Results tagged “leweb”

Owyang's big LeWeb bet

Wow. I felt there was a very different vibe to Jeremiah Owyang's talk at LeWeb last week. I wasn't wrong:

It was really a make-it or break-it moment, the stakes were high, and I knew it would be success or failure on a global, public stage. At the time, I was exhausted from very little sleep, emotionally drained, in a daze, jet-lagged. At the same time, I was fueled off executing off a researched plan, working with a team, a bit of French coffee, lots of adrenaline, and hope that everything was just gonna somehow work out.

That's a hell of a way to place a huge career (and, thus, family) bet on a vision of what social media could be - rather than what it is now.

Revisiting Apple Maps

A Paris hotel's locationOccasionally, I make decisions which make me question my own sanity. For example, last Monday, I arrived in Paris via the Eurostar, after attending a funeral in the morning. What's the obvious thing to do next? Grab a bite to eat? Jump in a cab to the hotel? Have a wee drinkie?


Thumbnail image for Walking Paris with Apple MapsApparently, it's to check in on Apple Maps for the first time in over a year. Like many people who upgraded to iOS 6 back in 2012, I played with Apple Maps a couple of times, got terrible results, and abandoned it as soon as the Google Maps app was released. I'd decided to walk to my hotel - it was only 20 minutes away, and you wait way longer than that for a cab at Gare du Nord. Besides, once a cabbie left me the wrong side of Paris at completely the wrong hotel. Not feeling the love for the Parisian cab driver.  And so needed directions, and I'd rather have them without wandering the backstreets of Paris with my phone in front of me the entire journey. I looked up the hotel in Apple Maps on my iPhone, stuck some music on, and allowed the voice to guide me the whole way, only getting it out of my pocket once to check exactly where I was meant to be going.

And I arrived. I was exactly where I needed to be without any problems at all. This was not my experience of using Apple Maps a year ago, when it once delivered me to completely the wrong street for a breakfast meeting.

Suitably impressed, I used it for the rest of my stay. I made an ad hoc decision that evening to check the walking route back to my hotel from the point the Official Blogger party bus dropped me off rather than just using the Metro. 15 minute walk? Fine. And I arrived no problem at all. 

That encouraged me to start looking at some of the other functions I'd pretty much ignored. The 3D modelling of the area around the hotel was recognisably the right place (see the image at the top of this post). And how about the venue for LeWeb itself?

That looks pretty familiar:

Eurosites Les DocksIt also reveals that there's a dirty great pile of aggregates (or similar) just beyond the venue that I never realised was there...

Pretty decent work from the Apple team, it appears. Now I'll be giving it a work out here in provincial West Sussex to see if it holds up outside a major European capital. 

The face(s) of emerging media

Leweb 2013 - Paris

This year's LeWeb Official Bloggers (minus a few), shot by the painfully talented Luca.

I'm concerned how much I look like the aged patriarch of the group - given that some others, like Erno, are older than me...

Still, this is the face of emerging media.

Ramez Naam

Liveblog of Ramez Naam talking at LeWeb Paris 2013

The coming cyborg

Invasive cyborg technology is coming - wired contact lens, the pill cam which travels through your intestines taking 30 FPS photos and sending them wirelessly. All of those are awesome - but what happens when we network the human brain.

The number one subject we want to get more data about is the human body and brain. Cochlear implants can give people hearing who have never had that ability in their life. The first and foremost motivation for these technologies is medical.

We've made process on sight. 10 years ago a man who had lost both eyes in accidents had CCDs attached to glasses which attached to his brain via a jack in his skull. It was terrible vision - low res black and white. Systems now allow the paralysed to start controlling robotic arms.

Brain monitors can now make a reasonable guess of what you're looking at by recreating the image from brain activity. A hippocampus chip can help restore the ability to form new memories for those who have lost it. It's in rat trails at the moment, and moving to human trials next year.

Cyborg monkey IQ tests

Scientists have trained rhesus monkeys to do IQ tests. They they cripple their cognitive ability by giving them cocaine - and use to chip to intervene and see if they can restore performance. They can. In fact, they improve it. Monkey-to-monkey telepathy has been technologically generated using brain electrode in defence-funded research. Two researchers have played a computer game as a single player using electrical signals transferred between them.

