My guest today is Nicolas Colin. Nicolas is the co-founder of The Family, and he is the author of multiple books, including Hedge — A Greater Safety Net for the Entrepreneurial Age. He also writes the excellent newsletter European Straits about the European Tech ecosystem.
I'm a big fan of Nicolas's work. He has a unique understanding of European tech and of the economic and social challenges of our time.
In this conversation, we talk about why he wrote the book Hedge, the current geopolitical context with the rise of China, the great fragmentation, and the four internets.
Then, we talk about the future of Europe and the need for a new playbook for European founders.
My favorite part of the conversation was about the need for new and better institutions to keep progressing as a society.
Please, enjoy my conversation with Nicolas Colin.
💬 Topics we discuss
- What was Nicolas trying to achieve with the book Hedge?
- What are your thoughts on Fukuyama's End of History, and the idea that a liberal society is a final response to the political problems?
- Liberalism & Tech? How do we do to keep progressing while not limiting personal freedom?
- Is China becoming like the West?
- Is the West going to be the West forever?
- Is the West still a culture exporter?
- Will the US export the Wokeness culture?
- Why is the US inward looking now? Perter Zeihan talks about the US creating a "normal society" with normal different than comfortable.
- With what's happening in the US and China, what is the way forward for Europe?
- How will tech transform society?
- What is the place of tech in Europe?
- Ex: Nicolas' problems with Nicolas Rousselet of Groupe Rousselet, formerly Groupe G7, in 2014
- Should tech be working on building new institutions?
- Geopolitical context in Europe:
- Why is Europe increasingly turned toward the past?
- Europe looks al little bit like Austria in the first half of the 19th century: a great place to live in, but a sense that the Empire was condemned to disappear because it was unable to create new possibilities.
- The case of India?
- Where will it fall in the current geopolitical context?
- The Four Internets
- The Great Fragmentation:
- In short: software eating the world is correlated with a lower return on invested capital; at some point in that process, betting on European startups with lower returns (because of smaller markets) will become attractive from an investment point of view
- And so as the pace of technological (and financial) progress increases, we’re bound to witness the divergence between two very different categories of ambitious founders:
- Some will aim at building global empires and will embrace industries that lend themselves to such a strategy—that is, anything that’s intangible and not too regulated (because regulation is always synonymous with cross-border frictions).
- Others will tackle local challenges and use this unprecedented ability to scale to increase their velocity at an early stage, raise more capital, and use it to penetrate local markets that are complicated due to the width of the moats that protect them.
- How to create a new model for society, something to dream of?
- The idea of progress:
- Where are we on this idea?
- What's you biggest concern for the European world today?
- Are you optimistic?
- New institutions?
- France: How can we overcome what Macron calls the "deep state", civil servants who want to keep the status quo at all costs?
- The curse of developed countries is that you can't rebuild the state from the ground up.
- The favorite books Nicolas read recently
📚 Books recommended by Nicolas
Inside the Third Reich
Inside the Third Reich [Speer, Albert] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Inside the Third Reich
The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made
Amazon.com: The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (9781476728827): Isaacson, Walter, Thomas, Evan: Books
📖 Some of my Favorite Articles from Nicolas
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