LeWeb '09: Sessions I'm Most Looking Forward To

LeWeb, the major European conference (the equivalent of the Web 2.0 Summit in North America), just released their complete schedule for the next event happening in Paris on December 9 and 10. The theme of the conference is the real-time Web.

As I wrote about a month ago, I’ve been selected as one of their official bloggers. Here are the speakers I’m most looking forward to:

  • A fireside chat with Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s creator. Will be interesting to hear his vision about where Twitter is going.
  • Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform, Twitter. His background as a “local” expert makes him an interesting speaker for anyone interested in local media.
  • “The Platform Roundtable” with representatives from Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn, Ustream, SixApart, MySpace and Twitter. Expect the discussion to revolve around APIs and open ecosystems…
  • A fireside chat with Robert Scoble. Always interesting perspective as a good observer of the Web scene.
  • Niklas Zennstrom (of Kazaa-Skype-Joost fame). I want to hear more about their new venture in the music industry Rdio.
  • The Money Roundtable with a group of very interesting VCs including David Hornik and Fred Wilson. Expect them to say they’re still cautious but that 2010 should be a good year.
  • “The rise of emotional Web” by Yossi Vardi. Should be a fascinating session.
  • Gillmor Gang Live. Always explosive!

Loic Le Meur, the organizer, often has surprise guest speakers as well. If you want to attend and haven’t bought your ticket yet, you can get a 10% discount if you use the following code: BLOG09 .

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LeWeb '09: Sessions I'm Most Looking Forward To

LeWeb, the major European conference (the equivalent of the Web 2.0 Summit in North America), just released their complete schedule for the next event happening in Paris on December 9 and 10. The theme of the conference is the real-time Web.

As I wrote about a month ago, I’ve been selected as one of their official bloggers. Here are the speakers I’m most looking forward to:

  • A fireside chat with Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s creator. Will be interesting to hear his vision about where Twitter is going.
  • Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform, Twitter. His background as a “local” expert makes him an interesting speaker for anyone interested in local media.
  • “The Platform Roundtable” with representatives from Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn, Ustream, SixApart, MySpace and Twitter. Expect the discussion to revolve around APIs and open ecosystems…
  • A fireside chat with Robert Scoble. Always interesting perspective as a good observer of the Web scene.
  • Niklas Zennstrom (of Kazaa-Skype-Joost fame). I want to hear more about their new venture in the music industry Rdio.
  • The Money Roundtable with a group of very interesting VCs including David Hornik and Fred Wilson. Expect them to say they’re still cautious but that 2010 should be a good year.
  • “The rise of emotional Web” by Yossi Vardi. Should be a fascinating session.
  • Gillmor Gang Live. Always explosive!

Loic Le Meur, the organizer, often has surprise guest speakers as well. If you want to attend and haven’t bought your ticket yet, you can get a 10% discount if you use the following code: BLOG09 .

Nine Business Lessons From TreeHugger.com’s Founder

During the first edition of StartupCamp Montreal on Wednesday night, keynote speaker Graham Hill of TreeHugger.com fame offered 9 lessons web entrepreneurs should take heed of.

StartupCamp Montreal Graham Hill Treehugger

  1. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Humans don’t really change. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
  2. Incentives drive the world. For employees, for business development, etc.
  3. Truth is told at cash registers and not in focus groups. Look to the data and test a product by selling it.
  4. Listen to Fred Wilson.
  5. The network is the computer. It has to be open and all about online applications. Think Gmail, Last.fm, Mint.com.
  6. Think product first, marketing later. This new connected world takes care of a good portion of marketing if you have a great product.
  7. Barely enough money is a good thing. It keeps you hungry and makes you focussed. Helps you find what’s the core of your business.
  8. Companies are bought not sold. It might be a cliché but it’s true. Play hard to get.
  9. Good guys win in a connected world. Media has been democratized and spin control does not exist anymore.

The Death of Public Relations as We Know It

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, created quite a stir this week by announcing he will be blocking the e-mail address of anyone who sends him any non-relevant releases and messages. He added oil to the fire by publishing on his blog the e-mail addresses of more than 100 people who did that in the last 30 days (he says he receives 300 e-mails a day). To make himself clearly understood, he added “So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that’s why my email address is public).”

