LeWeb3 concluded a few hours ago, and by
most all accounts people who attended are very unhappy at the decision to drop technology speakers (at the last minute) for appearences by French presidential candidates.
Tom Raftery writes:
“…the conference was completely hijacked and changed from a conference about new web technologies into a presidential campaign for the next French election. Two of the candidates, Nikolas Sarkozy and François Bayrou were parachuted in to the conference schedule at the last minute, displacing other speakers.”
There didn’t seem to be much of a backchannel at LeWeb this year, partly due to the lack of stable Wifi (blame Orange) and the overly-corporate feel to this year’s conference.
However that didn’t stop a couple of guys, with sentiment dear to my heart, calling bullshit on Nikolas Sarkozy via the finger-channel (see above).
The decision to bring in the two candidates last minute – and allow them to address the conference in French – is surprising considering LeWeb’s earlier boast that the majority of the attendees were not from France.
I was already very surprised when the organizers changed the focus of the conference from blogging over to general ‘internet technology’. It certainly removed any value for me to go over to Paris to listen to people talk about general internet technology, when I am living in the thick of it here in San Francisco.
If LeWeb had remained LesBlogs, it might have been a different story, although last year’s conference was hardly packed with insights and revelations either.
When people write:
“Personally, I feel the conference has had the life sucked out of it by the egoism and ambition of certain individuals running the show…” (Graham Holliday)
… and even your sponsors write:
“the event feels like it has run its course… Le Web 4 will be a hard sell, certainly as far as I am concerned” (Sam Sethi on TechCrunchUK, a sponsor of the event)
…maybe it’s time to call it a day on Le Conférences A La Six Apart?
Which is a great shame, because Europe needs a good internet conference. EuroOSCon and XTech are for the geekier crowd and mobile conferences in London are obviously very niche. LiFT and Reboot are excellent, but remain small to maintain a very different vibe (for me they are gatherings and not conferences as such – something I would attend personally rather than on behalf of a company).
All of which makes me want to think more with Chris Pirillo the idea of holding “Gnomedex London”, maybe as a simulcast if people would be receptive to the time difference… Gnomedex is exactly what Europe needs, and frankly is exactly what LeWeb could have been if only it hadn’t lost it’s course…