Lift09 — Baba Wamé — L'appropriation de l'Internet par les femmes camerounaises [fr]

Remerciements.

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Cameroun: petit pays d’Afrique Centrale (11 fois plus gros que la Suisse). 18mio d’habitants. Langues officielles: anglais et français. Villes: Yaoundé, Douala, Bafoussam, Garoua, Maroua, Bamenda.

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Internet dès 1997, 400000 utilisateurs internet, dont 50000 en connexion directe. 2500 cybercafés dont 500 à Yaoundé.

Chatteuses camerounaises: sur internet pour chercher un mari. Profil bien défini. Entre 18 et 34 ans, niveau scolaire assez bas, élèves/étudiantes. Parfois inscrites comme célibataires alors qu’elles sont mariées (mari peut-être d’accord). Sud = chrétien, Nord musulman. Chatteuses plutôt du sud.

Motivations. Que font-elles sur internet, que cherchent-elles en ligne, et quels sont les facteurs qui les font revenir?

– changer sa vie et celle de sa famille par le mariage
– avoir des enfants métis, prestige du mariage avec un blanc (métisses privilégiés dans la société camerounaise)
– facilité d’utilisation d’internet
– amélioration des lieux de connexion.

Difficultés socio-économiques au Cameroun, peut-être 50% de taux de chômage => dur de trouver un travail, donc possibilité de changement et d’amélioration en partant à l’étranger.

Vision négative de l’homme camerounais (irresponsable, voleur, menteur — Baba Yamé nous précise qu’il ne correspond à aucune des ces descriptions!)

Les sites de rencontre sont beaucoup plus ergonomiques qu’avant. Aussi, Photoshop, c’est extraordinaire. La webcam facilite la communication entre personnes éloignées. Les sites de rencontre sont gratuits pour les femmes aussi, pas pour les hommes.

Cybercafés climatisés, avec boxes privés à l’abri des regards… Fibre optique. “Connexion haricot” — le haricot doit cuire longtemps, donc on utilise cette expression pour parler d’une connexion très lente, genre 10 minutes pour ouvrir Google. Avec la fibre optique, plus de ça.

Techniques pour approcher les hommes sur internet? Pour que ça marche, il faut de la technique!

– choix judicieux des fiches (âge, pays, race) — les camerounaises sont très pointilleuses (dans quel pays veux-je vivre? en première position: la Suisse!) et elles ne veulent pas des jeunes, au moins 35-55 ans. Les jeunes sont exigeants et barbants! Puis, bon, il faut être blanc.
– bons rapports avec les moniteurs de cybercafés (apprendre à surfer sur le net, si on n’est jamais allé à l’école… il y a des moniteurs qui tapent pour elles!)
– régularité dans les échanges, au moins 4-5 fois dans la semaine, ça prend du temps et de l’argent (par mois, 150€ alors qu’on vit là-bas avec moins de 2$ par jour — la famille participe, elles ont des sponsors!)
– le mystique: marabouts (ne pas boire ceci, aller à tel jour à telle heure…) — catastrophe à Yaoundé (?) le marabout est mort… obsèques avec des tonnes de jeunes filles, incroyable (Baba y est allé)

– Le coût de la recherche: 8€ par jour
– l’apport de l’entourage (famille, groupe de monitrices qui animent des groupes — elles sont organisées)

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Les valeurs chrétiennes (affichées sur le profil):

– fidélité (“si vous êtes marié, passez votre chemin”)
– Dieu (“je suis croyante” — “si vous croyez en Dieu comme moi, vous êtes l’homme de ma vie”)
– la prose (textes très bien écrits: du Voltaire, Montesquieu, René Char)

Résultats:

– entre 10 et 15% se marient
– **60% de celles-ci se retrouvent se retrouvent dans un réseau de prostitution!** (et ne rentrent jamais en Afrique — rentrer pauvre en Afrique, c’est impensable, on est un paria)

Vocabulaire:

– une Suissesse est une camerounaise qui s’est installée en Suisse et revient montrer ses bijoux et sa rolex
– chercher son Blanc
– Mon Western Union (l’échange a commencé, on teste en demandant de l’argent pour l’école et ça arrive par Western Union)
– Couple Internet (couple qu’on voit passé dont le mari est blanc et la femme noire)
– Mariage affection.org (mariage fait par le biais d’internet)

Immeubles des “Suissesses” (qui sont rentrées et ont construit): “elles ont construit ces immeubles à la sueur de leurs fesses”

Les femmes qui se tournent vers internet pour tenter d’arriver en Europe, plutôt que par bateau (90% de morts!), c’est une très bonne chose.

