All of which, as any veteran of an American startup will attest, is beside the point. And what is that point? From the American perspective, what should the European entrepreneurial tyro learn? Screaming lust for money and fame and your picture on the cover of Forbes, perhaps? A strategy to roll out the concept, roll up the competition, roll over whomever is left, then let it roll and roll and roll until you roll away with the dough, and the highways of the world are lined end to end with Cracker Barrels and Home Depots?
When Europeans study American economic growth, they see pretty, upward-ticking graphs, not what lies behind them: legions of businesspeople making payday out of their wallets, or with cash advances off their credit cards, or with the money set aside for Jun-ior's braces. Weeks defined by 90 hours of work and 12,000 miles in the air and eating pizza for dinner six times in a row. Strokes, heart attacks, carotid arteries bulging under unbuttoned collars - and entrepreneurs chanting over and over and over again, "They never told me this in business school."