David Meerman Scott, a well-known online marketing strategist and writer, says he gets “several hundred unsolicited press releases and PR pitches every week. Well over 99% of them are not targeted to me, instead they are sent to me because I am on various PR people’s lists because of this blog, because of my books, and because I am a contributing editor to EContent Magazine and have written for a bunch of other publications. I’m getting the identical piece of spam email as hundreds of other poor journalists.”. He adds “most PR people are spammers”

spam

Flickr photo by Freezelight.

At the same time, Google pre-launches its OpenSocial initiative via influential bloggers who were involved in the project. New-York VC Fred Wilson says: “Google’s launch of open social is interesting. They pre-launched it in the blogs and are getting top bloggers who are also their partners, like Marc Andreessen, to do some of the work for them. It’s smart. Marc’s company Ning is one of the leading partners for open social and I think Ning will benefit greatly from it. So he’s going to promote it because of pure self interest. Which is fine, in fact it’s preferable in my book.”

What it means: you have in this blog post two extreme examples of what to do and what not to do PR-wise. Will Chris Anderson’s reaction create a snowball effect? This could be the beginning of something very ugly which would lead to a major reform of how online PR works. At the same time, this seems like a great business opportunity to build an online marketplace to properly match releases/news with appropriate editors/journalists/bloggers. Anyone interested?

What’s a Blog Widget?

Since the acquisition of MyBlogLog by Yahoo, I’ve had many questions regarding blog widgets. Today’s New York Times (found via GigaOM) brings some light to that phenomenon.

What are they?

Widgets are elements, often in the left or right columns of a blog, that enhance its usefulness or aesthetic appeal. (The term “widgets,” confusingly, can also refer to compact applications that operate on a computer’s desktop.) “Widgets pull content or services from some other place on the Web, and put it into your personal page,” said Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures in Manhattan. Typically, they’re built with Flash software from Adobe, or the JavaScript programming language, which ensures that they work with most Web browsers.”

Three categories:

“Ed Anuff, a co-founder of Widgetbox.com, divides widgets into three categories. “One is self-expression widgets, like photo galleries, games or YouTube videos that you like,” he said. The second category includes widgets that generate revenue for a blogger, like a box that displays auctions from a particular eBay category, or a blogger’s favorite DVDs from Amazon.com. The third category, Mr. Anuff said, encompasses “site-enhancement widgets, like discussion forums, news feeds or a guest book, which provide better utility for your Web site.”

Popular ones:

“According to Widgetbox, its most popular widget allows bloggers to incorporate an updated feed of news items from the site Digg into their blogs. Matt Mullenweg, creator of the WordPress blogging software, says the widgets that his users have been incorporating into their sites lately include Meebo, an instant-messaging application that allows blog authors to chat with their visitors. “One of my favorites,” Mr. Mullenweg said, “is the Sphere It widget, which pops up a window to show you articles and other blog posts related to what you’re reading.”

Business Models:

“Most widgets are available free, though they usually carry links or logos that promote the site that supplies them, and they sometimes have advertising. As with other phenomena that make up the wave known as Web 2.0, blog widgets don’t always have clear revenue potential. “As a widget user, it’s not my problem to worry about how they’re going to make money,” said Guy Kawasaki, an author, blogger and venture capitalist. “But as an investor, would I invest in a widget company giving things away for free? It’s hard to see a business model for it, other than to hope that Google buys you.” Mr. Anuff predicted, however, that “by the second half of 2007, some widgets will shift to a subscription basis.” For some sites that offer fee-based services, widgets can act as roadside billboards that help lure traffic. ”

What it means: widgets are part of the atomization of the Web that I listed in my 2007 predictions. They allow decentralization of content, features and functionalities. Widgets are also available for Microsoft Vista (called gadgets) or the various start pages like the Google home page (also called gadgets) or NetVibes (called modules). The MySpace ecosystem has also seen an explosion of plug-ins and widgets. All are interesting way to propagate your content in other web sites, while maintaining control of it.