We have just uploaded 57 LeWeb videos on YouTube into one playlist, you can see them all in the player below or just check them out in the LeWeb08 YouTube playlist. We will soon add the second room panels and startup videos.
I you speak french, enjoy this very comprehensive coverage of LeWeb by French TV LCI. Reporter Cedric Ingrand and his team have covered it in a very impressive way, even the sauna is there! If you do not speak french, watch it anyway, I am sure you will find it entertaining as well. I am very happy for the startups that got featured by LCI as it is every year a fantastic opportunity for them to stand out. Thank you Cedric and TF1!
Lots happened with Seesmic at LeWeb, we had a dedicated site tens of Seesmic community members were present, organized a seesmeetup, dinners, gathered at the parties and gave demos around the Seesmic booth, and Tiil held a dedicated session, a Seesmic workshop where lots of fun and even guitar was played by Lloyd, that you can see in the special Seesmix video below.
How many Seesmicers can you name?
Watch the above and following video to get a sense of how active and passionate was the Seesmic community both at the event, and in Seesmic around the event.
You won’t find me in these videos, my entire LeWeb experience has been focused only one one single thing: emceeing the stage, introducing the fantastic speakers we had and doing some q&a sessions myself. We had about one hundred speakers who were one next to each other on stage every 10 to 30 minutes. A very fast pace I deliberately had chosen as I think it gets very fast boring when you do not alternate speakers, even great speakers, fast enough. In between two sessions I was also behind the scenes helping Geraldine my wife manage about 100 team members who made a conference for 1700 participants happen. Emceeing and organizing such an event did not leave me a second for anything else, and that is unfortunate because I would have loved to hang out more with the Seesmic community, fortunately I can do that in Seesmic all year long and in other events.
pics from warzabidul
A few people criticized me for using… Ustream and not Seesmic to “broadcast” LeWeb. I was so exhausted my first reaction was to call Allen Stern’s post stupid and later apologized by email in private for the insult, but not for what I thought about what he wrote. I took some time to respond because I was obviously pissed and still kind of, to the arguments Allen used, let’s go through them one by one:
-“I am not using my own system and therefore it is hard to get other people use it”
I am using Seesmic daily, see my profile, and I find it not only false but very offending that Allen can make wrong statements like this. I do not think this is very good advertising for Centernetworks readers who can easily verify that this is simply not true and told Allen in the post comments. In addition, I doubt Allen Stern has ever organized a conference for 2000 people, if he did he would not expect me to publish videos myself while I was handling the main stage.
-Loyal Seesmic user Freida has generated “the majority of the videos on Seesmic”
We love Freida and she has created more than 15 000 videos on Seesmic. Seesmic has more than 600 000 videos, I wonder what the definition of “majority” is for Allen Stern, but for me it is more than 50% while Freida accounts for a few % (and we love it, again, I am just exposing how wrong is Allen).
-“I selected Ustream to run live the conference”
Yes, Seesmic does not do any live so I have no idea why I would even think about using Seesmic for live. While hosting the videos at Seesmic would be possible it is not really the point of the site, which is conversation.
-“There was no reason to broadcast the conference live”
About 25 000 hours of videos were watched by more than 30 000 unique visitors during the two days. The live audience was consistently equal or above the number of in person participants. We peaked at around 2500 live people. If Allen does not see a point in following the conference live, tens of thousands of people around the world did and enjoyed it as much as sending us hundreds of thank you emails and tweets. Seeing it live as you follow the chat and the tweets has nothing to do like watching an archive, it is like watching a football match after it happened, you know the result and it is much less exciting.
-“If I paid $2000 to attend, I’d be pissed that my sister could sit at home and watch if for free”
Very nice thoughts around sharing great content with people who cannot afford it congratulations Allen. This is the main reason why we started streaming live and archive all the videos. There is no way to finance a million euro plus event such as LeWeb without significant ticket prices and sponsors and year after year we receive emails from people who cannot afford it. Giving this great content for free allowed tens of thousands of people to learn, and they continue all year long watching the archives. Too bad if you do not understand that. I see only positives for live streaming: speakers enjoy a much broader audience and I know many participants joined us in person this year because they followed live the previous year so it is the best conference marketing. LeWeb participants join us for good content, but the main reason is for the amazing networking that happens there.
“Speakers could have been required to participate in the video conversation via Seesmic”
Yeah sure, I see myself very well telling Marissa Mayer or Paulo Coehlo that they are “required” to participate in the video conversation, it would have been a huge success by presenting them like that. Sorry but we do not have the same way of handling speakers. They are my guests and I am grateful for their presence, I do not “require” them much apart from traveling from around the world for a 10, 20 or 30 minutes stage presence.
