Loic responded to the Le Web criticisms in comprehensive style.
His overall case is that 'the time for blogger conferences is over', is no doubt the case. This stuff is deeply embedded in the early majority, penetrating the late majority and even companies have tuned in.
But there is still space for tech conferences in Europe--and I'd be happy to pitch in. Loic points to that last year DailyMotion and Netvibes both found financiers. Hopefully the dedicated start-up track this year will prove even more valuable.
He also makes reference to the breadth of talks. Yes--there is benefit in breadth. That is what makes Ted a fine conference. In its heyday, PC Forum was powerful because it did roam wide. Le Web 4 could do with that breadth and some determined thinking on how to build the non-obvious connections across participants.
At Le Web, bloggers talking about their blogs or blogging tools made for the weakest and lowest value-add sessions. There is a series of workshops and detail-oriented conferences and seminars that can support those. (You can Google for them).
Clay Shirky, for it is he, shaven headen and brilliant, has unpicked the current fad for SecondLife.
Clay suspects that:
I suspect Second Life is largely a "Try Me" virus, where reports of a strange and wonderful new thing draw the masses to log in and try it, but whose ability to retain anything but a fraction of those users is limited. The pattern of a Try Me virus is a rapid spread of first time users, most of whom drop out quickly, with most of the dropouts becoming immune to later use. Pointcast was a Try Me virus, as was LambdaMOO, the experiment that Second Life most closely resembles.
The data on the SL home page don't give much clue to its real popularity, although Linden's economist statistics do suggest some growth. But it's worh noting that the number of residents who are making real Linden $s has doubled from May 2006 to November 2006--what I don't know is whether that reflects the beta of SL's growth or whether this group of economically sustainable citizens is growing faster than the market.
Adam Reuters latest story seems to support Clay's thesis, pointing out that the number of in-game hours has only grown 29% between September and November compared to a doubling of the user base. This snippet of evidence would support the 'try me' thesis. Lots of one-off newbies fumbling about could easily account for the vast bulk of growth in user hours.
Return from Paris after two days, into a blizzard of review meetings, raise my head and the top search on Technorati is Le Web.
I didn't find out until after I had emailed Loic to say (sort of quoting)
The confernce was awesome, one of the best I have been for a while and extremely reasonably priced too. I wd have paid twice as much in hindsight.
What was awesome about it?
The first was the frantic energy of the schedule. There was a constant stream of talks for two days backed up by a frenzied start-up room. 47 start-ups in two days. But the best bit were the people. Conferences are, after all, soylent green. If you went there to get data, you were in the wrong place (check the Internet, it is better for it.) If you went their to have great conversation, you were in the right spot.
One of the projects we've launched through the Reuters Innovation group is Reuters Market Light.
This is a 'bottom of the pyramid' (really a 'top of the bottom of the pyramid') business delivering agricultural pricing and real-time weather information to farmers. The business is progressing strongly and we're now hiring a COO.
If you are interested, read the job spec below and get in touch with Gouthami directly. It is based in Bangalore with regular travel to the customer base--and frankly an amazing opportunity for anyone wanting to build a genuine BOP business.
The job spec follows below.
So many activities are defined by their data and we're probably increasing data junkies. Five years ago, who would have thought that millions of people would analyse the log-files of their computers on a weekly or daily basis?
You could imagine social networks emerging around data models--like training schedules for the London marathon.
Or finally an easy way for non-designers to weave cute looking charts into their blogs.
Swivel seems to batch process uploaded data, a process which is quaintly called 'swivelling' but it is batch processing in my book, and in it's current state has failed to process my data at all. (I've uploaded it three times using two different methods.)
So we know there is a certain sameness about 2.0 logos but you could at least hope on finding the difference in the detail.
But on ordering another batch of Moo cards in advance of Le Web 3, that there is something very similar about their logos.
I spoke on a panel at the Communications Group on 28 November.
Here is a moderately amended version of those remarks.
Web 2.0 is not about the internet. Well, it isn't just about the Internet.
It is about
a 'new mode of production with exciting economics'. What do I mean by that?
Take a quick walk down memory lane and look at the history of industrial organisation. You started with the sole trader, the blacksmith working on his own clanking out a horseshoe or hammering out a sword. You then moved towards partnerships particularly for trading and expeditionary businesses but the structure of industrial production broadly speaking didn't change until the 17th century with the arrival of the joint stock company. This was the firm raised money from shareholders and as a structure it was appealing because it allowed you to spread risk across many different ventures.
It was this
form of organisation which powered the industrial revolution allowing capital
to be deployed effectively and firms to reach an efficient point of scale. And
this led to the growth of verticalisation: firms which owned industries soup to
nuts. Many of the great industrial firms of their time, like the Ford Motor
company, took this shape. When Ford rolled out the Model T just before World
War I, the company grew its own rubber trees, refined its own steel and even
built and ran railroads to deliver cars. (see The New Industrial Revolution by Bernstein for more details.)