Junk Tech, how Silicon Valley won the marketing war

Faced with the technological power of Gafam and Batx, there is no hope for European tech. Jean-Marc Bally, head of the venture capital firm Aster Capital, and Xavier Desmaison say otherwise!

In terms of tech, we have research capacities, engineers and mathematicians of the highest caliber ౼ moreover, the heart of our digital economy does not lie in pure tech, but in the ability to make it useful, operational and desirable for everyone. Steve Jobs’ Apple did not change the world. It did not invent the touch screen, miniature batteries or data compression: it integrated, with its customers squarely in mind, technological bricks that were already operational variations of scientific innovations. This is what we call marketing and design.

Selling the dream is what California does best: trips to Mars, Alphabet’s “moonshot,” “star” influencers. French and European companies often lose their way by focusing their strengths on technological competition when they should be building a comprehensive response strategy that sells their value proposition. From Simon Sinek’s “why” to raison être, from Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” to the end of transhumanist death, the – chic gurus in the valley talk less about technology than about meaning.

Junk Tech is a highly addictive substance: a subtle blend of the hopes and dreams of the times, converted into a coherent offering that aligns with myths that resonate with collective desires. In our digital civilization, people selling the dream have surpassed engineers and developed a worldview that allows them to attract capital, talent and public attention.

The authors are not saying that we should stop investing in the fundamental and the applied. But the leaders of European companies, whether they are start-ups, SMEs or multinationals, must not fight the wrong battle. They must work hard on their marketing: attractive solutions that people dream of using or are proud to use. Ones that people don’t want to stop using. In short, nothing is unattainable for countries that are leaders in luxury, cosmetics, gastronomy, landscapes and some form of culture.