I will write a longer post as I do every year to recap what went well and what did not go well at LeWeb this year. Many things went well fortunately and I am still reading the huge feedback from the participants in the room and thousands of people who watched the live online stream. To give you an idea, there are more than 7000 tweets that contain “leweb” and many more that talk about it without having the word in it, making it long and difficult to get an overall feedback, but I will spend lots of time reading every single piece of feedback. I am going through the thousands of blog posts and press articles on blog search, technorati, etc.
Here is already an apology and some explanations on the 3 main logistical issues, more soon.
1. Internet access
We committed a total of more than 100 000 euros to make the net work with huge means, in fact if there is one area where we did not want any issue and no compromise, it was the internet, and that is what went totally wrong. Our supplier, Swisscom was unable to make it work throughout the two days. Wifi for highly demanding geek crowds above 1500 participants is something no supplier has much experience of and I don’t know any event where it really works frankly. But it is a shame that Swisscom could not even make the 100mbps link we had with the ethernet cables all around the venue. Even worse, they did not manage to fix the problem over the two days. My ethernet cables next to the stage did not even work to give you an idea except for short whiles, despite the priorities we had requested to be given to the stage, startup room, cables in the front of the room, press room, partners, etc. Nothing worked basically, it has been totally unprofessional and unacceptable from a major supplier such as Swisscom. update: to be fair with Swisscom there is only one thing they really managed to do it the ustream dedicated bandwidth for live video, which we listed as lower priority though.
2. Room temperature
We took a huge risk by taking a brand new venue, Le CentQuatre, that never had a big event before, it just opened. We made this venue change choice based on last year’s feedback: we heard that most participants did not like being in a venue with three different rooms (last year we had a plenary, a startup and a networking room and you had to cross a street to move from one to another). We looked at many different venue options in Paris and Le CentQuatre seemed appropriate to gather everything in one in a beautiful atmosphere many participants loved the venue. Unfortunately, one of the industrial heater died on 1st day. Temperature in the room was due to be 18-20 degrees and it was barely 14. They fixed the main heating maching during the night. leweb was warm the second day as they had fixed the heating machine
our food supplier was a total disappointment, as we changed the venue from last year we had to change supplier and it simply did not work in terms of quality and quantity. We increased in a big way the food quantity from the first day experience to as much as they could deliver for the second day regardless of additional budget required with emergency orders during the nights, but it remained disappointing. What upsets me the most is that the food budget per participant is similar as last year for a very bad quality and quantity result, we did not go cheap, we changed supplier and got bad results.
I sincerely apologize for the above problems that happened despite all our efforts and hope many of you will keep a good experience of their participation at LeWeb despite these problems.