I usually have these posts written within a day or two of Le Web but other commitments slowed me down this year. 2009 saw the 6th Le Web (my 4th) and it was easily the best ever. Loic & Geraldine can rest easy knowing 2010 will be totally over-subscribed.
People go to Le Web for a couple of reasons:
I went as an official blogger to the event but with intentions of doing all of the above.Â It was a real pleasure to be on the official blogger team and a big thanks to Stephanie Booth who organised all of that brilliantly.
The Irish contingent was tiny with Joe Drumgoole, John Peavoy, Colm Long of Facebook and myself flying the flag. Whilst I know the tickets are very expensive, it’s a pity there wasn’t a bigger showing. The IDA attended last year but I didn’t spot them this year. Le Web is the European web business/tech event and I happily skipped every other pay-for event this year to ensure I could go.
The opening session with Jack Dorsey set the perfect tone for the two days. The guy who created the global phenomenon of Twitter showed off his new startup Square. This is P2P payments with a credit card swipe that plugs into the headphone socket of your phone and an application which allows others to pay you. I didn’t quite get how revolutionary this was until I saw it in action (despite the terrible demo problems he had).
There are often complaints that they have too many Americans speaking at the event. I take the opposite view, since this is one of the few opportunities for those of us who don’t regularly travel to the US to see these guys speak and perhaps meet them. Standout highlights for me were Tony Hsieh from Zappos and Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV but there were plenty of others including David Hornik from August Capital and Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital.
I have ordered the Zappos Culture book that Tony mentioned (just email firstname.lastname@example.org and theyâ€™ll post you a copy) and downloaded the Tribal Leadership audiobookÂ from here (use California 90210 for your address in the registration screen). Wonderful stuff.
Gary (NSFW audio):
Those who worked best on stage were generally the contrary bastards. In that batch I’d include Mike Arrington, Lukasz Gadowski, Andrew Keen, Paul Carr, Dave McClure and Martin Varsavsky. Guys who are not afraid to call bullshit on things but who also see potential in the most interesting of places. The sessions that they were involved in were far more useful and fruitful than the usual cheerleader echo-chamber gang.
In fact, the echo-chamber gang were the only real let-down of the two days. We’ve all heard their schtick non-stop for the past few years and it’s grown old and boring. I’d love to see a bunch of new US faces coming over next year who have something new to say.
The real-time theme of the event did become a bit of an unbearable Twitter love-in at times to the detriment of many other exciting things happening in the real-time web. As someone pointed out on a TWiT podcast recently, more people play Farmville on Facebook than are users of Twitter.
For those who think Irish startups can’t compete at the highest levels on an international stage, just watch Joe Drumgoole’s pitch in the Startup Competition. I was shocked that Cloudsplit didn’t get the win but rumour has it that Thierry Henry was one of the judges
Over a couple of days I met entrepreneurs, bloggers, VCs, techies and business people. That’s why I go. The energy in that room recharges my batteries and reminds me that fantastic startups are being built all over Europe and we all have more in common than we think.
Even if I didn’t get to announce our first US customer.
Lots more posts coming about Thursdays events. Suffice to say it blew away everyone’s expectations. 150+ people spent the afternoon learning and networking. Thanks again to all the speakers. Here is RTE’s coverage of it (full news episode on RTE site here):
The sign-ups for both API Wars and Facebook Garage have really exceeded anything we expected. Looking like 100+ will show up for both. There might be a babycham or two afterwards. Did I mention that the Garage is sponsored by Intel? The first Garage ever that they have sponsored. Nice eh?Â
But it turns out that many of you are being far too coy. Events like these, which at heart are Unconferences or Unevents, rely on those attending to be more than passive listeners.
That’s why we’re putting the call out. If you want to talk on any topic relevant to either session, let us know. You don’t need slides, heck you don’t need notes, just have something interesting to say. Got an app with an API? Wanna tell people about it? Let us know. Got an app that mashes-up a bunch of APIs? Let us know. Integrated Facebook Connect or built an FB App? Let us know.
Facebook in Ireland is exploding in popularity; 400k+ users at last count. But it’s not just the number of punters that is growing, so too is the development community.
We are genuinely excited therefore to announce Ireland’s first Facebook Developer Garage, brought to you by Web2Ireland on march 5th in the Digital Exchange in Dublin.
The Garages are just like they sound â€“ a place to explore, get gritty, tinker, experiment, and test out ideas for Facebook Platform.Â Â We also want to use it asÂ an opportunity for the Irish FB developer community to network and learn from each other. See the London site to get an idea of what they are all about.
If you are interested in presenting what you are working on in Facebook or giving a demo, just email email@example.com
Please RSVP on Facebook if you are attending in any capacity. This is a completely free event and we are very appreciative of the support being provided by Facebook themselves.
We will have some further very exciting news about the Garage in the next two weeks.
And if that’s not enough for you,Â Web2Ireland is also hosting a mini-workshop on API Wars and Opportunities before the Garage. See the next blog post!
I still rate Le Web 2007 as my conference highlight last year. A fantastic mix of people in a superb venue, I headed home full of excitement and ideas.
It’s looking like 2008 will be just as good and the lovely organisers have given us a discount for Web2Ireland readers. Just enter the code “BLOGDISCOUNT” on the registration page to get 20% off the list price.
If you are trying to figure out your conference-attending budget for the next 12 months, I genuinely think Le Web should be a priority for you. Every major player in tech, media and finance across Europe and a lot of the US will be there.
It’s the type of conference where you can walk up to anyone, famous or not, and they’ll be happy to talk to you. You don’t have to send them your biz plan a month in advance and hope you are short-listed to get an audience with them. The networking opportunities are superb and the talks of very high quality.