Tuesday, December 30, 2014

.PARIS - the most affordable address in Paris

The city site states

and: "Since June 4th 2014, 100 ambassadors have been the trailblazers of .paris: during six months, these brands, institutions, associations, businesses, start-ups, bloggers selected by the City of Paris will be using their .paris web address exclusively. 

Starting December 2, 2014, all those who love Paris will be able to get their own .paris domain name! Anyone with a geographic, cultural or emotional link with Paris can apply for a domain name under the .paris extension through an accredited registrar. 

A new page in the history of Paris is being written."

When I saw this ad I got excited and immediately thought it would be cool to have this as an address. I also thought "what a cool gift idea for my niece, named Paris" and got her two domains. While she won't be using them right away, at least I've secured them for her. And, as we know, oftentimes, the early bird get the good domain worm...er...address.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Osons La France!

I spied this subway advertisement a week ago and it caught my eye. It's an advertisement for an event at the Grand Palais and is apparently for a "new French revolution."

I'm noticing more and more various efforts France (or various organizations that represent France) are making to get behind tech, new tech, startups, internet, web, digital and social media.

Their ad says: "We like We participate." I guess the metro (RATP) participates in that they get people to the event...other than that, perhaps it is also their way of saying they support all the new innovations out there that they can use.

Either way, it's good to see these signs. Signs of acceptance, moving forward, moving. Motion!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SNCF - an eco solution

While I will not have any use for this service, I thought what one of the major French commuter railway lines is doing during travaux is an excellent example business-savvy, smart and ecological customer service.

The SNCF is doing construction on part of its rail line. And as a solution it is offering a payment system for people who utilize a carpool service.

The ad says you simply fill out your projected travel date and time, then offer your car up as a carpool option. When other people sign up to be in your carpool, you supply a code that's given and SNCF will pay you the price of that extra passenger.

Nifty. And practical for this holiday season!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Online shopping angst: part 1

Online shopping in France can be simple like anywhere else, or it can be fear-inducing!

Today's example is with La Grand Recre. I have an account with my local store, but don't have an actual "carte fidelitie." I was trying out a new feature they began offering a few weeks ago where you can order online and then pick up in the store. Simple enough and very common in the USA.

However since I never got a fidelity card, I didn't know what my actual client number was to enter in my purchase order (for the eventual points one gets with purchase). (problem #1: no card given to clients for knowing their own client number)

So I called the main hotline number. They don't have this sort of information. It's stored locally at the store. (problem #2: no central database of client numbers)

I called my local store. The man who answered interrogated me when I asked if I could get my client number. "Mais Pourquoi?!" (But Why?!) He asked me at least three times in an increasingly hostile tone, as in "why would you, the client, ever want your Client Number? And if you do, it certainly must be for some evil, illicit reason?!" (problem #3: accusatory, aggressive salesperson)

Heart racing, I stammered the truth, praying that my answer will be satisfactory and that he won't scream at me or tell me "no you can't have it, madame, that's private information," "I'd like to purchase something online, on  your store on the internet, and I don't have my client number."

"Hold on."

Sounds of shuffling, someone walking..."bonjour"..., more walking, door opening, "clunk!"

A few seconds later he picks up the phone and we go though the process of finding my account number based on my last name. We run into confusion because I can never remember where I use my maiden name, married name or a jumble of combinations. :/  He finds my record finally and reads me my number

Enfin! Voila! Now I can go about my purchase!

* UPDATE: After I purchased the item I wanted to record my client number somewhere offline (like an excel file) for future use. Guess what? The client account number is NO WHERE on their site!!(problem #4: no full client information, ex. account number) 

* UPDATE #2: A week later I had to go into the store to retrieve said purchase. It was stored in the back room and I got to see the back office.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Online shopping: part 1a

Over the past weekend my husband and I tried to barrel through the majority of our holiday shopping.

Since we have a 5-year old son, a large part of our shopping was with a major toy retailer in France, La Grand Recre. Sadly, for a large part of the morning, their site was inaccessible.

Tough break during this holiday rush!

Monday, December 01, 2014

It's nice to be popular

All throughout High School I wanted to be popular. Moving to a new school each year made it slightly challenging, but I did manage to succeed in this quest my final year at New Hartford High School.

A few decades later (ahem) I still feel that thrill when I find out I'm popular, as I just discovered when I got a notice from my new favorite site/app About.me.

I was recently honored to be interviewed by the lovely About.me Community Manager Eliana Arredondo and as a result, have a whole bunch of new fans. Of course, inner self-esteem comes from other deeper sources, but it's always nice to be liked and make new friends!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Website fail: Nice Tourism

It's nice to travel to Nice, but can be confusing when the websites aren't working well...

