» The end of blogger conferences

The end of blogger conferences


Dear Participants, Speakers and Partners

I would first like to thank all the participants who came from all around the world and invested their time and money to join LeWeb3.

Above all, I thank the speakers and moderators who accepted to share their knowledge and made room in their busy schedules.

I apologize to the speakers and audience for the last-minute changes to the second day program and take personal responsibility for those changes. For opening the program beyond bloggers, however, I have no regrets.

I am proud of the team who organized the event. I am proud of the startup room where 50 new European entrepreneurs presented. I am proud to have brought world class non-tech people like Hans Rosling, Nobel laureate Shimon Peres and two French presidential candidates into the same forum as world class tech people like Niklas Zennstrom, danah boyd and David Weinberger.

Thank you to our partners who made the entire conference possible in just 6 weeks, not just with cash but by investing an incredible amount of time, effort and commitment.

I would like to thank everyone for the feedback in the blogosphere, emails, sms and phone calls. Apologies for not responding immediately. After the initial wave of criticism, I was pleased to see many respected individuals supporting my decision to invite the politicians.

I knew a room with more than a thousand people from 37 countries on 5 continents that included hundreds of bloggers would provide feedback on everything we did. And you did. Wow! This incredible feedback has required time to digest. It is the third time I organize this event and I always want to listen, learn and improve.

Criticism focussed on the politicians I invited at the last minute.

The background is that we in Europe are fighting a battle to raise interest about the Internet and its deeper changes to society. We do not yet have the Silicon Valley ecosystem, but opening an exchange with our politicians is a start. We need to talk to them and they need to understand us.

We need to encourage risk taking in Europe, teach entrepreneurship at school, make fiscal reforms to encourage creation of more start ups supported by investment from business angels and venture capitalists. The Internet creates millions of jobs in the United States. Why not in Europe?

That said, I must now admit that the reactions in the blogosphere convinces me blogging conferences are dead. The tools we developed have entered the mainstream and we must embrace that. Artists, academics, politicians and so many others have joined the ranks of bloggers and web entrepreneurs in recognizing the power of social software. We must bring them into our conversation.

Please note that we always had politics in the program, all we did was add real politicians. Not only did David Weinberger and Phil Noble talked about the 2004 US presidential election, but all LeWeb3 participants could witness part of the French campaign with their own eyes instead of just talking about it. They could all form their own opinions about two candidates who took the risk to speak to such an audience, express them on their blogs and send a message to them I guarantee they are paying attention to.

Reality check: The politicians took up a total of about 1h30 out of an 18 hour conference. We shortened lunch and the breaks to accomodate all confirmed speakers. Perhaps speakers were moved from their planned time, panel or duration, but if we bloggers and technology entrepreneurs cannot be flexible, who can? (I did not chain anybody in their chairs, but I note that the conference room was packed full each time a politician spoke. See for yourself and also the standing ovation. People don’t clap their hands if they don’t want to).

We added speakers to the conference, we did not take any away. As for other aspects we have had almost all positive feedback for the top-level networking, food and physical set up for more than 1,000 people. (Details below)

This conference has impact. Last year Netvibes and Daily Motion found their first angel investors and key partners. This year, they were on stage making the news and going international.

I know other companies made similar deals this year, but I was especially pleased to bring the conversation beyond technology.

What started on stage as an idea by Yossi Vardi and Shimon Peres – Blogging for Better World – may now take concrete form if we want to. One participant, Arnon Katz, has offered $100,000 to launch the project and Peres has offered to be on the board.

Next year – for those who want join an open conference that brings blogging beyond technology – I look forward to welcoming you to help continue our battle for the Internet and entrepreneurship in Europe.

See you next year and please keep providing me with feedback and suggestions to make the next LeWeb constructive, provocative and extraordinary.


Now, for those who care to read more, further details:

Bloggers have power.

Bloggers made the event possible because they wanted it and helped spread the word as there was no marketing investment to promote the conference. Bloggers demonstrated again their power by turning their ideas about LeWeb3 into a huge worldwide conversation becoming the most important topic on Technorati. The headline of my blog has been for years “traditional media send messages, blogs start conversations”, I should say how happy I am the conversation is so deep. I can’t meet somebody or talk on the phone or email any of you these days without having intense and passionated talks.

Feedback from many directions

With so much feedback, it is difficult for me to estimate what percentage of the participants are happy about the conference. What you see are the blog posts, I also see the hundreds of emails, SMS and phone calls I got in the last few days. For one simple reason, there weren’t only bloggers at the conference. The latter are all positive and say the same. Many bloggers I respect appreciated the conference. It is difficult to measure exactly what percentage of participants was happy and what percentage was unhappy but my feeling is a majority was happy.

Why I invited politicians and changed the schedule of the second day

We need to build in Europe. The successful European companies do not remain European and get acquired fast (Skype, Lastminute.com, Kelkoo, etc). I would like France and Europe to concentrate less on the past and more on the future, we need more people taking risks, we need more entrepreneurs, we need more business angels, more VCs, more M&As and more companies going public (even though it got easier in Europe than in the US). It is an entire sector of the economy which is being created, that could represent millions of job creations in Europe. Look at how many jobs just Google created in the US. Shimon Peres said at LeWeb3: “Today a man can create an economic state of his own in a fair way,” he added, before pointing to Big G: “Take the two young boys that created Google their budget is larger than that of any government in the Middle East – they didn’t steal, they didn’t chat – individual people are becoming creators of economies.” We need more of these individuals in Europe.

To fight this battle, we can’t do it only amongst bloggers or entrepreneurs. How can we teach kids at school that entrepreneurship is a good thing, that they need to learn english to compete in an ever more globalized World, they need to learn about taking risks ? We can as parents, I do teach my kids, but the impact is limited. We need all the constituencies in society to understand the need to promote the Internet and entrepreneurship. We especially need politicians to understand that.

