Dutch entrepreneurs in Chicago

Wednesday 16 April, 2008

The Netherland America Foundation-Dutch Chicago Business Exchange hosted an event featuring a couple of Dutch entrepreneurs who founded businesses in Chicago. Dirk Meuzelaar of Bitfactory & Marcel Birkhoff of Hyva made presentations on their impressions of founding a business here from a Dutch point of view.  Marcel’s presentation is included here: naf-presentation Noteworthy in addition to his presentation:  Marcel started Hyva-US from his apartment in Chicago, pilfering wireless internet access from a neighbor (who still doesn’t know about it), & selling telescopic cylinders off of his pick-up truck.

The presentation was attended mostly by students, from both Erasmus University-Rotterdam School of Management, the Netherlands as well as the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. The Dutch presentation is included here: ppt_presentations_bb What’s interesting here is the differentiation between the Americans as “masculine”-assertive, competitive, ambition, wealth & material possessions; & the Dutch as “feminine”-placing more value on relationships, & quality of life.  This is reflected in resumes/CV’s in that Americans focus on achievement-oriented comparisons in education & grades while the Dutch highlight extra-curricular activities.  In business, another reflection is Americans are perceived as overselling, as the Dutch are thought to undersell.  I agree, but resumes/cv’s worldwide are changing to become more American, & Americans would do well to temper their enthusiasm when selling to foreigners.


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