For example, I clicked on the Restaurants tab for "Nice Cuisine" (traditional cuisine for the area) and the page returned a search result with no listings.

I did not do a search, and yet the Restaurants page only brings up "no results" on it's page.

Fortunately, it's not hard to find a good "traditional cuisine" restaurant in this area! :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

jeanbouteille.fr = "I have 1 bottle"

Only available in one store, I hope this product/concept will spread quickly throughout France, and perhaps move Westward to the United States.

Called Jeanbouteille.fr, which stands for "I have 1 bottle" in French, the concept is where you can refill this specific bottle with wine, olive oil, vinegar,  juice, soda and beer.

 Not only using quality, bio, products, it's good for the environment by reusing glass bottles.

Okay jeanbouteille.fr, bougez vers nous!

Treasure Hunts a reality in France

As read in my favorite English newspaper in France, The Connexion, there are specific rules over ownership of hidden or buried treasures. Basically you are entitled to 1/2 of it with the owner (if it's not on your property). This article was prompted by a discovery of 16 bars and 600 coins builders found while working on a project. The value is €900,000. 

Not only is this good information, but I doubt we'd read these kinds of articles in a newspaper in the United States. So much of the USA is already dug up, stories of buried treasure I think must be at least 100 years old.

Friday, October 10, 2014

France Loves Entrepreneurs

The Ecole 42 has been leading the way in innovative education in France, and Friday, October 10th they showed they are leading the way in educating the public about the state of the start-up in France.

Those in attendance were privy to a pre-screening of an hour-long documentary on the state-of-the-startup and then three round tables discussing various themes.

The documentary, produced by Ecole 42 and BNP Paribas is one result of a "major" "We Love Entrepreneurs" campaign that is attempting a massive outreach in various cities and venues around France.

Largely a feel-good piece with encouraging statistics, it has testimonies from several French entrepreneurs and VCs who discussed the things we already know:
            * We live in a disruptive time
            * Major French firms are beginning (and have) invested in several startups
            * And, in the US there is still more ease with collaboration, ideas and financing, but France is trying to improve in this area.

The founder of Docker, who's based in SF, stated the world of startups has grown 42% between 2012-2013 and that today you don't have to go to England or the USA to startup a web company. Today there are incubators, a structure in France and a comprehension of the entrepreneur etat d'esprit!

I find it poignant that there is such a push on promoting "French Web," "French Tech," and the startup scene in Paris, because there is a lot of activity around these very topics, and because it seems that in past decades the majority of French web/tech startups went Westward in order to make that American dream happen. The French community in both New York and San Francisco/Silicon Valley have become especially vibrant over the last 10 years.

The first round table was on employment, salaries and attracting developers to French firms. Streamed live on Frenchweb.fr The panel had two people, perfect caricatures of an older, more traditional corporate guy (Pierre CANNET, founder Blue Search,1999) and a younger, scrappier guy who's grown up in this "new" era (UrbanLinker consultant "Janis").

The discussion started on how digital is growing, and that there is an interest in not just people with degrees but what they do offline, what are their passions. Early on, after Pierre spoke Janis retorted, "that's a very French mentality" setting us up for a lively discussion.

They spoke about how they cannot offer the same kinds of packages a US firm would offer a developer and that the salary is about 3x less. While speaking of "le plaisir de nuances" (the pleasure of nuances) they can offer recruits (free coffee, comfy sofas, colorful workspaces, ping-pong tables) they wondered if it was enough ("passé le pilule"). Is the amusing "esprit entrepreneur" enough compared with the cold, hard cash and exciting lifestyle promised by firms now based in NY/SF?

I enjoyed listening to the discussion but then had to duck out before questions to take my little budding entrepreneur/businessman/fireman/karate-champion to his karate class! 

See all the pics.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

New IT words in French

As part of the continuing tradition of maintaining the French language, the Journal Officiel published 18 French words that will now replace English IT words.

Among the words in the list:
imagette = thumbnail
dépannage = trouble-shooting
blogue = blog
arrière-guichet = back-office
cyberconférence = e-conference

Developed by linguists at the Ministry of Culture and Communication, approved by the French language authority, the Académie Français, they're only required to be used in official government documents. 

It's unlikely they'll be used except in those instances, considering in 2009 they adopted the terms ordiphone (or terminal de poche) for smartphones!

Here's the whole list.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


I came across this website URL over the last day and had a laugh. I know this company is involved in   ranking startups, but sometimes having a domain name with several words all connected leaves the user to think they might be heading towards Start U Pranking!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rue de la Fete? Rue de la Faute! (Fault!)