This is the main reason why I changed the conference name from LesBlogs to LeWeb. I am also getting bored about blogger conferences where we only talk about blogging and have the same three year old conversations. My two reference conferences are the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos and TED both by invitation only. Without ever being crazy enough to think I could pretend to be close to their amazing quality, I got inspired by them. I not only changed the name, I changed the program and had two main objectives:

1. have many more constituencies than just bloggers in the room: entrepreneurs, researchers, artists, journalists, designers and some great people representative of our society

2. broaden the topics we talk about to add to a rich technology & business content some key concerns of the World (globalization, poverty, environment…), a long conversation about why the European Internet ecosystem does not work and how we can fix it, how technology changes media (press, radio, TV) and geographic and horizontal concerns (democracy, China, Iran..). Blogging would only be a few hours update in the program.

The program entirely reflects this move since I started organizing the conference:

-Hans Rosling talked about globalization, poverty, presented gapminder in the very first morning and had the longest time of the day given to a speaker. I think everybody loved his speech and the move to have him in the program.

-Education was there too with Mario Asselin and Enrique Dans

-Europe versus Silicon Valley was the theme of almost half a day

-Democracy (David Weinberger), Internet Censorship and Iran (Hossein Derakhshan), Can the Internet change politics (Phil Noble of Politics online, Matthias Lüfkens of the WE Forum…) and China (Bo Y. Shao, Pierre Haski…) were a good portion of tuesday afternoon.

-I had tried really hard to get Alex Steffen author of WorldChanging to address us but unfortunately he was not available, I will plan ahead next time.

Politics has therefore always been in the program since day one, but not politicians. Actually this is not totally true as about one hundred people signed up to the conference before I had ever posted the beginning of a program, but they could see it very early and 90% at least of the participants who signed up based on the program could see politics was there. Not politicians.

Everything started with Yossi Vardi calling me on Sunday and saying that Mr Shimon Peres would be in Paris on Tuesday and that Yossi had talked to him and told him about the conference and that he would like to make a speech and have a conversation. I accepted without even thinking about it as I know how rare it is to have Shimon Peres in person at an event. I also know how great a speaker he is as I heard him in Davos giving a talk about peace and the Internet with Sergei Brin of Google. I thought I was taking zero risk. I thought I did not have to ask the participants and I would introduce Shimon Peres as a surprise. I had no idea of the criticism I would get and was only trying to do good and provide value.

During the first conference day on Monday, when I got the final confirmation Mr Shimon Peres would come, I had a sudden thought it was a unique chance to have the politicians in front of us. It is apparently not obvious to everybody but I knew David Weinberger and Phil Noble for example would talk about the last US presidential campaign and the Web. Lots has been blogged and written about it. I thought participants would be in France where we are at the very start of a presidential race in a country where blogging has become important (8 million French people read blogs every month according to Mediametrie-Nielsen). I thought it would be unique to have for once bloggers and entrepreneurs not talk about the campaign but witness it with their own eyes by meeting the main candidates.

The support I give to one of them is clearly posted on my blog for about four months so the idea was risky and I was entirely aware of the risk that people could tell me that I would invite the candidates to help the one I preferred. To avoid this I decided to shoot an email to the three candidates offices and call them. I also blogged the email. I can call witnesses in the conference from participants I knew had connections to them on how hard I tried to get their emails, phone numbers, introductions and also support from people to insist on their presence. I also said to myself that if Sarkozy would be the only one to accept, I would not take it because that would have been clear support from me. The rest you know, Bayrou and Sarkozy accepted, Royal (the socialist candidate) could not make it even though I had a good conversation with her office. So I decided to proceed and run after the ball I had launched.

You have to trust me, nothing was planned. I can show you the emails I sent. Sarkozy only confirmed in the afternoon. My friendship with him is known but I guarantee even with that friendship it was hard to get him visit us, it was not in his agenda. The last minute confirmation of both Shimon Peres and Nicolas Sarkozy is made obvious I think by the security mess on Tuesday. Had it been planned, there would have been since day one security filters and screening at the entrance. Translation would have been organized before. The headsets and translator were sent by the office of Sarkozy two hours before his speech and I did not even know they would come. I had even asked one participant to prepare to translate the speech and the questions in case, like Romain Hatchuel did with François Bayrou.

As I was focusing on getting the politicians confirmed and explaining to them about who was in the room etc, I started looking at the program to see how we could fit them in. With major politicians at the peak of a presidential campaign you do not choose the hour they arrive. Jeff Clavier was extremely helpful as you all noticed and started changing the program “live” on tuesday as I was handling with Geraldine the security and the logistics. Jeff did an amazing job and everybody planned has been on stage. Not for the amount of time planned, not at the planned hour, not even always on the planned panel, but all the speakers got on stage. Some got cut because the politicians arrived, one speaker got cut from 20 minutes alone to a few minutes on a panel and that is ironically one of my main sponsors, Olivier Marcheteau head of Microsoft France. We cut the coffee breaks shorter and got the lunch break shorter. If one speaker got vocal about how he was unhappy, most other speakers understood, did not blame me and even liked the politicians presence despite the mess.

I will not comment on the quality of the speeches and how the participants liked Shimon Peres, François Bayrou and Nicolas Sarkozy. What I wanted is to let everybody form their own opinion and have their own feelings. It is not everyday that we meet them in person. It was the case and in good faith I thought most participants would appreciate having them with us despite the agenda changes. It says something that Shimon Peres stops by to meet the bloggers and that Bayrou and Sarkozy make room in their schedules to meet us. Something has changed. We keep saying bloggers matter, well I think here is a proof and for good. If bloggers matter and get power they need to welcome and talk to the politicians. Politicians recognized it by paying us a visit and I know Shimon Peres, François Bayrou and Nicolas Sarkozy and their offices are reading the feedback on the blogs. It is a start of a conversation. One that I am not sure had started before this way. We criticize often the politicians because they are too institutional and not understanding the people right well here is a chance to get our voices heard in a different, more direct, way. Here is our chance to influence them just a little bit more, as well as understand them better.