There are barriers:

  • Health worries of elective surgery
  • Computer crashing...
  • Malware in your brain
  • The NSA in your brain

That said, he's optimistic about this. We are the communication species. That's what makes us special. We invent more and more communication technology, and it follows a predictable path. New technology - like printing - improves idea exchange, creates business opportunities, but also accelerates artistic and cultural development, because people can be exposed to more ideas.

What change could networked brains bring?

Guy Kawasaki and Loic Le Meur

Liveblog of Guy Kawasaki talking on stage at LeWeb 10.

A few years ago people were predicting that MySpace would be the operating system of the internet. Now Facebook is close to that. Would you really have invested in Twitter 7 years ago?

Predicting the future is impossible. If you want to leave people doubt that you're an idiot - don't predict the future, because it will leave no doubt that you're an idiot.

Guy loves the idea of bitcoin, because it isn't in the control of Goldman Sachs!

Guy on Social Media

Guy has a team helping manage his social media presence. His approach is different from most social media "experts" - it's a marketing platform for him, not a friend-building one. He's married with four children, he doesn't need any more friends. He doesn't want to be your friend. But he does want to provide you with great content.

Look at TV stations: if they provide great content 365 days a year, they get to do a telethon. If he provides great content, he gets to market stuff to. Buffer allows him to schedule things to post to all the different social networks. He reads the comments, and if there's a reply, it's him, not the team.

Guy Kawasaki at Le Web 10He repeats his tweets four times, eight hours apart. He gets four times the clicks as a result. Look at TV news: they repeat stories all the time. You can't assume people will scroll back to find your tweet. Why just four times? If Guy had a really organised mind, he could create eight links and monitor eight links. But he's probably pushing the edge even for him. He's probably breaking Twitter's ToS already... If people see his tweet twice - they've been on for 16 hours! That says more about them than him.

Guy on entrepreneurship

The most important thing an entrepreneur can do is build a prototype. Not a PowerPoint, not a Pitch. A Prototype. Most plans, forecasts and pitches are total bullshit. They all say roughly the same numbers.

The number two piece of advice? Create a product or service so great that the US industry wants to copy it. That's so different from the French version of service x.

Don't expect your customers to fill in loads of information to get access to a free service. Would you do that? No? Why would they, then? Build something you want to use. Don't go to a conference, listen to 50 year old white men tell you what to build. Create the product you want to use, and hope like hell you're not the only two people in the world who want it.

Investing is - and should be - a local phenomenon. There are so many ways we can lose money at home, why would you want to fly half way around the world to lose money? The ideal number of times you should use the world patent in a presentation is one: "we have a patent pending". Your defensibility should be your passion, your skill and your silliness to change the company to make it work. Create a company and make it scale.

There's nothing he's really looking for right now - but that doesn't stop him falling in love with products, like he did Google+:

If you fall in love - truly fall in love - you'll try to make it work. You don't say to the person "I will continue the relationship if you move to where I am". That's not love. If you're in SF and you want to invest in Paris, you encourage them to create a Delaware corporation and have an SF HQ, leaving the programmers in Paris.

Investors should be race blind, gender blond, sexuality blind and even nationality blind. Just look for a great frickin' prototype.

(Not yet) 10 years of LeWeb

Not 10 years of Le WebSo, we had our blogger back-stage tour of the venue for LeWeb Paris 2013, and there's one of these huge banners in one of the docks. The odd thing, though, is that while it's claiming 10 years of LeWeb - well, it isn't.

The event that became LeWeb - LesBlogs - was first held in April 2005. That suggests that we're now 16 months away from the decade of LeWeb. Even if Loïc was working on it for a year before the event - that's still four months shy. Ah, well. The next 10 years is still a good topic...

See you all tomorrow for mucho livebloggage.

UPDATE: After sleeping on it, I realised that this is, as I said yesterday, the 10th LeWeb, but over 7 years. So it feels like the 10th edition is being conflated with the 10th anniversary.

I'm such a pedant.

