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Le Web 3: self-promotion punctuated by genius

Back from Le Web 3, where I completely abstained from blogging, due in part to my aforementioned contrarian tendencies and in part due to the lack of reliable WiFi (on day one at least).

There's a good few posts in the pipeline though, reflecting on some of the things I picked up there.

Overall it was frustrating and bemusing at times - but there was still plenty of good food for thought to be scavenged. My head's spinning with ideas and I've a ton of notes, so a lot of good stuff definitely went on...

I'm not going to dwell on the negative aspects - safe to say that the big corporate and later politician's  airtime would have been better cut for the sake of giving us more time with inspirational people like Danah Boyd.

For 2007, Le Web needs to decide what it is. It was described as an unconference at one point by Loic Le Meur - and it really wasn't . It was turning into a conference, then less even than that: a lecture series - with long stretches of self-promotion punctuated by genius.

The parade of politicians was impressive on the one hand, but also a distraction on the other. They didn't add a lot, and I sensed that they were serving their own and the organisers' agendas more than the audience.

Photo by Adam Tinworth

There was a point when Nicolas Sarkozy was speaking and I could barely see him for photographers  - it was a predictable, tediously glib metaphor for what was going on. With no WiFi on the first day and breaks - where most of the networking would happen normally - abolished on the second day to make more time for French presidential candidates to make their pitches - one very much felt like part of the audience.

When the French politicians waded in and Loic kept telling us how lucky we were to have them and could we please "behave" and close your laptops to show respect I was pretty peeved. It was a bit like being invited to a party by some friends only to discover when you get there that they start asking you if you have a personal relationship with the good Lord.

Sarkozy and Loic le Meur (photo by Adam Tinworth)

Actually, Shimon Peres (see the video) did surprise me by complementing Hans Rosling's presentation about global development rather well. There was a theme and a clear of global possibilities emerging ... national politics seemed a bit drab and seedy beside that...

Shimon Peres (photo by Adam Tinworth)

: : Shane Richmond says it the way I see it: 

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Like many here I can't help feeling robbed of what I came to see. Today's [the second day's] topics were far more interesting than yesterday's but I don't think the rearranged schedule has done them justice.

However this sudden intervention from the real world is a good demonstration of the significance the internet now holds.

In other good round ups of the event:

Tom Morris sums up the frustration and anger felt by many. I have to say I am a lot less annoyed reflecting on the event than I was at the time.

Adam Tinworth on Sarkozy:

In summary: he thinks we are the future and he plans on regulating the hell out of us.


And now he's gone, without a chance for discussion. A hit and run speech.

Simon Collister has good reportage of the proceedings on his blog.

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Danah is amazing, isn't she? And so young! Yahoo is lucky to have her.

She was superb. How does she talk that fast and still be comprehensible?

Actually Danah is no longer working at Yahoo, she is focusing on her thesis per what she told me when we were preparing her talk.

I enjoyed meeting you, Anthony, for a bite to eat, a good drink and a loan of your laptop. I, too, am beginning to push out my posts but have the constant annoyance at having my favourite speakers - the ones I turned up for - cut so short. Danah reduced to 15 mins from 30 - pah! Looking forward to meeting you in, say, Starbucks where at least the wifi works ;-)

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