There has been a clash. I know. I was expecting it but not this big. I want to be clear again I am sorry for the speakers moved and the organizational changes. However if we, bloggers and young entrepreneurs are not able to be flexible who can be ? I want to say I made a big mistake by not asking the room for feedback before doing it. I got caught by my enthusiam and just did it without asking. Not listening to bloggers and your “audience” is a big mistake I have been warning dozens of brands, speakers and politicians for years and I did it. Based on the hundreds of emails, phone calls and SMS I got (again remember, not only bloggers in the room), I have the feeling that the majority of the room would have voted in favor of getting them in regardless of the style of their appearance. The proof is during the three speeches the room was packed. You could hear a pin drop in the room. People were standing in the room sides as there was no chairs left most of the time. The conference had large networking areas, corridors and a first floor where everybody could have gone to if they did not like the politicians that much. They did not leave the room, the opposite happened. If I decided to change the program, I did not lock anybody to their chairs nor in the room.

So let me say it loud and clear: I do not regret having invited the politicians to speak despite the organizational issues and lots of bad blog posts. They had an experience and got a message, the message that bloggers and web entrepreneurs matter and have feedback for them. We got a message, that they pay close attention and want not only to talk to us but work with what we have to say to change society. Yes I should have better planned for it, yes I should have explained my agenda and move better and before hand, and yes I should have asked the room if you agreed with my proposal. But at the very deep of myself I know you would have accepted that experience. If any of you give me the same opportunity with politicians in your countries I will welcome it with pleasure. I have a strong belief that if we all organize these clashes and conversations in our own Countries something will start moving in the World.

Shimon Peres said we have rights, we have power (the fifth power as Thierry Crouzet calls it) and you demonstrated it by gathering in Paris without marketing and by launching a blogstorm against the way I behaved. He also said we have duties as citizens of The Second Superpower. There are already some obvious results from the clash. In the afternoon Yossi Vardi gave us the feedback of Shimon Peres who wants to be the first advisor of the board of a non profit we called as a tentative “Blogging for a better world”. A participant committed to invest $100 000 to this initiative, I will come back to it soon.

There will be another conference. This conference will be built on all that I learnt. Perhaps it will not attract everyone but those who will want to open up beyond our world of technology as Hans Rosling showed us technology can do.

Some positive feedback I saw

1- Jonas Luster: Will I be at Le Web 4? If Loic wants me, I’ll be there. Back on stage if he thinks I didn’t suck too badly.

2- David Weinberger: Politics across the cultural divide

3- danah boyd: “I realize that folks didn’t like the politicians because they felt as though they didn’t pay to hear propaganda. I had a totally different take. For me, they were the best part. [...] I really enjoyed the conference; i would totally go back. And hundreds of people bitching means that people got really worked up. While this is seen as a “bad” thing, i actually think it’s pretty awesome. Then again, i believe in living life by doing things that will be memorable. Le Web 3 will DEFINITELY be memorable.”

4- Hugh: “I had a superb time at Le Web 3 [...] I could see how some folk would find that annoying [especially the more geekier among us], though I felt more philosophical. To me what was interesting wasn’t so much what the politicians had to say, but the fact that they were talking to us at all. Three years ago they wouldn’t have given us the time of day.”

5- Ross: “During the last US presidential election, had one of the candidates speak at one of the usual conferences, we would be ape-shit with glee. I stand by my friend Loic’s decision to break the mold of the event.”

6- Paolo: back from LeWeb3

7- Matt: Cheer and Loathing at LeWeb3

8- Guido Van Nispen: “I look back very satisfied at my stay in Paris, where I found many new and old friends, got new insights and saw the convergence and growth in front of me.[...] For the next edition of LeWeb it will be challenging to create a rollercoaster of the same impact again (US presidential candidates?). I am therefore very interested to see what Loïc will create for us the next time, the feedback will probably only challenge him further in his drive to make things happen…. If you want adventure without risk, go to Disneyland, you can find one near Paris too. If you want a little more excitement give the chef the opportunity to experiment in the ‘cuisine’…”

9- Hans Rosling, Shimon Peres, alone worth the trip

10- Robert Andrews found politicians interesting apparently: French media denies forcing presidential candidate to blog and Nicolas Sarkozy reckons France ‘behind’ in web commerce, culture, Israeli PM beckons startups for peace and told a gathering of internet entrepreneurs they can help bring peace to the Middle East using capitalism and innovation. The politicians participation shows the growing importance of the internet.

11- A Leweb3 sponsors opinion

12- David Hornik, From Web 2.0 to Le Web 3

13- Eran Lagon: for me this criticism is naive at best and hypocrisy/violent at worst

14- Fred Destin: leweb3 or why no one in Europe is ever happy

15- Daino: A new movement will born tomorrow from LeWeb3

16- down the avenue: LeWeb GETS Food & Wine

Also in French

1- Laurent Gloaguen – Les pieds dans le tapis

2- Guillaume Buffet: I hope you do not believe only in blogs

3- Presse Citron: Allez, vivement le Web4 (au stade de France ?) ;-)

4- MRY: Alors, il vient d’où le problème qui a enflammé le blogosphère toute cette semaine ?

5- Groupe Reflect: Y’en a marre de voir une partie de la blogosphère gueuler comme des enfants capricieux

6- Jeremie Berrebi: LeWeb3: Bilan : Absolument fabuleux !

7- Pierre Chappaz: Le Web3 restera pour moi la meilleure conférence Internet à laquelle j’ai jamais participé en Europe.

8- Julien Codorniou: Je garderai donc un excellent souvenir de cette conference et je prends deja ma place pour le web 4 ou 3.1 l’année prochaine.

9- Jacques Froissant: Le Web 3 : Bilan super positif. Quel retour sur investissement pour un participant ?

10- barrablog: soutien à LLM

11- Thierry Crouzet: Arrêtez de taper sur Loïc Le Meur

12- Philippe / AccessOweb – si LeWeb4 se fait, je ferais tout pour y participer.

