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I attended ‘LeWeb’ 2010!

I had only known about ‘LeWeb‘ Internet conference for three years, and always missed the chance to attend, until last year. This event brings the ‘crème de la crème’ from the internet world in terms of speakers, entrepreneurs, marketing directors and celebrities from the digital world. It is all about presenting innovation, discussing latest industry news, the start-ups and the opportunities for the start-ups, digital and social media, the social game industry, and the workshops.

Le Web 2010 - bird eye view over main lounge
LeWeb 2010

The entrance fee to the LeWeb is pricey: €1995 for the full price, but €995 if you buy at early bird discount like I did. I have been looking forward to the event for the whole year, followed all
arrangements and plans, participated in comms with the community via Twitter, facebook throughout the year, and I even got all  excited and wrote a post about it.

It is clear that I missed quite a lot of good sessions during the two days event as it is a huge venue comprising 3 buildings and hundreds of debates, product showcase. So it is easy to miss important bits and bobs, for example I missed the Facebook workshops as they were constantly packed.

Yet, I hope that my recap will give you a good grasp for what you can find there if you decide to attend next year. But let’s move onto discussing some hightlights:


Day 1

  1. The ‘state of the industry’ morning sessions was informative and entertaining. It was interesting to see debate into some of the trickiest and most controversial areas of the Internet at present: Windows phone 7, privacy concerns on facebook, Twitter and MySpace news, all spiced up with Michael Arrington (Chief Editor at TechCurnch)’s ‘on the spot’ and direct questions. A good way to start the conference. For info, all footage on ‘leWeb’ sessions can be found on LeWeb’s youTube channel. 2. The Ignite sessions were very entertainining and my preferred presentation was ‘Japanese Geek Culture’ by Fumi Yamazaki, a Japanese Blogger that currently works for Google. Fumi spoke about the awesome sharing, reusing and remixing Japanese geek culture.
  2. The Fireside discussion between M.Arrington and Marissa Meyers was interesting. Marissa was praising the many great features of Android phones, including the amazing 3D local maps functionality, which is really something. Michael Arrington asked the audience if they would consider switching to Android after seeing that, and only five people raised hands, not good publicity for Google Android-enabled phones. Marissa spoke about contextual discovery, about acquisitions and about ‘Hotpot’, Google’s new local reviews platform. Watch the video here or read a full post on this interview on State of Search’s blog.
  3. The session with Tomoko Namba, CEO at DeNa was great. DeNa is one of the largest mobile social network and mobile game companies in Japan: 20 millions registered users, 1.2 billion dollars in revenue from selling virtual goods eg: mobile-based social games. Loic compared their platform to facebook as there is a social element to the games, with the difference that users actually make friends on the platform and play games together, but without having previous met f2f : virtual friendship. However MobileGate, their flagship platform is an area where apart from having inhouse developed games other developers can come in and deploy their games too. They are now moving onto smartphone platforms and also desktop and outside Japan they are acquiring companies : MGBOKO, which is another Games platform outside Japan. Awesome stuff! Watch the whole discussion.
  4. The workshop on HTML5 was instructional for me as I still had not had time to learn much on HTML 5 and the supporting environments. Although I got there once it was already started, I grabbed some tips on the functionality of the the 3WDOC authoring studio, which has the ability to showcase video on a webpage without any supporting piece software. It will be offered as  freemium and integrated versions in WordPress with watermak and option to remove it if you pay.
  5. Q&A with Dennis Crowley, Co-founder of Foursquare and Loic LeMeur. I was intrigued to hear more about Foursquare’s plans to provide further functionality or enhance the product. Such question was asked by an attendee from Siberia who got a free pass from Loic leMeur to attend the conference. Apparently the guys at Foursquare are thinking what they could possibly do with all the data they are compiling but for the moment there are no decisions, well there may be but nothing was given out at the gig. Dennis seemed calmed and unworried as he was sitting there answering questions with confidence despite knowing that some competitors were launching similar products eg: Facebook Places. Watch the Q&A with Dennis on Youtube.
  6. At the media Panel at 18.00 Brent Hoberman made some really good points about the difficulties for foreign companies to penetrate in Europe. This complexities are diverse, for example in France’s employment law is so complex that you need to bring specific expertise to deal with that single area. Leo Laporte asked Loic why he didnt set up Seesmic in Paris, instead of San Francisco. Loic speaks about the complexities of setting up an idea in Europe, and having to fly to Berlin, Madrid, etc… and by the time you realise, chances are that someone may have already developed a similar business in the Sylicon valley. Watch this discussion here.

Day 2

The start of the day took me to the building next along (Plenary II stage –Eiffel dock), a smaller but more homely building. I was looking for something more geeky and data-driven, so I dived
straight for: ‘Lean Analytics for Start-ups’ by AlistairCroll, from Bitcurrent.

The main goal of his presentation was to present key analytics for start-ups. Alastair explained the intent behind the analytics, having clear KPIs and the essentials of tracking things
like visits, bounces, etc… but also tracking other things like usability (eg: via heatmaps, form completion tools, use surveys….)

He then delved into the need for optimising your page load using an experiment he made on users which showed that a faster site always returns better user experience: more engagement, more visits per visitor, less bounces… point taken: users want faster navigation and sites. He briefly picks on community Managers stating that they should be there to analyse the start of the funnel and making sure that their work leads to meeting the objectives for the campaign.