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Lift09 — James Gillies — How the Web awas Born: Stories from a scribe [en]

Was in the right place at the right time to write the story, says he.

1995: “we must write the story before everyone forgets…”

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James expected it to be a dull boring story. Big surprise! You can’t just tell the story of the Web, because you have to tell the story of hypertext, and the story of computing networks, personal computing… it’s all linked.

Back to July 1945: Vannevar Bush, calculating machine. Was frustrated with the way human mind associated things, randomly. Machines might be able to select by association… “As we may think”. Hypertext.

Doug Engelbart. Screenshot! 60’s, personal computing.

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1960’s: packet switching, ARPANET (world’s first LAN).

Other things need to happen before somebody could build the web on top of them.

Louis Pouzin, 70s. Network + network + network = network. That was in fact the definition of an internet.

Sam Fedida. 80s: Viewdata — Prestel, CEEFAX, Minitel. (Historical dead-en.)

Big impact in France through the Minitel. Surrounding countries got the drift. The web, however, took some time to pick up in France, because it had to displace the Minitel. First e-mail sent by a head of state, Queen of England.

Where does the CERN fit in?

70s: CERNET; 80s: the Internet.

A place established to bring people together. TCP/IP. To communicate with the american government, had to network with them in the way they wanted (=>TCP/IP).

Magic ingredient: a consultant noticed there was a lot of information on lots of computers which weren’t talking to each other. The idea of the web is to try to emulate the way we think with a computer platform.

TBL (Tim Berners-Lee): 1989-1991, from vague to less vague, but always exciting.

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Web 1.0 or Web 2.0? First browser was a browser/editor.

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Next step: get it noticed out there. Students. Nicola Pellow: Web 1.1. Then around the world. 90s.

1993: the web is put in the public domain. The single thing that explains that we are using “world web” today.

Not an accident!

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Lift09 — Jörg Jelden — Fakesumption [en]

Unauthorized products. Office in Beijing, was shocked by the importance of fakes over there. Talked to his manager “let’s do something about it”. So started talking to fakesters, those who track them down, lawyers.

Disclaimer: not making fun of a serious challenge… want to offer a new way of thinking about this problem.

Fakes have been around for a very long time. As things were done, they’ve been copied. Also a learning strategy. The US was well-known in the early 20thC for ripping off European patterns and re-using them. *(steph-note: did I get that?)*

Hollywood: desire to move as far away from NY as possible.

Some facts: survey in the last weeks in Germany.

2 out of 3 Germans have heard of seen fakes in the last 3 years; other numbers I didn’t get: => fakes are socially accepted. Quality is very similar to the originals (50%: we can’t tell the difference). One reason? Many fakes are produced in the same factory. 15-20% of all goods produced in China are fakes. 35 mio jobs directly created by fake industry.

Generating jobs for the masses remains the focus of the Chinese government.

Connected to organized crime. Has gone global. Big business. Fakes: twice as big as Walmart. Illegal and shady, connected to crime, stealing, cheating, lying.

But if these people are so successful, they must be doing something right. So looking at it as a success story, what can we learn from them?

Fakes do something for consumers that the originals don’t — many people buy the fakes on purpose. Consumers need *good enough* solutions. Many fake buyers are your brand customers — they consider themselves to be. => it might not be the best idea to spy on them, sue them, punish them.

So how about finding news ways to integrate this customer base? Find a way to get them to commit to paying more for the real brand.

Fakes truly expose the brand gap. Brand bubble. Overvaluation of brands, and loss of trust in them on the other side. Declined 50% in 10 years.

Brands rely too much on their products, and products can easily be cloned these days (particularly in the digital world). What makes the difference: relations. One way to deal with that is better bonding with the customer. But what companies do is invest in brand protection. Very cost-intensive, particularly in the digital world. Can’t control anymore. Money short these days: many companies will have to reconsider these strategies.