13- Patrice Cassard – La bite au cirage

14- Tristan Nitot – Le Web 3 n’était pas parfait. Mais ça avait l’immense avantage d’exister

15 – Versac – François Bayrou et Nicolas Sarkozy au web3

16- Blogonautes – Des blogueurs prennent la défense de Loïc Le Meur

I hope I responded to these criticisms above

1- inviting and let politicians (Shimon Peres, François Bayrou, Nicolas Sarkozy) speak at the conference without having announced them or politics in the program and people came for the program, some participants just did not like French politicians

2- why are they here ? I betrayed a 1000 attendees to further my political ambitions and do political propaganda and election campaign, proof: Bayrou was not [fr] treated the same and Sarkozy was the only one [fr] to have music before he entered the room

3- lied when I said it was last minute organisation proofs: the Mossad had to screen them before and the translation headsets could not have been there

4- changing “the entire” agenda for them and by surprise

5- cutting many speakers who were planned and got unhappy, some were cancelled or did not show up

6- no (or not enough) conversation happened with the politicians

7- respect asked to them while they were here by closing laptops, answer is no fucking way

Other criticism, with my response

8- wifi, said loud

Orange invested a lot of resource and cash to make wifi available at the conference. The first day wifi had problems but the second day it worked fine with up to 700 laptops connected at the same time in the room. There was three times the bandwidth and equipment used as at Le Tour de France for press around the World, sending live high-def pictures and videos. Making wifi available to an audience like this (large and posting all the time) is a challenge and it usually fails, even in US conferences.

In the room there was high peer-to-peer use, shadow wi-fi antennas creation -called the same way as the hotspots just to disturb them-, gaming over wi-fi and other uses, despite my numerous calls to stop them to help. Orange took a big risk by accepting to sponsor the event and provide wifi to such a room of bloggers. They knew it would be difficult to do it and they took the challenge.

I say we have to welcome partners and brands who take this risk when they try really hard and make it work in the end. How can some (fortunately few) participants spit on their face on blogs and behave like animals the way they did ? Was it a competition to take the network down just to show them how skilled they are ?

Come on, if we want good wifi at conferences full of bloggers, we need to either pay the full price (increase the ticket price dramatically to pay such a bandwidth, hotspots and a team to monitor it) or work with partners such as Orange, we need to recognize their efforts and work with them, not insult them all the time.

I say thank you and congratulations to Orange for accepting to take the challenge to provide wi-fi to a room of 1000 unusual network users, congratulations for going through the issues you saw on the first day and making it work the second. If the bloggers who have criticized you so strong on their blogs for trying to help them at very high cost are representative of the bloggers then I am not a blogger anymore.

Orange, you rock, it was a pleasure working with you and I hope you will accept the challenge again next year. All the efforts I have seen in your team to help make the entire conference a success deserves better than a few negative blog posts. Don’t look at them, a few people were very vocal but the majority of the room appreciated your efforts and success the second day. They told you by giving you a round of applause when I called your brand at the conference close.

9- videos of all the speeches not online already (tens of emails received)

It seems many do not think that much that the keynotes and panels sucked that much with this request. Well, vpod.tv has streamed the entire event live which is already something huge and now they have hundreds of gigabytes of videos and the answer is like last year, everything will be online soon. Same as for Orange try for a second to understand the vpod.tv team & efforts to make the streaming, the video show and the videos archived for free allways online. vpod.tv, you rock.

10- program not planned well too short time for speakers

True, everything was done in 6 weeks. You could see the program evolving live on the blog and comment on it. You could help me on a wiki and provide feedback. Few did because I started late and did it fast. However I have hundreds of emails of would-be speakers begging to be on stage to advertise their products and I resisted as best as I could. I reckon speakers should have more time. Last year there were only two keynotes and just panels. This year I added more one man shows but made the same mistake again with not enough time on panels. I will do better next year and will appreciate your help.

11- I could not do that because of my clients who paid expensive tickets to get in had invested so much money I need to listen to them [fr] (asking at the same time for more value for money, such as a closing party), I don’t give a damn about my audience

I reckon I should have asked the room about the move with the politicians and the program changes. I bet I would have had a majority of participants saying yes. I will listen better next time and less follow my enthusiasm. Expect the enthusiasm to remain the same and possibly lead to surprises, though.

12- I did everything for my ego, took all the press and nobody else and did not help speakers plug their fucking product

Ask the speakers and some participants how many press interviews with them were done. Sibylle, a full time PR, did an amazing job to have 180 journalists in the room covering the event. Maybe they did not care about Marc Canter’s products but trust me they cared about much more than me… They discovered names such as danah boyd they had never heard before (in France and Europe) and loved her obviously for example.

Europe 1 the #1 radio station and i>télé the #1 news TV in France covered live the event and devoted prime time and shows with LeWeb3 speakers all day long, I was in just one of them.

13- had Sam Sethi fired because of my comment on TechCrunch UK

see my answer.

14- no sponsors on stage and no Google, the conference is totally sold to the sponsors

explain me how we can organize a large event with a quality venue, good food, a party etc without sponsors ? The answer is put the full price in the tickets. Now explain me how we can do that when you thing 300€ to 500€ is expensive (Web 2.0 in the US was above $3000 and highly sponsored) ? If anybody has the secret sauce to do cheap tickets, no sponsors and a great event please tell me I want to learn. Better, do it and please invite me. Or may be you don’t care about good food, nice venue, party, good sound and video etc ?

15- most presentations were vague marketing pitches, the speakers are all saying the same old thing and nothing new

I tried my best in 6 weeks for the program and if danah, Shimon Peres, Hans Rosling and all the 70 speakers said nothing new well go and tell them I guess they will listen and answer you, Jonas is asking your feedback: “The panels sucked”. As a speaker myself, I take that one seriously. [...] you got an issue with me? Let me know. Criticise me.”

16- we should have no press badges and no special treatment for the press

I am sorry but I believe the opposite. We should open our world and what we say and think to the rest of us. We should share. Streaming on the web and blogging is something but have the main newspapers, radio and TV broadcast it loud is another. There were many TV channels who talked about LeWeb3, its content and speakers. I can see from the emails I got that people who have no idea of what we are doing start to pay attention and want to learn more. New entrepreneurs will create jobs because we open ourselves to others, because they will learn. We are not a secret club trying to keep our tools for ourselves. I understand the idea to treat the press and bloggers equal because both report. But then you would have almost no press because they would not come (not even learn the event existed) and would not pay a ticket.

Criticism from previous years I have not seen

17- no startups able to show up on stage

On of the large feedback from last year is that only the already successful startups were on stage. This year we had 50 startups presenting and an award. The startups room was packed almost all the time. I already have feedback from entrepreneurs and investors who made great connections in this initiative and at no additional cost.