Le Web 10 (Dix?)

Eurostar inbound

Seven years ago - give or take - I was sat on a Eurostar train very much like this one, on my way to the very first Le Web in Paris. I was excited. I'd been blogging for five years, but it had recently become my job, too. I was busy building out a business blog network that drove millions of page impressions at its peak. And I was off to network with other people like me, doing interesting stuff with Web 2.0.

It's fair to say that there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then. Le Web has reflected that pretty well - the shift from individuals and plucky start-ups to big internet players, and then back to the realisation that the future tends to come from the small guys

The conference has grown and grown, and become more corporate and expensive, as the social web industry has done the same. It's dived into details, rather than big trends, frozen us, starved us and frustrated us with bad WiFi. But, like the internet business, it's learnt from its mistakes, and become ever-smoother in its organisation.

In December 2006 I doubt I had any idea that seven years later I would be writing this on my mobile phone - the iPhone was yet to launch - and publishing it via the French 3G network. All of this post - including the photos - were done on the phone. I'm carrying an Kindle and an iPad - neither of which had launched back then.

That's seven years - how much more change will the next 10 years bring? We can't guess, which makes the theme if this year's French event challenging. We're exploring the idea of the next 10 years. As ever, some speakers will be wrong, some will just focus on plugging today's product - but some of them will show us the first steps on that decade's journey.

It's those people who keep me coming back to Le Web. I'm looking forwards to three days of hunting them down,

The Bitcoin Panel

A panel discussion moderated by Martin Bryant, Managing Editor, The Next Web


  • Anthony Gallippi, Co-Founder & CEO, BitPay
  • Shakil Khan, Head of Special Projects, Spotify
  • Roger Ver, Founder & CEO,

Shakil: Investor in Bitpay, and just over two months ago there was a huge wave of interest in Bicoin. He realised that there was an information gap - so they launched People come for price, research and press releases. LArge scale finance houses are starting to take is seriously as an asset clews. 

Roger: It's the most important invention in the world. You business should be using it. It will change the planet. BItcoin is the first time anyone on the pant can exchange currency with anyone else in the world. It's impossible for anyone else to interfere or freeze you account. This has never existed before. 

Tony: Bitcoin works with public/private cryptography. If you lose that key, you lose your money. If someone steals it, they can spend your Bitcoins. The security is about understanding how encryption works. It's a bit more difficult - that's why businesses are adopting first. It's like living in glass houses - you have to put some clothes on to maintain privacy. if you expose your Bitcoin address, anyone can find out your currency flows. 

Shakil: I mentioned that I'm a huge believer in digital currency, and Bitcoin is the biggest? Is this going to be different from Amazon's equivalent? Or the app store ecosystem? You're starting to see early adopters - EFF, Automattic, Reddit - using it. It's a long journey ahead. It's a bit like the internet in '65 or '96. That's similar to where we are in the Bitcoin space. 

Roger VerRoger: The supply of Bitcoin is limited by the laws of mathematics. The price of Bitcoin will have to increase to meet demand. If you buy Bitcoins today, if you hold them for a year, almost certainly they'll be worth more in a year. 

Shakil: Will it replace cash? Probably not. Each event that takes place, though, tells the masses that the old system has flaws

Roger: it's possible governments will try to shut it down - but the only way of doing it is to shut down the internet worldwide. i don't think that's possible at this point.

Tony: People will start using it without realise it - it'll become a backend mechanism for money transfer that switches to other currencies either end of the transition. Who created it? It doesn't really matter. We're working with the product. We have no idea who the person who created actually is.

Shakil: We get e-mails all the time saying they have information about this, but it's not really relevant. 

Roger: It's open source. Anyone can read the code and see how it's going to perform. That's far more transparent than the banks.

Nina Dos Santos

A panel discussion nominally about money in the sharing economy, but actually more about peer-to-peer lending.

Chaired by Nina Dos Santos, News Anchor & Correspondent, CNN World Business Today


  • Samir Desai, Co-Founder & CEO, Funding Circle
  • Raffael Johnen, Co-Founder & CEO,
  • Renaud Laplanche, CEO, Lending Club


samir-desai.jpgSamir Desai: Business has trebled in the last year. £10m is being lent per month. $109m in total since launch. 

