First a disclosure. I am a small investor in Netvibes and Tariq Krim, Netvibes founder and CEO is on the French Board of Fon. Now having said this let´s focus on Netvibes.

I find Netvibes fascinating. When it started it was a cool place to read your blogs. Now as it reaches the 2 million unique users per month I see that Netvibes is becoming a tool to do practically everything on the web, indeed I would say that it´s becoming a browser in itself. For those who don´t know Netvibes I recommend that you go to the site and survive the most difficult moments at Netvibes, the first 3 minutes. Yes, even though the growth of Netvibes is spectacular Netvibes is not that easy to use at first. Indeed the best thing would be if a techie friend helps you out for the initial minutes. But after that, after you learn how to program RSS feeds, how to create tabs to divide subjects (mine are blogs, news and tools) you start feeling that netvibes creates a garden out of the internet jungle that was growing uncontrollable in front of your eyes every day. At Netvibes now you can store your documents, see pictures, listen to podcasts and music, read your g mail, keep track of what happens in flickr, etc, etc, etc. If I was allowed to visit only one site per day, Netvibes would be it.

I would like to congratulate Tariq Krim for staying in France while building Netvibes. France has great talent for the internet both on the technical and at the design level but many French emigrate to Silicon Valley and understandably so as French business laws make it very, very hard to start and grow a company. Start ups are start ups. At Fon people work insane hours, and so at Netvibes. The basic idea of a start up is that you get a salary for your regular hours but you get stock options for the “insane” demands of start up life: if you like it you join, if you don´t, you work for an established company. But France, which is much more regulated and difficult for business than Spain, makes it very, very hard to start a business there. Most French are not risk takers and they expect entrepreneurs to give them security, life time employments, requests that are impossible for start ups to comply with. Start ups are companies whose future is unknown. The expectations of most French workers clash with the needs of a start up. But the paradox is that without start ups there´s no future. Failure is an integral part of success. Many French like only the second part and as a result the country has unreasonable unemployment rates and slow growth. A pity because France has amazing opportunities.

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Neok on April 23, 2006  · 

Hi Martin,

The last part of this entry reads like a kind of comment on the CPE and other things that are happening in France at the moment. I was already hoping that you would comment on those developments in your blog some time.

Also, I´ve been wondering about your plans to stimulate and evangelize the importance of entrepreneurship in Europe more. At some point you blogged that you were building some kind of team together Pierre Chapaz if I remember correctly. I really liked this idea and would like to support you in such an initiative if you go ahead with it. I know that Joseph Borrell and the rest of the EU crew – yes, beyond the fanous Lisbon Agenda – are putting this very high on the priority list, but with BXL bureaucracy, progress on this topic is very slow.

In addition to that, I was talking to an Italian friend the other day about what’s happening in Italy at the moment and what needs to be done (and what we could do) to re-activate of what’s called the Sick Man of Europe these days. Getting rid of loads of rules and regulations to facilitate business and entrepreneurship is one of the things we discussed. But there are many many other things that need but also can be done.

What I am struggling with these days and that’s also you mentioned in your blog once is that working with successful entrepreneurs very often ‘creates’ new good entrepreneurs. To me it seems not always easy to hooked up in a constructive and educational way with successful entrepreneurs. Sometimes or often they are too busy, and simply there maybe even too few of them. Although I believe that entrepreneurship is on the rise again due to a increasingly favourable economic climate I think it’s also that young people wherever they are should be confronted in a very early stage of their life. Maybe something to institutionalise in grammar school curriculums if entrepreneurship is to be institutionalised at all…

People have plenty of good ideas, but it’s very often that the next step is missing to make things happen. From where i am originally from (southern catholic Netherlands), entrepreneurship is not stimulated enough in my opinion. It should start early on and get embedded in people’s minds as someting to embrace and support. Not something that’s too risky, insecure, etc. etc.

Anyway, from EU politics to regional issues in a nutshell. I just think starting new projects and getting things done is great and applaud your enthusiasm and success in this.

Kind regards,

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sara on April 23, 2006  · 

in murcia spain, i tried netvibes as you suggested . i put into it all my google homepage stuff and netvibes actually works faster, better looking and better organized. In murcia one more netvibe mensch

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Randle P. McMurphy on April 24, 2006  · 

Absolutely agree! Netvibes is a must. I’ve been using it for a few months and the only problem I find is that when you try it you can’t survive without it. And it’s amazing how fast it improves with new features every while.

The only thing I miss in my Netvibes are my Google Alerts. It would be great if Google created an RSS for each alert (as Technorati does with its watchlist) or if both companies together developed some kind of module for that.

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Randle P. McMurphy on April 24, 2006  · 

Someone has just told me how to integrate Google Alerts into Netvibes (I’m not sure if it was not possible when I tried or I didn’t see…).

For those interested:
1. Make a search in Google News
2. In the results page go to the left and you’ll see the RSS/Atom links. Just copy as if it were any other RSS and go to Netvibes. That feeds are specific for that search, so you’ll have latest news on the topic just on your Netvibes (or in any other aggregator).


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Cem Dalgic on April 24, 2006  · 

In order to see the similar concepts please check

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