Guidewire, Orange, Partech International and Advent Ventures did an amazing job to organize it and run the show. Without their energy it would just have not happened, I would have probably cancelled it and stored it as a good idea for next year. It happened. It could be better as everything else and we will make it better but it happened and unknown young entrepreneurs and companies got in front of a great audience. I wish them the best, not only the winners, and I trust we will see some of them make the news soon and join the main stage next year.

18- food

Even Marc Canter who was so vocal last year about the food seemed to be happy. I love you Marc, don’t change. Next year I plug your fucking product and get flamed by the audience for that just for you I promise. I did not see you fall asleep this year either, weird.

19- coffee

Can you believe we did not even have coffee at the first Lesblogs at the French Senate ? Guido tells a bit the story of the conference.

20- backchannel on screen

Most of you said they did not want it again last year, we took it down although I love it.

21- high end networking and networking areas because of the poor handling of the content

We had no networking areas the two previous editions. Fixed it and that was very important.

22- venue, logistics, audio & video

Last year the venue was too small, we doubled the size. There was only one room, we had plenty this year. And the logistics, audio & video for such a room.

23- electricity plugs

Each sit had access to electricity. Think about the logistics with 1000 seats… We did it.

References and updates

1. Arnon Katz email:

“Hi Loic,

I’m very happy for your Email, I firs had this feeling that you may think I’m joking but I want to tell you again that follow the exceptional speech of Mr. Peres, and your sincere call for “Blogging for a better world” I decided to be fully committed, to support your initiative and to contribute up to 100,000 USD to start it.

You know, sometime we are too cynical about life, about ourselves and our obligations to society, but with all the advance technologies around us, computers, Internet, Broadband and Global Sat Systems we are still social creatures and we need each others. I’m sure most of us do care about each others, friends, families and wider circles of population, we do care about the people in Africa or the Middle East and we do care about the global warming. But I’m not sure we know how to make a difference, but we probably can if we will give it a try, Albert Einstein said once “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” and I’m willing to give it a try and to try very hard to think differently and come with solutions. This Blogging, this new and independent journalism can bring a change and already started to influence the global agenda, and as Mr. Peres said, we are not going to wait for our governments to address the problem we are facing now, not to mention, to wait for our governments to come with solutions or to sort things out…. And what the traditional journalism is doing? Just criticise the governments activities, never come with ideas, never with solutions, I’m afraid that being critic is not enough these days, my personal view is that there is a place for new journalism, pro-active journalism that comes with solutions and motivate people to make a change. Internet phenomenon has more to bring to the world, much more then just new technologies and the Bloggers journalism can bring a spirit of social responsibility, vision of opportunities and solutions oriented thinking to the readers from all over the world. The values that lead so many young entrepreneurs to create successful business like EBay and Google, can defiantly lead us to create a better place to live.

I’ll be happy to meet you again soon and to be for help in any way. What you are doing is really important and I support it 100%!

Best wishes for the coming year!

Arnon Katz”

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  • http://profile.typekey.com/rodrigosepulveda/ Rodrigo Sepúlveda Schulz

    Thank you Loic for your generosity, your energy and your endeavour to make Europe more Internet friendly. We should have more individuals like you in Europe.
    We shall be publishing all the video archive of the conference by wednesday december 20th on vpod.tv. Readers of this blog will then be able to watch for themselves the fantastic panels of the speakers of this conference and the high level of energy of this conference.
    Thanks again,
    Rodrigo – CEO, vpod.tv

  • http://www.headshift.com Lee Bryant

    Wow. Fantastic, comprehensive response, Loic. You were under no obligation to respond to such a wide array of issues raised, but you have done so openly and intelligently. Like you say, you have opened up some meaningful conversations about a lot of things with this event, and that is a good thing.
    Well done for a spectacular conference and well done for this blog post.

  • Alicia

    So you certainly weren’t lying when you said you were busy working on your response!
    Wonderfully thought out and reflected. I love your motivation to bring in other aspects of the conversation, instead of simply focusing on exhausted debates over the internet and blogging.
    I agree with you 100% about the need for a more entrepreneur-oriented education in France. Europe has an enourmous amount of potential, and the fact that you pulled something like this off attests to that. With some change in education and the encouragement of more flexibility, I wouldn’t be surprised to see France become highly competitive with U.S. services. Your conference shows that – congratulations for a job well done, and congrats on succesfully clearing up the questions and rumors around you.
    And most of all, congratulations for surviving the past few days!

  • http://spazidigitali.com Luca Mearelli

    Thanks Loic for your explanation. I’m among those who think that it’s better to calm down and reflect before responding (specially when you are so involved with something).
    Even if i did not appreciate the presence of the two presidential candidates, I think that Shimon Peres was one of the highest moments of the conference (and talked of deeper and more meaningful arguments than most of the other speakers…).
    I had a good time at the conference (and being able to present in the startup room was great!).
    Many regret that the conference being directed in such a “personal” way but i think that we (as bloggers) could not make a fault of this (eventually those who do will not come another time).
    Anyhow thanks for your effort!

  • http://www.prthoughts.net Guillaume du Gardier

    Loïc, this post is awesome, the time you took to answer all critics and to explain why you made these choices regarding speakers and last minute changes, plus the transparency of your answer are definitely confirming you’re trustworthy.
    This conference has been a fantastic opportunity for me to connect with many people I had either never seen or not seen since months, and who came thanks to you.
    Politicians were everything but the speakers I was hoping to see at this conference I have to admit, but no one can ever be interested in every slot of a two full days conference, that’s why it’s such a great networking opportunity.
    You are the one who gave me the passion for blogging few years ago, and although I sometimes disagree with your statements, I am still learning thanks to you.
    Thank you for making it happen, I’ll be happy to be one of the attendees of Le Web 4.