Raffael Johnen: We facilitate lending between individuals. We bring borrowers and investors together for loans €1000 to €20,000. Borrowers can put things like their car up as collateral. 

Renaud Laplanche: We have also trebled our lending. We expect to get to $2bn in lending. 

How can you guarantee that your platform will guarantee that people will get their money back?

Raffael-Johnen.jpgRaffael: We don't. Our average return is between 6% and 7%. We go after the borrower if there's a problem. 

Samir: We lend to established businesses, which have been trading for two years. We have rigours testing procedures, and underwriters. Because business lending is political, we've started seeing the UK government lending money through Funding Circle. This could end up as 20% of the market. 70% of customers would come to us in preference to a bank. This sort of product better meets the needs of businesses - half of applications are made outside working hours.  

Raffael: Asking for regulation of our industry might be a good thing - it gives us a stamp of approval. We'd like government support In Germany as weil, to help support new businesses.

Samir: We've been lobbying for regulation. We have succeeded, and will be regulated from next year. It gives credibility and lets people see its a serious thing. 

Renaud-Laplanche.jpgRenaud: We fall under existing legislation. We have worked very hard to be the good guys of financial services. The regulator sees that and realises we make credit more affordable for US families. 

Samir: We're in a generational shift in financial serves. Before 2007/8 nobody had really come in and disrupted banks. Now, there are low levels of trust in banks, and the internet is really coming to financial services for the first time. 

Do investors know which companies they invest it, and can they help them succeed?

Samir: Yes. You can go in and look at the companies, and pick and choose, if you want. A lot of lenders like to lend in their local areas. I don't think it's about anonymity, it's about transparency. 

Renaud: Our transparency is in stark contrast to the financial instruments that caused the 2008 crash. All our companies have perfect asset:liability matching at 1:1 - there's no leveraging. 

Raffael: We are built on technology from the group up. Banks come from a different base. It's difficult for them to get away from branches. 

Bitcoin: are people trading in virtual currencies because they've lost faith in others? 

Renauld: It needs more stability to really grow. You can't have a currency with 20 to 30% volatility. 

Martin Källström

What if you could capture your whole life as you live it? That's the goal of MemotoMartin Källström, Founder & CEO spoke at LeWeb London:

Many of us struggle to find out who we are. Our kids grow up too quickly, our loved ones are gone too soon. What if we build a true photographic memory? What if we build a camera small enough to capture you whole life? 

The Memoto life logging camera has  GPS and a 5 megapixel sensor that takes a photo every 30 seconds, with the location captured, too. The battery isn't powerful enough to allow all the photos to be uploaded to the cloud, so they're stored and uploaded when you charge the camera. When the photos are uploaded they're analysed by algorithms on their servers that identify the key moments of the day. 

His day yesterday was filled with media interviews  - and he can see this through his stream. The photos his nine year old daughter takes are recorded from her perspective. She doesn't end up replacing her memories with those of adults taking photos. 

The camera is always on when it's worn. That's for social reasons. If there was an on/off switch people will suspect that it's on when it's off. This way, if someone walks into a changing room wearing one, you know she's taking photos. 

The speed with which they were funded on Kickstarter shows how much interest there is about it. They were on a Stanstead to London train last year, and the ticket inspector asked what the prototypes were, and ended up having five minute conversation about it. He thinks they'd be a great answer to harassment of train staff. An autistic son could share his life with his family better through this kind of tech. If you're regularly questioned by police about where you were - the camera could prove your alibi.

There are freedom of speech issues as well as privacy issues. Sometimes you have the right to take a photo of someone else, even without their consent - when they're stealing your bike, for example. 

The battleground of ideas - and how to launch a company

The ideas you follow should be the one that emerges bloody and bruised from battle. When you find it, everything you read appears to be about that. You talk to everyone about it. That's when you start a business.

