, Arab Spring, "internauts" (someone who knows how to use the internet) in Iran and privacy issues. My favorite was the (now famous) final comment from Jeff Jarvis of the City University of New York: "some say the Internet is the 8th continent; this discussion is wonderful; but I would like to ask the Government to take a Hippocratic Oath: 'Do No Harm!'" to which there was resounding applause by those who understood him.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

OpenCoffeeClub klatch

On May 19th, for just the second time in three years, I made my way over to the OpenCoffeeClub at Cafe Elgi on rue St. Marc. Every Thursday morning a group of technology entrepreneurs meet to unwind, catch up and listen to a member present their business or website.

I arrived just in time to chat with Alain Cavel, Founder & CEO of SocialMetry before the presentations began at 10:40 am. Then, Romain Lhez, Associate Director of MyEasyPet.com presented his website and recent developments, followed by Godefroy de Compreignac, co-founder & developer of Eklablog.com who brought us up to speed on his site.

Afterwards I met Paul Zuliani of Open Media Strategies, who slipped right into French with a Texas accent when he heard me introduce myself. (I guess my accent tipped him off.) English was Iva Pavlovicova (Inexence Group's General Director) first foreign language, in which she explained her luxury custom-made furniture business and other services she provides for Slovak businesses. We all chatted in a combination of French and English for a bit before we each went on to our next adventure of the day.

Each Thursday there is a different theme, and lots of interesting people. It's a nice change from the usual cocktail party--I will be heading back most definitely.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cocktails with Courtney Paris debut

Cocktails with Courtney ~ Paris debut was terrific. We had a great turnout and lots of energy to carry us through for the next one! Coming up May 25, 2011.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cocktails with Courtney ~ Paris Debut : April 25

It was a classic temperate Spring evening on Wednesday, April 25th for the “Cocktails with Courtney” ~ Paris debut. And, classically for this part of the world, the sun was still out when people began arriving at the Flute Bar and Lounge near the Arch de Triompe. As I prepared the room and ordered some pink champagne for guests, several had already arrived: Erzsi Deak, a writer, literary scout & editorial consultant whom I met through Josh Freeman (Director of Interactive Services at Columbia University) and her friends author & illustrator Jeanne de Sainte Marie and Sarah Towle (Time Traveler Tours).

Upstairs in the open lounge (with a large space for the chandelier) was Rozenn Milin who is the director of Sorosoro, an affiliate of the Chirac Foundation, which works to preserve disappearing languages by filming and recording remaining speakers around the world and her friend Aline Rutily.

Next to arrive was the dashing Francois Mouclier (Canal-Luxe.org VP) and his lovely wife Catherine Le Yaouanc who is the GM of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Francois has a history of being in the fashion world—his father is Jacques Mouclier who was President of Chambre Syndical D'Haute Couture. Catherine is apparently the only woman head of a Chamber of Commerce at this level making this power couple gracious and engaging as we began introducing ourselves.

My cousin (and photographer) Hillary Goidell popped in looking as lithe as ever (she also had a baby shortly after I did) and we spoke with attorney Stanley Gehy (who also has a recycling business in Haiti) about children’s bi-lingual language acquisition.

The dynamic Nathalie Ohana (OMGmother.com) arrived with a great gaggle of good-looking geeks—all entrepreneurs who are working in the web and developing cool sites. These were: Margaux Derhy (La Petit Etoile.net) who writes business plans and business development for companies and Hélène Duthilleul and Karine Sabolovic (MadamePopandKids.com) which transforms your child’s drawings into real art (on a canvas, a pillow and more! Nathalie facilitated many introductions, easy for her as her whole business is about creating a network—that is a trusted network of friends for your child. These trusted friends become OMGparents...so your child can have more than just one set of God-parents. They can have “OMGParents” for all those “oh my God” moments in your child’s life!

Then the dudes arrived with their classic French casual charm-- Raphael Vannier and Ygal Sananes of (seventyone-percent.com) who’ve created a line of super slick sunscreen for surfers after seeing a gap in the market for this demographic. Emmanuel Cassimatis could be considered a “vrai” serial entrepreneur already—he’s founded Goodwizz, a global social meeting network that helps people go beyond that first contact and previously co-founded an energy company, EGG-energy and founded an NGO Paper for All. And Mr. Urban Linker himself, that's Jonathan Azoulay, stopped by--he's the one to know if you want to recruit someone in Information Technology.

I had a chance to chat with Philip Yook, a lawyer who’s spending some time traveling and enjoying what life has to offer around the world and Karen Hunt, who just started with Kobojo which creates social games for Facebook or iPhone (and just raised $7.7 million).

Flutes of pink champagne were sipped, tea sandwiches were nibbled on as this nice mix of young entrepreneurs, artists and business-minded creators had a chance to meet each other in this first intimate, convivial and special “Cocktails with Courtney.” Sponsored by Recursion Ventures, which develops solutions for the world’s most critical systems, making them more secure and valuable as a result, I can say the buzz from this first event will build. I can feel it. And this month (May 25th) we’re smack dab in the middle of the eG8 forum. Stay tuned for some titillating exposure of the Parisian Cyber Scene!