The more they criminalize fakes, the more fakers become criminals. The more fakers become criminals, the more they connect to organized crime. Instead of buying bigger arms, how can brands win over and connect better with their customers?

And what can brands offer to those who can’t afford the premium?

Let’s talk about the fakers. In the brands’ shadow initially, but now have started to live on their own. Business is very demand driven and highly competitive. “We fake on demand and only that what we can sell.” Retail-driven.

Brands are busy running their empires, and fakers adapt products to local needs. New features, bigger variety of styles. In return brands begin to watch the fake industry to learn what customers might need.

Chinese middle class emerging: fakers go upscale. High-class fakes where you really can’t tell the difference. Just price difference, but not as cheap as you might expect. Premium quality, boutique stores, warranties, services => higher prices.

Fakers will develop retail brands and become the H&Ms of emerging markets. It’s still early days though. Real threat that competitors will emerge from this initially shady business.

Fakes attack prices — mix fakes with originals, sell fake parts to manufacturers… One container: big percentage of fakes amongst the originals. Makes it very difficult for customs. Sell directly through online stores.

So how much further will we let them take over?

To sum up: if you have a problem, you fight it. If you can’t fight, you criminalize. When you can’t do that anymore, you need to integrate. What do brands have to offer aside from their logo? Why don’t brands collaborate with the best fakers?

One last thought: the way the US dealt with alcohol in the 30s.

Not to say fakes are good, but the way we deal with them needs to be looked at.

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Lift09 — Matt Webb — Scientific Fiction and Design [en]

Book: Cusp, Robert A. Metzger. SF *(steph-note: sounds like a crazy story, need to read it!)*

This is not the SF we’re talking about here. No flying cars, silver skullcaps… Here: Scientific Fiction (World War Z — zombie story; the book unfolds, and “it makes sense”). This is what Matt wants to talk about — this kind of book.

Taking pleasure in watching things unfold. (Shows us videos of marbles in “mazes”.) Human nature: it’s almost compulsive, we want to watch things happen.

The impossible triangle: Human nature, Society, Things. How do SF stories read through this triangle? One thing changes, other things have to change too.

Cf law of perfect gasses, linking pressure, volume, temperature. Linked. SF is walking the landscape of possible future worlds.

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Problem? inventing, imagining the future: hard.

Which products work in the landscapes of possible worlds? Discover it through:

– market research
– economics
– evolution (start with something that you know works, and change it very slowly)

*steph-note: making good note of this for my fiction writing*

In the process of invention: prototypes. Process?

Middle of the paper, draw your new invented radio. At the corners, contexts => you evolve your radio, create hybrids, cross-breeds. *steph-note: some kind of visual/drawing braingstorming!* Matt: not a storming, random process. It’s very methodical, process of deconstruction. What emerges is the discovery of what it is about that original radio that persists.

The process continues to physical objects.

History: the past is another set of possible worlds, just like the future. One process of fictionalizing these worlds is to change one important event *(steph-note: didn’t get the term for that… counter-fractures??)* — What if Kennedy wasn’t shot? What if the war of Independance had been lost?

Prototype phone for Nokia, made of metal that melts at 47°C. Good for redoing it, but don’t keep it too close to your ear (contains lead ;-))

Materials. Soft furry phone. Soft on your face, and can stroke it when on the table. Hair you have to tie up to see the screen. Patchwork phones.

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“Design is the conscious and intuitive effort to impose meaningful order.” Victor Papanek

Scientific Fiction:

The story is the laboratory. Reading is your research. Writing is your experiment.

*steph-note: this is giving me food for thought, about my difficulties in creating stories and worlds and my incapacity to design anything graphically.*

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Lift09 — Sarah Marquis [fr]

*Laurent: extraordinary stand-in speaker Sarah Marquis, an adventurer who goes off for months on end, walking across Australia for example.*

Est-il possible aujourd’hui d’imaginer se retrouver dans la nature sans aide technologique? On est des mammifères après tout. Pas d’électricité, d’eau, de nourriture? Avec des habits quand même…

Sarah a décidé de faire ce pas… retrouver des instincts d’animal, en sorte. Elle a fait le tour de l’Australie, 17 mois de marche.

