Wednesday, November 7, 2007

In the deep end.

Hello from Seattle ! Lauching our product so far away from home has been an experience with its share of panicking moments, such as when our presentation material got lost somewhere between two airports. It was finally delivered just before the exhibit started and we opened our booth on time.

During the first day we had representatives of most major players - we're talking world-class here - stopping at our booth. And many were enthusiastic about the product : « that's the way to go ! », they say. This has already translated into a dozen of qualified leads, articles in magazines with a world-wide audience, and a huge moral boost for the whole Ateji team.

Most french companies would first try to settle in their national market before attempting such a move. How strange. France would be about 2% of our market. Kick in other european countries and we may top 10%. Why building walls between yourself and your market? The fact that the product is developed in Paris is quite irrelevant. Even supporting clients on the other side of the globe is not much of an issue anymore using modern communication tools. I'd say it's more of a mental barrier.

Seattle is also the place where you find the most Starbucks cafés and the most venture capitalists per square kilometer (note for the locals: a kilometer is a kind of celsius mile). Before we had even recovered from jet-lag, our first seafood dinner ended with an introduction to an influential VC. That is just unthinkable in Paris.