  • http://thegayexpat.com The Gay Expat

    I’ll post a longer response in some form on my site later, Loïc, but I can tell you really did listen to the criticism in detail and that speaks volumes. I also get a clear idea that you have bravely faced up to the confrontation of the negative reaction and have used it as an opportunity to develop yourself rather than just be a self-righteous prick about it (Not 100% of the time, but who’s perfect? And is perfection necessarily powerful?).
    This is not to say I agree with everything you said and did here and at Le Web 3, but I do get there are some powerful things that many of us do agree on that I am glad you mentioned here and hope we can find ways to bring forth action.

  • http://www.alianzo.com/blogs/redessociales Jose del Moral

    Thanks again for the conference, Loic. I just think it was great in all respects: food, people, speakers, party… I am looking forward to next year’s. What happened with politicians (a mistake, IMHO) has to be forgotten as fast as possible and give all of us some lessons about how to organize these open events. Thinking on Yossi Vardi’s project is the best idea right now!

  • http://climbtothestars.org Stephanie Booth

    Thanks for taking the time to write all this. I think that whether or not we agree with your decisions or what you say, your response is pretty impressive.
    I’m looking forward to seeing where the conversation goes from here.

  • http://www.freddestin.com Fred Destin

    See the Anglo saxons love the openness whilst on the French blog it’s all about whether you are Sarko’s bitch. Still a long way before France can move up to the next level :-) Really great answer, enough explanations now to satisfy everyone and time to move on !! All the best Loic !

  • http://www.hebig.com Heiko Hebig

    Loic, thanks for the conference! I especially enjoyed Rosling and Peres on stage. Hope to see you at DLD07. And folks, be warned: there will be politicians at DLD, too ;-)

  • http://crueltobekind.org Nicole Simon

    I do appreciate the fact that you took the time to go into detail for the comments made about the conference.
    While I might not be of the same opinion about what you do see as a conclusion, I do acknowledge that your story fits with what we have seen in the sense of you staying on your own opinion.
    It is also clear that you put together the links and quotes supporting your side – which is what in the end most of us do.
    I am more than happy if you took the time to read them and for people not having gone through technorati it is a good listing of the conversations which have happened over the last days with more links if they like to go on.
    I also learn from this from you that you want to see not only a public posting but the same as an email to take them more seriously, I am sure people will do so the next time they have any issue with you.
    It is also irritating that you do think applause is meant that way if you actually request it of the audience and make them do it because they are polite to you.
    About opening up the conference: Of course that has to be the goal. It has been from the beginning on every on those geeky tech conferences to get the rest of the world on the same side, get them included and running with the things we call our home. There are some who want to stay elitists on that but most others – myself included – want the others to be part of it, well knowing that this is not an easy task.
    But it has to be done to evolve as a society, not only in Europe. There are just different ways to do so. For me, having local politicians busting a conference this way and not really addressing the audience which they could and should have as they are trying to become president is not what I think is a good way of showing steps towards working together.
    Seen the very strong reaction on this issue throughout the web in the last days this should be an indicator that not everything is shiny. This is neither a black or white discussion, there is not just wrong or one right. It is a lot of grey with some darker and some lighter spots, some sparkles and some very dark ones.
    In the end, it is also something we all can learn off in a lot of different directions and on different issues. It is my strong hope that this is done as well – on all sides.
    What I cannot agree on and find irritating is how you can call me an animal by linking to an over 2000 word long text on how to improve wifi connection at conferences especially when the only mentioning in that example on leweb was for doing something smart. Yes, the other one is noting how poor the wifi was but not the long one which took me quite some time to write it down – hopefully with some ideas for the benefit of other conferences in the future.
    It is neither my sport nor my intention to crash a wifi network, quite the opposite. I am also the person telling my friends to stop using skype and alike constantly to improve connection. That is out of line.
    To sum it up:
    It is my strong wish that you take in – more than I can see this in your response – the comments and suggestion on how to make the _programm_ better as well as communicate your goal and vision for the conference before the conference itself. Because besides all the networking possibilities this is the key on which speakers as well as which audience you do attract.

  • http://embruns.net/ Laurent

    What an impressive post. Thanks Loic for these wonderful two days.

  • http://www.ewanspence.com/ Ewan Spence
  • http://www.leafar.eu leafar

    Done ! LeWorld4 here we are !

  • http://www.site-9.com/blog Bjoern Ognibeni

    I am not sure if really that many people were unhappy with the fact that politicians were suddenly so prominently present. I surely weren’t. Having Peres live on stage was great! So was the presentation of Hans Rosling!! Those were real highlights of the conference.
    But I didn’t like the fact that the Sarkozy speech looked like a pure photo op and we were just providing a nice background. If anything else, you should have done one thing differently: letting nobody on stage, who is not willing to answer questions from the audience!
    Btw, where was the back channel?

  • http://www.balencourt.com/com Denis

    It seems you have seen the reactions but not really listen to them. Nevertheless this response to the most bad reaction ever seen for a conference, it might be great to learn how to satisfy the needs, wishes & hopes expressed. Even if they were uttered with strong emotions (anyone can have some) they show that expectations were not fulfilled.

  • http://altaide.typepad.com Jacques Froissant (Altaïde : le recrutement 2.0)

    Great answer. Thanks Loic for these wonderful two days.

  • http://www.irwebreport.com/daily/ Dominic Jones

    I wasn’t at the conference, didn’t know about it until all the negativity burst forth on techmeme, and didn’t bother to read any of the negative reaction because, well, I’d like to read some positive stuff for a change.
    I read your post only because it is probably the longest post I’ve seen all year from anyone. So I figured you had something to say and anyone who writes a post this long probably deserves a couple minutes of my time.
    Twenty minutes later and I conclude that a lot of people owe you two very simple but powerful words:
    “Thank you.”

  • http://www.robhyndman.com Rob Hyndman

    I had to return to Canada at the last minute, and so could not attend. But props are due for what you accomplished and how you handled it.
    I’ll be back next year.

