Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Paris Diary: LeWeb Roundup - Vacuous Social Media Messages; and YouTube Millionaires...

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 14, 2009

(LeWeb conference floor - photo by Robert Scoble.)

The beauty of the blogging approach to news is that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. If someone has written up a great story, you can simply point to it instead of trying to recreate it.

At LeWeb I was part of the Traveling Geeks group, and the group was producing a lot of great content. Here is a selection:

An excellent roundup of day two by Matthew Buckland:

matthewbuckland.com » Le Web 2009, Day 2: The good, the bad and the vacuous

The Andrew Keen panel on "Content vs Conversation: The Debate over Realtime Search" delivered quite nicely. You can't help but feel though that Keen, author of "Cult of the Amateur," is being contrarian for the sake of contrarian. What this means is that you tend not to take him seriously most of the time. He just becomes an actor, a clown, rather than someone who asks critical, important questions that test us and leads to insight. It's a pity because it's important to ask the difficult, unpopular questions -- but not at the expense of being frivolous.

...the marketing/PR panel "How brands and marketing have to adapt to this new worldwide real time 'word of mouth'" with Steve Rubel of Edelman Digital, Brian Solis, Founder & President, Future Works, Seth J. Sternberg, Co-Founder & CEO,Meebo and others. It was well moderated by the respected Chris Brogan, but ultimately disappointing. It was marked by vacuous buzzwords and statements, with little real argument, insight or practical example. My feeling is that these types of talks were important five years ago when we needed evangelism for online marketing or social media (i.e.: to tell everyone its important and they must do it!). But we've passed that phase. We get it. Let's delve deeper and have some original insights -- at least for the savvy audience of Le Web.


By David Spark:

The cool and not-so-cool of LeWeb

Not-so-cool - Who didn't pay to go on the main stage? - It appears about half of everyone who appeared on the main stage (panelists possibly excluded) paid in some manner to be there. It could be more. It's obvious because so many sponsors were on the main stage. None of these seemingly paid appearances were disclosed. I've been to plenty of conferences where there were paid presentations. Many disclose that information in the printed programs with the note, "Sponsored presentation." For a community that keeps talking about the need for "authenticity" online, I think it would be nice if there was some authentic disclosure as to who did and didn't pay to be on stage.
Not-so-cool - LeWeb is an old boys' network - I was thinking this and then I heard it repeated by a few of my colleagues. Loic gets many of the same people to present, interview, and moderate, such as Robert Scoble and Michael Arrington. Since they're friendly off stage, their on stage presentation has this sense of being an old boys' network. It's not the most welcoming feeling for the people in the audience. People were definitely unnerved by it.


By Robin Wauters from Techcrunch:

Niklas Zennström Talks European Entrepreneurship At Le Web 2009

Zennström said being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle, and requires complete dedication. Real company builders should forget about spare time and hobbies, and prepare for a lot of sweat and hard work. On the other hand, he said, riding that wave can prove to be very rewarding.

Le Web 2009 Roundtable: What Makes A Platform, Exactly?


Ryan Sarver (Twitter): we feel we have no choice but to treat developers within our ecosystem extremely well, we need that alignment.
David Jacobs (Six Apart): It's important to have an open platform, and the iPhone is a unique case for a multitude of reasons. But anyone else would be playing with fire doing it the way Apple does today.
Ethan Beard (Facebook): We have more than 350 million members now, so that's our key asset, it's what can make our platform unique. What's important to us is that user experience has to come first. I actually feel for the guys at Apple for having to manage their platform the way they are supposed to. But then again, our developers demand changes too, and we listen to them.

By Frederic Lardinois from ReadWriteWeb:

Pearltrees Beta Launches on Wednesday: Will Let You Archive the Links You Share on Twitter

Thanks to the new Twitter feature, which will put all of the links you share on Twitter into a drop box on Pearltrees, you can now easily create a complete archive of all the content you share. You still have to organize this content yourself, however. Pearltrees does not feature auto-tagging.

Jack Dorsey Talks About Square at LeWeb: Wants Dongle to be Available for Free

According to Dorsey, one of the original ideas for Square was to use the iPhone camera to take a picture of a credit card and then use OCR software to read the data. As Square wants to be able to offer its service on multiple platforms, however, the team decided to use a dongle that plugs into an audio jack.

Chad Hurley: YouTube Needs to Improve Search - More Live Programming Coming Soon


Hurley noted that a handful of users on the site make more than $1 million per year from their videos on YouTube...
Asked about YouTube on television and in the living room, Hurley said that his vision is basically a "box, an Internet connection and pizza." He did note, though, that all television will move towards an on-demand model.


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