Introduction to the Startup Communities Class

May 2, 2013 | By French Culture

On Tuesday evening April 30, Cultural Counselor Antonin Baudry introduced "Introduction to the New York startup community " class given by Matt Brimer, co-Founder of General Assembly. General Assembly is an organization that works to create opportunities in technology, business and design in New York City and internationally. The class brought those interested in start-ups together to learn how to get involved.

Dear Matthew,
Dear friends,

Welcome to the French Embassy! Are you surprised to be here?

I’m very happy to host a downtown crowd and just ask that you not be afraid of these old-fashioned imposing walls, for this historical place is particularly open to dynamism and creativity.

Thank you to Matt Brimer, the co-founder of General Assembly, for agreeing to offer this uptown class. I’d like to acknowledge the important mission of General Assembly which is to “transform thinkers into creators”. You and I both believe that in order to promote innovation, theory must be combined with practice. General Assembly gives this opportunity by embracing creation. That is why your Introduction to startup communities class is important for us.


Before the class begins, I’d like to point out two pre-conceived notions and hopefully set them straight.

  1. First preconceived notion: France is “old school”.

  2. One might think, hearing words like “culture”, “French Embassy” that we are fierce keepers of the past. No. We are sophisticated, we are sometimes pompous, we love wine and cheese, but what we prefer among everything, is creation, in all its forms. Paris is the world capital of math and fashion.

And a Cultural Counselor’s mission is not only about preserving, it is also about promoting and creating. We promote young artists. And there is a kind of “diplomatic creation”. We create an image of France, we create bonds between different cultures and countries.

Clearly, we are an old country with a long history. You belong to a young country that values entrepreneurship and dynamism. We both believe in technology, in progress, in the power of invention, research and innovation. That’s why, we have a lot of things to do together!

  1. Second preconceived notion: software engineers are geeks, interested in nothing else than their sophisticated devices.

Not at all! Dear Matt, you are a leader at Mayor Bloomberg’s future site of “Made in NY” Media Center and you work hard to develop New York’s tech scene.

But you are also and I share this with you a Wes Anderson fan: and cinema is a striking example of the central and complex relationship between art and new technology. By supporting independent filmmakers, you show that your true passion is helping creation itself.

Thanks for listening and participating tonight. I’m now very happy to give the floor to Matt...

Enjoy your class!

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