You need a team. Sometimes you feel that you can do everything - but it's not true, and nobody will buy it. You need technology, you need experience in build a product and you need marketing geniuses who will help you get the world out. It's not about one channel. When they launched their Kickstarter, they had posts on tech blogs primed and ready to go. They had a Facebook event, they had contacts with journalists... They created buzz on every channel. When one person sees the same thing mentioned on every channel he reads, that's when he starts talking about it himself.

And you need colourful socks. You need something beyond black and white socks - you need joy in life. 

Axelle Tessandier

Axelle Tessandier, Founder, Axl Agency

Being a digital hippies is a mindset. We are the first generation used to pervasive interconnectedness - and so we're constantly exposed to ideas, news and emotions. 

73% of Generation Y think that access to the internet changes the way they think about the world. 

The overview effect is what astronauts get when looking at Earth from space. The political or religious divisions disappear, and they see the planet as one interconnected ecosystem. The internet is creating this effect for a whole generation. You can't have empathy for the whole planet, but her generation think that the can - and should - have an impact on the world as a whole. 

Are these feelings new? No, they are what drove things lime Woodstock - but the people then didn't have a device in their pocket that allowed them to create a worldwide movement. The feelings are the same but the context is very, very different. 

Oh, and Gen Y don't trust the government - only around a quarter do. Gen Y are the children of the recession and endless crises. She quotes Darwin suggesting that those most likely to survive are those more responsive to change. Her generation are responsive to change, she suggests. 

Don't wait for a job - create it. Many digital revolution jobs will have to be made. This is a do-it-yourself culture. It's about meaning, not profit. It's about improving the lives of your users. Everything with a c is changing: corporations, communities, currencies... The life span of companies is reducing. You have to be fast, you have to be resilient, you have to change. The best companies stand for something and contribute to the world. 

New leaders will be like artists not business leaders. The world is changing. 

Lisa Gansky

Is sharing a product of the urban environment? That was the message emerging from pre-lunch session at LeWeb London today. Lisa Gansky took to the stage to argue that the city is a platform we can build upon.

75% of people will live in cities by 2050, she suggested, and that's equivalent to the whole population of the world right now. That density of people makes sharing sexier. The result? Cities are platforms.

The Urban Platform

Like platforms, cities are open. To make the most of this, identify the excess capacity of the city around you. Things we thought were too small to be interesting are now an opportunity. 3Space in the UK opens up space that is available temporarily. It's a charity that works with property owners to offer space to organisations working for the public good for free - but for short periods. 3Space Blackfriars is a great example, Gansky suggests. 3 months in a space here, 6 months in another property there can create things in the cracks which are valuable. 

She presented various facts to back this up - increasing numbers of people looking to use more shared services or borrowed objects suggests that disownership is becoming the new norm. And, of course, the internet is facilitating this. The mobile is a remote control for a new city when you arrive, she suggests - and also for finding shared services in the city where you dwell. 

Unused value is waste, she argued. Idle objects are a form of waste. Equally, unused capacity is a form of waste. For example: manufacturing capacity. Can that be freed up to facilitate building prototypes of new products? And there's power in physical waste - a ton of mobile phones will yield more gold than a ton of gold ore. 

The Urban Privacy Problem

Julien breather

Julien Smith followed Gansky onto the stage to launch a product which illustrates the positive and negative aspects of urban density. One of the problems, he suggested, is that we lack private space. We're not used to sharing. Many urban homes are tight for space. If you're a visitor, you choices are your hotel room or a grabbed table in Starbucks. But there's plenty of under-utilised space in a city. Could an app on your phone unlock space in the city for you?

He thinks so - and he's launched it. It's called Breather. And it's funded to the tune of $1.5m.


When urban density, inefficient use and the internet meet, there's an opportunity to make every more efficient - and life more pleasant. Intruiging. 

Jeremiah Owyang

Liveblog of Jeremiah Owyang at Le Web London 2013. Prone to inaccuracy and howling errors. Warning: here be typos. 

What role do corporations have if people don't want them or need them?

A new economic model - where ownership and access are shared. Corporations have to let go in order to gain more.

