5 US companies have bigger annual revenues than France

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Just 5 American companies (“Gafam” — Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) have combined annual revenues of $3,000 BN — which is larger than the annual GDP of France ($2,200 BN).

Europe is the world’s biggest single market and is a world leader in aerospace, pharma, car production, electronics, engineering. So why can’t Europe compete on Web technology? Having worked on Web tech in the USA for 15 years and in Europe for 5, and having reverse-engineered probably 10,000 large and mid-sized company Websites, my conclusion is: European site design is great but it comes at a heavy cost in code and load sitting on clunky back-ends, whereas US design is less of a thrill but is super-efficient on the back end.

Very few US sites have a 3 MB home page requiring 76 requests across 12 domains and a full load time of 5+ seconds (not an optimized Experience for the user) but in Europe, despite the focus on the UX, it’s almost the norm; even on well-know sites promoting “digital skills”.

For the Project Sponsor, the best way to fix this is to get someone on the team who speaks both marketing and technology to translate between the two. Promote close collaboration between your front end/design, back end/tech, and business/marketing team from the project outset through to delivery. Run the project plan so front- and back- end workstreams converge for regular reviews to give the tech team input into the design phase and to let designers comment on how their ideas are being translated into tech functionality. And aim for everything to be the best it can be. Don’t settle for average performance metrics. Fine tune everything on the UI and optimize everything server-side. It’s this kind of attitude and cooperation that drives the success US of companies on the Web, there’s no reason it can’t work in Europe.


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