  • http://winebabe.blogspot.com marsha

    Loïc> It is staggering that people are demanding an explanation for the presence of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the Minister of State and Interior of France, and another high-profile french politician at le Web3. Frankly, if I was sitting in that room listening to some guy drone on about the internet and Shimon Peres or Nicolas Sarkozy walked into the room, I would have been overjoyed.
    These men are relevant to our times and to our lives. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence would have rearranged their schedule to accommodate even five minutes with any of these gentlemen (or Ségolène Royal, had she been available).
    People need to keep in mind that conferences are about making business connections and nothing more. We don’t attend conferences to get a masters degree, for the love of god. If people put that much emphasis into a two day conference – then I wonder how they manage to survive a week at the office.
    You have nothing to apologize for; nevertheless, you have offered an explanation and I hope that the disgruntled attendees have been robbed of their delusions and will be able to put things into perspective.

  • http://divedi.blogspot.com/ Dimitar Vesselinov

    Loic is a force for good in France and Europe…

  • http://www.net.typepad.com Netanel Jacobsson

    Loic, great response! You have my support. See my post here:

  • http://profile.typekey.com/misteroo/ ouriel ohayon

    Loic as you know your true know when and how to criticize you and we do not make you easy compliments. In this cas i only have one thing to say.
    well done (the word is weak)
    not only on your event that was great (comments and above and posts here http://ouriel.typepad.com/myblog/2006/12/leweb3_was_a_su.html prove i am not the only one to think so) but in the way you handled this crisis.
    Forget about the trolls and build on constructive criticisms to make a better event next time.
    I am proud to have contributed modestly to this.
    I look forward to the event next year
    Your friend
    TechCrunch France

  • http://profile.typekey.com/misteroo/ ouriel ohayon

    missed a word “your true friends know when and how to criticize…”

  • http://www.lecrapo.fr/blog/ LeCrapo

    La dure réalité d’un monde…

  • http://profile.typekey.com/alexpapa/ alex Papanastassiou

    It’s great you took the time to reply in detail and to make your conclusions public and I do find some of them biased (e.g. people did not resent that much Shimon Peres, whose message and vision were good to open the conference to the world, but they did dislike deeply Sarkozy’s pitch). As I said before on my blog, mistakes happen and I liked very much what Shimon Peres said about democracy at the conference.
    The question now is how will you make sure the next conference is better. Perhaps democracy and transparency would be sound foundations for your future conferences and Laurent made a very interesting contribution on my blog yesterday about how a conference could be organized following the principles of open source software development (http://blog.businessquests.com/2006/12/web_conference_.html#comment-26655921). I thought you might want to consider it.

  • http://www.belunarfix.de Felix

    I, as a person who has not attended Le Web 3, think the whole problem is “only” a communication issue (like most of all problems). Attendees who are now freaking out thought they were going to a pure blogging conference. Loic has put Le Blog up to the next level. Le Web 3 was not just about blogging. It was about web technology and the influence in politics and economics.

  • Jean

    Europe 1 the #1 radio station and i>télé the #1 news TV in France
    Dommage de mentir, jusque-là c’était parfait. Excellente station cela dit.

  • http://www.geoffjones.com Geoff

    Fantastic article Loic, Made me wish that I was there :-)

  • http://webtwitcher.excite.co.uk Amanda Lorenzani

    Wow, what a response and event critique – you’ve left no stone unturned!
    Thanks for your organisational efforts Loic.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/owt/ Oliver Thylmann

    Greetings Loic and thanks for a wonderful post. As already said in my posts, it was a wonderful conference and I had some great meetings including two VC contacts through the start-up room. So all is good.
    If Sarkozy would have had a discussion with the crowd, I’d have been more than happy with him showing. Like this it was just a bit of a laugh. But hey, that was his decision and overall, it was a great conference and I am looking forward to the next one.

  • http://www.bloggers.it/paolog Paolo Gagliardi

    Loic, I agree, and thank you for the effort. I appreciated the most of it, and I understand the complaints about schedule, wi-if and whatever else are more a mean to animate the blogsphere, than pointing the finger to serious issues. By nature, the human beings are never satisfied and always full of criticism. I have one single comment though: Sarkozy should have taken questions, at least to the French audience’s (and TVs) benefit. That’s all and well done! ;-)

  • Pierre Clause

    I am french – I was there at LeWeb3.
    Thanks Loïc for the comprehensive post; thanks also for putting together LeWeb3.
    I did enjoy most of the conference, and i left in a positive mood after those 2 days, even though i was VERY pissed off by the “non-conversation” of Nicolas Sarkozy (regardless of the content of the political speech on which i largely agree).
    I am still not 100% convinced of the transparency of treatment of the 3 politicians invited, but I do accept your statement on this issue (there should be no doubt on transparency and fairness in such a conference in my opinion).
    I am confident that you will take into consideration all serious feedback in order to organize LeWeb 2007 – positive and negative comments of course , but you will naturally have discard the anonymous/insulting posts that can too often be read on (mostly) french blogs.
    I support very much your sources for inspiration (TED and Davos).
    Also please make sure that it can be perceived clearly as a “LeWeb show” more than a “LLM show”; i believe it would reinforce your leadership and not weaken it.
    NB: I also support the 300€ fee; it is enough to ensure commitment but remains affordable for interested individuals

  • http://dotnetjunkies.com/WebLog/paul/default.aspx paul

    Last year the buzz word from your conference was Bullshit, this year it was Asshole, so are we surprised that you selected an infamous politician who called the Arab youths in Paris Scum….?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/hardaway/ francine hardaway

    I will come to your next conference just BECAUSE you included politicans. I agree that the blogosphere is insular, and that Europe is not entrepreneurial. Mixing the politicans with the bloggers is the perfect way to promote dialogue. I just think many Americans don’t understand the prominent place of political discussion in French culture, either.

  • alexis bonte

    I admit that I decided to skip the 2nd day of the conference when Loic told us that what should been entrepreneurial and creative was going to get political, an old french habit.
    Still, my goal was to see old faces again meet new ones and see if I could learn something new.
    Ok, lots of things didn´t work and some of the presentations & roundtables where pretty… unchallenging, the wi fi cahotic and I didn’t learn as much as I would have hoped.
    So what, can anyone tell me about a better event in France for 300€? Loic managed to get a lot of good people in the same place and achieved great recognition for himself and his employer.
    His only real crime is that in France standing out is unfortunately still a bad thing. Keep it going Loic, la France a besoin de toi (inside joke for les guignols de l’infos fans), don´t leave for Switzerland with Johnny Halliday (the french Elvis) and let us know when its ok to be entrepreneurial again in the land of a 1000 smely cheese.

