Archive for December, 2009

The great and the good – Day 2 at LeWeb

 Delayed flights and thick fog meant a very late arrival home last night and a very addled brain so here are some, not always coherent thoughts, on the second day.

The start of Day 2 was considerably quieter than the first day which undoubtedly had something to do with the official party the night before (I was very boring sensible, opted out and ended up having a lovely dinner with some fantastic people including @vero and @bash).   Jeremiah Owyang's talk was much anticipated but a bit of a let down.  Although he's undoubtedly insightful, articulate and extremely knowledgeable, it did feel a bit like he was preaching to the converted with talk of 'listening' and recruiting brand advocates to help amplify your cause.

The Legend that is Yossi Vardi popped up like a malevolent genie, with a seemingly unending collection of funny photos and videos scraped from YouTube.  As Paul Carr pointed out,"It's like my grandfather has just discovered the Internet."

But whatever you thought of his talk, there's no doubt he was a breath of fresh air in the face of all the earnest talk of how real-time is changing the face of search/the internet/world/universe.  I inadvertently stumbled across him and managed to grab a quick audioboo. And yes it was a slightly bizarre question to ask, don't blame me, I was star-struck, it was all the idea of Mark Rock.

Then the arena become thick with anticipation (and security guards) at the arrival of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah.  She received a rapturous welcome and went out to deliver a surprisingly intrancing speech.  I have to say I was sceptical beforehand but there's no doubt she's intelligent, perceptive and using her incredible power to do some fantastic charity work.

Into the afternoon Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Steve Rubel and others discussed how brands can adapt to real-time WOM.  It was a genuinely interesting discussion, not least because, let's face it, these are the heavyweights of the social meeja world (that's naff but you get my point).  There was a heated debate about the old chesnut how to demonstrate ROI, with some of the panel members suggesting that we shouldn't try, CEOs need to understand that it's not about trying to measure against old metrics etc at which point Brian Solis came out with the quote of the day: "This panel may resonate here but we all have to report to people who don't give a shit".  Quite!

There were more tech gazilionares in the afternoon including Fabrice Grinda (just what was the combined wealth of all the speakers…..) who was refreshingly honest about how great it was to wake up and realise you are worth $40m.  And of course the AWESOME Gary Vee.

It's the first time I went to LeWeb but I truly hope it won't be the last.  Well-organised, fun, inspirational and exciting.  I'll leave the last words to @loic and @geraldine

Coffee, pastries and tech – Day 1 at LeWeb

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LeWeb '09 kicked off in style with Loic Le Meur telling the packed conference room that there are over 2000 attendants from over 50 different countries. 
Seeking to capture the zeitgeist of the tech world, Loic called it an historic period in our industry, with real-time changing the face of the web irreversibly.  Combine that with the onward march of mobile, throw in geolocation and connected objects and these are truly exciting times.

So highlights from Day 1

Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, tipped up to talk about his new project Square, a nifty piece of hardware that attaches to a range of mobile devices to enable the user to accept credit card payments.  Despite an inevitable few hitches with the live demo (first rule of conferences, even if you've practiced it 300 times back stage, it will never work live), he eventually managed to show it in action and there's no doubt it's innovative.  He admitted they have a fair few issues to iron out and the issue of fraud protection is a mammoth one.

TechCrunch Europe's start-up competition revealed some gems most notably:

Friendbinder, an aggregator of social networks that allows you to see conversation trends and search just within your friends.  

Tigerlilly, a really neat app that makes it much easier to customise the tabs on a Facebook fan page.  It takes away the requirement for FBML plus it's makes it much easier to change the tabs once set up.  Marketers will love it.

Tasky:ly, a streamlined task manager, that made me think "that's exactly what I've been waiting for".

Sokoz a real-time auction system – think ebay but snappier

In the afternoon YouTube founder Chad Hurley seemed fairly underwhelmed about the idea of real-time (perhaps his new passion for racing cars is occupying his mind).  He did throw out some astounding facts and figures about YouTube though, most notably that 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE; that's a lot of cute cat videos.

Scoble introduced pearltrees , which helps you 'organize the web' and definitely deserves a closer look (if for no other reason that it will make it much easier to find previous links that you've shared on Twitter).

And of course, (my hero) Marissa Mayer showed once again why she's the right hand girl of Larry and Sergey and a worthy winner of woman of the year.  Articulate, knowledgeable and with an inside track on one of the most influential companies in the world, she talked about combining social search with real-time and the algorithm Google are working on to better assess which of the real-time web content is most valuable; effectively sorting through the volume to get to the gems.

Roll on Day 2……

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