Comment fait-on un voyage comme ça? Avec les pieds, d’abord, mais surtout dans la tête.

Difficulté: eau et nourriture… On n’a pas appris à chasser le lézard! Il faut devenir le lézard pour le chasser, le comprendre. Eau à travers la sudation des arbres.

Gérer sa propre consommation d’eau. Respirer que par le nez pour éviter de perdre de l’eau. Marcher de nuit. Survie. Conditions animales. C’est rassurant à quelque part de voir à quel point on est animal.

Sarah n’est pas sur Facebook… envie d’un retour à la terre. Retrouver la source de la vie.

Pendant le voyage il arrive des tas de choses. Raconte comment elle a “adopté” Joe — elle a volé le chien au fermier qui allait l’abattre. Chien qui l’a accompagnée et vit maintenant se retraite bien méritée à Verbier avec elle.

Technologie? Une appareil photo et un enregistreur vidéo. GPS pour retrouver son frère pour les points de ravitaillement (7 paires de chaussures).

Sarah avait pris 15kg avant de partir, histoire d’avoir des réserves. Le corps s’use, aussi. Il s’adapte à l’effort. Sac à dos de 30kg!

Rencontre avec des aborigènes. A passé un peu de temps avec eux. La chasse: une des femmes aborigènes attrape une proie à la main (le choc! comment elle a fait?)

Se déconnecter.

Deux ans plus tard, repartie en Amérique du Sud. 8 mois de marche. Le froid. Seul repère: monter. C’est important d’avoir des repères. Peut-on trouver ce qui va nous combler dans le monde actuel, là où on le cherche?

Sans ressources d’énergie, on peut en tant qu’être humain bipède, se retrouver dans un élément inconnu et survivre.

Chose intéressante: retour à la civilisation après 17 mois dans un pays désert et hostile… Quand on survit on vit au jour le jour — comment préparer l’arrivée? Dans les 300 dernier mètres seulement, Sarah réalise que le lendemain, c’est le retour à la civilisation, qu’elle va ouvrir son frigo, pouvoir prendre un bain…

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Lift09 — Pascual Oriol [en]

(Enviu Innovation Lab)

We believe consumers are rational, and if we provide information to them, they will act accordingly. *steph-note: big mistake!!*

The future of sustainability is in the hands of entrepreneurial people. People with Wow! ideas. Innovative solutions for environmental or social issues, who have a great business case, the potential for scale or re-use, and challenge others to participate or be inspired.

– Nicolas Negroponte: OLPC. (If netbooks are in the market today, it’s thanks to the success of the OLPC)
– Qurrent: transform the way we are going to generate, distribute and consume energy
– Happy Shrimp Farm: using the excess heat from an electrical thingy (where they make electricity) to keep the shrimp warm
– Hybrid Tuk Tuk: reduce CO2 and increase driver’s income by making the tuktuk more efficient in fuel consumption
– sustainable dance club: sustainability to increase the experience of clubbing => generate energy through the floor (materials which generate electricity when squeezed).

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Lift09 — Envisioning the Future City — Anne Galloway [en]

Expectations, promises and hopes are things that we do.

Anne looks at what people do, make, say. Tries to figure out why we don’t do, make, say other things.

To make certain futures happen: broken relationships between certain groups of people.

*steph-note: missing a lot here, having trouble seeing where we’re going*

So, city of the future. Hybrid cities, real-time, sensor, read-write, mobile, adaptive… cities.

Attention: not to ignore what’s happening now.

“What if we imagine the future city as a gift we want to give people.” Through all these projects, everybody had the best of intentions. Want to give people good things. Make lives better. In five years, Anne has never talked to anyone who has anything but good intentions. The people who do make things want to give people good things.

Gifts are powerful. Show that we love, care, or have obligations to each other. Different gifts for different people. Usually put energy in choosing gifts for some people — but not all of them.

Even the good intentions end up being a little off sometimes. Superhero superpowers. Example of Superuseless Superpower: Lati-dude and Longi-dude. Transport yourself to the same point on the other side of the earth. (haha!)

