Politicians & Entrepreneurs Come Together — at The Family ❤
Cutting through the bullshit with people who deal with it for a living
A year ago, we launched Public Affairs at The Family. Why? Because politicians and entrepreneurs have serious issues with each other, and yet…
THEY DON’T SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE.
So we’re here to play translator — and get things done.
Honestly, when I started working on this project, I wasn’t sure it would work. I had been in politics, and I had been in entrepreneurship, and I knew all the clichés. And I also knew the clichés that each world had about the other had some amount of truth in them:
On the entrepreneurs’ side, it’s all about keeping as far away from politics as possible (seriously, as faaaaar as possible). That means keeping away from public institutions, keeping away from public money that makes us waste time, and where we just keep getting sticks thrown in our wheels. The politicians are just out there regulating things without understanding them, protecting all the old players. If we hear about politicians, it’s always bad!
On the politicians’ side, it’s all about how amusing those big children are, playing around with their little companies… They’re cute, really, trying to innovate all the time, messing around with whatever they have close at hand. Plus, it’s important, for Humanity, we need to keep Creating, let them have their fun. Sure, let’s give them a bit of money. But watch it — you start getting to big, if you try to move out of the garage (and especially if your new place isn’t located here, your home country), people are gonna get angry. Barriers go up, without realizing the negative effect they’ll have on the country. Basically, it’s a side that doesn’t know whether to love or hate entrepreneurs, and sometimes the opinion changes depending on how the international headlines are reading.
But even if those clichés have some truth to them, they’re definitely not the whole truth, and they lead us to think that the other side is somehow the enemy.
But that’s not the case. It is, though, why the translation part is important. We want The Family to be an open, generous space where the two sides come together, where real relationships can flourish, where people really start to understand each other.
It happens in the speakers we bring in, in how we ask everyone in the audience to meet their neighbor, in the questions and answers that happen at each event. And know what?
It works with panels where entrepreneurs and politicians talk together on stage, like the one we just had in October, together with UNICEF and French Secretary of Equality Marlène Schiappa, to push forward emancipation for girls via entrepreneurship and digital tools.
It works with workshops featuring investors, entrepreneurs, and political players like the one we did with Index Ventures and Ekwity, pushing for a better way to share value with all of a company’s employees — and which is still making progress.
It works with presentations by authors who come and decipher the world around us, not hiding from its complexity. You saw that with Martin Gurri, ex-CIA analyst whose book Revolt of the Public brought out one of our biggest crowds of the year.
And it works with lunches and dinners organized around themes where deep, important questions can be addressed. For example, the one we held for urban mobility brought representatives from cabinet ministries, bike companies, scooter companies, car services, together to help each other make better decisions; or the one we held on women’s financial empowerment with Emilie Bellet of Vestpod and Oriel Petry, Director in the UK’s Department for International Trade.
It’s only the beginning. The ability to bring smart people with different ways of thinking about things together is a real superpower, and we want to use it for good.
It’ll all happen with YOU — so follow us, with our Public Affairs YouTube channel and our Public Affairs Medium (yes, no more hunting through Startupfood when what you really want is that sweet, sweet political fix ;)
P.S. You can also follow me on Twitter, @Zineb__Mekouar, bien sûr, especially if you want a bonus dose of books and travel