  • http://www.democratiesansfrontiere.org FrédéricLN

    A comprehensive and valuable response, indeed. Congratulations !

  • http://milo.peety-passion.com milo

    Wish i could retrieve some more info what was going on eventually.

  • http://www.sergetheconcierge.com Serge Lescouarnec

    Just wanted to mention a Global Fundraiser through Blogs named ‘Menu for Hope’ designed to raise money for UN Food Program.
    It was launched last Monday (the 11) and has already collected $25,000.00.
    Read my post on ‘Menu for Hope’ for more details
    Help us spread the word.
    Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee

  • http://youtube.com/watch?v=AyuLQXyBYPU 12144
  • http://www.netvibes.com Tariq KRIM

    hi Loic,
    sorry for not answering back. I beleive also that this conference was on the top european confs. Thanks for bringing so many (new) friends in paris and thanks for the organisational efforts. You will thank the all your team and Geraldine for everything.
    We were very happy to sponsor the party and to attend the conference.
    I am sure you can do better next year. best !

  • Elin Martinsen

    I came from Norway for the conference, and it was not because I was happy I clapped my hands, it was of a minimum of politeness.
    I jused time and money to attend a conference about the Internett, and I do not think it was polite of you to change the program towards politicians working towards election.
    And I was not starstruck about it.

  • http://www.voetbalenzo.be/serendipity/index.php?/archives/420-Wat-Loc-niet-begreep-it-is-about-you!.html Christophe 3.0

    Wat Loïc niet begreep: it is about “you”!

    Een week na het einde van Le Web 3 is het nog steeds moeilijk om interessante commentaarstukjes te vinden over het evenement die niet volledig overschaduwd worden door het politieke schouwspel dat werd opgevoerd. Ondertussen heeft organisator Loïc Lemeur

  • http://selbr.de/archives/2006/12/das_ende_der_bl.html selbr.de

    Das Ende der Bloggerkonferenzen

    web3 loic lemeur loiclemeur leweb3

  • Christophe

    To have been at the right place during the conference, I can sware it wat not provided to have politicians…
    I really enjoyed to work with you Loïc and Geraldine. Because of you, now I’m reading blogs and I starting to post !

  • http://blog.profession-web.ch/ sandrine Szabo

    All I can say is :”please another bubble” Loic ;-) See you next year !

  • http://www.jaanuskase.com/en/2006/12/loic_sums_up_feedback_on_le_we.html Jaanus on the internet

    Loic sums up feedback on Le Web 3

    Loic very nicely sums up the feedback and his own reactions. A long read, but good, and I subscribe to it 100%….

  • nabila

    Great conference, what a wonderful Xmas gift.Thank you, we can still believe in santa,change is possible. wishing you and your family a Happy Xmas AND A great year 2008.

  • http://www.broadstuff.com alan patrick

    No Segolene Royal then…will she be there next year ;)

  • Ship

    Vous avez tout à fait raison d’insister que le blogosphere s’engage avec le monde politique et vice versa. Dommage que Sarko n’a pas compris qu’il nous faut un dialogue et pas un monologue politique. C’est vrai que ca laisse un goût amer dans la bouche mais on ne peut pas nier que tout le monde en parle et c’est deja pas mal.
    You’re absolutely right to insist that the blogosphere and the world of politics get to grips with each other and it’s a shame that Sarkozy chose to deliver a political monologue rather than engage in debate. Nontheless it has certainly got the blogosphere talking and that’s a hallmark of a successful conference.

  • http://broadstuff.com/archives/93-No-More-Blogging-Conferences.html broadstuff

    No More Blogging Conferences?

    With the fallout from LeWeb3 comes the view that blogging conferences are dead. See here and here for eg.
    Bah Humbug……..storm in a teacup
    Big picture – blogging is just another little tributary in the great flow of the broadband internet, at


    Please Concentrate at what Hugh Macleod said.
    Ayman Grada

  • http://cognections.typepad.com/lifeblog/2006/12/le_web_3_the_en.html Lifeblog

    Le Web 3: The end of blogger conferences?

    Actually, I thought Le Web 3 was almost all past the blog world or 2005 and racing to the next wave (hey, Netvibes was a major sponsor and poster-child). Ok, so it’s coming on to over a week – I’m

  • http://www.paulfoster.eu Paul Foster

    This was my first bloggers conference, and on arriving shortly before Hans Rosling’s brillant session things got off to a good start. Shimon Peres started the second day well also.
    Initially I bitched about the French politians but (I am English :) ) as I say in my blog – if I was running the conference in the UK and received requests from leading UK political figures to speak, would I turn them down? I doubt I would, and I doubt many others would either. Of course we may do following your experience but before Le Web 3, nope, I think we would be as wow’ed as you were. I think people commenting need to think harder and write less.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/drbrett/ drbrett

    Terrific conference. OK, some wifi glitches. OK, you had to go with the changing flow. But for those critics, if you cannot deal with that, you should not be in tech or media. Mazeltov, Loic. Keep pushing the envelope, keep fanning the flames of innovation in Europe, keep giving people the chance to mix it up from across continents and across ideas. Some tech types sit, as it were, in their intellectual cubicles and do not read, travel, eat, mix or think broadly enough. One has only to take a look at their products to realise that. So more power to you for helping open up the conference to more attention from the wider world, and pushing some people out of their comfort zone.

  • http://stephane.bleublog.ch Stéphane

    Nice interview here : http://www.idprod.ch/~james/?p=107

  • http://www.tamdost.com sohbet

    thank you blog owner
    really this is nice ablog
    sohbet odasi

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    Jamones Ibericos.

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    Los mejores jamones Ibericos de Jabugo con calidad Bellota estan en http://www.jamones-ibericos.com

  • http://www.depatanegra.com John

    para comoprar los mejores jamones ibericos pata negra (patanegra)

  • http://profile.typekey.com/justine7/ justine7

    I’m very impressed I’m sure I’ll find use for something like this in the future… If you have the time welcome http://loadingvault.com They have hit my blog too