As if it wasn’t tough enough being an entrepreneur in France right now (OK, it’s not impossible, but let’s face it it could be easier) news reaches us that a global tech company like Twitter is having issues putting boots on the ground in the nation’s capital. The news is not exactly an advert for Paris’s tech ecosystem, but it may also of course be a function of the weird market right now, especially post Facebook/Zynga/Groupon IPO. Whatever the case, Twitter has confirmed to us that although they have been looking for people to staff its planned Paris office, nothing is shaking so far. A spokesperson told us: “We’ve said for a long time that we’ll eventually have an office in Paris. [We have] Nothing specific to announce (about when or what roles will be there) at this point.”
It’s something of a mystery why this has happened. Twitter put a London office in place some time ago and has already placed it’s European HQ Dublin, where low corporation tax has lead others such as Yahoo, Google and others. We’ve done some digging into this and there’s an indication that Twitter is either setting its bar pretty high, (as well they might), or that there is a lack of, well, direction?
Contacts we’ve spoken to say they have been bashing their heads with Twitter’s HR people for some time this year, but, as one put it to us, “It looks like they don’t know what they want, or who they want.”
The process for hiring a Paris team – built largely to engage with French advertising agencies around the platform – started in March, apparently when Jack Dorsey came to Paris and met the candidates of the French Presidential election.
Indeed, the wooing was mutual. In the Spring the mayor of Paris went to SF and visited Twitter, later tweeting about Twitter opening an office in Paris. Perhaps he tweeted too soon?
In April, Twitter’s HR machine spun up to try and pull names together. Contacts on the ground in Paris were called, names were sent, mainly for a country manager, to but also for account managers. The tech and media echo-system in Paris did their best to help out, we gather.
There are unconfirmed rumours that Twitter is also looking for an additional person to run operations for other French-speaking countries (Belgium, but also Morocco for example).
Then in June, Katie Stanton, Twitter’s head of international came to Paris with some other people from her team, and ran a number of interviews. There was also a Twitter developer meetup.
But, inexplicably, no one was selected for the Paris office.
Time passed over the Summer and other people were contacted. And we last heard that the hiring conversations were still going on in September. Tough gig huh.
So, that dear reader, is what we know for now. Any more information will be gladly received on the situation.
For now Twitter says it’s not announcing anything, France-wise.
C’est le bordel ?