Sharing is not new, but it's happening with more speed and velocity than ever before. We can use Lyft to skip taxis. We can skip hotels with AirBnB. We can get funding from LendingClub rather than the banks. We can use oDesk or TaskRabbit to skip hiring agencies. LiquidSpace allow us to cut out the real estate business, and rent excess space from other businesses. 

A shared car could have $270,000 to $1m impact on the ecosystem of manufacturers, financiers, insurers and so on...

So, is this a fad or a trend?

Three major themes:

  1. Societal: Right across the age range, people expect to share more.
  2. Economic: Earth's population is ever-growing, but its resources are fixed. People need to do more with what the have - and products which can be shared, resold and reused are more important.
  3. Technology: There 87 phones per 100 people on the planet. Most star ups use social information rom Facebook. 200 startups are funded to a total of $2billion. 

What do you do if you're being disrupted? King Frederick saw the revolution coming to his gates. Did he fight or collaborate? He chose the latter.

And so, they have the collaborative economy value chain.

  1. Company as a service. You need to rent out your products or services, rather than selling them. Software as a service has done that for a while, but it needs to move to physical goods. It's an opportunity for a longer-teem relationship with customers.
  2. Motivate a marketplace: Could Marriot certify guests via its loyalty scheme for services like AirBnB - could it offer concierge services to people staying in such properties? 
  3. Provide a platform: getting your marketplace to build products. Co-ideate, co-fund, co-build, co-distribute... It blurs the distinction between customer and employee. Nike allows you to design your own shoes - but that's just co-creation on top of an existing business. This is unexplored in the market. 

Why would you do this? 

  • You become more efficient, as the crowd helps
  • You build a deeper, more long terms relationship with customers
  • You add value in the relationships between customers
  • No-one's doing the yet. Go no, and you have first mover advantage. 

King Fred is a hero. He stopped bloodshed, gave his people what they want - and his family still live in that palace today. He let go of his throne to gain the kingdom. 

Corporations: let go of your company to gain the market. 

© 2012 Steph Bouchet.jpgGosh, Le Web time already? Yup - it's now held twice a year. Summer's Le Web is held in the UK. While it's smaller than the main Parisian event, it still brings together an inetresting mix of European and intercontinental digerati for two days of discussion and netwoking. And, once again, I'm an official blogger at the event.

in three weeks' time I'll be in London for Le Web's UK edition, liveblogging as I normally do. (You can actually see me at work in the front row if you look carefully at the image above from last year...)

This year's theme is The Sharing Economy.

If you fancy coming along - the event is held in Westminster - I have a discount code for you: OBDISCOUNT will save you £200 on the cost of a ticket for Le Web.  

Baratunde Thurston at Le Web London
One talk at Le Web London a couple of weeks ago that I got far more out of than I expected to do, was the one by Baratunde Thurston, late of satirical site The Onion. His appearances on This Week in Tech have always amused me, and I sat down expecting 20 minutes of amusement, and not much else. 

Instead, I learnt a whole bunch of stuff about how to create great content, fast, on topic and in a way that really engages people.

Baratunde brutally eviscerated the pretensions and humourlessness of journalists who took The Onion's twitter coverage of a fictional siege of congress seriously. The completely lacked the nous to spot it was coming from a well-know satirical site. Or indeed to see that the idea of a bunch of armed congressmen holding children hostage was inherently ludicrous. 

But he also showed how to make stuff for the teh interwebs that really works. The Onion's process for making the most of big, attention grabbing events is just inspired:

  • Compile a list of links to archive content related to people likely to be featured at the event (say, the Oscars
  • Monitor the hashtag for the event, as well as event coverage
  • As people are mentioned, tweet out links to archive content that matches, using the event hashtag
  • Enjoy the traffic gains
Their use of online tools for brainstorming is interesting, too. For big events - like the death of Steve Jobs - the team pulled together a Google doc outlining all the possible stories with associated headlines they could do, before deciding which one would strike the right balance of humour and taste for their audience. This may be all in the service of satire - but there's plenty more conventional journalists could learn from them about how to use online tools for effective team working and fast response to breaking news. 

Here's Baratunde talking about running a campaign on Foursquare:

And here's the whole thing:

(I actually make a guest appearance in this one - look for me at about 8:10... ;-) )

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