Monday, September 03, 2012

Why do Europeans have difficulty in the US?

The biggest cause why Europeans of all nationalities have problems is their lack of visceral understanding of scale. While European think a two hour flight is a long one, Americans will routinely take five hour flights for a meeting. However, beyond distance it also applies to money and networks. While $1 million in Europe is a lot to, say, fund a start-up, in the US it is almost insignificant. It takes Billions of $ to fund a Presidential run, and millions even for a local election. Beyond that the scale of networks and connections is also enormous. If you know 1,000 people in the Netherlands, you can reach most decision makers. Even the UK, five times larger than the Netherlands, can be covered by a relatively small number of contacts. The US, five times larger than the UK, dwarfs any difficulty in reaching decision makers there. Even, incidentally, countries with huge populations such as India and China, have a small concentration of decision makers. They went to a small number of schools and universities. In the UK, there are 114 universities, in the US over 4,000, so the "old school tie" is less of a power connection, though an Ivy League educations still helps with connections.

This handicaps Europeans when trying to do business, or deal with government in the US.

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