Paris: Business outlook

After all, I do go to a business school. So let’s talk some business-related discoveries about France.

France is lagging in digital transformation

According to my Digital Management class, France is way behind other countries in using digital solutions in business. An enormous number of companies don’t even have an Internet presence (I can find a specific number for you if you are curious). This fact shocked me. I assumed that one of the strongest economies in Europe has to be up-to-date on all major business innovations. However, having talked to more people here, I kind of see why French are slow to embrace digitalization. People here hold strongly onto what they already have and don’t seem to be fond of change. They are proud of their amazing history, food and culture. Makes sense – they do have a lot to offer. However, by living in the past they fail to move forward (not my words).

Venmo is present, though. It’s she – Lydia.

“I’ll Venmo you later!” Oh, how much I miss the ease of splitting checks that this phrase signifies. Unfortunately, Venmo doesn’t work outside US (I should have guessed). French have an alternative, though. It’s an app called Lydia. I love the fact that it has a human name. I know two great girls called Lydia, so it warms my heart to hear the name almost on a daily basis. Interestingly, Germans don’t have an app of this kind. “Germans like cash”, according to some of HEC exchanges from Germany. 

Electric cars are getting more and more popular

Electric cars are everywhere! Ok, not everywhere, but whenever in Paris, I see at least a couple of them. Autolib’, a big Parisian car sharing business, has a fleet of exclusively electric cars. There are charging stations for them all over the city. Even outside HEC there are five or six. Some people choose to buy electric cars instead of standard fuel-powered ones. Moreover, in Paris they are working on developing an electric bus and have already launched a prototype. Having a high appreciation for environmentally friendly activities/businesses, I am excited to see the movement towards electric energy here.

BlaBlaCar is even cooler than Uber

Talking about transportation, in France (and maybe other countries in EU) they also have an amazing long distance carpooling service, BlaBlaCar. It connects drivers and travellers, offering a cheaper and more fun form of transportation. To use it as a passenger, you just create a profile on the website or in the app, search for drivers who travel to your desired destination at desired time and make traveling arrangements. Easy! You can also see drivers’ reviews including information on how safely the drive, so you feel more secure about your trip. Finally, you can see if they like to talk and listen to music on the road. I have not yet used the service, but want to do so this weekend to visit some UVA friends in Lyon. The plan is to choose a driver who is down to talk, so that I would practice some French as a bonus 🙂

So far, these are the most exciting discoveries I have had. But I’ll keep my eyes open and will keep you updated on most outstanding findings.

À bientôt,

Sasha

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