The most important part of the presentation in terms of the analytics: ‘In a start-up the purpose of analytics is to iterate to a product/market fit before the money runs out’. Here’s some learning points:

  1. Focus on the Viral coeficient: how many people that use your product helps promote it to others, example: ‘get your private free email: www.hotmail.com
  2. How well are your messages being amplified: Twitter is given as an example: how many people view your message, RT, and how many visit your page, and eventually ‘the total revenue’ in $ per social media (or Twitter) campaign.
  3. No. visitors vs conversion rate + other metrics like what visitors think of us, how engaged they are
  4. Extended funnel abandonment
  5. what moved us away from goals?
  6. what is the cost per visitor
  7. Minimum sustainable burn: min cost to run the company Watchthe session on youtube or his slides

Next on was the “Asia: Digital Life, Real Billions” where a group of Asian top entrepreneurs were interviewed. Amongst the panelists, we had :

  • Naoki Aoyaki, Senior Vice President, Business Development & CFO, GREE
  • Takuya Miyata, Senior Vice President, Global Business, mixi
  • Yiqun Bo, Vice-President & Co-Founder, Great Wall Club
  • Steven Goh, CEO, Mig33
  • Chang Kim, ex-CEO of TNC, Product Manager, Google Blogger
  • Jimmy Kim, CEO, Nexonova
Leweb, day 2, Asia Digital life real billions
Leweb, day 2, Asia Digital life real billions

I learned quite a bit about the Social gaming industry in Japan. One piece of data that really got my eyes opened was given by Takuya Miyata: apparently Japan’s No2 social network Gree spends 10 million $/month in TV commercials!

However, I think he said that it worked out at about $12 per acquisition, so advertising spent is even justified?

The next session on ‘How Social is Changing the Gaming Industry’ was a bit slow though it was interesting to hear from the panelists how they went about monetising, being Micropayments & advertising the two main revenue making models in the gaming industry. So I decided to cross over the road onto the Pullman Plenary Room. I stopped a few moments for coffee, some networking and also viewed some product demos at the stands.
I then headed for the ‘Start up competition Finals’ where I really enjoyed seeing the final 4 winning startups showcasing their ideas. I thought one of them was very imaginative and typical of a French mind: ‘Super Marmite’, a site to go to find out who’s cooking and willing to sell you a portion around your local area, request a visit to try whatever the person is cooking and arrive at the spot with your taperware, pay, eat healthy and socialise. The presenter was a young lad full of charisma who put a bit of humour on the session. I am glad they got the No1 prize on originality.

I was sad to see that no Spanish startups were competing with other French, Dutch and German startups… why are Spanish start ups not selling themselves outside: is it the recession, the lack of information, language barriers? Read more about the startups that presented at LeWeb on this TechCrunch post .

Keynote: Social Media And Big Business: Trends for 2011 by industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang

Jeremiah kicked off his presentation by saying : ‘you need to be where the money is and how you should spend your social media budget’. Wow! he then got everyone’s attention. It’s worth watching his video but if you cannot be bothered, here’s some of the main points of his presentation.

spending in social business programs

The biggest area of growth in 2011 is hiring people to run the programmes/campaigns on social media. We should invest in scalable social media programmes by:

  • Hiring: hire the business people first, then those to run the programmes
  • Hiring: hire the business people first, then those to run the programmes
  • Integrate social media features the right way into your website not just placing a follow me bottom and encourage traffic to go away.
  • Use advertising that enacts word of mouth
  • Develop an army of advocates that can spread the word about your products and services perhapsjust in return for free products
  • Invest in social CRM
  • learning to measure right: don’t give executives engagement metrics like retweets and followers, but performance metrics: revenue, reputation, customer satisfaction. Give to each one the metrics they are interested in

Download his presentation slides.

Q&A with Gary Vaynerchuk, Host, Wine Library TV,
Author, CrushIT

This was the last session of LeWeb conference but probably one of the most entertaining, enjoyable and fulfilling. We were all tired but Gary Vaynerchuk woke us all up.
Gary knows how to draw the public’s attention by bringing an unusual, outrageous fun to the Q&A. Gary got the session started with some rants about social media stuff, the humanisation of
businesses, how they are starting to get closer to customers, talk to them, feel what they need, listen to them…. but Loic prompted him into the Q&A. The session can be viewed on LeWeb Youtube channel too.

The main highlight of his presentation arrived the moment someone asked: What is the ROI of social media? to which Gary replied:

‘what is the ROI of your mum’?

Tip: jump straight to min 37.30 as the whole session is about 45 mins.

That one must have been one of the most tweeted phrases of LeWeb. LeWeb10 was over, and I guess everyone is now looking forward to LeWeb11


I was a great, fulfilling experience that got me inspired for days, however I didnt feel like I learned anything practical. My knowledge on the digital world definitely got enhanced as I found out about new things, but didnt get any takeaways with me in terms of practical advice, so perhaps this type of conferences are not for me.

I acknowledge the fact that this was not a search engine marketing conference and didn’t expect anything like that, but got a bit dissappointed of the poor or virtually no coverage that ‘Search’ gets at LeWeb, apart from a few mentions here and there by a couple of speakers, like Marissa Mayer.

Let me just add the impressive figures about network usage data at LeWeb:

* Total Unique Devices: 4688
* Total Traffic: 1.12 TB
* Top (Ab)user (wireless): klug20s @ 11.2 GB
* Top (Ab)user (wired): Tubby Builder @ 110 GB
* Top 5 Applications: Flash Video, iTunes, Twitter, YouTube, email
* Top 5 OS: iPhone, OSX, iPad, W7, Android
* Top Client devices: 71.8% Apple, Intel 10%, HTC 5%
* Devices having used Twitter: 2602

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