Gifting is a tricky business. there is always some tension at some point. Some people are better at it than others (giving and receiving gifts well).

So, what does it mean to give people new cities or technologies? What is the gift doing?

What is the relationship between the gifter and the “user”? What can we expect of the other? Eg. gifts between colleages at X-mas, we have different expectations than from family, lovers, grandparents.

When we give someone a gift, how do we even know they want it? Could a gift be damaging? cause stress, upset, anger? How do you know if they appreciate it? (“thank you very much, that’s a lovely gift”) What do you do if they dislike it? How do you act if they misuse it? (the project has failed…)

Did you ever get a gift that you didn’t use? Or “what in god’s name do you think of me to give me this?” (Head-massaging helmet… “everyone likes a good head massage!” => you become an anomaly.)

“Oh, it’s not so difficult, let me show you how it works!! It wasn’t meant to make you feel stupid!”

Until you get into the process, you have no idea how to interact.

Back to the gifted city. Gifted in the superhero sense: look, it can do all that!!!

Examples of future cities we’ve seen: many people in the room probably went “oh cool!”, but certainly some also went “cool, but what am i going to do with it?”

We gift opportunities with these cities. Citizen engagement projects. Data to take political action. New technologies => act in new ways.

Projects which allow people to map environmental issues.

But not everyone wants to be a data collector, or cares about the data. Many kinds of publics. Not everyone will be interested in doing certain parts of the “job”. Public science: challenge = getting people to do science work, sometimes people don’t want to be scientists, not interested in the labour, or lack the capacity to do it.

=> fragmented public. The gift needs us to want to act as data collectors and it needs us to have the ability to make sense of the data we collect.

Gifted risks. With these expectations etc, we can start thinking of the risks associated to those gifts. If citizenship requires technology, non-techies start feeling like non-citizens. Not everyone has a cellphone! Lots of people share cellphones! Or own multiple mobile phones… Locking out people…

Giving access to information that people didn’t use to have. They still don’t usually have the possibility to generate certain sets of data. Someone has decided what will be sensed (what the sensors capture). Assumption, also, that scientific data is more important/true than other emotional, affective, subjective… data.

When you’re building the future city:

– What kind of future city do you hope to give?
– What kind of future city do you expect to receive?

Without asking those questions, risks much higher than possible opportunities.

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Lift09 — Dan Hill — Soft Infrastructure Superpowers [en]

Has been travelling since Monday, arrived from Australia 3 hours ago. Poor Dan!

How to re-route 400 passengers?

Soft infrastructure, bits of paper with numbers on. In Hong Kong, malfunctioning aircrafts *(steph-note: not sure I’m understanding all this.)*

Hotel Smart Card keys not working (soft infrastructure fail #59)

=> no matter how good the hard infrastructure is, it’s the soft infrastructure fails that define the experience.

Soft infrastructure:

– interaction design
– software design
– information architecture
– service design
– urban design
– urban informatics

And…

– business models
– legal and political context
– belief systems
– social and cultural fabric

Infrastructure futures…?

In 1939: the “green new city” in the forest (understandable, industrial cities at the time were pretty horrific). Scaling the city from how far you can travel on foot, to tram, train, car…

1966, “New Movement in Cities”

*(steph-note: missed a bit here, I think my brain needed a rest)*

Map showing the shape of wifi around a building (wow).

Projecting the inside of a building on the outside (what’s going on in there? how full is it?)

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Lift09 — Future Cities — Carlo Ratti [en]

We are headed for the death of cities. In 2008, half the world population is living in cities.

mapping = complexity to simplicity

How do we make sense of all these digital representations of physical spaces? Bunch of projects.

(haha! the cyborg’s primary tool is the iPhone ;-))

Represent the map of the city in a different way. Map of cellphone activity in Rome around the World Cup Finals.

Concentration of pedestrians (difficult in Rome, because you usually use velocity to identify pedestrians, and pedestrians often move faster than vehicles!)

Barcelona, photos on Flickr.

View density of pictures taken in various places. (Florence for example.) Patterns of movement of Italians vs. Americans in Italy.

Map of Barcelona which shows pictures from Flickr streaming out of it, over time (video map). Filter by tag. Paralells between geography of brits and parties in Barcelona 😉

New York 2008

New York talk exchange. Who is NY talking to? Spinning globe showing phone calls as threads linking two places. Over time, too. Beautiful!