Conflict of interest.
Allen Stern has not foreseen the most important reason why I did not bring Seesmic on stage. I wanted to avoid a conflict of interest by imposing to the LeWeb attendees something they had not paid for and may not be willing to participate at. I am not forcing anyone in Seesmic, how could I?! In fact, I am pretty sure if I had used Seesmic on stage every ten minutes Allen would have been the first one to criticize me on his blog for doing that.
Having explained why I got so upset with Allen’s post that I do not think makes much sense but deserved an explanation now that I am more relaxed, I agree that Seesmic could be a great tool for conferences, for example for having the room introduce themselves using our video profiles so that they know each other better, or for asking questions to the speakers. These are all valid points and I was planning to use Seesmic in a few sessions and wrote a dedicated post on my blog to ask questions to key speakers that Allen Stern apparently missed. I was going to take these questions but the connectivity issues at LeWeb including on the stage prevented me from doing that. I could not even load a picture from fotonauts when I had Jean-Marie Hulot on stage, how could I have played a video correctly?
Seesmic and the virtual conferences
I am fascinated by the new interaction provided by social software and video around the conferences and that is the only point I agree with Allen on. It is an entire new space that is being created with the tools interactivity at and around the event. I think even more interesting are events entirely designed for an audience on the Internet, and I would love Seesmic to be a player in that. I will certainly experiment in 2009 but I think that the best is really to create a dedicated event than imposing too much on existing events, especially when I am on stage all the time. Expect a “Seescon” in 2009, which will be small but entirely orientated to everybody on the Internet rather than those in the room. Expect also even more interactivity at LeWeb next year, including live and Seesmic, and expect also more posts from bloggers trying to get attention with false statements, which is the nature of blogging.
Andrew Keen (who spoke at LeWeb last year) interviewed both Michael Arrington and myself about the european versus american cultural differences controversy and just published a piece that will appear in the paper Independent next monday. While I find Andrew’s entry good, balanced and reflecting the facts we discussed, I am a little disappointed that Andrew quoted me on how I agree it is difficult to be an entrepreneur in Europe (YouTube versus Dailymotion launched at the same time but not the same result after a few years) but not on the rather new examples of extremely successful startups in Europe such as Meetic and Vente Privee. Vente Privee is not a copy cat of any US company, it has created a space that now got more than 10 american copycats. I am just insisting on the fact that if it is tougher to build a successful and international company from Europe, I feel the space is changing and true innovation and world class entrepreneurship is growing there. I do not blame Andrew as I know for a true journalistic piece in the paper you have not much space to transcribe what you heard.
Think outside of the Internet about Richard Branson or Stelios Haji Ioannou, I am very confident that the european tech space will get unique leaders like them very soon. I just had to say that I am very aware of Europe’s issues, but not negative at all, look at how LeWeb is growing as a proof there is huge hope in Europe. I was lucky enough to have dinner with Richard Branson and I remember very clear me he told me “the problem with you, French Entrepreneurs, is that you speak too much french and not english enough, it slows you down dramatically if not restricts your action to your Country only”. Fortunately luxury and fashion successes such as LVMH or Chanel are here to prove Richard is not always right and there is hope.
Truth is Countries matter less and less. Silicon Valley is not America, it is almost a Country of its own. It does not really matter where you are as long as you think international as much as possible, borders and languages are becoming much less of a problem as globalization evolves. I feel citizen of the World more than anything else. I probably sounds full of shit, but that is how I feel, who cares where we live.
update: finally controversial (coming from Andrew I was really surprised he was not in his Independent piece) Andrew just responded to my “citizen of the world” idealistic thoughts. Guess what? I agree it’s a very elitist global citizenship for now but I am convinced the more we are thinking this way, the best the world will change, starting by respecting each other more. It reminds me of a pure french fight I had against the press spreading that french jobs should be protected against globalization, like if you can stop the rain falling.
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.
Everybody will be able to follow live and for free LeWeb, as every year. The main plenary session, the startup competition the first day and the sessions in the 400 seats second room the second day will be streamed live thanks to our partners Ustream (live stream) and Swisscom (internet connection) oh and yeah some work from our audio/video team. Oh and the Ustream team will also have a mobile camera with a third dedicated stream.
Get ready to follow everything here and switch all to Paris time as of tuesday morning, I wonder how many viewers of the stream we will get but I feel there will be even more than the current 1600 registered who will be physically present.