Two days ago I ordered a pink pom pom from Rue de la Fete.com. It was 2.90. I wanted it for Saturday so I paid 9.40 for shipping. My order was confirmed via email and then again for the delivery, then I received an SMS with delivery confirmation details and what to do if I would not be available between 8h00 - 13h00 (1pm). I was home all morning, working on my computer.

At about 12:30 I was getting ready to leave and finally decided to check the website on where this delivery was. First I tried on my mobile but had user problems with order#, conf. # etc. (I figured it out by the time I got to the website.) I got a confirmation page showing the order had been delivered and signed for by "Joubeau" (which is a part of my married name). I was very amused by this considering I'd been upstairs in my apartment all morning and hadn't left and yet I had also, apparently, signed for a package!

I decided to go downstairs to the mailboxes and see what might be there. Jammed in my mailbox was a plastic envelope with said item. Aha! And yet, why did the delivery man decide to just jam it into my mailbox instead of ringing my buzzer and either delivering it or asking me to come down the two flights of stairs to get it?

When I opened the envelope I realized in my excitement about ordering said item, I didn't see it was only 1 pom pom and not 1 pair. Doh! So...I went through the whole process again, paying 2.90 for my pom pom and 9 for shipping.

Today I went downstairs and put a post-it on my mailbox saying, in French, "Dear Mr. Chronopost. I am here. Please ring. A thousand thank-yous!" and signed my name. Mid-morning my buzzer rang and it was Mr. Chronopost. I met him half-way and was surprised today to see a medium-sized box.
I'm really interested in what's happening at the other end of a company that ships the same exact item but using different packaging. Is it a human "error" with someone deciding one envelope or box is more efficient than the other? Did they run out of envelopes? Are they using a different fulfillment agency?

The points for review are several-fold. Postal carriers "laziness" to not ring and see if a customer is home; their decisions to "sign" for their customers packages; point-of-sale fulfillment centers deciding to use different packaging; no clear instructions on what packing to use for various items; "waste" of space in shipping small items in large boxes...

Anyway, I am happy to now have my two pink pom poms, despite the round-about-manner in which I got them!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Rude Baguette's Paris Founders Event @Google. A Success!

A fan of Google maps, it was fun to actually go inside their Paris headquarters as opposed to just see the street view. Last night, April 8, 2014, the 2011-founded blog Rude Baguette hosted its 9th Founders Event (TFE) with a twist. Instead of the usual networking-only soiree, they presented 10 finalists, of which five will get a launch package including assistance in marketing, 1-on-1 workshops at Google and tickets to The Next Web conference in Amsterdam.
By hosting the event, Google and its Google for Entrepreneurs program, hopes to contribute to the development of the truly burgeoning French startup scene. Partnered with TFE were La French Tech and Maddyness. La French Tech is another new association created with the French government and businesses to promote French startups. Their aim is to show the world France is a  "Startup Republic!" Maddyness is a site dedicated to the French Startup ecosystem and focuses on news, analysis, trends and guidelines for entrepreneurs. 
Having been in New York City at the beginning of the boiling point for Internet and web, in the mid-90s, it was exciting to be in this basement auditorium at what feels like the new boom for France.
Google, presented by Martin Gorner, asked "why do Google offices look like a kindergarten?" Because we like to think of ourselves as a creative agency, promoting the idea of developing and wanting to work with developers around the world. He referenced former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's famous tweet  "My New Year's Resolution is to learn code with Codeacademy in 2012." Gorner then talked about how the 2013 winner of the Stanford Challenge was French startup Goopil and that with Cloud computing, Google developers can work anywhere.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Power of Social Media conference

Thursday, February 20th I trotted on over to the OECD for a half-day conference on Social Media. Put together in part by iABC and the OECD (or in French, the OCDE) the morning's talks got people comfortable with the basic who/what/where's of social media. I stepped in to hear  "Ignite social media" - four five-minute presentations on a variety of uses of social media. Mary B. Adams, social media consultant (@LadyMissMBA), presented a packed discussion on measuring ROI.  Arthur Mickoleit, OECD e-gov policy analyst (lnkd.in/b4EcuV), mentioned how there's a 20:1 ratio difference between political leaders twitter followers and their institutions. The question is how to get the governments to engage and use SM as well. Chicago had a successful interaction with its Chicago Shovels: Snow Corps campaign linking volunteers with residents who need this service. Mickoleit is deep in the awareness that in a lot of countries, education determines social media use. And he recognized that the value proposition for governments can be tougher as they may not see a real R.O.I for social media use.