Zoom and see what parts of the city are calling what parts of the world. Information on the composition of those areas.

Zaragoza 2008

*steph-note: tuned out during that one, sorry. Something about an info box at the expo, water on the roof and running down the sides, and a roof which collapses to the ground — better run out fast!*

Other projects: GreenWheel — on a bike, capture energy while you’re braking. Copenhagen citybike. Smart tags to see where your garbage goes (awareness! Wall-E!) Put tags in the trash in NY and then follow it.

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Lift09: Turning Lake Leman into Silicon Valley? [en]

I participated in a Birds of a Feather session earlier, titled How can we make Lac Léman into an entrepreneurial hub? — I found it a little frustrating to start with, but it ended up really lively and interesting.

One issue that I’d like to insist upon is the cultural component of the problem. It’s easy to dismiss it as irrelevant, but I think it’s a mistake, because culture is the constraint within which we work. I’d like to share a few thoughts on the cultural differences between the US and Switzerland. I’m not a sociologist, so maybe they’re a bit naive, but I think they make sense and we should pay attention to them.

Not to say that all is impossible “because of culture”, but I do believe that there are cultural reasons this area is not “another Silicon Valley”. I don’t mean that it cannot become a good place for entrepreneurs. I hope it can, but if it can, it will be in a rather different way than the US, and taking into account the cultural differences between the two areas.

Let’s look at the heritage of Switzerland and the US.

Switzerland is over 900 years old as a nation, and the people living in these areas have been occupying them for a looong time. (There’s immigration, of course, proof typing these letters, but our culture has not been shaped by it in the distant past.) We are stable here. We don’t move. We are the decendants of farmers and mercenaries, and people who decided to “go alone” (Schwytz, Uri, Unterwald in 1291) besides the big political powers of the time. Face it, we’re a bit better than our neighbours and we don’t really need anybody.

The USA, on the other hand, is a young nation, founded by adventurers or pilgrims who set off to cross the bloody Atlantic to settle on a new continent peopled by savages (that’s how they must have seen things at the time). Many would die. It was risky. It was the land for innovators, for those who were not afraid of new things, who would try to do things differently. Dream a dream and make it come true.

These are (part of) our cultural backgrounds. Now, you can go against the grain, there are exceptions, but to some extent, we are prisoners of our culture, or at least, we must work within it.

I think that this historical and cultural heritage can help explain why the US is often branded as “entrepreneur-friendly” (what is new is better, and innovators and risk-takers are the kings) whereas in Switzerland, we are seen as more risk-averse. As we say in French, we tend to want to chop off the heads that stand out from the crowd. Don’t draw attention to yourself. I think the Swiss are less naturally inclined towards self-promotion, for example.

Now, these are cultural trends. An atmosphere. It doesn’t mean you won’t find risk-averse Americans, or extraordinary Swiss entrepreneurs. But I think these cultural traits end up being reflected in our institutions.

For example, during the session, Lucie mentioned how many administrative hurdles an entrepreneur needed to go through here to even get *close* to receiving money.

Another thing that came up which rings very true to me is that in Switzerland, we are really very comfortable. And as employees, particularly. Things like a mere two-week notice (what seems current in the US) would be unthinkable here (you get a month when you start, and it goes up to two and even three months after a few years of employment for the same company). We have incredibly good unemployment benefits (over a year at 80% of your last salary).

Now, I would not dare suggest we give up the security we have here in Switzerland. No way! But we have to take this into account when analysing the situation. If we want to improve things for entrepreneurs here, we need to identify the problem and offer solutions to it. And those solutions need to take into account things that we cannot change, like cultural settings.

So, what can we do?

It was pointed out during the session that there are lots of local initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs, but they tend to be stuck in silos. An index of all the “happenings” here would be a good start. It was also suggested to bring Venture to Suisse Romande on the years it’s not happening in Suisse Allemande.

Discussion participants wrote ideas down on a big sheet of paper at the end of the session, and Vittorio said he’s make something available from the discussion page on the Lift conference website. Keep an eye on there. Things are going to happen.

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