Please help me spread the word that everything will be streamed live and all the below players are embeddable.
There will be a ridiculous number of smart and world class speakers at LeWeb this year, and many of them will be interviewed on stage by great journalists, bloggers and moderators such as Michael Arrington, Steve Gillmor, Kara Swisher, Thomas Crampton, Robert Scoble, Jennifer Schenker, Cathy Brooks and Marc Canter. I am sure they will do great preparing their own sessions.
I will emcee the main stage during the two days and will also host a few Q&As myself. As a side note these are not at all my preferred speakers or companies, it is just how the program ended up being, I “love” all our speakers regardless of who interviews them.
I would like this year to involve you in the Q&A if you like and would be grateful if you accepted to help me interview the personalities that I will have the pleasure to have with me.
If you are interested, please comment on this post on any question you think I should ask them. I will credit you on stage if/when we get to this question. My preference is a Seesmic video as I will be able to project them on stage but you could also leave a text comment on this blog post. A tweet is fine too but may be difficult to find back when I prepare the sessions so I would rather get videos or text comments thanks in advance!
We will post videos like these for all speakers on the main stage, I thought I should start with the ones I will host myself.
Here are the questions I am likely to ask to all of them and of course some specific to each. The trick is to be very nice with my guests as they accepted our invitation to speak, some of them actually help make LeWeb happen by sponsoring but yet asking some tough questions so that the conversation is interesting.
-how do you feel about the current recession: how long, how do you adapt to it?
-what are your top priorities these days?
-what do you see as the exciting future trends and opportunities for you and the entrepreneurs in the room?
-how do the entrepreneurs in the room can work best with you and your company?
-how can Europe compete and gain leadership in US / Google Internet World?
Google: Nikesh Arora, SVP, Google and President, EMEA Operations
I am also thinking about discussing with Nikesh Google’s presence in Europe and how much innovation versus “just a remote office” there is. How important is Europe for Google? Are you acquiring companies in Europe? Why or why not? Why would a european company like Jaiku acquired by Google move the team to the US and not keep building it in Europe? Do you think that companies like Google should have a role in keeping economies moving forward during times like these? Google has many high impact global initiatives like Google health so why not…
ask your questions to Nikesh on this video, I will project some of them on stage.
Orange France Telecom: Didier Lombard, Chairman and CEO, France Telecom – Orange
How is Orange opening its doors to startups? How Didier is adapting Orange to a world with growing low cost voice over IP (Skype etc) and less operator controlled phones (easy access to all apps and content versus telco portals on iphone and such)? How does Orange as an ISP can adapt to the French Government’s new planned laws on copyright infringement making the ISP responsible for its users behavior? What will be Orange’s main activity in 10-20 years given how fast its space is changing? With the iPhone and Google phone is Europe going to lose its mobile industry leadership?
update: Om Malik just suggested a few questions I should ask Didier:
ask your questions to Didier Lombard on this video, I will project some of them on stage
Meetic (#1 dating site in Europe): Marc Simoncini, Founder & CEO
Marc has created Meetic just after the Internet bubble and no VCs accepted to invest, they now regret they missed one of the best Internet company, and one of the few that was not sold to a US company, in face Marc is “Asterix in the Gaulois village” in a way. So this is an easy one for me we will go through Marcs’ learnings as he built Meetic.
ask your questions to Marc Simoncini on this video, I will project some of them on stage
French Government: Eric Besson, France State Secretary for Prospectives and Evaluation of Public Policies and Internet
I would like to get an update on how Eric is going to change France with his ambitious high bandwidth plan, how the Governement is going to help the French Internet entrepreneurship and startup scene, how coordinated is it going to be with other countries in Europe, how we can (or cannot) restore european leadership with US domination and now China’s explosive market? Nicolas Sarkozy just announced a 20 billion fund to help France innovate how much of that will be dedicated to help startups?
ask your questions to Eric Besson on this video, I will project some of them on stage
Publicis: Maurice Levy, Chairman & CEO, Publicis Groupe
Maurice Levy is one of the best known French entrepreneur who succeeded internationally with his communication group Publicis, that is also US based and active worldwide. I will focus on France versus the US, how to build an international company based in Paris and succeed, being in the advertising business given the fact many companies became huge without any advertising -ie Google- how does Maurice see the future of advertising? Will we still need it or will it just be replaced by word of mouth and disappear with mass media (in 10-20 years)?
ask your questions to Maurice Levy on this video, I will project some of them on stage