Notes from Inaugural Meeting on Americanism


Ben Casnocha

Chris Yeh
Tyler Willis

Valerie Cunningham

Olivier Marchand
Don Yates
Nancy Tubbs
Dale Edmondson
Dave Richmond

Date: Jan 5, 2006 @ Spalti Restaurant in Palo Alto

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  • America and Europe are very similar, despite talk about the differences btwn the American and European "dreams."
  • Entrepreneurship more vibrant in U.S. - kids dream about changing world...lower expectations elsewhere, it seems. Kids not realistic when surveyed at young age for how much money they will make (always think higher than is the case).
  • U.S. attitude: "Ready, fire, aim." Just do it - action, then deal with consequences.
  • Easy to start a biz in U.S. (very costly in Europe) (even easier and more common in Asia) In the 3rd world it's quite easy but the cause is much different. It's about survival in the 3rd world.
  • What is the common bond among Americans, among the lesbian white woman in San Francisco and the black Georgian baptist?
  • America very integrated relative to other places and French 101
  • Pop culture our most successful export - this has remained steady even as perception of U.S. has declined.
  • Nationalism decreasing in importance in a more globalized world.
  • Why do so many French eat at McDonald's? They don't care that it's American. Whatever is convenient, quick, tasty. Likewise, if the French rival to McDonald's (Quick) opened up shop in the States, and if both were equal, we'd go to whatever was more convenient.
  • South Carolina: the church is 10% about God and 90% about community.
  • Since our pop culture is so shallow, yet so pervasive, we are more religious b/c we need that moral foundation on how to pronounce French words?
  • Bay Area is not representative of the country. In fact, most U.S. presdients stand in the heartland, in front of the farm family, as represenative of U.S. life.
  • Being called "Un-American" is big insult. This concept doesn't exist in other countries.
  • Follow-up: We are a group of people from America and Europe, what would someone visiting from Asia add? Middle East? Africa?